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Nearly every state in the U.S. requires drivers to carry insurance, but car insurance quotes can vary widely from provider to provider. By comparing free insurance quotes from multiple companies, you can easily see which one offers you the best deal on the coverage you need.
Each company has a different formula to assess your risk level, so even if one provider quotes you a high price, you may find lower rates somewhere else. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get free car insurance quotes and find the most affordable coverage options. If you’re ready to start shopping right away, use the free quote comparison tool below to get quotes from the best car insurance companies on the market.
In this article:
- What is a car insurance quote?
- How to get free car insurance quotes
- Factors that increase and decrease insurance rates
- Tips to save on auto insurance
- Recommendations for car insurance quotes
- Frequently asked questions
- Our methodology
What is a car insurance quote?
Auto insurance rates are based on your driver profile and vehicle. You can request a personalized cost estimate, or quote, from an insurer to see how much a car insurance policy would cost before signing up for coverage. Most online quotes are instant unless you’re shopping with a smaller provider. You just need to provide basic information about yourself, your vehicle and anyone else who drives it.
When you reach out for a quote, always give accurate information. An insurance agency can cancel your plan within 30 to 90 days (depending on the state) if you leave out something significant, like a teen driver living in your household.
Car insurance quotes are usually good for a period of 30 days, so you can continue to shop around and circle back if you don’t find a better plan.
How to get free car insurance quotes
There are a few ways to get free auto insurance quotes. You can use a quote comparison tool, get quotes online from companies, call companies on the phone, visit a branch in person or even work through an insurance broker. Here are some details on each of these options:
- Quote comparison tool: With a comparison tool, you can enter your information once and get multiple auto insurance quotes from providers in your area. This saves you time when shopping around.
- Direct online quote: Visiting a car insurance company’s website is another way to get a quote. You can get free, instant quotes from many providers, but you’ll have to visit each site one-by-one.
- Quote by phone: Calling an auto insurance company can give you a more personalized service experience and help you gauge the company’s customer care. Insurance agents generally help you pick out a policy and check to make sure you’re getting all the discounts you’re eligible for.
- In-person quote: You can get a quote by visiting your local insurance office. Be prepared to bring necessary documents with you. Of course, you’ll have to be available during regular business hours to go this route.
- Car insurance broker: Another way to get auto insurance quotes is to go through a broker. A broker works as a middleman between insurers and customers to get you the best deal. This can be a hands-off way of shopping. However, brokers can sometimes charge a fee and may work on commission, so they have an incentive to encourage full coverage policies.
No matter which way you decide to get insurance quotes, you’ll have to provide a few pieces of information. Be sure you have the following ready before you start shopping:
- Information for each driver in your household, including birthdays and occupations
- Information about your car, including its make, model, mileage and vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Average miles driven per year
- Driving history
- Current coverage information
How often should you shop for auto insurance?
You can get car insurance quotes at any time. We recommend shopping around each time your auto policy is up for renewal or if you experience a life change like moving to a new location or getting married. A better price might be available with your current provider or a new provider.
You might consider shopping for a policy if any of the following occur:
- You move to a new ZIP Code
- You get married
- You move in with family members and can combine policies
- You turn a year older
- You raise your credit score
- You start a new job and will be driving much less
- Three years have passed since your last at-fault accident or moving violation
If your current insurer is still the cheapest after looking around, there’s no obligation to switch providers.
Factors that increase and decrease insurance rates
Car insurance rates are based on the likelihood that a company will have to pay out claims on your behalf. The more risk you represent to the company, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance, and vice versa.
Here are the main factors that determine auto insurance quotes:
- Age, gender and marital status: Teens and males under the age of 25 generally pay the most for car insurance. Married drivers pay less than single drivers for insurance.
- Vehicle: The make, model and age of your vehicle all affect your insurance rates. Some vehicles have higher repair costs or lower safety ratings, which can increase your premium. Others are more likely to be stolen. For example, full-size pickups, Honda Civics and Honda Accords all have high rates of theft according to Insurify.
- Driving history: A clean driving record can get you discounts on auto insurance, while at-fault accidents, moving violations and DUIs will cause your rates to go up. The more points on your record, the more you’ll pay.
- How much you drive: People who drive more are at greater risk for getting into a car accident. Driving more than the average annual mileage will increase rates. But if you work from home and drive only a few thousand miles per year, you’ll pay less.
- Credit history: Car insurance companies in most states consider your credit history when setting premiums. A lower credit score can raise your rates.
- ZIP Code: Theft, vandalism and accidents are more frequent in urban areas.
- State requirements: Each state sets its own minimum car insurance requirements, so you may need to maintain more or less coverage depending on where you live.
- Coverage levels and deductible: Once you’ve got your state minimums covered, you can choose to purchase higher coverage limits and additional types of auto insurance coverage depending on your needs and budget.
Average car insurance quotes
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), drivers in the U.S. paid an average of $1,004.58 for car insurance in 2017. Because your location affects your rates, the cost of car insurance can vary widely by state. These were the five most expensive and cheapest states for auto insurance in 2017:
|Most Expensive States||Average Cost of Car Insurance||Cheapest States||Average Cost of Car Insurance|
|New York||$1,349.72||South Dakota||$693.42|
*Data reported by the NAIC.
Tips to save on auto insurance
You won’t be able to control every factor that affects your car insurance quotes, but there are some things you can do to get cheaper rates.
- Improve your driving habits. Avoiding speeding tickets and at-fault accidents will pay off over time. You also have the option to participate in a safe driving program with most leading insurance companies. Enroll in Progressive’s Snapshot or State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save if you’re confident in your driving ability. Some of these programs can actually raise your rates if you demonstrate poor driving behaviors, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared before signing up.
- Improve your credit score. If you can demonstrate that you are financially responsible, you will get lower auto insurance quotes from insurers.
- Look for auto insurance discounts. You can save money by insuring multiple vehicles or bundling homeowners and auto insurance with most providers. Many companies also offer discounts for things like being a new driver, getting good grades as a student, completing a defensive driving course and having a clean driving record.
- Try usage-based car insurance. If you don’t drive much, usage-based insurance from a provider like Root Auto can be a great choice. Your mileage is used to determine your car insurance rates. In some programs, you make a down payment at the start of your coverage period to cover a certain number of miles driven and are then charged extra for any miles beyond that number.
Even if you use all of these tips, you can still end up paying too much for coverage if you only get auto insurance quotes from one provider. Without comparing multiple options, there’s no way to know if a company is giving you the cheapest rate.
Recommendations for car insurance quotes
There are thousands of car insurance companies in the country, but you don’t have to sift through all of them. We thoroughly researched every major auto insurer to find the best providers based on industry reputation, availability, coverage, cost and customer experience.
|Top 10 Car Insurance Companies||Overall Rating||Cost Rating|
|4. State Farm||8.6||8.0|
|5. Liberty Mutual||8.5||7.5|
|7. The Hartford||8.4||8.0|
Read on to learn more about our top two picks, or use the tool below to start comparing free car insurance quotes in your area.
Geico: Best Overall
We named Geico the best in the business for its excellent industry standing, low rates and high level of customer satisfaction. Geico has an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It also performed well in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, earning first place in three regions.
In addition to standard coverage, Geico provides roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, classic car coverage, ride-share insurance and mechanical breakdown insurance.
USAA: Best for military families
USAA stands out with some of the lowest car insurance rates in the industry. However, coverage is only available to military members, veterans and their families.
The company has been around for almost 100 years and has high ratings from experts, including an A++ from AM Best and an A- from the BBB. One perk of USAA is that it provides unique benefits for military families such as deployment discounts, a discount for garaging your vehicle on a military base and more.
Frequently asked questions
Who has the cheapest car insurance?
After researching dozens of providers, we found that USAA tends to offer the cheapest car insurance overall. However, it’s only available for military members and their families. For drivers outside that demographic, Geico is a good choice for cheap auto insurance.
How do I get the best car insurance quote?
The most important thing you can do when looking for a great car insurance quote is to shop around. By comparing at least three quotes, you will have a better understanding of what’s available. Otherwise, maintain good driving habits, keep track of your credit and look for discount opportunities.
Who has the cheapest auto insurance in Tennessee?
Tennessee has relatively affordable insurance rates. Geico and State Farm are both good choices for cheap car insurance quotes whether you’re just looking for the minimum bodily injury and property damage requirements or other options like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers that scored the most points topping the list.
In this article, we selected companies with high overall ratings and cost ratings. The cost ratings were informed by average auto insurance rates and discount opportunities.