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

Looking for car insurance and wondering if Columbia or Safe Auto is the right company for you? If so, you're probably wondering which carrier has the lowest rates or the biggest discounts. Luckily, we've done the heavy lifting for you and compared the two companies to help you find the best deal on your next car insurance policy.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • In general, Columbia offers significantly more affordable prices than Safe Auto
  • Columbia offers less expensive average premiums for drivers with a DUI charge on their record
  • Safe Auto offers more discounts than Columbia Insurance Group

Columbia vs. Safe Auto: 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 Columbia or Safe Auto as potential options, but which company will save you the most?

Columbia Safe Auto

Looking at nationwide averages, Columbia is quite a bit cheaper than Safe Auto, with rates averaging $150 per month compared to $223 with Safe Auto.

That being said, Columbia may not be the most affordable or best option for every driver out there. After all, auto insurance companies can offer drastically different rates to each driver depending on rating factors like where you call home, your age, your credit score, or even your driving record (among other things), so prices could vary drastically from person to person.

So, if you want to find out which of Columbia or Safe Auto is really the best for you, keep reading to see average premiums for each company broken down by several different rate factors.

Columbia or Safe Auto: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Columbia Safe Auto

Columbia and Safe Auto 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 rates are over 70% more affordable than car insurance premiums at Safe Auto.

There are plenty of other factors that go into your auto insurance payment than just where you call home. Continue reading to learn more about how other factors will affect your rates.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Columbia Safe Auto
18-year-old drivers$324$443
25-year-old drivers$145$211

You might already know that teen drivers usually pay a lot more for insurance than any group on the road. It's because young, inexperienced drivers are statistically much more likely to cause collisions and other accidents that will result in an insurance claim.

But that doesn't mean teen drivers can't still save money on their car insurance. For example, 18-year-old drivers pay an average of more than $100 less a month by choosing Columbia over Safe Auto. It's worth noting that Safe Auto offers insurance in 13 different states compared to Columbia's two, which can skew the average rates a bit, but the difference here is still considerable.

However, with both carriers, you'll see your premiums lower significantly once you turn 25. For example, average prices for Columbia policyholders drop nearly $200 and Safe Auto's rates reduce about $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Columbia Safe Auto
65+-year-old drivers$109$179

When it comes to auto insurance, patience and experience pay off, with drivers around retirement age paying some of the cheapest prices you can find.

When looking at Columbia and Safe Auto specifically, which carrier is best for retired drivers? Columbia gets the edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older $70 less expensive than the national average for Safe Auto.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Columbia Safe Auto

Did you know that car insurance rates are typically cheaper for married drivers than they are for those who are single? That's normally because married policyholders tend to own and insure more than one car, which can often earn you a discount.

When it comes to relationship status, Columbia is the clear winner for single policyholders, with premiums around $82 per month more affordable than Safe Auto, on average. The advantage for married couples with Columbia is also obvious, where drivers save almost 35% a month.

Columbia vs. Safe Auto: Average Rates by Gender

Columbia Safe Auto

Women tend to pay less for auto insurance than men. This is because men are statistically more likely than women to get pulled over for speeding or get into an accident, which leads to increased risk for insurers and, therefore, higher prices.

On average, women see premiums over $10 per month cheaper with Columbia, while with Safe Auto, the difference is closer to $17 a month.

Looking at the data for each company specifically, Columbia offers the lowest average prices for both men and women, with average rates 32% less for men and 33% cheaper for women.

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

Columbia Safe Auto
State Minimum*$68$126
Full Coverage**$232$320

*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 a range of different coverages that account for many different things. Some protect you and your vehicle, while others only provide coverage for other people's property and health if you cause a collision.

The two most common policies that many drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability only (which provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for other drivers if you cause an accident) and full coverage (which includes comprehensive and collision coverages that protect your own vehicle, alongside liability).

If you're looking for state minimum liability limits, Columbia generally offers significantly less expensive premiums of $68 compared to Safe Auto's $126. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, Columbia again has the edge, with policies about $90 per month more affordable than Safe Auto, on average.

Is Columbia or Safe Auto Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

You've probably seen plenty of commercials from auto insurance companies offering great prices 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 rates, but which carrier -- Columbia or Safe Auto -- has the most affordable premiums for drivers with spotty records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Columbia Safe Auto
Clean Record$104$180
1 Speeding Ticket$118$220

Columbia policyholders can expect their prices to go up an average of $14 a month if they get a ticket, while Safe Auto normally raises rates around $40 per month, on average.

Even so, Columbia is typically the cheaper option for both drivers who have clean records and those with a recent speeding ticket, offering premiums that are 42% and 46% less expensive, respectively, compared to Safe Auto.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Columbia Safe Auto
Clean Record$104$180
1 At-Fault Accident$142$246

Columbia drivers who get in a collision can expect to see their rates increase by over 25%, while those who have insurance through Safe Auto will see about a 25% increase.

Overall, drivers who use Columbia end up with the cheaper prices after an accident, with monthly prices averaging $142 compared to Safe Auto's $246.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Columbia Safe Auto
Clean Record$104$180
1 DUI$236$245

If you get a DUI charge, you can expect some pretty significant increases in your monthly insurance bill -- generally a lot more than an accident or ticket. Columbia drivers usually see a 56% increase in their car insurance premiums after a DUI charge, while Safe Auto will usually climb rates by around 27%.

Columbia has the overall cheapest prices for drivers with a DUI on their records at $236 per month, but it's worth noting that Safe Auto's average rates come from 13 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 Safe Auto Rates?

Did you know that many auto insurance carriers take into account your credit score when calculating rates? This isn't always the case (for example, Michigan and California are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it might come into play for many policyholders.

Insurance companies argue that someone with bad credit is less likely to pay their bills on time, which makes them riskier to insure. Because of that, drivers with bad credit will often be forced to pay more.

So, which company offers the lowest premiums for policyholders with good, average, or poor credit?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Columbia Safe Auto
Excellent Credit Score$138$187
Good Credit Score$141$222

If you have a great credit score, you'll usually find a better deal with Columbia. Drivers with "excellent" credit can save over 25% compared to Safe Auto, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- about $81 or 36% cheaper every month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Columbia Safe Auto
Fair Credit Score$147$230
Poor Credit Score$174$252

Columbia typically offers lower prices than Safe Auto when it comes to drivers with less-than-stellar credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay around $83 a month less with Columbia compared to Safe Auto, and those with "poor" scores normally save an average of about $78 a month.

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

Columbia Safe Auto
6,000 Annual Miles$150$223
12,000 Annual Miles$150$223

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

In this case, neither Columbia or Safe Auto report increasing rates for drivers with higher annual mileage figures. That being said, Columbia comes out as the cheapest for drivers at both intervals, whether they put 6,000 or 12,000 miles on their car yearly, with average prices of $150 per month for both.

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

Where you call home can play a pretty big role in how much you pay for auto insurance. Usually, policyholders who live in heavily-populated urban areas will pay quite a bit more than rural drivers because there are a lot more vehicles on the road in those areas, which increases the chances of an accident.

Columbia Safe Auto
Urban Areas$169$271
Suburban Areas$152$200
Rural Areas$129$197

Columbia boasts the lowest average rates for drivers in all types of areas, no matter if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

Policyholders in rural ZIP codes see the cheapest prices from both carriers, but Columbia comes out on top with average premiums around $129 monthly. Columbia also has more affordable average prices for drivers in urban and suburban ZIP codes -- a 38% and 24% a month respective difference when compared to Safe Auto policyholders in similar areas.

Columbia vs. Safe Auto Discounts

Regardless of why you might be in the market for a new insurance policy, you're always going to want to save as much money as possible, and the best way to do that is by taking advantage of as many car insurance discounts as you can.

But with what seems like a million different discounts out there, it can be hard to nail down the company that has the most discounts for your unique driver profile and to find all the discounts you're eligible for.

In the table below, we've broken down all of the different discounts offered by both Columbia and Safe Auto so that you can find the one that has the most discounts and, therefore, the biggest savings.

Columbia Safe Auto
ABS Discount 
Agency Transfer Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Claim Free Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount
Education Discount 
Employee Discount 
Good Student Discount 
Homeowner Discount
Military Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount 
Non-Owner Discount 
Occupation Discount 
Paid In Full Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount
Renewal Discount 
Vin Etching Discount 

Looking at the total number of discounts, Safe Auto comes out ahead with 14 discounts to Columbia's 11.

Both companies offer quite a few of the same discounts -- like anti-theft discounts, discounts for getting driver training, and passive restraint discounts -- but Safe Auto also offers agency transfer discounts, claim free discounts, military discounts, and more that Columbia does not.

On the flip side, Columbia has a couple unique discounts of its own -- ABS discounts, distant student discounts, education discounts, and more.

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Final Thoughts: Is Columbia or Safe Auto Best for You?

You've seen the effect certain variables have on your auto insurance and the different discounts carriers offer. But, when it comes down to it, which carrier is the right carrier for you and your specific driver profile?

Columbia might be best for you if....

  • Your driving record contains an at-fault accident.
  • You already have a great credit score.
  • You're buying car insurance for a teen and looking for a wallet-friendly option.

Safe Auto might be best for you if...

  • You're thinking about moving to another state -- Columbia Insurance Group is only available in Arkansas and Missouri.
  • You want to save extra money with discounts.

We hope this guide helps you get a better idea of the difference between Columbia and Safe Auto. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision about your insurance.

At the end of the day, the sure-fire way to make sure you're getting the best deal on your auto insurance policy is to compare quotes from several companies, not just Columbia and Safe Auto. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Simply enter your ZIP codes below and get free quotes from dozens of top car insurance carriers in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Columbia vs. Safe Auto FAQs

Is Columbia or Safe Auto cheaper?

Looking just at the national average rates, Columbia is the less expensive of the two companies, offering average rates of $150 per month compared to $223 for Safe Auto. That being said, Columbia won't necessarily be the most affordable company for each driver, since there are multiple different factors (things like driving record, age, gender, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Columbia or Safe Auto?

Unfortunately, the only answer we can give you is "it depends.". Neither carrier is "better" for everyone -- it all depends on what your unique insurance profile looks like.

Why do Columbia and Safe Auto offer me different rates?

Car insurance carriers take a look at quite a few different variables when determining the premiums they charge drivers. Things such as age, gender, your driving record, where your home is, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both Columbia and Safe Auto calculate rates differently, so each one will most likely offer different premiums. The only real way to see which company is the cheapest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a bunch of different companies.

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

The only way to find the auto insurance carrier that's right for you is by getting quotes from multiple 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 area information 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 premium. And who knows, the best company for you might not be Columbia or Safe Auto 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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