November 27, 2021

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How To Compare And Shop Car Insurance Quotes In 2021

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It can be difficult to shop car insurance. Between comparing car insurance quotes, providers, and coverage options, there is a lot of information to consider. This article will help you navigate the important details. We’ll explain how to find the lowest car insurance quotes while securing the coverage you need.

Our review team has already researched dozens of providers and compiled a list of the best car insurance companies in the business, ranking insurers based on price, customer service, and financial stability. When you’re ready to shop car insurance and start comparing options, this list is a good place to start.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step walkthrough to help you purchase a car insurance policy, check out our nine easy steps on how to buy car insurance

In this article: Cheapest Car Insurance Providers | Determining Your Coverage Needs | Requesting Car Insurance Quotes | How Car Insurance Rates Are Calculated | Average Car Insurance Rates | You Can Keep Car Insurance Rates Low By … | How Often Should You Shop For Car Insurance? | Providers To Consider When Shopping For Car Insurance | FAQ: Compare Car Insurance | Methodology

Cheapest Car Insurance Providers

Listed below are the 10 cheapest car insurance providers, according to our rate estimates. These estimates apply to full coverage insurance for 35-year-old drivers with good driving records. Our estimates also combine driving profiles from across all 50 states.

Car Insurance Provider Average Annual Cost Estimate
USAA $1,013
Erie Insurance $1,113
Auto-Owners $1,229
State Farm $1,339
Geico $1,352
Progressive $1,397
Nationwide $1,533
Travelers $1,617
Farmers $2,032
The Hartford $2,166

The best car insurance coverage may not necessarily be the cheapest. While cost is an important factor to consider, you should also make sure your insurer offers the coverage you need and has a good reputation for meeting customer claims obligations. Compare car insurance companies on more than just price to find the best option.

Determining Your Coverage Needs

One of the first things you need to decide when shopping for car insurance is the type and amount of coverage you’ll need. While each state has minimum coverage requirements, most people purchase more than the minimum to protect themselves financially.

Below is a breakdown of the main types of car insurance and what they entail:

  • Liability coverage is a combination of bodily injury liability (BI) and property damage liability (PD). This type of insurance covers you against costs associated with damages to other people and their property. It’s also an insurance requirement in most states.
  • Collision insurance covers the cost of damages to your car in the event you get into a collision with another car or an object. Some lenders may require that you carry collision insurance if your vehicle is financed.
  • Comprehensive coverage protects your car against damages that aren’t due to a collision. Examples include theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and civil disturbances. Some lenders may require that you carry comprehensive insurance if your vehicle is financed.
  • Medical payments insurance (MedPay) covers the costs of vehicle-related medical treatments for both you and your passengers, regardless of who was at fault in the case of an accident (not available in all states). This coverage is required in some no-fault insurance states.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) covers medical treatments, similarly to MedPay, but it also covers other injury-related losses, such as lost wages from days you were unable to work. This coverage is required in some no-fault insurance states.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) covers you when you get into an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have sufficient insurance and can’t cover your expenses. This coverage is required in some no-fault insurance states.

While shopping for car insurance, you may also see coverage for things such as roadside assistance plans, accident forgiveness insurance, gap insurance, and rental car reimbursement. Not every insurer offers these types of coverage, but no reputable insurance company will sell you a policy that doesn’t meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements.

Comprehensive and collision coverage is not required but is a good idea for most drivers. These policies are worth the cost if you can’t afford to replace your car in the event of a worst-case scenario. When you compare car insurance quotes, you’ll be able to see a price breakdown for each type of coverage.

If your vehicle is not especially valuable, the cost of comprehensive and collision insurance may not be worth it. As a general rule of thumb, you should consider skipping this coverage if the amount you pay for coverage each year exceeds 10 percent of your car’s total value.

Requesting Car Insurance Quotes

An auto insurance quote is an estimate of what you will pay for a car insurance policy with a potential carrier. Car insurance quotes are based on several factors related to the driver, the vehicle, and the location. Pricing differs between providers and is subject to change based on what information you choose to share.

When shopping for car insurance, you’ll want to compare quotes from several providers to see which offer the best deals for your state, vehicle, and driver profile. There are several ways to request a quote:

  • Contact an independent insurance agent. This is a good idea if you have questions about the process or want assistance. A local agent can also make sure you’re getting all the discounts possible. An agent can work for one company or be a broker and connect you with several insurance companies. If you use an insurance broker, you might have to pay a brokerage fee when you buy a policy.
  • Use an online quote comparison tool. This option is great for anyone who wants to compare multiple quotes on their own, as these quote forms give you insurance rates from providers in your area.
  • Go to the provider’s website. If you already have a provider in mind, you can also go straight to its website and use its quote form. For example, if you’re interested in Progressive car insurance or Esurance auto insurance, both companies have comparison tools on their sites, which allows you to compare the provider’s quote to competitors’ prices.

As mentioned, you will need to provide some personal information to compare car insurance quotes. The more information you provide during the quote process, the closer the estimate will be to your actual car insurance premium. Here’s what you’ll need to shop for car insurance:

  • Information about you: You’ll need to supply your date of birth, address, and driver’s license number. You’ll answer questions about your driving record and your insurance history. You might be asked about your military service, student status, and corporate affiliations for discount purposes.
  • Information about other drivers: You’ll have to declare family members who live with you on your policy. This can include spouses, partners, and teenagers. You’ll have to provide their dates of birth, driver profiles, and insurance history.
  • Information about your vehicle(s): You’ll need to provide vehicle information, including your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and the address where it is stored. You’ll also answer questions about safety and anti-theft features on the vehicle for discount purposes.

How Car Insurance Rates Are Calculated

When you’re shopping for car insurance, it pays to understand average prices as well as how insurance costs are calculated. Car insurance rates vary widely based on many factors related to the driver and vehicle being insured. Every company uses a different formula to calculate rates, meaning car insurance quotes will vary from insurer to insurer. Different drivers will find the lowest rates with different companies, which is why it’s important to get multiple quotes before you purchase a policy.

Let’s take a look at some common factors that car insurance providers consider when setting rates.

Teen drivers and young drivers under the age of 25 are typically charged more for auto insurance. Drivers will start to see lower rates after the age of 25. Rates tend to decrease until around 50.

A better credit score can net you better car insurance quotes in most states. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey have banned the practice of using credit scores to determine auto insurance rates.

Every state has its own minimum coverage requirements, but drivers can always purchase more than the state-required coverage. Higher policy limits and more add-ons will increase your premiums compared to basic liability insurance.

Collision and comprehensive car insurance policies typically come with a deductible that must be paid before the insurer will reimburse claims. The higher this deductible is set, the lower your monthly premiums will be. 

Drivers with clean driving records receive the lowest rates. Speeding violations, at-fault accidents, and DUIs can drastically increase your rates.

In some states, men are charged more for can insurance than women and in others, women are charged more than men. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania have banned insurers from setting rates based on gender.

Every state has different insurance regulations and requirements. Premiums are also different from city to city. If you live in a zip code with high car accident or theft rates, expect the auto insurance rates to be higher.

The more you drive, the higher your rates may be. Those who don’t drive very often are typically eligible for low-mileage discounts.

The value, safety ratings, and theft rates for your vehicle may be used to set rates. Expensive cars are more costly to replace and therefore will have higher collision and comprehensive premiums. Cars that are more commonly involved in accidents or have high theft rates are also more costly to insure.

The quickest way to compare car insurance from several insurers is to use a price comparison tool like the one below. A price comparison tool will only provide estimates, but it’s a good way to begin shopping for car insurance.


Average Car Insurance Rates

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases a report each year that measures the average cost of auto insurance by state. Data is collected from three years prior, so the most recent (2021) NAIC cost report measures averages from 2018. The table below shows average premiums by state.


Liability Average Premium

Collision Average Premium

Comprehensive Average Premium

Combined Average Premium

Alabama $511.13 $380.51 $175.28 $1,066.92
Alaska $576.09 $387.12 $147.87 $1,111.07
Arizona $646.75 $326.28 $208.25 $1,181.29
Arkansas $486.72 $375.25 $235.36 $1,097.33
California $616.51 $483.60 $94.72 $1,194.83
Colorado $687.40 $330.50 $272.44 $1,290.34
Connecticut $784.70 $407.54 $133.86 $1,326.09
Delaware $900.32 $352.86 $140.52 $1,393.70
District of Columbia $809.41 $535.96 $228.71 $1,574.09
Florida $1,009.94 $361.79 $149.26 $1,520.99
Georgia $797.80 $408.41 $176.31 $1,382.52
Hawaii $479.27 $357.78 $107.66 $944.70
Idaho $425.89 $262.67 $139.75 $828.32
Illinois $515.94 $339.04 $140.57 $995.55
Indiana $442.69 $286.49 $135.63 $864.82
Iowa $348.87 $252.65 $214.65 $816.18
Kansas $421.78 $287.24 $276.33 $985.34
Kentucky $611.54 $312.51 $164.68 $1,088.73
Louisiana $1,015.36 $487.44 $248.57 $1,751.37
Maine $374.59 $294.80 $113.33 $782.72
Maryland $737.73 $422.06 $167.61 $1,327.40
Massachusetts $658.47 $440.55 $147.06 $1,246.08
Michigan $952.15 $479.11 $159.08 $1,590.35
Minnesota $499.48 $265.74 $206.45 $971.66
Mississippi $538.35 $372.17 $239.34 $1,149.85
Missouri $520.45 $315.49 $216.92 $1,052.86
Montana $435.81 $283.65 $306.00 $1,025.46
Nebraska $429.35 $272.48 $260.97 $962.79
Nevada $900.40 $366.54 $119.28 $1,386.22
New Hampshire $436.76 $327.30 $118.58 $882.65
New Jersey $955.93 $414.39 $130.26 $1,500.58
New Mexico $576.81 $311.24 $214.10 $1,102.15
New York $920.25 $457.77 $180.64 $1,558.66
North Carolina $391.29 $342.13 $137.45 $870.87
North Dakota $307.97 $279.45 $256.76 $844.18
Ohio $448.59 $302.57 $130.74 $881.91
Oklahoma $508.89 $346.73 $267.99 $1,123.61
Oregon $689.74 $280.61 $106.87 $1,077.22
Pennsylvania $555.42 $376.21 $169.21 $1,100.84
Rhode Island $885.33 $474.58 $140.40 $1,500.31
South Carolina $702.37 $318.08 $207.09 $1,227.54
South Dakota $333.44 $244.47 $327.11 $905.02
Tennessee $477.07 $355.01 $163.83 $995.91
Texas $659.47 $442.88 $269.90 $1,372.25
Utah $601.77 $309.20 $127.53 $1,038.50
Vermont $376.99 $329.47 $147.81 $854.27
Virginia $492.68 $316.05 $ 148.25 $956.98
Washington $689.18 $312.65 $118.19 $1,120.02
West Virginia $521.74 $350.20 $224.86 $1,096.80
Wisconsin $422.28 $247.95 $159.82 $830.06
Wyoming $356.25 $297.61 $317.22 $971.07

Your rates may vary depending on your driver profile. Use the table above to get some idea of average rates you can compare to car insurance rates you may receive. Keep in mind that if you live in a populated city with a lot of traffic, your rates are likely to be higher than the state average.

While car insurance can seem very expensive, many insurance providers offer extensive insurance discounts, which can help lower the cost of your insurance premium. Discounts vary between companies, but here are a few common ones:




Defensive driving

Safe driver



Good student





Paid in full

Paperless billing

Student away at school

Company loyalty

Safety features



New car

Anti-lock brakes

Anti-theft device



The next time you look at your insurance documents, see if you can find your original price before discounts were applied. It might surprise you. If you’re looking for cheap car insurance, it’s always best to leverage discounts.

Keep in mind that the cheapest car insurance is not necessarily your best option. Be sure to pick a provider that has a proven history of paying customer claims.

You Can Keep Car Insurance Rates Low By …

The best ways to keep your insurance rates low are to keep a clean driving record and not file claims. You can also reduce your car insurance rates by regularly shopping around and considering other providers, especially after a change in your location, marital status, or credit score.

While you can’t control everything that affects your rates, there are a few strategies for finding the best price when you shop for car insurance.

Shop around

The more quotes you get, the better you can compare them and see a realistic picture of what you should be paying.

Be a good driver

Auto insurance companies like to see that you are a responsible driver and have little to no at-fault claims or tickets. Claims will raise your rates, while a clean driving record will lead to a lower premium.

Work on your credit

Many states allow credit scores to influence car insurance rates. A poor credit history can increase your rate, while a good credit score can lower it.

Increase your deductible

A higher deductible will lower your insurance premiums, but make sure your deductible is something you can afford to pay.

Bundle if you can

Depending on your situation, you could save by bundling your auto policy with a renters or homeowners policy.

Don’t move to the big city

If you’re looking to move somewhere new, consider a suburb or metro area away from downtown. Drivers in middle-class suburbs usually get better rates.

Choose the right car

If you’re looking to buy a car, find out which cars are the cheapest to insure. Right now, insurance companies prefer family-oriented SUVs.

Choose the right provider

While some providers may offer cheaper premiums, they may offer poor customer service or have a weak financial reputation.

Avoid a lapse in coverage

Prevent a lapse in coverage by always being enrolled in an auto insurance policy and paying your insurance premiums on time.

Don’t write off the little guys

While there are many large, national providers, there are also countless small, local insurance providers that offer great auto insurance coverage at affordable prices.

Take a defensive driving course


Many insurers offer a discount if you complete an approved defensive driving class. In some states, insurers are required to provide such a discount. A defensive driving class is an especially good idea if you’ve recently gotten a speeding ticket or other violation.


How Often Should You Shop For Car Insurance?

You can shop car insurance as often as you want, but be aware that your existing insurer might charge a fee if you cancel your policy during your current term. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to raise rates after the first term. If your premium is going up next term and you haven’t filed any claims, you should shop car insurance and drop your current insurer if needed.

It can also be a good idea to shop car insurance every six months even if you’re happy with your policy. Who knows? Maybe a competitor just lowered its prices or a new company recently entered your local market. While you can get a loyalty discount for being with the same insurance company over a long period, you might save more by switching.

There’s really no limit to the number of quotes you can compare. Getting more quotes gives you a better idea of what’s available. We wouldn’t recommend buying a policy without comparing at least three providers. You should shop for car insurance from multiple sources and compare car insurance rates, not buy the first policy you see.

Comparing car insurance quotes from insurers in your area gives you a good idea of what’s out there, though you could compare more. If you’re feeling energized, try to go for five to seven providers. Remember, try to compare apples to apples. Don’t compare auto insurance with $25,000 in property damage coverage to a policy with $100,000 in coverage.

Providers To Consider When Shopping For Car Insurance

When you’re ready to shop car insurance, we recommend you get a quote from each of our top car insurance providers. USAA, Geico, and State Farm came out on top when we compared over 30 of the best car insurance providers.  


USAA is our top overall pick for car insurance, although you’ll need to meet certain criteria for eligibility. The following types of people can get USAA:

  • United States military members who are active, enlisted, honorably separated, or retired
  • Commissioning program members
  • Spouses and children of people who have had a USAA auto or home policy

USAA tends to be one of the cheapest options overall. It’s a great idea to include it when you shop car insurance if you’re eligible. The company gives you a 15 percent discount if you keep your vehicle on base and a 60 percent discount during deployment. That’s important, as you still need car insurance during deployment if you own a car.

The company has an A++ financial rating from AM Best. USAA also performed very well in the J.D. Power 2021 Auto Insurance StudySM and its 2021 Insurance Shopping Study. USAA makes it easy to apply for a quote, buy a policy, and use your coverage.

Learn more by reading our full USAA auto insurance review.

Many people find that Geico offers the cheapest rates when they shop car insurance. Geico has many discounts based on your driving history, your car, and your situation. The company’s full name is Government Employees Insurance Company, and it still gives a discount to federal government employees.

Geico is the second-largest car insurance company in the U.S. and has a financial strength rating of A++ from AM Best. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it has above-average customer service ratings online. Geico also did outstanding in both the J.D. Power Insurance Study and Shopping Study. 

With Geico, you can also get mechanical coverage for your car, which is rare among insurance companies. The program is called mechanical breakdown insurance, and it’s similar to an extended car warranty.

Read more about the provider in our Geico auto insurance review.

State Farm is the largest auto insurance provider in the U.S., with over 16 percent of the market share, according to the NAIC. State Farm can be a great option for many kinds of people, especially students. If you’re a good student, you could get up to 25 percent off your premium with State Farm. You won’t come across a discount on student car insurance that big when shopping for car insurance elsewhere. Also, you get to keep that discount until you’re 25 years old, even after you graduate college.

State Farm has four apps that make claims easier and help people save money. One app, Steer Clear®, is for drivers under 25 to hone their skills. Drivers complete in-app courses and log driving hours. Drivers who complete the program get another discount on their premiums.

State Farm has a financial strength rating of A++ from AM Best, but it is not rated by the BBB at this time. Find out more by reading our State Farm auto insurance review.

FAQ: Compare Car Insurance


In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.

Read our other insurance articles:

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