One of the best ways to get cheap car insurance is by comparing car insurance quotes — and the companies offering them. To get you started, NerdWallet looked at car insurance prices across the country for different driver profiles and coverage levels to find the cheapest rates. We’ve sliced the data in several ways to give you an idea of average costs and what factors might nudge your car insurance rate up — or even better, down.
We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.
When it comes to finding the cheapest auto insurer, State Farm may not top your list; it offers the fewest discounts of our four top picks. You’ll find discounts for having multiple policies and safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes. However, if you have young or elderly drivers on your policy, own a home, or are insuring a new car, you may want to start elsewhere.
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Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of cheaper insurance. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.
The biggest downside to Erie is that it is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. As well, Erie still relies strongly on its agent network; which isn't always a bad thing. A strong agent network is usually key to ensuring a smooth claims process. If you want to quickly buy car insurance without speaking to anyone though, Erie may not be the company for you. While you can start the process online, you ultimately will have to speak with an agent to finalize your quote. Erie will be ideal for any customers within its market, who do not mind putting in some extra effort to get quality and cheap auto insurance.
As you get your instant quote, Nationwide will help identify discounts on car insurance that might apply to your policy to save you money. Depending on where you live, you may qualify for lower rates when you have multiple Nationwide insurance policies or have an accident-free record. If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-theft device or passenger restraint system, you may save even more. You may also earn a discount through the SmartRide program, which is a usage-based program that gives members feedback to help encourage safe driving. Get more ideas on how to lower the price of your auto policy.