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Car Insurance

Learn everything you need to know about car insurance coverage and save money on your policy by comparing auto insurance rates online.

How to buy car insurance

Buying car insurance can seem intimidating, but it’s actually an easy process — you can probably do it in one afternoon. All you have to do is follow these five steps for simple shopping:

  1. Decide how you want to shop: You can easily shop for policies online, either directly from an insurance company or through a marketplace like Policygenius, where an expert can help you choose the best coverage for your needs

  2. Gather your info: Before you buy a policy you’ll need to know the make, model and VIN number for every vehicle you’re insuring, as well as the full names, birthday and driver’s license numbers for every driver on the policy

  3. Choose coverage amounts: Know what types of coverage and how much of each you’ll need before you start shopping. Most car insurance policies have the same basic components, but higher limits mean more protection...and higher premiums

  4. Fill out an application: In order to get accurate quotes, you'll need to submit all that info to the broker or company you're working with. Since car insurance rates are based on so many personal factors, you won't be able to get quotes without submitting personal information

  5. Compare your quotes: Getting quotes from different car insurance companies is an easy process, but you should compare more than just cost. Independent reviews can also help you figure out if you’re getting quality coverage

  6. Pick a policy: Once you settle on a policy, you can buy it and set it to go into effect as soon as you need, whether it’s a month away or a day away

  7. Cancel your old coverage: Wait until after you’ve purchased a new policy before you cancel your old one, and make sure they start and end on the same day so you don’t have a gap in coverage

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Information needed to get a car insurance quote

Before you start shopping for car insurance, make sure you’re got all the information you’ll need to get accurate car insurance quotes. You should have:

  • Names and birthdays of every driver who will be listed on the policy

  • Driver's license numbers for every driver

  • VINs (Vehicle Information Numbers) for every vehicle

  • An address for the insured (where you live and where the car is garaged, which is usually the same place)

  • Your declarations page from your most recent car insurance policy

How to find your cheapest car insurance quote

  • Comparison shop: The best way to find your cheapest car insurance quote is by comparing quotes for the same coverage across multiple insurance companies. You’ll probably find that some companies quote you much less than others, even for identical coverage

  • Ask about discounts: Make sure you’re getting every discount for which you’re eligible. Most companies offer significant savings if you bundle your auto insurance with home or renters, for example

  • Choose the right coverage levels: You want to choose enough coverage that you’re protected in case of an accident, but that doesn’t mean you need to automatically choose the highest limits for every coverage type. Likewise, you probably don’t need every coverage add-on available

What is car insurance?

Auto insurance is essential financial protection for you and your car. It covers the costs if you cause a car accident that injures someone else or damages their property. It can also cover damage to your own car, either from a collision or another type of danger, like hail, fire, falling objects and theft. Car insurance can help pay for towing if you’re stranded by the side of the road, or for a rental car if yours is in the shop after an accident.

At least a minimum amount of car insurance is legally required in almost every state, but most drivers need more coverage than just their state’s requirements.

Are car insurance quotes free?

Yes, car insurance quotes are free — you don’t start paying until you sign up for a policy. Most insurance companies offer quotes over the phone, in person, or online. You can go through an insurance marketplace, like Policygenius, to compare quotes from multiple companies at once and choose the best coverage for you.

How much does car insurance cost?

According to a 2021 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), [17] the average car insurance premium was $1,190 a year (about $99 a month). But car insurance rates can vary widely depending on factors like driving history and type of car.

Your insurance company matters too — you can submit the exact same profile to three different companies and get three very different prices.

Here’s what helps determine your car insurance rates:

  • Your car: The make and model of car you drive will affect your insurance rates. Luxury cars with expensive parts cost more to insure than a budget daily driver, and cars with certain safety features get you a lower rate

  • Your coverage: More types of coverage and higher limits means more protection, but it also means higher premiums

  • Your credit score: Drivers with poor credit scores may have more trouble finding affordable coverage than drivers with stellar coverage

  • Your driving history: Recent accidents and driving violations will raise a red flag on your profile, while having a squeaky clean record can earn you extra savings

  • Your address: Accident rates, density and repair costs in your neighborhood will all go into calculating your premiums

  • Your age: Younger, less experienced drivers (under 25) are more likely to get in accidents and file claims, so they often pay the most for car insurance.

  • Your insurance history: Too many claims on your record or gaps where you were uninsured will mean higher rates

➞ Learn more about how much car insurance costs

Car insurance rates by state

Car insurance costs vary widely by state. The most expensive state for car insurance is Louisiana, where the average annual cost of a policy was $1,751, according to the NAIC. Maine was the least expensive state for car insurance, with an average annual premium of $783.

STATEAVERAGE PREMIUMLIABILITYCOLLISIONCOMP
Alabama$1,066.92$511.13$380.51$175.28
Alaska$1,111.07$576.09$387.12$147.87
Arizona$1,181.29$646.75$326.28$208.25
Arkansas$1,097.33$486.72$375.25$235.36
California$1,194.83$616.51$483.60$94.72
Colorado$1,290.34$687.40$330.50$272.44
Connecticut$1,326.09$784.70$407.54$133.86
Delaware$1,393.70$900.32$352.86$140.52
District of Columbia$1,574.09$809.41$535.96$228.71
Florida$1,520.99$1,009.94$361.79$149.26
Georgia$1,382.52$797.80$408.41$176.31
Hawaii$944.70$479.27$357.78$107.66
Idaho$828.32$425.89$262.67$139.75
Illinois$995.55$515.94$339.04$140.57
Indiana$864.82$442.69$286.49$135.63
Iowa$816.18$348.87$252.65$214.65
Kansas$985.34$421.78$287.24$276.33
Kentucky$1,088.73$611.54$312.51$164.68
Louisiana$1,751.37$1,015.36$487.44$248.57
Maine$782.72$374.59$294.80$113.33
Maryland$1,327.40$737.73$422.06$167.61
Massachusetts$1,246.08$658.47$440.55$147.06
Michigan$1,590.35$952.15$479.11$159.08
Minnesota$971.66$499.48$265.74$206.45
Mississippi$1,149.85$538.35$372.17$239.34
Missouri$1,052.86$520.45$315.49$216.92
Montana$1,025.46$435.81$283.65$306.00
Nebraska$962.79$429.35$272.48$260.97
Nevada$1,386.22$900.40$366.54$119.28
New Hampshire$882.65$436.76$327.30$118.58
New Jersey$1,500.58$955.93$414.39$130.26
New Mexico$1,102.15$576.81$311.24$214.10
New York$1,558.66$920.25$457.77$180.64
North Carolina$870.87$391.29$342.13$137.45
North Dakota$844.18$307.97$279.45$256.76
Ohio$881.91$448.59$302.57$130.74
Oklahoma$1,123.61$508.89$346.73$267.99
Oregon$1,077.22$689.74$280.61$106.87
Pennsylvania$1,100.84$555.42$376.21$169.21
Rhode Island$1,500.31$885.33$474.58$140.40
South Carolina$1,227.54$702.37$318.08$207.09
South Dakota$905.02$333.44$244.47$327.11
Tennessee$995.91$477.07$355.01$163.83
Texas$1,372.25$659.47$442.88$269.90
Utah$1,038.50$601.77$309.20$127.53
Vermont$854.27$376.99$329.47$147.81
Virginia$956.98$492.68$316.05$148.25
Washington$1,120.02$689.18$312.65$118.19
West Virginia$1,096.80$521.74$350.20$224.86
Wisconsin$830.06$422.28$247.95$159.82
Wyoming$971.07$356.25$297.61$317.22
U.S. Average$1,189.64$644.11$377.62$167.91

Average car insurance costs per NAIC

Car insurance rates by coverage type

A “full coverage” car insurance policy includes liability coverage for any damage you cause while driving, and comprehensive and collision coverage to protect your car from covered losses. According to the NAIC, this is the average annual premium for different types of car insurance coverage in the U.S.

TYPE OF COVERAGEAVERAGE ANNUAL COST
Liability$644.11
Collision$377.62
Comprehensive$167.91

Average rates for coverage types per NAIC

Car insurance rates by age

Most insurance companies consider teens or inexperienced drivers a “high-risk,” and may charge higher rates as a result. But the older you get, the more likely it is for your rates to go down. We took a look at some sample car insurance quotes for an 18-year-old driver compared to a 30- and 70-year-old driver for an annual “full coverage” car insurance policy:

DRIVER DETAILSANNUAL COST OF A 1-YEAR POLICY
Female, age 18$4,682
Male, age 18$4,522
Female, age 30$1,136
Male, age 30$1,038
Female, age 70$838
Male, age 70$798

Average rates based on quotes from national insurers for sample driver profiles. Rates reflect a full coverage policy for a one-person household in Minneapolis, Minnesota, driving a 2014 Toyota Camry. Some discounts applied.

Car insurance rates by marital status 

We also took a look at some sample car insurance quotes based on marital status for a “full coverage” car insurance policy:

DRIVER DETAILSANNUAL COST OF A 1-YEAR POLICY
Woman, age 35, unmarried$1,389
Woman, age 35, married$1,384
Man, age 35, unmarried$1,432
Man, age 35, married$1,384

Rates based on averages of multiple quotes from national insurers for sample driver profiles. Rates reflect a full coverage policy for single-vehicle households in Minnesota. Some discounts applied.

Car insurance rates by your gender

Many individual factors influence your car insurance quotes, including your gender. Check out the table below to see how the annual premium changed for the same car with the same provider for a man and a woman.

DRIVER DETAILSANNUAL COST OF A 1-YEAR POLICY
Woman, age 18, unmarried renter$4,682
Man, age 18, unmarried renter$4,522
Woman, age 30, unmarried homeowner$1,136
Man, age 30, unmarried homeowner$1,038
Woman, age 70, married homeowner$838
Man, age 70, married homeowner$798

Car insurance rates by where you live

Your state, city and even the block you live on will affect your car insurance rates, especially if you live in an area where certain types of damage may be more likely. Factors that can cause your rates to rise include: 

  • Heavy traffic: More density means more cars on the road, which means more chances to get into an accident and need to file a claim

  • Theft rates: If your area has frequent reports of car theft or vandalism, then you’ll probably see higher car insurance rates

  • Severe weather: If you live in an area prone to severe weather like hurricanes or wildfires, you may be deemed more of a risk to insure, which means higher premiums 

Car insurance rates by your driving record

Your driving record is one of few factors that determine your premium and are under your control. Better drivers are rewarded with better rates, and frequent drivers or drivers with a history of violations often see their premiums rise as a result. 

  • Annual mileage: Your rates can be higher or lower depending on the miles you drive per year. The cost of a car insurance policy will be more expensive if you drive 25,000 miles a year than if you drive 5,000 because the more you drive, the you’re more likely you are to get into an accident

  • Accident rates: If you have accidents and traffic violations on your record, insurance companies may deem you riskier to insure and your rates will be higher. However, many insurers will not insure a driver with a poor driving record

What does car insurance cover?

Every car insurance policy is made up of different types of coverage that all provide different types of protection. Here’s a breakdown of the types of insurance in a “full coverage” policy:

COVERAGEPROTECTS AGAINST…LIKE IF…
Bodily injury liabilityInjury you cause with your carYou rear-end another driver and the impact gives them whiplash
Property damage liabilityProperty damage you cause with your carYou run a stoplight and cause an accident with another car, smashing their passenger-side door
Personal injury protectionMedical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident (required in some states)You live in a “no-fault state” and are injured in a car accident
Uninsured/underinsured motoristDamage caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t fully cover repair costsYou’re t-boned by an uninsured driver and your car requires expensive repairs
ComprehensiveDamage not caused by a collisionAn icy tree branch falls onto your car’s roof, smashing it and cracking the windshield
CollisionDamage caused by a collision, no matter who was at faultYou backed into a telephone pole and cracked your rear bumper

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Frequently asked questions

Why did my car insurance rates go up?

Your rates may be going up because you had an accident, filed a claim or added a new driver to your policy. Sometimes, your rates may rise because of changes in the industry. Remember, if you’re not happy with the cost of your car insurance, it never hurts to shop around for new coverage.

Who has the cheapest car insurance?

Since auto insurance rates are so personalized, the cheapest car insurance company might be different for every driver. That’s why it’s so important to shop around and compare quotes from different companies before you settle on a policy.

What age does car insurance go down?

Younger, inexperienced drivers pay more for car insurance because they’re riskier to insure. But rates for teen drivers drop over time until age 25, as long as they avoid accidents.

Can you get car insurance without a license?

It might be tricky — you need a driver’s license to apply for car insurance. But in some unique cases, you may be able to buy a car insurance policy without a license as long as you won’t be the one driving the car, like if you own a car but a caregiver or relative will be the one driving you around.