Auto-owners vs. Columbia: Which Company is the Best Fit for You?

Want to know if Auto-owners or Columbia is the better choice for auto insurance? You're probably wondering which company offers the best prices or the most discounts. Check out our latest guide below to find out which of these two companies is the best for you.
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for car insurance, Columbia offers less expensive premiums than Auto-owners
  • Auto-owners offers more discounts than Columbia Insurance Group
  • Columbia offers more affordable rates for drivers who have received a ticket within the last few years

Auto-owners vs. Columbia: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you considering a new insurance policy? With so many ads from all sorts of companies offering hefty discounts, you're probably wondering exactly how much you might be able to save.

You might be considering Auto-owners or Columbia, but between the two, which one will offer you more affordable prices?

Auto-owners Columbia

Looking at the national average rates for both companies, Columbia has average rates that are about 16% per month cheaper than those from Auto-owners.

Even so, that doesn't necessarily mean Columbia will be the more affordable option for every driver. Insurance carriers use all sorts of complex algorithms to calculate premiums, so depending on how old you are or how clean your driving record is (among lots of other factors), you could see wildly different rates from the ones above.

Luckily, we've broken down average premiums from both Auto-owners and Columbia by multiple different rate factors, so read on to find out which carrier is the best for you.

Auto-owners or Columbia: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Auto-owners Columbia

Auto-owners and Columbia only compete against each other in two states, with Columbia offering less expensive prices to the average driver in all of them. Arkansas has the most noticable difference, where Columbia rates are over 70% cheaper than auto insurance premiums at Auto-owners.

There's a lot more that goes into your car insurance payment than just where you live. Keep reading to learn more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Auto-owners Columbia
18-year-old drivers$393$324
25-year-old drivers$164$145

You might already know that teen drivers generally pay a lot more for insurance than any group out there on the road. Usually, that's because young, inexperienced drivers are statistically much more likely to get into an accident that results in an auto insurance claim, making them much riskier to insure.

But that doesn't mean teen drivers can't still save money on their auto insurance. As you can see above, teens who use Columbia save nearly $70 a month compared to those who use Auto-owners. It's worth noting that Auto-owners offers car insurance in 23 different states compared to Columbia's two, which can skew the average prices a bit, but the difference here is still considerable.

That being said, both companies will drop rates by the time drivers turn 25. For example, average premiums for Auto-owners policyholders reduce almost 60% and Columbia's rates lower more than 55% over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Auto-owners Columbia
65+-year-old drivers$133$109

Drivers around retirement age typically enjoy some of the most affordable auto insurance prices you'll ever see. After all, they've likely been driving for quite some time, which normally reduces their chances of accidents and other infractions that can increase rates.

But who has the best prices for retired drivers between Auto-owners and Columbia? Columbia gets the edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older $24 more affordable than the national average for Auto-owners.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Auto-owners Columbia

You may not be aware, but insurance prices tend to be more expensive for single policyholders than they are for married drivers. This usually boils down to married policyholders having multiple cars on their policy -- something lots of car insurance carriers will reward with discounts.

When it comes to relationship status, Columbia is the clear winner for those who are single, with rates around $34 per month less expensive than Auto-owners, on average. The advantage is also clear for married couples - Columbia offers the lowest average premiums.

Auto-owners vs. Columbia: Average Rates by Gender

Auto-owners Columbia

Because men are more likely to get speeding tickets and get into accidents, they have an increased chance of filing a claim with insurance. Therefore, men usually pay more for auto insurance than women.

Usually, men see rates about 6% a month higher with Auto-owners, while with Columbia, the difference is closer to 8% per month.

Looking at overall affordability, Columbia comes out as the cheapest option for both genders. On average, male drivers save about $29 a month and women save around $30 with Columbia compared to the average Auto-owners policyholder.

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Auto-owners or Columbia: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Auto-owners Columbia
State Minimum*$99$68
Full Coverage**$260$232

*State minimum value indicates liability-only policies at each state's minimum bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD) limits

**Full coverage indicates state minimum BI/PD limits with collision and comprehensive coverages added to policy.

Insurance can be a complicated subject for most people. There are lots of different coverages that account for a variety of different things. Some protect you and your vehicle, while others only provide coverage for other people's property and health if you cause an accident.

However, the most common policies that many drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability only (that covers property damage and bodily injury for other drivers and passengers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which includes two additional coverages -- comprehensive and collision -- in addition to liability coverage).

If you're looking for state minimum liability limits, Columbia generally offers significantly cheaper prices of $68 compared to Auto-owners's $99. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, Columbia again has the edge, with policies about $30 per month less expensive than Auto-owners, on average.

Is Auto-owners or Columbia Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

It's no big secret that drivers who are accident-free get better deals on their car insurance. But even if you have a spotty record, you can still find plenty of ways to save some cash on your monthly bill.

Tickets and collisions will most likely raise your premiums, but is Auto-owners or Columbia more affordable for drivers with less-than-ideal driving records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Auto-owners Columbia
Clean Record$121$104
1 Speeding Ticket$165$118

Auto-owners policyholders can expect their prices to go up an average of $44 a month if they get a ticket, while Columbia normally raises premiums around $14 per month, on average.

But Columbia is typically the cheaper option for both drivers who have a recent speeding ticket and those with clean records. Drivers with a clean record can save about $17 a month and drivers with a ticket can save around $47 per month with Columbia Insurance Group.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Auto-owners Columbia
Clean Record$121$104
1 At-Fault Accident$168$142

Both companies will raise rates pretty significantly if you get into an at-fault accident with Auto-owners increasing by over $45. Columbia has a less extreme raise, but you can still expect to pay just under $40 more than you were prior to your first collision.

Overall, drivers who use Columbia end up with the cheaper prices after an accident, with monthly premiums averaging $142 compared to Auto-Owners Insurance's $168.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Auto-owners Columbia
Clean Record$121$104
1 DUI$264$236

On average, a DUI offense is going to cost you much more than a single accident or speeding ticket when it comes to your auto insurance bill. For example, Auto-owners increases average prices by nearly $150 a month -- that's just under a 55% increase.

Columbia has the overall most affordable rates for drivers with a DUI on their records at $236 monthly, but it's worth noting that Auto-owners's average rates come from 23 states compared to just two for Columbia, so the data may be skewed slightly.

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How does Credit Score Impact Auto-owners and Columbia Rates?

In many cases, your credit score can come into play when carriers determine your monthly bill. This isn't always the case (for example, Hawaii and California are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it does affect a lot of drivers out there.

Car insurance companies argue that someone with good credit is more likely to pay their bills on time, which makes them less risky to insure. Because of that, policyholders with good credit will often be rewarded with less expensive premiums.

Looking at Auto-owners and Columbia specifically, which carrier has the lowest prices for drivers at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Auto-owners Columbia
Excellent Credit Score$95$138
Good Credit Score$129$141

If you have a solid credit score, you'll usually find a better deal with Auto-owners. Policyholders with "excellent" credit can save over 30% compared to Columbia, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- about $12 or 9% more affordable each month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Auto-owners Columbia
Fair Credit Score$176$147
Poor Credit Score$317$174

Columbia typically offers lower rates than Auto-owners when it comes to drivers with less-than-stellar credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay around $29 per month less with Columbia compared to Auto-owners, and those with "poor" scores generally save an average of about $143 a month.

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Is Auto-owners or Columbia Better for Drivers who Work from Home or Have Short Commutes?

Auto-owners Columbia
6,000 Annual Miles$179$150
12,000 Annual Miles$180$150

The amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your car plays a big role in how much insurance carriers will charge for coverage. Normally, the more miles you put on your vehicle each year, the more you can expect to pay for coverage.

As you can see in the table above, annual mileage doesn't have much of an impact on how much Columbia charges. However, there's a small difference in monthly prices for Auto-owners, with policyholders who drive 6,000 miles yearly paying around $1 less every month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles each year. Still, Columbia is the cheaper option for drivers in both categories.

Auto-owners vs. Columbia: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you park your car can have a big impact on your monthly car insurance cost. Usually, if you live in a rural area with fewer cars on the road, you'll pay a little less for insurance, while the opposite is true for people in urban areas.

Auto-owners Columbia
Urban Areas$205$169
Suburban Areas$169$152
Rural Areas$164$129

Columbia tends to offer the lowest prices for drivers in all types of areas, no matter if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

Drivers in rural ZIP codes see the most affordable premiums from both companies, but Columbia comes out on top with average rates about $129 per month. Columbia also has less expensive average prices for policyholders in urban and suburban ZIP codes -- a 18% and 10% a month respective difference when compared to Auto-owners drivers in similar areas.

Auto-owners vs. Columbia Discounts

Regardless of why you might be in the market for a new auto insurance policy, you're always going to want to save as much money as possible. That's where insurance discounts comes into play.

But where do you even start? With so many discounts out there, it may seem difficult to find all the of the ones you qualify for.

Below, we've compared all of the different discounts offered by Auto-owners and Columbia so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and, therefore, the biggest savings.

Auto-owners Columbia
ABS Discount
Advance Quote Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Company Car Discount 
Covid-19 Relief Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount
Driver Training Discount
Education Discount
Employee Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount
Inside Storage Discount 
Life Policy Discount 
Low Mileage Discount 
Minor Child Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount

Auto-owners knocks Columbia out of the park when it comes to the sheer number of discounts available, offering 24 different discounts to Columbia's 11.

A couple of those are overlapping for things like anti-theft discounts, distant student discounts, discounts for getting driver training, and discounts for being a homeowner. Auto-owners also offers advance quote discounts, company car discounts, COVID-19 relief discount, and more that Columbia does not.

On the flip side, Columbia has a unique discount of its own -- a employee discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is Auto-owners or Columbia Best for You?

You've seen the role certain factors have on your car insurance and the different discounts carriers offer. That's all well and good, but when it comes down to it, which insurance carrier is the right company for you and your specific driver profile?

Columbia might be best for you if....

  • You've received a ticket for speeding recently and don't want to see your premiums rise.
  • You're looking for more protection with "full coverage" auto insurance.
  • You're married and plan to have both of your names on the vehicle's car insurance policy.

Auto-owners might be best for you if...

  • You value the experience that comes with a large national insurance company.
  • Your credit score is high.
  • You're looking for discounts -- Auto-owners has the most.

We hope this guide has ben a valuable resource as you compare Auto-owners and Columbia. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision about your auto insurance.

But, at the end of the day, there's only one way to know for sure that you're getting the best possible deal on insurance -- comparing quotes from a handful of companies, not just Auto-owners and Columbia. Luckily, makes it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code below and get free quotes from dozens of top auto insurance carriers in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Auto-owners vs. Columbia FAQs

Is Auto-owners or Columbia cheaper?

Looking just at the national average rates, Columbia is the more affordable of the two companies, offering average rates of $150 per month compared to $179 for Auto-owners. Even so, Columbia won't necessarily be the cheapest carrier for every driver, since there are many different variables that are considered when it comes to your car insurance bill.

Who is better, Auto-owners or Columbia?

Unfortunately, the answer truly is "it depends.". One company is not necessarily "better" for everyone -- it all comes down to what your unique auto insurance profile looks like. For example, Columbia offers cheaper premiums for drivers with a recent DUI, while Auto-owners is more affordable for drivers with excellent credit.

Why do Auto-owners and Columbia offer me different rates?

Insurance carriers take a look at many different factors when calculating the prices they charge policyholders. Things like your driving record, where your home is, gender, age, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both Auto-owners and Columbia use different formulas, so each one will most likely offer different rates. The only real way to see which carrier is the lowest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a bunch of different companies.

How do I know if Auto-owners or Columbia is right for me?

The only way to find the car insurance company that's right for you is by getting quotes from several carriers and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Just enter your information once and you'll get free quotes from dozens of the best auto insurance companies in your area. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the best rate. And who knows, the best carrier for you might not be Auto-owners or Columbia at all!


All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a 2016 Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

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