Best Cheap Car Insurance [2024]: How Can I Save the Most Money?

INSURANCE - CAR INSURANCE
Finding the best auto insurance to meet your needs can be time-consuming. Use this round-up of the best cheap car insurance to help your search.
Updated April 3, 2023
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Finding the best car insurance to meet your state’s minimum requirements and your needs can take time and effort. As the cost of everything, including car insurance, continues to rise, it makes sense to revisit your current insurance policy and see whether there’s any room for improvement.

This round-up of the best cheap car insurance companies will help you compare your options and ensure you get the right coverage at the best price.

Key takeaways

  • State Farm offers the cheapest car insurance for good drivers.
  • USAA offers the best rates available but is only for active and former military members and their families.
  • Allstate scored the highest of the companies on this list on the J.D. Power 2022 Customer Satisfaction Survey rankings.
  • Auto-Owners insurance may offer the cheapest minimum coverage but is only available in 26 states.
  • Compare car insurance quotes from at least three companies to ensure you’re getting the best price and the coverage that meets your needs.
In this article

The 8 best cheap car insurance companies

  1. USAA: Best for military members
  2. GEICO: Best for poor credit
  3. State Farm: Best for drivers who’ve been in an accident
  4. Nationwide: Best for low mileage drivers
  5. Travelers: Best for electric car drivers
  6. Progressive: Best for drivers with a DUI in their history
  7. Allstate: Best for new drivers
  8. Auto-Owners: Best for minimum coverage

Best cheap car insurance comparison

Company Best for Average annual premium — full coverage car insurance Average annual premium — minimum coverage car insurance
USAA Military members $1,099 $354
GEICO Poor credit $1,204 $579
State Farm Drivers who’ve been in an accident $1,362 $532
Nationwide Low mileage drivers $1,417 $742
Travelers Electric car drivers $1,414 $672
Progressive Drivers with a DUI $1,311 $740
Allstate New drivers $2,252 $735
Auto-Owners Minimum coverage $1,914 $384

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1. USAA: Best for military members

Pros Cons
  • Lower than average rates for eligible members
  • Good customer service
  • Policies available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Only available to active-duty military, veterans, and their families
  • Discounts may not be as robust as other companies
  • Car replacement coverage not available for leased vehicles

Why we like it: USAA ranks highly for customer service and offers reasonable rates and multiple coverage options to qualified military personnel.

What we don’t like about it: It’s only available to present and former military and their families, so most people can’t take advantage of their rates and service.

USAA Insurance is often highly ranked among car insurance companies. It offers multiple types of insurance, including auto, renters, home, and life insurance policies, and has discounts for bundling multiple policies with a USAA auto policy.

In addition to the standard insurance such as comprehensive, liability, and collision, USAA also offers specialty policies for motorcycles, RVs and motorhomes, and even bicycle and electric bicycles. USAA offers discounts for being a good driver, garaging a car on a military installation, driving a newer vehicle with anti-theft devices installed, and more.

USAA is available only to members of the military and their families. If you aren’t active-duty military, honorably discharged former military, National Guard, or reservist members, a military spouse, or children of a USAA member, you can’t purchase USAA insurance or services.

Read our full USAA review.

2. GEICO: Best for poor credit

Pros Cons
  • High customer service ratings
  • May offer lower rates than competitors for those with a poor credit score
  • Mechanical breakdown coverage is available in some areas
  • Limited network of local agents
  • Limited additional or specialty insurance options
  • Geico does not have as many insurance options as other companies and contracts home and renters policies through third-party companies

Why we like it: GEICO offers affordable rates for standard coverage options. Those with poor credit may find a better price here than with Geico’s competitors.

What we don’t like about it: Although GEICO has standard coverages required by most states, it doesn’t offer many additional coverages, such as rideshare insurance. GEICO also doesn’t have an extensive network of insurance agents, which makes developing a relationship with one agent harder to find in some areas.

GEICO car insurance is more than just funny commercials. It offers standard auto insurance and coverage for motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, and policies for those driving in Mexico. GEICO has standard coverages similar to its competitors but may offer better rates for policyholders with credit problems.

Although GEICO doesn’t have as many specialty coverage options as some competitors, it offers emergency roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and mechanical breakdown insurance. With a $250 deductible, mechanical breakdown coverage helps cover repair costs if your vehicle needs a major repair, replacement parts, or has other mechanical problems while it's less than 15 months old or has less than 15,000 miles.

GEICO ranked slightly above average in the 2022 J.D. Power Overall Customer Satisfaction Index rating, with a score of 874. The industry average is 873. According to the GEICO website, it has an average of 4.4 out of 5-star customer ratings.

Read our full GEICO review.

3. State Farm: Best for drivers who’ve been in an accident

Pros Cons
  • Highly rated customer service and has an extensive network of agents
  • State Farm may be the cheapest option for many people, including those who’ve had an accident
  • Offers multiple insurance policies and discounts
  • May offer higher rates for drivers with poor credit
  • Gap insurance is not available
  • New insurance policies are not currently offered in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Why we like it: State Farm has a significant national presence and a massive network of insurance agents to help you customize a policy that fits your needs. It may offer better pricing than its competitors to customers with an accident history.

What we don’t like about it: It is not currently offering new policies in Massachusetts or Rhode Island and may offer higher rates to those with poor credit.

State Farm is one of the most well-known insurance companies in the country and has been in business for more than 100 years. It has more than 19,000 insurance agents and more than 53,000 employees.

It ranked above average in customer satisfaction and earned a score of 882 out of 1,000 on the J.D. Power 2022 Customer Satisfaction Index rankings. State Farm offers multiple policy and discount options, including having multiple auto policies, bundling an auto policy with a home, renters, or other insurance policy, and for taking a defensive driving course.

Although State Farm offers multiple policy types, it does not offer gap insurance, which can help you cover the difference between what your car is worth after an accident and how much you still owe on the vehicle. Gap insurance is often required if you’ve leased a car or have a long-term loan.

Read our full State Farm auto insurance review.

4. Nationwide: Best for low mileage drivers

Pros Cons
  • Good options for those looking for pay-per-mile car insurance
  • Loyalty perks such as lost key fob coverage, pet protection, and fender bender forgiveness
  • Multiple policy options available, including some not found at other companies
  • Below industry average J.D. Power customer satisfaction ranking
  • May offer higher rates than competitors for minimum coverage
  • Not available in every state

Why we like it: Nationwide offers a good deal for people who drive less than average and offers two pay-per-mile programs. It also offers attractive loyalty perks such as pet coverage and lost key replacement, though restrictions apply.

What we don’t like about it: Nationwide scored below average on claims satisfaction, is unavailable in Alaska, Louisiana, or Massachusetts, and may have limited coverage options in other parts of the country.

Nationwide offers multiple policy options, including standard liability, collision, and comprehensive. In addition, they also offer towing and labor coverage, gap insurance, and even a vanishing deductible policy, where you’ll earn a certain amount off your deductible for every year of safe driving.

Nationwide may also offer a good deal on pay-per-mile insurance for those who don't drive much. The SmartMiles program uses a small telemetrics device connected to your car to track how many miles you drive each month. Your monthly fee is determined by combining a flat fee and a per-mile charge. If you work from home or drive less than the average person, this could help you save money on car insurance.

Although Nationwide is not available in every state, it does offer some great loyalty perks for members, like offering a $400 lost key reimbursement and fender bender forgiveness if your claim is under a certain threshold. Nationwide scored slightly below average in the J.D. Power 2022 Customer Satisfaction Rankings, with 868 out of 1,000. The industry average is 873.

5. Travelers: Best for electric car drivers

Pros Cons
  • Multiple coverage options including rideshare, accident forgiveness, and new car replacement
  • Below average national premiums for some customers
  • Multiple discount options available
  • Not available in every state
  • Below average customer satisfaction
  • Rideshare insurance is only available in two states

Why we like it: Travelers offers multiple coverages and policy discounts, including some unconventional ones, such as discounts for electric car drivers. It may offer the lowest rates to seniors based on their driving record and where they live.

What we don’t like about it: Travelers scored low in customer satisfaction surveys, and its rideshare coverage is available only in two states.

Travelers insurance offers multiple insurance options and even offers some policies that other companies don’t, such as gap insurance and named non-owner insurance for those who frequently rent cars or drive a work vehicle for both business and personal use. It does offer rideshare insurance, but only to those living in Colorado and Illinois.

Travelers has various discounts, such as being a safe driver, driving a newer car with safety features, or paying your premium in full ahead of time. It also offers unconventional discounts, such as driving an electric car or the home ownership discount, which may provide a discount on your auto policy just for owning a home or condo, even if it's not insured through Travelers.

Travelers had the lowest customer satisfaction ranking on our list and scored just 854, below the national average of 873 on the 2022 J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction rankings.

Read our full Travelers auto insurance review.

6. Progressive: Best for drivers with a DUI in their history

Pros Cons
  • Below average rates for drivers with a DUI record
  • Offers rideshare coverage
  • Multiple discounts available
  • Below average customer satisfaction
  • Using Progressive’s driver safety program, Snapshot, may raise your rates, depending on your driving habits

Why we like it: Progressive may offer lower rates if you have a history of DUIs.

What we don’t like about it: It scored below average on customer satisfaction.

Progressive generally has slightly higher rates than its competitors, but customers may find a good deal with the company if they’ve had a DUI or a history of accidents.

It offers the standard auto insurance coverages but also has some additional perks, such as free coverage for pet injuries if you have collision coverage through them. Progressive scored slightly below average on the J.D Power 2022 Customer Satisfaction ranking, earning 861 out of 1,000.

Progressive offers additional coverages like loan or lease payoff, rental car reimbursement, rideshare coverage, and custom parts or equipment coverage. It offers a deductible savings bank, which takes $50 off your comprehensive and collision deductible for every claims-free period of six months.

It offers discounts similar to most of its competitors. Its telemetric program, called Snapshot, requires a small device to be installed in your vehicle to monitor your driving habits. If your monthly driving score qualifies, you may receive an additional discount. Be careful, though, because depending on your driving habits, you may see your bill increase when using the device.

Read our full Progressive auto insurance review.

7. Allstate: Best for new drivers

Pros Cons
  • Multiple coverage options
  • High customer satisfaction rating
  • Good rates for new or student drivers
  • Rates may be more expensive than the national average

Why we like it: Allstate has coverage available in all 50 states and multiple agents available to assist customers. Newer drivers can generally get better rates through Allstate than through its competitors.

What we don’t like about it: Allstate’s rates for other drivers tend to be higher than its competitors for both full and minimum coverage insurance.

Allstate is one of the biggest insurance companies in the country and has an extensive network of agents. Although Allstate has better rates than some competitors for young drivers, its overall rates may be higher than the national average.

Allstate offers standard insurance coverages and additional features such as a safe driving bonus, accident forgiveness, and new car replacement. It also has multiple discounts, including those offered through its Drivewise program, which measures your safe driving habits using a telemetrics box installed in your car, and good student discounts based on your GPA. Allstate is available in all 50 states, but coverage may vary based on your location.

Allstate scored high on the 2022 J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction rankings, earning 889 out of 1,000 — the highest of all companies on this list.

Read our full Allstate auto insurance review.

8. Auto-Owners: Best for minimum coverage

Pros Cons
  • Among the lowest minimum policy rates
  • Multiple policy options
  • A++ AM Best financial rating
  • It offers limited online features, and quotes are available only through an agent
  • Coverage is available in 26 states
  • Customers can pay their bill online but have to report a claim by calling their agent

Why we like it: Auto-Owners may offer the lowest minimum coverage rate available and has a good selection of auto coverages to meet its customers’ needs.

What we don’t like about it: It scored below average on the customer satisfaction rankings and is only available in 26 states.

Auto-Owners insurance is a mutual company that provides auto, home, life, and business insurance through a network of enrolled agents. Although it’s available in only 26 states, Auto-Owners may offer the lowest minimum coverage rates available if it is in your area.

The company offers standard policies but also has diminished value insurance, which could help you recoup some of the value of your vehicle after an accident. It also offers a Plus Package, which bundles more than 10 policies and provides bonuses like rekeying locks and identity theft protection.

Auto-Owners has an A++ rating from AM Best, an insurance rating authority, but scored a below-average rating of 865 on the J.D. Power 2022 Customer Satisfaction rankings.

Read our full Auto-Owners insurance review.

How to choose the best cheap car insurance company

When searching for the best car insurance, price plays a large part in deciding which company to use. Many factors go into car insurance rates, including your driving history, age, and where you live. For example, teen drivers typically see higher rates than older drivers.

Knowing how to get the best price on auto insurance while still getting the coverage you need could help you save now and in the future.

Search for the best discounts

Most insurance companies offer discounts on their premiums. The car insurance discount type and amount will vary by company. You may see discounts for purchasing multiple policies through the same company, maintaining a good driving record, paying for your premium ahead of time, owning a newer car, or owning a vehicle with anti-theft features.

Remember that just because a company offers multiple discounts doesn’t mean they’ll have the best rates or the coverage you need.

Compare quotes

Every car insurer offers different rates for different groups of people. Although one company may offer the best rate for senior drivers, it may charge a much higher price for new drivers or those with speeding tickets. Get at least three auto insurance quotes for the same coverage types to help you compare pricing, and ask friends and family for recommendations.

Reducing coverage

If you have an older car, consider reducing your coverage from full comprehensive and collision down to the minimum required by your state to lower your auto insurance rate.

States typically require bodily injury liability insurance, which helps to cover other parties if they’re injured in an accident in which you’re found to be at fault. They also usually require property damage liability coverage, which assists in repairing or replacing the property of others in an at-fault accident. States may also require uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage, medical payment coverage, or personal injury protection coverage.

Any other types of coverage are optional. The Insurance Information Institute (III) says that if your car is worth less than 10 times the insurance premium, keeping your collision and comprehensive coverage at its previous rate may not be cost-effective.

You could also reduce your coverage levels to lower your car insurance costs, but keep in mind that having a lower coverage policy could mean higher out-of-pocket costs.

Avoid speeding tickets

Depending on how your state handles moving violations like speeding, running red lights, or texting while driving, you may see points added to your license, which can increase your insurance rate. To avoid increasing your insurance costs because of your driving habits, ensure that you minimize high-risk behaviors, stay under the speed limit, and put your phone down while driving so you have a clean driving record.

Take a defensive driving course

Some auto insurance companies will offer a safe driving discount if you avoid accidents for a specific time or take a class to be a better driver. Check if your insurance company offers a deal for a driver’s education course and compare it with the cost of the course itself to ensure it's worth the time and enrollment fee.

Consider bundling policies

Having more than one policy through the same insurance provider could help you reduce your premium. Whether you have an auto and homeowners insurance policy with the same company or insure multiple cars through them, you may see savings and have a more convenient experience if you use the same company for all your insurance needs.

Work on your credit

Although not all states allow insurers to use your credit score and credit history when determining your insurance premium, in most states, having a good credit score or better could help you get a better rate. Make sure you make payments on time, reduce your debt, and check your credit report regularly to ensure there are no mistakes or fraudulent charges.

FAQs about cheap car insurance

Who actually has the cheapest auto insurance?

Auto insurance costs vary based on several factors, including your age, location, gender, and the type of car you drive. Although you may find a great rate from one company based on your driving history and location, someone else may find a better rate with another company.

Compare multiple quotes to help you find the best car insurance to fit your needs.

How do you get the cheapest car insurance?

You can get the most affordable car insurance policy by searching for discounts, including multi-policy, bundling, driver education, and paying your insurance premium in full before it's due. Improving your credit score and comparing multiple quotes could also help you get cheaper car insurance.

You could also consider reducing your coverage amount, raising your deductible, and comparing insurance costs before you buy a car to help you get the lowest car insurance price possible.

Is Geico cheaper than Progressive?

In our analysis, Geico was cheaper than Progressive for full and minimum coverage insurance. Still, your results may vary based on factors such as your driving history, where you live, your gender, your age, and even your credit history if your state allows that to be included in premium decisions.

Best cheap car insurance: Bottom line

Searching for the best cheap auto insurance can take a lot of time and effort. Request multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting the cheapest car insurance rates available based on your specific needs and your state's requirements. Don’t be afraid to shop around to find the coverage that works best for you.

Methodology

In determining our ranking of the best car insurance companies, we looked at popular companies and ranked them according to a series of weighted factors that we consider critical to the consumer. We did not evaluate all companies in the category.

FinanceBuzz ranking criteria include:

  • Premium: Companies with lower car insurance premiums scored higher than companies with higher premiums.
  • NAIC complaint index score: This score is correlated with customer satisfaction. It measures total complaints to state regulators relative to total policies issued.
  • AM Best rating: AM Best is an independent credit rating company that measures the financial stability of insurance companies. AM Best calculates financial strength ratings for companies based on creditworthiness and ability to pay customer claims and other debts in a timely fashion.
  • J.D. Power claims satisfaction ranking: J.D. Power is an independent rating company that collects data on customer service satisfaction.
  • Ease of use: How simple the claims and application processes are.
  • Customer service options: Whether they offered online access, a mobile app, chat, or other options for getting in touch.

  • You could save up to $500 with some companies
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Author Details

Kate Daugherty Kate Daugherty is a professional writer with a passion for providing others the head start they deserve on their financial journeys. Largely self-taught, Kate relied on books, blogs, and trial-and-error to learn how to budget and save for the future, all while working to pay back about $15,000 in student loans.

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