Columbia vs. Esurance: Which Company is the Best Fit for You?

Want to know if Columbia or Esurance 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.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for insurance, Columbia offers significantly more affordable prices than Esurance
  • Columbia offers more affordable rates for policyholders who have a clean driving record, free of accidents, tickets, or DUIs
  • Esurance offers more discounts than Columbia Insurance Group

Columbia vs. Esurance: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

So, you're thinking about switching your auto insurance. After all, you've seen ads from all sorts of companies offering large discounts. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might be considering Columbia or Esurance as your top options, but between the two, which carrier will save you the most?

Columbia Esurance

Looking at nationwide averages, Columbia has average rates that are about 50% per month less expensive than those from Esurance.

However, Columbia may not be the lowest or best option for each driver out there. Auto insurance companies use a variety of complex algorithms to calculate prices, so depending on how good your credit score is or where you live (among many other factors), you could see wildly different rates from the ones above.

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

Columbia or Esurance: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Columbia Esurance

Columbia and Esurance only compete against each other in one states, with Columbia offering cheaper prices to the average driver in all of them. Missouri has the most noticable difference, where Columbia premiums are over 20% more affordable than insurance rates at Esurance.

That being said, there's a lot more that goes into your car insurance payment than just your home state. Keep reading to find out more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Columbia Esurance
18-year-old drivers$324$711
25-year-old drivers$145$233

You might already know that teen drivers typically pay a lot more for auto insurance than any group out there on the road. 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.

Even so, that doesn't mean that teen drivers have to just accept sky-high insurance premiums. For example, 18-year-old drivers pay an average of nearly $400 less a month by choosing Columbia over Esurance. It's worth noting that Esurance offers car insurance in 11 different states compared to Columbia's two, which can skew the average rates a bit, but the difference here is still considerable.

That being said, both carriers will reduce prices by the time you turn 25. For example, average premiums for Columbia policyholders drop more than 55% and Esurance's prices decrease over 65% over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Columbia Esurance
65+-year-old drivers$109$232

Drivers around retirement age normally enjoy some of the cheapest insurance rates you'll ever find. After all, they've likely been driving for quite some time, which usually decreases their chances of collisions and other infractions that can increase premiums.

When looking at Columbia and Esurance specifically, which company is best for retired drivers? Columbia gets the edge, with prices for drivers 65 and older almost 55% less expensive than the national average for Esurance.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Columbia Esurance

You may not be aware, but auto insurance rates tend to be more expensive for single policyholders than they are for married couples. That's generally because married policyholders tend to own and insure several cars, which can often earn you a discount.

When it comes to relationship status, Columbia is the clear winner for single drivers, with premiums around $184 per month cheaper than Esurance, on average. The advantage is also clear for married drivers - Columbia offers the most affordable average rates.

Columbia vs. Esurance: Average Rates by Gender

Columbia Esurance

Men are statistically more likely than women to cause a collision and get into accidents, which means they'll normally end up paying more for car insurance than women.

Usually, men see prices nearly 10% a month higher with Columbia, and about 7% more with Esurance.

Looking at overall affordability, Columbia offers the lowest average premiums for both men and women, with average prices 50% less for men and 50% cheaper for women.

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Columbia or Esurance: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Columbia Esurance
State Minimum*$68$201
Full Coverage**$232$396

*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 auto insurance can be a complicated subject for most people. There are so many different terms and coverages that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy.

The two most common policies end up falling into two different types of coverage -- liability only (that covers property damage and bodily injury for other drivers and their passengers if you cause an accident) and full coverage (which includes two additional coverages -- comprehensive and collision -- in addition to liability).

If you're looking for state minimum liability insurance, Columbia generally offers significantly more affordable rates of $68 compared to Esurance's $201. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, Columbia again has the edge, with policies around $150 per month cheaper than Esurance, on average.

Is Columbia or Esurance Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

You've probably seen plenty of commercials from insurance companies offering great premiums for good drivers, but that doesn't mean people with less-than-perfect driving records can't save money, too.

It's no secret secret that at-fault accidents and tickets lead to higher prices, but which carrier -- Columbia or Esurance -- has the most affordable rates for drivers with less-than-ideal driving records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Columbia Esurance
Clean Record$104$242
1 Speeding Ticket$118$287

Columbia policyholders can expect their prices to go up an average of $14 a month if they get a ticket, while Esurance typically raises premiums about $45 per month, on average.

But Columbia tends to offer the best prices for both drivers who have clean records and those with a recent speeding ticket -- their rates are around 57% less expensive for drivers with clean records and 59% more affordable for those with a ticket.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Columbia Esurance
Clean Record$104$242
1 At-Fault Accident$142$364

After an accident, drivers who have their car insurance through Columbia can expect to see around an $38 -- or about 27% -- increase in their auto insurance rates. Drivers who use Esurance for their insurance will see a monthly bill around $122 (or 34%) more expensive after reporting a collision to their car insurance company.

Overall, drivers who use Columbia end up with the cheaper prices after an accident, with monthly premiums averaging $142 compared to Esurance's $364.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Columbia Esurance
Clean Record$104$242
1 DUI$236$301

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

Columbia has the overall cheapest rates for drivers with a DUI on their records at $236 a month, but it's worth noting that Esurance's average rates come from 11 states compared to just two for Columbia, so the data may be skewed slightly.

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How does Credit Score Impact Columbia and Esurance Rates?

Often times, your credit score can come into play when carriers determine your monthly bill. This isn't always the case (Michigan, for example, has banned the use of credit score as a rating factor) but it does affect a lot of drivers out there.

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

So, which carrier offers the best premiums for policyholders with good, average, or poor credit?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Columbia Esurance
Excellent Credit Score$138$214
Good Credit Score$141$266

If you have a great credit score, you'll usually find a better deal with Columbia. Drivers with "excellent" credit can save more than 35% compared to Esurance, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- about $125 or 47% less expensive every month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Columbia Esurance
Fair Credit Score$147$305
Poor Credit Score$174$424

Columbia typically offers lower prices than Esurance when it comes to drivers with less-than-perfect credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay around $158 per month less with Columbia compared to Esurance, and those with "poor" scores usually save an average of about $250 monthly.

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Is Columbia or Esurance Better for Drivers who Work from Home or Have Short Commutes?

Columbia Esurance
6,000 Annual Miles$150$298
12,000 Annual Miles$150$299

The amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your car plays a big role in how much auto 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 rates for Esurance, with policyholders who drive 6,000 miles each year paying around $1 less every month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles yearly. Still, Columbia is the cheaper option for drivers in both categories.

Columbia vs. Esurance: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you park your car can play a considerable role in how much you pay for insurance. Typically, those who live in rural areas will pay less than policyholders in urban areas because there are a lot fewer vehicles on the road in those areas, which lowers the chances of an accident.

Columbia Esurance
Urban Areas$169$396
Suburban Areas$152$288
Rural Areas$129$211

Columbia tends to offer the most affordable rates for drivers in all areas, regardless of if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

Drivers in rural ZIP codes see the cheapest premiums from both companies, but Columbia comes out on top with average prices about $129 per month. Columbia also has more affordable average premiums for policyholders in urban and suburban ZIP codes -- a 57% and 47% a month respective difference when compared to Esurance drivers in similar areas.

Columbia vs. Esurance 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, and the best way to do that is by utilizing as many car insurance discounts as you can.

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

In the table below, we've compared all of the different discounts offered by Columbia and Esurance so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and, therefore, the biggest savings.

Columbia Esurance
ABS Discount
Advance Quote Discount 
Agency Transfer Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount 
DRL Discount 
Education Discount
Employee Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Payer Discount 
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount
Mature Driver Discount 
Military Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
Online Quote Discount 

Esurance blows Columbia away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering 13 more discounts than Columbia.

Both carriers offer a lot of the same discounts -- like discounts for being a defensive driver, education discounts, and multi-policy discounts -- but Esurance also offers advance quote discounts, agency transfer discounts, DRL discounts, and more that Columbia does not.

On the flip side, Columbia has a couple unique discounts of its own -- distant student discounts, discounts for getting driver training, and employee discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is Columbia or Esurance Best for You?

You've seen the role certain factors have on your auto insurance and the different discounts companies offer. That's all well and good, but at the end of the day, is Columbia or Esurance the best one for you and your specific needs?

Columbia might be best for you if....

  • You have a speeding ticket on your driving record.
  • Your neighborhood is in the suburbs.
  • You and your spouse are buying car insurance together.

Esurance might be best for you if...

  • You're planning on moving to another state soon -- Columbia Insurance Group only offers policies to Arkansas and Missouri residents.
  • You're looking for the company with the most discounts.

We hope this guide helps you get a good idea of the differences between Columbia and Esurance. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision when it comes to your 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 auto insurance -- comparing quotes from a handful of carriers, not just Columbia and Esurance. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple free quotes from some of the best insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Columbia vs. Esurance FAQs

Is Columbia or Esurance cheaper?

Looking just at the national average rates, Columbia is the less expensive of the two carriers, offering average rates of $150 per month compared to $299 for Esurance. However, Columbia won't necessarily be the lowest carrier for each driver, since there are lots of different variables (things like age, gender, driving record, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Columbia or Esurance?

Sadly, the real answer is "it depends.". One company is not necessarily "better" for everyone -- it all depends on the makeup of your unique car insurance profile.

Why do Columbia and Esurance offer me different rates?

Auto insurance companies take a look at many different factors when calculating the premiums they charge policyholders. Variables like gender, your driving record, age, where you live, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both Columbia and Esurance calculate rates differently, so each one will most likely offer different prices. The only real way to see which carrier is the cheapest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a variety of different carriers.

How do I know if Columbia or Esurance is right for me?

The only way to find the insurance company that's right for you is by getting quotes from multiple companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, makes it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code and you'll get free quotes from dozens of the best car insurance carriers in your area. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the most affordable premium. And who knows, the best carrier for you might not be Columbia or Esurance 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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