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

Want to know if Auto-owners or Shelter is the better choice for car insurance? You're probably wondering which company offers the best premiums 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

  • Based on national averages for insurance, Auto-owners offers more affordable rates than Shelter
  • Auto-owners offers more affordable prices for residents of suburban areas
  • Shelter offers more affordable rates for residents in Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Oklahoma

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

Are you in the market for a new insurance policy? You've probably seen commercials and billboards from companies offering large discounts, but exactly how much money can you save by switching?

You might have narrowed it down to Auto-owners or Shelter for your next policy, but between the two, which company has cheaper premiums for auto insurance?

Auto-owners Shelter

As you can see, Auto-owners is about $29 per month more affordable than Shelter when looking at the national average rates for car insurance.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean Auto-owners will be the cheaper option for every single driver. After all, auto insurance companies can offer drastically different rates to each driver depending on rating factors like your credit score, your age, your driving record, or even where you call home (among other things), so prices will vary quite a bit from person to person.

So, if you want to find out which of Auto-owners or Shelter is really the best for you, keep reading to see average rates for each carrier broken down by multiple different rate factors.

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

State Auto-owners Shelter

Auto-owners and Shelter compete against each other in five states, with Shelter offering less expensive prices to the average driver in all of them. If you live in Arkansas or Missouri, Shelter is the cheaper of the two carriers when looking at the overall average premiums. Auto-owners is the less expensive option in Kansas, Kentucky, and Nebraska.

There are plenty of other factors that go into your insurance cost than just where you live. Keep reading to learn more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Auto-owners Shelter
18-year-old drivers$393$444
25-year-old drivers$164$197

Young drivers -- especially teens -- normally pay a lot for auto insurance compared to older drivers. Usually, that's because young, inexperienced drivers are statistically much more likely to get into accidents since they have less experience on the roads.

But that doesn't mean teen drivers can't still save money on their car insurance. Just look at the table above -- where 18-year-old drivers who have Auto-owners for their insurance pay more than $50 less than those who use Shelter.

Even so, both companies will offer you dramatically lower prices once you turn 25. For example, average rates for Auto-owners policyholders lower nearly $250 and Shelter's premiums reduce around $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Auto-owners Shelter
65+-year-old drivers$133$141

When it comes to car insurance, patience and experience pay off, with drivers around retirement age paying some of the most affordable prices you'll ever see.

So, which company offers the best rates to retired drivers? Auto-owners gets the slight edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older $8 more affordable than the national average for Shelter.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Auto-owners Shelter

You may not be aware, but auto insurance prices tend to be more expensive for those who are single than they are for married drivers. That's because policies for married policyholders generally cover more than one car, which many carriers will offer you a discount for.

When it comes to relationship status, Auto-owners is the clear winner for single drivers, with premiums about $33 a month less expensive than Shelter, on average. The advantage for married couples with Auto-owners is also obvious, where drivers save almost $25 per month.

Auto-owners vs. Shelter: Average Rates by Gender

Auto-owners Shelter

Men are statistically more likely than women to get into an accident or get pulled over for speeding. That means when it comes to insurance men will typically end up paying a little more.

Men normally pay around 6% more a month than women with Auto-owners, while with Shelter, the difference is closer to 11% per month.

Looking at the data for each carrier specifically, Auto-owners comes out on top for both men and women. On average, women save about $22 a month and men save about $36 with Auto-owners compared to the average Shelter policyholder.

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

Auto-owners Shelter
State Minimum*$99$129
Full Coverage**$260$288

*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.

It's no secret that car insurance can be pretty complicated. There are so many different limits and coverages that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy.

That being said, the most common policies that many drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability only (which provides property damage and bodily injury coverage for other drivers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which includes comprehensive and collision coverages that protect your own vehicle, in addition to liability).

If you're looking for state minimum liability insurance, Auto-owners usually offers cheaper rates of $99 compared to Shelter's $129. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, Auto-owners again has the edge, with policies around $30 per month more affordable than Shelter, on average.

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

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

You'll probably end up paying more with at-fault accidents and tickets on your record, but which of these two companies offers the cheapest premiums to drivers with spotty records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Auto-owners Shelter
Clean Record$121$142
1 Speeding Ticket$165$181

Auto-owners policyholders can expect their rates to go up an average of $44 a month if they get a ticket, while Shelter generally raises prices about $39 per month, on average.

However, Auto-owners is typically the cheaper option for both drivers who have clean records and those with a recent speeding ticket, offering rates that are 15% and 9% less expensive, respectively, compared to Shelter Insurance.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Auto-owners Shelter
Clean Record$121$142
1 At-Fault Accident$168$234

Both carriers will increase prices pretty significantly if you get into an at-fault accident with Shelter increasing by over $90. Auto-owners has a less extreme climb, but you can still expect to pay more than $45 more than you were prior to your first collision.

Overall, Auto-owners offers the lowest premiums for drivers with an at-fault accident on their records, with monthly prices averaging $168 compared to Shelter Insurance's $234.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Auto-owners Shelter
Clean Record$121$142
1 DUI$264$277

If you get a DUI charge, you can expect some pretty significant increases in your monthly auto insurance bill -- normally a lot more than an accident or ticket. On average, Auto-owners will increase your rates around 54% after a DUI, while Shelter's average premiums increase by just under 50%.

If you have a DUI on your record and are looking for more affordable rates, Auto-owners tends to be the much more affordable option with average prices of $264 monthly compared to $277 from Shelter.

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

You may not have known, but your credit score can be used as one of the factors to calculate your monthly insurance premiums. This isn't always the case (Massachusetts, for example, has banned the use of credit score as a rating factor) but it might come into play for several drivers.

Car insurance companies argue that those with poor credit scores are less likely to pay their bills on time every month, which increases the risk involved on their end, while the opposite is true for those with good credit.

Looking specifically at Shelter and Auto-owners, which carrier has the best rates for policyholders at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Auto-owners Shelter
Excellent Credit Score$95$164
Good Credit Score$129$187

If you have a great credit score, you'll usually find a better deal with Auto-owners. Drivers with "excellent" credit can save over 40% compared to Shelter, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- about $58 or 31% cheaper each month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Auto-owners Shelter
Fair Credit Score$176$221
Poor Credit Score$317$261

If you have bad credit, it can be somewhat of a toss-up as far as which company offers you the best premiums. Drivers with "fair" credit pay around $45 less with Auto-owners than Shelter, but those whose credit is considered "poor" have it flipped -- saving about $56 a month with Shelter.

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

Auto-owners Shelter
6,000 Annual Miles$179$203
12,000 Annual Miles$180$214

How much you drive can have a considerable impact on your monthly auto insurance bill. That's because the fewer miles you put on your car, the less likely you are to get into a collision and cause an insurance claim.

For both drivers who put 6,000 miles on their vehicles every year, as well as those who average twice that figure, Auto-owners offers more affordable prices than Shelter. Auto-owners's average premiums for drivers with 6,000 annual miles come in around $24 less expensive than Shelter. Those who drive 12,000 miles annually can expect to pay about $34 less with Auto-owners over Shelter.

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

Where you live can have a substantial impact on your monthly insurance payment. Generally, policyholders who live in less densely populated rural areas will pay quite a bit less than urban drivers because of the small number of vehicles that are on the roads in those areas.

Auto-owners Shelter
Urban Areas$205$235
Suburban Areas$169$187
Rural Areas$164$203

When comparing these two carriers side-by-side, Auto-owners typically comes out as the cheapest option for drivers in all types of areas, no matter if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

For drivers in urban ZIP codes, Auto-owners's average prices are around $205 while Shelter offers rates about $235. People in suburban areas pay a monthly price of around $169 with Auto-owners compared to $187 with Shelter. Those in rural areas can expect to pay about $164 a month with Auto-owners compared to Shelter's $203.

Auto-owners vs. Shelter Discounts

You want to save as much money as possible, right? The best way to do that is by utilizing as many car insurance discounts as you can.

The hard part is finding all of the discounts you can take advantage of, since it can feel sometimes like every carrier has different discounts and each one is advertised differently.

In the table below, we've broken down all of the different discounts offered by both Auto-owners and Shelter so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and see which ones you might be able to take advantage of.

Auto-owners Shelter
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 
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
Paid In Full Discount

Auto-owners blows Shelter away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering 14 more discounts than Shelter.

There are a couple discounts both companies offer, but Auto-owners also offers ABS discounts, company car discounts, COVID-19 relief discount, and more that Shelter does not.

Shelter's discounts come through just a few categories, including Advance Quote, Anti-Theft, Defensive Driver, and more.

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

So, we've broken down the average premiums for many of the variables auto insurance carriers look at, and walked through the different discounts each company offers, too. But, at the end of the day, which carrier is the right one for you, your vehicle, and your wallet?

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

  • You haven't received any speeding tickets or been in an accident in the last few years.
  • You're looking for more protection with "full coverage" insurance.
  • You drive fewer than 6,000 miles yearly.

Shelter might be best for you if...

  • You live in one of the following states: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

We hope this guide helps you get a good idea of the differences between Auto-owners and Shelter and that you can now make a more informed decision when it comes to your auto insurance.

At the end of the day, the best way to make sure you're getting the best deal on your car insurance policy is to compare quotes from a handful of companies, not just Auto-owners and Shelter. Luckily, does all the hard work for you. Just enter your ZIP code below and get free quotes from dozens of the top auto insurance carriers in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Auto-owners vs. Shelter FAQs

Is Auto-owners or Shelter cheaper?

Looking just at the national average prices, Auto-owners is the more affordable of the two companies, offering average rates of $179 per month compared to $208 for Shelter. Even so, Auto-owners won't necessarily be the lowest company for each policyholder, since there are a bunch of different factors (things like age, gender, driving record, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Auto-owners or Shelter?

Unfortunately, the answer truly is "it depends.". No single carrier is "better" for everyone -- it all depends on what your unique car insurance profile looks like. For example, Auto-owners offers cheaper rates for policyholders with an at-fault collision on their record, while Shelter is less expensive for drivers who have less-than-stellar credit scores.

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

Insurance carriers take a look at quite a few different variables when calculating the prices they charge drivers. Factors like where you park your car, age, where you call home, gender, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all come into play. Both Auto-owners and Shelter calculate premiums using different formulas, so each one will most likely offer different prices. The only real way to see which company is the most affordable for you is by comparing personalized quotes from lots of different companies.

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

The only way to find the car insurance carrier 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 make it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code and you'll get free quotes from dozens of the best insurance companies in your area. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the lowest rate. And who knows, the best company for you might not be Auto-owners or Shelter 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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