To determine how much auto insurance is best for you comes down to understanding your current economic circumstances and how the different types of coverage work together. If you own a car, buying car insurance is inevitable, so it is really important you are getting the right amount for the right price. The following table gives a quick summary of what types of insurance you should have.
The price of car insurance can vary greatly between states. One company may be expensive in Utah, but inexpensive in New York. In some states, a small, local company could even offer the best price. Below, click through to your state to see which company and cities have the least expensive car insurance based on the numerous studies we've conducted.
Of the biggest auto insurers in the U.S. - State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Progressive and Farmers - State Farm ranks as the greatest overall. State Farm was rated 4/5 stars by customers and policyholders in a JD Power survey on companies shopping experience. State Farm is best known for its large agent network; they boast over 18,000 across the nation. It shouldn't be surprising then that State Farm gets 5/5 stars for how its agents interact with customers. As well, State Farm is great when it comes to offering discounts. If you go with State Farm you will have up to 15 discounts to be eligible for which can equal hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
Pretty much all drivers are subject to the risks mentioned above, so the short answer to the question is, "Almost everybody." Take animal collisions, for example. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions every year, resulting in over $1 billion in vehicle damage — and that's just deer-vehicle collisions.
A third-party claim of this type can be very simple or extremely complex depending upon the facts and injuries of a particular accident. If fault is not in question, insurance adjusters will normally attempt to resolve third-party claims quickly and with a minimal expenditure of time. Normally a few brief interviews, a cursory review of medical records or repair records and a thorough understanding of any law enforcement reports will result in an offer of settlement. However, in cases where fault is disputed, or where injuries are significant, the road to recovery can get bumpy in a hurry.
NerdWallet compared quotes from these insurers in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages, as well as any other coverage required in each state. Our “good driver” profile is a 40-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier.
As required by law, drivers must carry at least a minimal amount of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. A few states do not require both or have other limitations. Each state sets its minimum requirement for each type of coverage. Even in “no-fault” states, liability coverage is all but essential. No-fault laws were established to reduce or eliminate ordinary injury lawsuits affixed with low-dollar price tags and an overwhelming number of claims for pain and suffering. Still, no-fault laws do not protect the insured from million-dollar injury lawsuits stemming from seriously injured third parties. Both types of third-party insurance are important, specifically for individuals, such as homeowners, with substantial assets to protect. The more money and assets an insured has, the higher the limit should be for each type of liability coverage.
If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
If you have paid off your car, comprehensive coverage is optional. It may be a good idea to find out the Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle. Would you be able to pay that amount to repair or replace your vehicle if it were stolen or damaged in an accident? If you can't afford to pay much out of pocket, then buying optional coverages, like comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, may be a smart investment.