So, you’re ready to shop for car insurance. You’ve been bombarded with ads from some of the biggest names in the industry on TV, billboards, YouTube videos, podcasts, and all over the web.
Some say you can get 15% savings in return for just a few minutes of your time. Others offer special discounts for particular groups, like students, military members, retirees, or even for bundling your policies together. There are even a few that preach about fancy gizmos that monitor your driving habits and reward you for low mileage or safe driving.
But the question is, how do you know which offer is the best one for you? With so many options, where do you even begin?
No matter who you are, what car you drive, or what your specific situation is, the only way to ensure you get the best deal on your next car insurance policy is by comparing rates from as many car insurance companies as possible.
Read on to find out more about why you should compare car insurance quotes and how you can guarantee you find the best deal for you, your vehicle, and your wallet.
In This Article:
- Why You Should Compare Car Insurance
- How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes
- How Companies Calculate Rates
- Recent Car Insurance Trends
- Car Insurance FAQs
Why You Should Compare Car Insurance Quotes
Whether you're looking to get the cheapest possible car insurance or want specific coverages for your pride and joy, comparing car insurance is the only way to guarantee you get the best fit for you. Below are just a few of the reasons why it's the only way to go the next time you're in the market for a new policy:
No Two Drivers are the Same
You may have recently seen an ad offering major savings, but you go to their website, enter in your information, and the quote they offer you isn’t even close to the number you saw on the ad. How can that be?
Despite what the latest advertisements might say, there isn’t any one company that offers the best rates for all drivers across the board. Because car insurance companies base their rates on a variety of factors – things like your age, gender, address, driving record, vehicle make and model, and even your credit score – the rates companies offer can be drastically different from driver to driver.
Because of this, many car insurance companies focus in on specific demographics or types of drivers. One company may want their clients to be mainly made up of good drivers with clean records so that they pay out as few claims as possible. Another may hone in on “non-standard” policies for high-risk drivers with tickets, accidents, or even DUIs on their record. Some may even target specific geographic areas or age groups over others.
Because of this, there isn’t one company that’s right for everybody. The only way to make sure you find the one that’s right for you is to compare quotes and see which company is the best fit.
Comparison Platforms Will Save You Time
Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend hours hopping from company to company, entering your information multiple times, just to find the best quote.
Insurance comparison platforms like Compare.com bring the insurance companies to you, not the other way around. Simply enter some information and answer questions about you, your vehicle, and your driving record once and you’ll be presented with quotes from dozens of the top insurance companies in just a few minutes, all for free.
You could be well on your way to a new, cheaper car insurance policy in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Wasting valuable time going from company to company to compare quotes is a thing of the past.
Car Insurance Companies Will Compete for Your Business
By bringing the car insurance companies to you and showing you multiple quotes at once, you’re forcing insurers to compete for your business. This guarantees they’ll be showing you their cheapest and most competitive rates, which brings us to our next point…
Comparing Will Save You Money
Seeing all of your possible rates in one place is the only way to ensure you get the best deal on your next car insurance policy. By comparing car insurance, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you found the most savings and have a policy that’s best suited to you and your wallet.
After all, it’s no coincidence that Compare.com customers save an average of $720 a year on their car insurance. Now that’s a lot of moola!
How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes
Gone are the days where you had to visit multiple websites one after another to find the best rates. With the recent rise of car insurance comparison tools, you’re able to compare quotes and get the best deal all in one place. But where do you start?
Where is the Best Place to Compare Auto Insurance Quotes?
Just like with specific car insurance companies, you may have seen ads from a number of companies claiming to be the best car insurance comparison platform on the web. But how do you know which one is truly the best?
Luckily, we’ve done the research for you and studied countless reviews from users, industry experts, and even employees. We’ve gotten quotes from all the top platforms and compared the results to determine the best place to compare rates.
We ranked the top 8 platforms from best to worst, and the one tool that consistently came out on top was Compare.com. With the highest aggregate reviews and the most quotes offered to users, Compare.com is the best place to go if you’re looking to compare car insurance quotes and save money on your next policy.
Top Car Insurance Companies You Should Consider
You’ve probably seen ads from the likes of GEICO, Progressive, State Farm and Allstate. You may have even heard of smaller names like Elephant, The General, or SafeAuto, but which company is the best one for you?
As we mentioned earlier, there’s no single car insurance company that’s the best for everyone, so the best way to make sure you find the right fit is by comparing as many companies as you can.
Luckily, Compare.com works with over 70 of the nation’s top insurers, so you can rest assured you’ve found the best company for you. All you need to do to get started is enter your ZIP code below!
How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Rates?
The main reason you may or may not see prices similar to the ones car insurance companies advertise is because they base policy rates on a bunch of different factors. These include obvious things like your driving record and what kind of car you drive, but companies also take into consideration factors that are out of your control, like your age and gender, as well as other demographic data like your location, living situation, marital status, and, in certain states, your credit score.
Want an idea of how much each of these factors affect the final price companies will offer to you? Check out the individual breakdowns we have for several of these factors in the charts and writeups below:
What’s the Average Car Insurance Rate in the U.S.?
According to data gathered by Compare.com, drivers in the United States pay an average of $79 a month for their car insurance policy. That translates to $474 for a 6-month policy, or about $950 a year.
We provide that number to you as a point of reference. Compare it to the charts below to see how much each factor can affect the price you’ll pay at the end of each month, or jump straight to unlocking your quotes by entering your ZIP below!
Perhaps the most obvious factor car insurance companies use to determine your rates is your driving record. After all, it makes sense that the more accidents or tickets you have on your record, the more risk insurers are taking on to provide you coverage.
But how much do these moving violations or collisions affect your policy?
|Infractions||Average Monthly Premium|
As you can see, even just a single accident on your record can lead companies to charge you around $20 more than the average rate. More than one accident drives that number up another $35.
The same can be said for moving violations. One ticket knocks the average national rate up to $112, while drivers with multiple tickets can push that figure up toward $150 a month.
Another key factor companies use to calculate your monthly rate is your insurance history. Much like your driving record, it gives insurers a good idea of how risky it is to offer you a policy.
If companies find that you have a lapse in coverage, you can expect to see your quotes rise significantly when you go to compare rates.
Because of this, it’s extremely important you remain insured at all times. Even if you plan on selling your car or going on a prolonged vacation where you won’t need car insurance, it’s a good idea to keep a non-owners policy so that you can avoid a costly lapse in coverage. These usually cost just a few bucks a month, and can save you hundreds, or even thousands, in the long run.
Vehicle Make, Model and Year
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the car you drive has a big impact on how much your insurance will be. When it comes to your vehicle, there are a bunch of different points your insurer takes into account, including the make and model, how old it is, the body type, and the vehicle’s overall value.
So, what’s the cheapest kind of vehicle to insure?
|Body Type||Average Premium|
As you can see, trucks and vans tend to be the cheapest vehicles to insure – around $10 a month cheaper than the national average. There isn’t as much of a difference between cars and SUVs as you might think – their average rates are within just a dollar of each other.
In addition to body type, your car’s age can play a big factor when you compare rates, as you can see in the below chart:
|Vehicle Age||Average Monthly Premium|
|Less than 1 year||$87|
|15 years or older||$75|
Newer cars are generally more expensive to insure, mainly because a vehicle is worth more when it’s newer. As it gets older, you can see that your rates will steadily decrease.
So, if you’ve had the same insurance policy on your car since you bought it new, it’s a great idea to take a few minutes to re-evaluate your policy and compare quotes against what you’re currently paying. You could discover some serious savings!
Age and Gender
How old you are plays a big role in how much you pay for car insurance. It may come as no surprise, but younger people, especially teenagers, tend to get into more accidents than any other age group.
As drivers age, they tend to become safer drivers, which are therefore less risky to insure.
|Age||Average Monthly Premium|
As you can see in the chart above, by the time you turn 25, insurance companies might already charge you less than half of what you were paying when you were 16.
Additionally, your gender will play a big role as well. All things being equal, men are typically more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident than women. For example, the CDC says male drivers aged 16-19 are almost twice as likely to get into a fatal accident than female drivers of the same age.
|Gender||Average Monthly Premium|
As you can see, that additional risk can lead to a significant difference in rates. According to national data, men can expect to pay around 5-10% more for their car insurance than women.
If you recently got hitched, you could be looking at some serious savings. As you can see in the chart below, it pays to get married (at least when it comes to car insurance).
|Relationship Status||Average Monthly Premium|
|Single (never married)||$86|
Married drivers save an average of around 30% on their car insurance when compared to those who are still single.
One of the big factors behind this is that married policyholders tend to have multiple vehicles on their policy – something many insurance companies will offer major discounts for.
So, if you’ve recently rang the wedding bells, it might be worth looking into a new car insurance policy for you and your new spouse. Just enter your ZIP below to unlock your new savings.
Education and Occupation
What you do for a living may not seem like it has much to do with how you drive, but education and occupation are two factors that insurance companies use to calculate your rates.
Think about it, your job largely determines when and where you’re on the road. For example, a nurse working third shift will spend more time on the roads late at night where visibility and driver fatigue could potentially increase the risk of an accident. Likewise, someone who works from home may not put many miles on their car at all, which will lead to lower premiums.
Your education level also can come into play. Insurance companies see drivers with advanced degrees as less risky to insure than those with a high school diploma or GED. It may not sound fair, but it’s something to take into account when you go to compare rates.
Housing Situation and Address
Another factor that may seem like it shouldn’t affect your car insurance is your housing situation. Generally, insurance companies see a big difference in risk between someone who owns their own home and a driver that still lives with their parents, for example.
|Housing Status||Average Monthly Premium|
|Live with Parents||$100|
As you can see, homeowners pay about 17% less than renters for their car insurance, on average, and those living with their parents will pay significantly more.
Not only that, but your physical address plays a big role, too. Insurance companies consider things like local crime rates, parking availability, traffic laws, and other factors when calculating rates – all of which are largely tied to your ZIP code.
Additionally, where you live in relation to your workplace can drastically affect how much you drive and how many miles you put on your vehicle each year – both of which can drastically impact your monthly premium.
For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to go back and compare car insurance quotes every time you move to a new address, especially if you’re changing cities or ZIP codes.
Credit History (sometimes)
One last factor that can sometimes have a say on your monthly bill is your credit history. Many car insurance companies see drivers who have good credit scores as less of a risk, so they tend to offer them cheaper rates.
However, this tactic has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years. Many people, lawmakers included, see this practice as unfair and unethical, which has led a handful of states to place some restrictions on when and how companies can use your credit history.
For example, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Utah all restrict or outright ban the use of credit scores in determining insurance rates, both for vehicles and other insurance policies. But if you don’t live in one of these seven states, it may be something worth considering the next time you go shopping for a new policy.
Recent Trends in Car Insurance Prices
It’s always a good idea to know which direction trends are headed when shopping for a big-ticket item like car insurance. Just like the stock market, car insurance prices rise and fall through the years, so timing can play a small factor in how much you might pay.
Check out the chart below to see how prices have fluctuated over the past five years:
|Year||Average Monthly Premium|
As you can see, policy rates have taken a big jump over the last few years. Since 2017, the average bill U.S. drivers see at the end of the month has seen a 20% increase. But that increase hasn’t been steady. Rates remained relatively flat from 2017 to 2019, before jumping almost 15% in 2020.
After only increasing $2 from 2020 to 2021, it’s hard to say what the short-term future will look like, but it’s always a good idea to nail down the best price earlier rather than later.
And, of course, the best way to do that is to take 10 minutes to compare car insurance quotes to make sure you’ve got the best deal.
Don’t know where to start? Just enter your ZIP code below and Compare.com will guide you through every step of the process.
Car Insurance FAQs
When is the best time to compare car insurance?
Unlike shopping for cars, TVs or any other big-ticket item, car insurance companies don’t offer sales, so there’s no one time that’s best to shop around and compare quotes. In order to always be sure you’re getting the best deal, we recommend shopping around every 6 months to see if you can get a better rate.
Which car insurance company is the cheapest?
Policies can vary wildly from driver to driver, so there’s never going to be one company that offers the cheapest rates to everyone. Because of that, the only way to find the best deal on your car insurance policy is to compare quotes from multiple companies.
Why are each company’s rates so different?
Car insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine the rates they offer. Each company puts more emphasis on certain factors over others, which means their quotes may be much cheaper or more expensive than some of their competitors.
How can I lower my car insurance rates?
The best way to make sure you’re getting the cheapest rates is to compare car insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. Outside of that, your best bets are to practice safe driving, research and pursue special discounts, and shop for a new policy every year.
Do I have to wait until my policy expires to switch?
No. Just because you have an expiration date on your policy doesn’t mean you have to wait until that date to shop around. You can cancel your policy at any time, regardless of how much time is left. Most companies just require a simple phone call to cancel, which only takes a few minutes.
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