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

If you're in the market for a new auto insurance policy, you might be wondering how Shelter and Direct Auto compare when it comes to the most affordable premiums and biggest discounts. To find out which of these companies is the best fit for you and your wallet, check out our newest guide below.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Based on national averages for insurance, Direct Auto offers less expensive prices than Shelter
  • Direct Auto offers more affordable rates for policyholders whose driving record contains an at-fault collision
  • Shelter offers more affordable prices for policyholders who have a clean driving record, free of collisions, tickets, or DUIs

Direct Auto or Shelter: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you in the market for a new insurance policy? After all, you've seen ads from all sorts of companies offering hefty savings. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might be considering Direct Auto or Shelter as your top options, but between the two, which carrier has more affordable rates for auto insurance?

Direct Auto Shelter

Looking at nationwide averages, Shelter is around $38 more a month than Direct Auto.

That being said, that doesn't necessarily mean Direct Auto will be the cheaper option for each driver. Insurance carriers vary their premiums depending on things like where you live, how old you are, how clean your driving record is, how good your credit score is, and all sorts of other factors, so prices will vary quite a bit from person to person.

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

Direct Auto vs. Shelter: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Direct Auto Shelter

Direct Auto and Shelter only compete against each other in one states, with Direct Auto offering more affordable premiums to the average driver in all of them. Mississippi has the most noticable difference, where Direct Auto prices are $122 less expensive than car insurance premiums at Shelter.

There are plenty of other factors that go into your insurance cost than just the state you live in. Keep reading to find out more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Direct Auto Shelter
18-year-old drivers$363$444
25-year-old drivers$158$197

Young drivers -- especially teens -- typically pay a lot for car insurance compared to older drivers. It's normally because teen drivers are statistically much more likely to cause collisions and other accidents that will result in an insurance claim.

But still, even with seemingly sky-high rates, teen drivers can still find ways to save money. As you can see above, teens who use Direct Auto save over 20% per month compared to those who use Shelter.

But both companies will reduce premiums once you turn 25. For example, average prices for Direct Auto policyholders drop about $200 and Shelter's rates decrease around $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Direct Auto Shelter
65+-year-old drivers$124$141

Once you approach retirement age, you'll generally enjoy the cheapest auto insurance premiums you'll ever find. You've been on the road for years, and all that experience pays off when it comes to your monthly rates for car insurance.

So, which company offers the best prices to retired drivers? Direct Auto gets the edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older more than 10% cheaper than the national average for Shelter.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Direct Auto Shelter

Married drivers tend to get slightly more affordable auto insurance rates than single drivers. That's usually because married couples tend to own and insure several vehicles, which can often earn you a discount.

For those who are single, the difference in average prices between these two carriers is significant, with Direct Auto rates coming in at a quarter less than Shelter's. The advantage for married policyholders with Direct Auto is also obvious, where drivers save over 15% a month.

Direct Auto or Shelter: Average Rates by Gender

Direct Auto Shelter

Did you know women generally pay less for insurance than men? That's because women are less likely to get into collisions and get speeding tickets, which decreases the chances of filing a claim with insurance.

Men usually pay about 2% more per month than women with Direct Auto, and around 11% more with Shelter.

Looking at the data for each carrier specifically, Direct Auto offers the lowest average premiums for both men and women. On average, male drivers save about $49 a month and women save about $28 with Direct Auto compared to the average Shelter policyholder.

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Direct Auto vs. Shelter: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Direct Auto Shelter
State Minimum*$96$129
Full Coverage**$244$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.

Auto insurance isn't the easiest topic to understand. Everyone needs insurance, but there are so many different coverages and limits that it can be hard to find the right policy for you.

The two most common policies that drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability coverage (which provides property damage and bodily injury coverage for other drivers and passengers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which normally refers to having collision and comprehensive coverages in addition to what you get with liability).

Looking specifically at state minimum liability insurance, Direct Auto has the significant edge, with average monthly prices coming in at $96. If you want a full coverage policy with the same state minimum limits, Direct Auto again has the edge, with policies averaging around $244 per month to Shelter's $288.

Is Direct Auto or Shelter Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

You've probably seen plenty of commercials from car 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.

You'll probably end up paying more with speeding tickets and accidents on your record, but which of these two carriers offers the cheapest prices to drivers with less-than-perfect records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Direct Auto Shelter
Clean Record$143$142
1 Speeding Ticket$181$181

Policyholders who use Direct Auto for their insurance can typically expect their monthly bill to go up about 21% after getting a speeding ticket. Shelter policyholders can expect a bit more drastic of an increase of around 22%.

If you have gotten a ticket, Direct Auto tends to offer the best rates at about 0% cheaper, while Shelter has the edge for drivers with a clean record.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Direct Auto Shelter
Clean Record$143$142
1 At-Fault Accident$190$234

Direct Auto drivers who get in an accident can expect to see their prices climb by over $45, while those who have insurance through Shelter will see around a $90 increase.

At the end of the day, drivers who use Direct Auto end up with the cheaper prices after an accident, with average rates coming in at $190 compared to Shelter Insurance's $234.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Direct Auto Shelter
Clean Record$143$142
1 DUI$165$277

On average, a DUI offense is going to cost you much more than a single accident or speeding ticket when it comes to your car insurance bill. For example, Shelter increases average premiums by nearly $150 a month -- that's nearly a 50% increase.

But if you end up with a DUI charge and are looking for more affordable rates, Direct Auto tends to be less expensive for the average driver, with monthly premiums coming in at about $165 to Shelter's $277.

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How does Credit Score Impact Direct Auto and Shelter Rates?

Did you know many auto insurance companies take your credit score into account when determining premiums? This isn't true for everyone (for example, California and Michigan are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it does affect quite a few policyholders out there.

Insurance carriers 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.

Looking at Direct Auto and Shelter specifically, which one has the best prices for policyholders at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Direct Auto Shelter
Excellent Credit Score$162$164
Good Credit Score$167$187

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Direct Auto Shelter
Fair Credit Score$171$221
Poor Credit Score$179$261

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

Direct Auto Shelter
6,000 Annual Miles$170$203
12,000 Annual Miles$170$214

The amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your car plays a big role in how much car insurance companies will charge for coverage. Normally, those who drive less will end up with more affordable premiums since there's less of a chance of causing a collision and filing an insurance claim.

As you can see in the table above, annual mileage doesn't have much of an impact on how much Direct Auto charges. However, there's a small difference in monthly prices for Shelter, with policyholders who drive 6,000 miles every year paying around $11 less each month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles yearly. Still, for drivers in both categories, Direct Auto is the cheaper company.

Direct Auto or Shelter: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you park your car can have a large impact on your monthly auto insurance bill. Usually, drivers who live in heavily-populated urban areas will pay quite a bit more than rural policyholders since there are a lot more vehicles on the road where they live, which increases the chances of an accident.

Direct Auto Shelter
Urban Areas$226$235
Suburban Areas$168$187
Rural Areas$116$203

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

Those in rural areas can expect to save about 43% with Direct Auto compared to Shelter. People who live in suburban areas pay around 10% less with Direct Auto compared to Shelter. For drivers in urban ZIP codes, Direct Auto Insurance's average prices are about 4% less than Shelter Insurance.

Direct Auto vs. Shelter Discounts

No matter why you might be in the market for a new insurance policy, you're always going to want to save as much money as you can. That's where auto insurance discounts comes into play.

But where do you even start? With so many discounts out there, it may seem hard to find all the of the ones you can take advantage of.

Luckily, we did the hard work for you and broke down all of the different discounts offered by both Direct Auto 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.

Direct Auto Shelter
ABS Discount 
Advance Quote Discount
Anti-Theft Discount
Bike Policy Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Driver Training Discount 
EFT Discount 
Good Driving Discount
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount 
Life Policy Discount 
Military Discount 
Mobile Home Policy Discount 
Multi-Car Discount
Multi-Policy Discount 
New Vehicle Discount 
Paid In Full Discount
Paperless Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount

Direct Auto knocks Shelter out of the park when it comes to the sheer number of discounts available, offering 19 different discounts to Shelter's 10.

A couple of those are overlapping for things like discounts for being a defensive driver, discounts for being a good driver, and paid in full discounts. Direct Auto also offers discounts for ABS, bike policy, EFT, and more.

On the other hand, Shelter has a few proprietary discounts of their own like driver training discounts and multi-policy discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is Direct Auto or Shelter Best for You?

So, we've broken down the average rates for many of the variables car insurance companies look at, and we've shown you all the discounts each company offers. That's all well and good, but when it comes down to it, which carrier is the best company for you and your specific needs?

Direct Auto might be best for you if....

  • You have below-average credit.
  • You live in an suburban area.
  • You want to save money while purchasing auto insurance for a teenager.

Shelter might be best for you if...

  • You have a clean record.

Hopefully, this guide helps you get a better idea of the difference between Direct Auto and Shelter and that you can now make a more informed 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 car insurance -- comparing quotes from a handful of carriers, not just Direct Auto and Shelter. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple quotes from some of the best auto insurance companies in your area, all for free.

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Direct Auto vs. Shelter FAQs

Is Direct Auto or Shelter cheaper?

Direct Auto is the less expensive of the two carriers when looking at national average premiums, with policies averaging $170 per month with Direct Auto and $208 for Shelter. Even so, that doesn't mean Direct Auto will be the lowest company for every driver, since there are many different factors (things like driving record, age, gender, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Direct Auto or Shelter?

Unfortunately, the real answer is "it depends.". No one carrier is necessarily "better" for each policyholder -- it all boils down to your unique car insurance profile.

Why do Direct Auto and Shelter offer me different rates?

Insurance companies use many different variables when calculating the prices they charge. 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 Direct Auto and Shelter calculate rates using different formulas, so it's likely they'll offer different premiums. The best way to determine which company is the most affordable for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a range of different carriers.

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

The only way to find the auto insurance carrier that's right for you is by getting quotes from several companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, does all the hard work for you. Just enter your information once and you'll get quotes from dozens of your local top car insurance carriers for free. With those, you can guarantee you're getting the cheapest price. And maybe you'll find that the best company for you isn't Direct Auto or Shelter at all, but another you hadn't even thought of!


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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