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Cheapest car insurance for bad credit

GEICO has the cheapest car insurance for most drivers with bad credit, but depending on where you live, another company may be better for you.

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By

Rachael BrennanRachael BrennanSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertRachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.&Andrew HurstAndrew HurstSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertAndrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Edited by

Anna SwartzAnna SwartzSenior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance ExpertAnna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.
Expert reviewedExpert reviewedThis article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.Learn more about oureditorial review process.

By

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Certified Financial PlannerIan Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

Updated|4 min read

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Cheap car insurance for bad credit

Having bad credit makes car insurance much more expensive, but it’s still possible to get affordable coverage. We found that MAPFRE has the cheapest overall car insurance for bad credit at $125 per month.

But MAPFRE is only available in 18 states, so GEICO may be a better pick for cheap car insurance for drivers with poor credit. USAA, NJM, and Nationwide are also affordable alternatives.

Bar graph showing the cheapest insurance companies for drivers with bad credit. MAPFRE is the cheapest, while GEICO is the cheapest large company.

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Why do drivers with bad credit pay more for car insurance?

In most states, car insurance companies charge drivers with bad credit more for car insurance because it’s one of the factors that may increase the likelihood of a future claim. Car insurance companies technically look at insurance scores, which take credit into account.

Why you can trust our picks for the best car insurance for bad credit

We found the cheapest companies for drivers with bad credit by analyzing rates from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were for every ZIP code in the country and were for the following amounts of insurance:

  • Bodily injury liability: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $50,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible
  • Collision: $500 deductible

Our sample driver was a single 30-year-old driver who drove a 2017 Toyota Camry and had a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

Best and cheapest companies for drivers with bad credit

On average, car insurance for drivers with bad credit can be thousands of dollars more per year than for someone with a better credit score. That price difference means it’s even more important for drivers with low credit to compare rates and find their cheapest company.

Cheapest overall car insurance for bad credit: MAPFRE

MAPFRE

4.1

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

MAPFRE logo

Cheapest overall for bad credit

Monthly cost: $125 for bad credit

Number of complaints: Lower than average

MAPFRE has the cheapest car insurance for drivers with bad credit, but it’s only available in 18 states. Besides its low average rates for drivers with bad credit, MAPFRE also receives fewer-than-average complaints from policyholders.

We found that MAPFRE has the overall cheapest car insurance for drivers with bad credit. With MAPFRE, car insurance is $125 per month on average for drivers with a bad credit score. That’s $1,613 more expensive per year than the average rate for auto insurance with bad credit.

MAPFRE also has a reputation for great customer service. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, MAPFRE significantly fewer complaints from policyholders than most companies.

But one drawback to MAPFRE is that it doesn’t offer insurance everywhere. It’s only available in the following states:

  • Arizona

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Idaho

  • Indiana

  • Kentucky

  • Maine

  • Massachusetts

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • Ohio

  • Oregon

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • Tennessee

  • Washington

  • Vermont

Cheapest car insurance for bad credit from a large company: GEICO

GEICO

4.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

GEICO logo

Cheapest for bad credit from a large company

Monthly cost: $157 for bad credit

Number of complaints: Average

GEICO has the best insurance rates for drivers with bad credit of any nationally available company. This means that even though it doesn’t have the cheapest rates overall, it’s the best choice for most drivers with poor credit.

GEICO has some of the best auto insurance rates for bad credit. On average, insurance from GEICO costs $157 per month, or $1,232 less annually than average for drivers with bad credit. If you qualify for discounts from GEICO, it could be lower.

And unlike some competitors, GEICO offers car insurance coverage in every state. It’s also $156 cheaper per year than the next-cheapest large insurance provider.

Large company name

Average monthly cost

Average annual cost

GEICO

$157

$1,885

USAA*

$170

$2,042

Nationwide

$181

$2,166

Travelers

$210

$2,523

American Family

$254

$3,049

USAA is only available to drivers in the military or in military families

Cheapest non-standard car insurance for bad credit: Kemper

Kemper

3.4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Kemper logo

Cheapest non-standard company

Monthly cost: $224 for bad credit

Number of complaints: Higher than average

If you’re having trouble getting insurance because of your bad credit, Kemper may have your best rates. But, like other non-standard companies, Kemper’s customer service doesn’t get high praise.

Kemper is a non-standard insurance company, which means it covers high-risk drivers who may not be able to find coverage elsewhere. On average, the cost of car insurance for bad credit from Kemper is $224 per month, which is $431 less than average per year.

While Kemper offers affordable car insurance even for drivers with bad credit, it receives far more complaints than average. Still, with low rates and excellent financial strength rating, it’s a reputable company where high-risk drivers can get covered despite poor or bad credit scores.

Non-standard company

Average monthly cost

Average annual cost

Kemper

$224

$2,686

National General (owned by Allstate)

$257

$3,086

State Auto

$266

$3,187

UAIC

$267

$3,204

Safe Auto

$356

$4,277

Cheapest car insurance for bad credit in every state

We found that GEICO has the cheapest car insurance for drivers with bad credit in 22 states. That’s the most compared to any other company, but drivers may also find that USAA or Nationwide has the cheapest rates where they live.

The average cost of car insurance for drivers with bad credit is $260 per month, but many companies have much lower rates.

State

Cheapest company

Monthly cost

Alabama

Safeway

$136

Alaska

USAA

$142

Arizona

GEICO

$130

Arkansas

USAA

$150

Colorado

GEICO

$136

Connecticut

GEICO

$105

Delaware

GEICO

$182

District of Columbia

GEICO

$191

Florida

GEICO

$267

Georgia

GEICO

$159

Idaho

GEICO

$82

Illinois

Pekin

$109

Indiana

GEICO

$106

Iowa

West Bend Mutual

$128

Kansas

GEICO

$123

Kentucky

GEICO

$173

Louisiana

USAA

$207

Maine

USAA

$87

Maryland

GEICO

$105

Michigan

GEICO

$146

Minnesota

West Bend Mutual

$137

Mississippi

National General

$146

Missouri

USAA

$115

Montana

GEICO

$146

Nebraska

Nationwide

$131

Nevada

GEICO

$129

New Hampshire

USAA

$105

New Jersey

Selective

$169

New Mexico

GEICO

$123

New York

GEICO

$136

North Carolina

National General

$83

North Dakota

USAA

$118

Ohio

GEICO

$96

Oklahoma

USAA

$146

Oregon

GEICO

$137

Pennsylvania

Nationwide

$124

Rhode Island

GEICO

$175

South Carolina

USAA

$139

South Dakota

Kemper

$114

Tennessee

USAA

$129

Texas

Redpoint

$113

Utah

Nationwide

$143

Vermont

GEICO

$91

Virginia

Nationwide

$126

West Virginia

USAA

$136

Wisconsin

GEICO

$97

Wyoming

American National

$94

Collapse table

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How bad credit affects your car insurance

Since a driver’s credit score is one of the factors that insurers use to set rates, your credit score has a direct impact on what you pay for insurance.

In most states, drivers with worse credit scores pay more for car insurance than a driver with a higher credit score. In fact, someone with poor credit may pay $1,000 more a year for car insurance than someone with fair credit.

Credit tier

Average monthly cost

Average annual cost

Excellent (800-850)

$117

$1,400

Very good (740-799)

$129

$1,550

Good (670-739)

$142

$1,703

Fair (580-669)

$173

$2,073

Poor (300-579)

$260

$3,117

Credit ranges based on Experian, scoring ranges can vary by carrier

There are also some states where insurance companies aren’t allowed to take your credit score into account when they set your rates. In these states, your rates may still be determined by other factors like your age and gender, driving record, and claims history.

The states where car insurance companies can’t consider your credit score are:

  • California

  • Hawaii

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Oregon

  • Utah

Does getting an insurance quote impact your credit score?

No, you can get car insurance quotes and compare prices without affecting your credit. Insurance companies do what’s called soft inquiry or pull when you get quotes instead of a hard inquiry, like if you applied for a credit card. A soft inquiry shows up on your credit record but doesn’t affect your score at all.

What is no-credit check car insurance?

There’s technically no such thing as no-credit check car insurance. As long as you live in a state that doesn’t have any laws about it, almost every insurance company will check your credit score (and use your credit to set your rates) before covering you.

Some smaller companies may not check your credit, but there’s a good chance these companies will charge higher rates anyway. 

That said, some companies may not put as much importance on your credit. Usage-based insurance companies, like Root, which has pledged to phase out the use of credit scores by 2025, set rates based mostly on your driving habits.

How to improve your credit score

If you have bad credit (and are paying high insurance premiums because of it) you can take steps to improve your credit score. 

It takes a while to get a better score, but your car insurance may be much cheaper, even if you only move from a poor score to a fair or average credit score.

Some ways to improve your credit include:

  • Gradually paying off any outstanding credit card debt

  • Paying down other debt and loan balances you have

  • Avoiding any hard credit inquiries, like for new credit cards

  • Using a small percentage of your available credit balance

  • Keeping credit cards open instead of canceling them

On the other hand, if you have average credit, be sure not to let your credit score drop. Your insurance won’t get more expensive right after your credit score drops, but your rates will be higher because of your credit when you renew your policy.

How to get cheaper insurance if you have bad credit

Improving your credit takes time, but there are ways you can find cheap insurance in the meantime. You can lower your car insurance costs (even with bad credit) by:

  • Finding the company with the best rates: The most reliable way drivers with bad credit can get cheaper insurance is by comparing quotes from multiple companies and choosing the one with the lowest rates.

  • Avoiding accidents and claims: Keeping a clean driving record is one of the most effective ways to keep your insurance rates as low as possible. If you’re in a crash while you’re working to improve your credit, whatever gains you made could be erased.

  • Completing a defensive driving class: Most insurance companies offer a discount to drivers who complete a defensive or safe driving class. This makes it an effective (and quick) way for many people with bad credit to lower their rates.

  • Make sure to re-shop your policy every year: If your credit score drops, wait till it’s time for you to renew your policy and compare instead rates for your credit tier from other companies. You don’t have to renew — and you might get a better rate somewhere else.

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We don't sell your information to third parties.

Frequently asked questions

Which company has the cheapest quotes for someone with poor credit?

We found that MAPFRE has the cheapest quotes for drivers with poor credit. But since MAPFRE isn’t offered in every state, GEICO is likely to have the cheapest quotes for more drivers.

What is a good credit score for insurance?

There’s not a single good credit score for insurance. That said, drivers who have a good credit score will pay higher rates than someone with an excellent score, and someone with a fair credit score will have higher costs than someone with a good score, and so on.

Can you be refused or denied insurance because of your credit score?

Insurance companies don’t have to cover you if your credit score is too low. If you don’t live in one of the states that has rules about insurance companies using your credit to set your rates, you can still find other companies that won’t deny you your credit score.

Authors

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Editor

Anna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

Expert reviewer

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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