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Best car insurance for bad credit

Nationwide has the cheapest auto insurance quotes for most drivers with bad credit, with an average cost of $2,205 per year.

Rachael Brennan headshotAndrew Hurst

By 

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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.

Updated March 29, 2022 | 6 min read

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Car insurance is much more expensive for drivers with bad credit than it is for those with good or excellent credit. Policygenius analysis found that car insurance quotes for drivers with bad credit are 66% more expensive than for a driver with good credit. 

Assuming you don’t live in one of the handful of states where car insurance companies can’t consider your credit score, it may be very difficult to find cheap car insurance if your credit is bad.  

But some companies offer lower rates than others — Nationwide has the cheapest auto insurance for most drivers with bad credit, while Grange Insurance and USAA also offer affordable coverage.

Best cheap car insurance for bad credit

The cheapest car insurance for bad credit comes from Grange Insurance, which offers coverage for $1,931 per year (or $161 per month) to drivers with a poor credit score under 578. Bad credit car insurance from Grange is only about $400 more per year than it is for drivers with good credit — the lowest change we found.

 If you have bad credit, car insurance rates from Nationwide and USAA are also affordable — though not everyone is eligible for USAA. Since Grange is only available in 18 states, drivers with bad credit may be more likely to find coverage with larger insurance companies.

Bar graph showing the cost of car insurance for bad credit drivers with the cheapest companies. The cheapest company for most drivers with bad credit is Nationwide.

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The cost of car insurance for drivers with bad credit is 66% more expensive than it is for drivers with good credit. However some companies have much less dramatic increases between coverage for drivers with good and bad credit. 

Grange Insurance offers bad credit car insurance that's only 27% more expensive than it is for drivers with good credit — the lowest increase we calculated. 

At Safe Auto and Dairyland, known for offering auto coverage for high-risk drivers, rate increases for drivers with poor credit are also relatively low, though both insurers are more expensive than average.

RankCompanyCost with bad creditCost with good creditIncrease
1Grange Insurance$1,931$1,51827%
2USAA$2,018$1,10882%
3Nationwide$2,205$1,51146%
4American Family$2,206$1,32167%
5GEICO$2,219$1,18587%
6Westfield Insurance$2,473$1,46968%
7National General$2,520$1,80040%
8COUNTRY Financial$2,542$1,63755%
9Kemper$2,695$1,55074%
10Auto-Owners Insurance$2,807$1,078160%
11Erie$2,836$1,200136%
12Travelers$2,880$1,53787%
13Cincinnati Insurance$2,924$1,76666%
14Farm Bureau$2,928$1,52892%
15Average cost$3,055$1,84466%
16Farmers$3,086$1,97356%
17Progressive$3,220$1,80778%
18Allstate$3,335$2,00766%
19State Farm$3,338$1,395139%
20Shelter Insurance$3,485$2,01973%
21Safe Auto$4,222$3,30628%
22Main Street America$4,430$1,857139%
23Dairyland$4,653$3,48733%
24Mercury Insurance$4,930$2,79776%
25Donegal$5,136$2,461109%
26Auto Club Group$5,208$2,77188%
27MetLife$5,445$2,651105%
28Hanover$14,183$4,264233%

Annual cost of full-coverage car insurance for drivers with poor credit vs. good credit.

→ Learn more about how your credit score affects your costs of insurance

Are there insurance companies that don’t use credit scores?

Insurance companies almost always use credit scores when determining your premiums. All of the major companies, including State Farm, GEICO, and Allstate, use credit to set car insurance rates because they have found that people with a lower credit score are more likely to make claims.

However, this could change in the future. Root Insurance, which determines rates based on driving habits, has pledged to phase out their use of credit scores by 2025. And in a handful of states it’s illegal for companies to use your credit score to decide your rates. These include:

  • California

  • Hawaii

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

→ Learn more about the other factors that affect your insurance premiums

Best bad credit car insurance for most people: Nationwide

Nationwide

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.

Nationwide logo

Available in nearly every state except Alaska, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, Nationwide has the cheapest car insurance for most people with bad credit.

The best cheap car insurance for most drivers with bad credit comes from Nationwide. On average, bad credit car insurance from Nationwide costs $2,205 per year. While Nationwide is actually the third-cheapest option for bad credit auto insurance we found, it's the company where the most people can get covered since it’s offered in more states.

Nationwide is the best auto insurance company for drivers with bad credit because, in addition to affordable rates, Nationwide offers a range of discounts that can help you save even more. Even if your credit score is poor, you could qualify for discounts from Nationwide if you:

  • Remain accident-free

  • Avoid traffic tickets and other violations

  • Set up automatic payments

  • Complete a safe driving course

  • Have more than one Nationwide insurance policy

  • Drive a car with anti-theft or safety devices

Best small market car insurance for bad credit: Grange Insurance

Grange

Grange logo

Grange is the most affordable option for drivers with bad credit, on average, of any company — though coverage is only available in 18 states.

On average, drivers with bad or poor credit pay $1,931 per year with Grange — 37% less than average. As long as you live in one of the following states where Grange Insurance is available, the insurer has the absolute cheapest car insurance for bad credit of any company.  

  • Alabama

  • Georgia

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Iowa

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Maryland

  • Minnesota

  • Missouri

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Pennsylvania

  • South Carolina

  • Tennessee

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

In addition to offering cheap car insurance for drivers with bad credit, Grange Insurance offers plenty of coverage add-ons. In addition to comprehensive and collision coverages, drivers with Grange can choose new car replacement, gap coverage, original parts coverage, and identity theft protection — among others.

Best bad credit car insurance for military families: USAA

USAA

USAA logo

If you're eligible, USAA is the best company for cheap auto insurance quotes for drivers with bad credit.

Drivers with bad credit pay an average of $2,018 per year for auto insurance from USAA. This means that USAA is the second-cheapest company overall, behind Grange. But USAA isn't available to everyone — only available current and retired members of the military and their families can get covered.

While USAA offers fewer discounts than competitors, that doesn't mean you should stay away if you're eligible and have bad credit. The company's reputation for highly rated customer service and its low number of complaints for service make it one of the top insurance providers for drivers with poor or bad credit auto insurance [1] [2] .

Auto insurance quotes for bad credit

Drivers with bad credit can still get auto insurance quotes from most companies, though they will almost always pay more for coverage than someone with a better credit score. The cost of coverage for a driver with poor or bad credit is still almost $900 per year more than someone with fair credit.

  • Excellent: $1,581 per year

  • Very good: $1,719 per year

  • Good: $1,844 per year

  • Fair: $2,161 per year

  • Poor: $3,055 per year

What you pay for auto insurance with bad credit is also affected by where you live. We found that the most expensive state for bad credit car insurance is Louisiana ($5,950 per year), while the cheapest is North Carolina ($1,408 per year).

StateCost with bad creditCost with good creditDifference
Alabama$3,161$1,81874%
Alaska$2,205$1,40557%
Arizona$3,458$1,646110%
Arkansas$3,620$1,86195%
Colorado$3,270$1,82879%
Connecticut$3,954$1,862112%
Delaware$3,673$2,13972%
District of Columbia$3,257$1,83178%
Florida$4,321$2,96046%
Georgia$2,988$1,76070%
Idaho$2,136$1,17981%
Illinois$2,675$1,48480%
Indiana$2,069$1,29859%
Iowa$2,062$1,20671%
Kansas$2,858$1,67770%
Kentucky$4,414$2,26795%
Louisiana$5,950$3,02497%
Maine$2,286$1,21888%
Maryland$3,019$1,88660%
Michigan$5,450$2,438124%
Minnesota$2,927$1,459101%
Mississippi$3,162$1,79776%
Missouri$3,016$1,66381%
Montana$3,114$1,95859%
Nebraska$3,350$1,83782%
Nevada$3,346$2,23150%
New Hampshire$2,739$1,282114%
New Jersey$4,485$2,30495%
New Mexico$2,489$1,52763%
New York$5,086$2,197131%
North Carolina$1,408$1,01938%
North Dakota$2,696$1,45685%
Ohio$1,908$1,09674%
Oklahoma$3,346$2,04364%
Oregon$2,441$1,49463%
Pennsylvania$2,970$1,69076%
Rhode Island$3,751$1,95792%
South Carolina$3,371$1,96472%
South Dakota$3,253$1,68094%
Tennessee$2,828$1,404101%
Texas$3,402$1,94575%
Utah$2,751$1,55877%
Vermont$2,203$1,17887%
Virginia$2,630$1,41087%
Washington$2,028$1,68720%
West Virginia$3,185$1,73584%
Wisconsin$2,214$1,11199%
Wyoming$2,575$1,46875%

Annual cost of full-coverage car insurance for drivers with poor credit vs. good credit.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

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How to get cheap car insurance with bad credit

If you have bad credit, it's still possible to find cheap car insurance. The most reliable way to find the most affordable rates for you is by comparing quotes from more than one company before you buy. This way, you can make sure you're getting the cheapest rates — and the best coverage, discounts, and service — in your area.

To make your car insurance more affordable, you should also:

  • Take advantage of discounts: Most insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, including discounts for signing up before your existing policy ends, taking safe driver courses, and bundling coverage, to name a few. 

  • Pay your premium in full: Making one payment (if you can afford it) at the beginning of your plan year can earn you lower premiums than if you pay in installments.

  • Keep your driving record clean: Avoiding accidents and moving violations is one of the most effective ways to keep your insurance rates as low as possible. Choose your car carefully: Some cars are more expensive to insure than others. And an older vehicle that you can afford to replace out-of-pocket doesn’t necessarily need comprehensive or collision coverage. This means choosing to drive an older, cheaper car can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year on your car insurance.

  • Improve your credit rating: Bringing up your credit score by paying down your outstanding balances can lower your insurance rates, even if you only improve your credit slightly. A fair credit rating is between 710 and 740, so if you currently have a credit rating of 739 and you improve your credit rating by only two points, you’ll be bumped into the next category — which could save you hundreds of dollars each year on your insurance rates.

→ Learn more about the ways you get make your car insurance more affordable

Why is insurance more expensive for drivers with bad credit?

Drivers with lower credit scores can expect to pay more for insurance in most states. This is because insurers consider these drivers to be high- risk, similar to drivers with accidents and moving violations, or teenage drivers who are new on the road.  

While drivers with lower credit scores usually pay more for car insurance, in some states insurers are no longer allowed to use someone's credit score as a factor when setting premiums — as it can unfairly punish some drivers over others.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

On average, Nationwide has the cheapest quotes for drivers with poor credit. However, depending on where you live and your background, Grange Insurance or USAA (or another company altogether) may offer less expensive car insurance than Nationwide.

What is a good credit score for insurance?

Typically, the worse your credit score is, the more expensive your car insurance will be. If you have excellent credit (and a clean driving record) your rates will be far lower than someone with poor — or even good — credit.

Does getting an insurance quote impact your credit score?

No, getting an insurance quote does not impact your credit score. Insurance companies use a soft inquiry when they check your credit, which means it shows up on your credit record but it does not impact your credit score.

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

Yes, insurance companies can deny you car insurance if your credit score is too low. However, there are several states that do not allow insurance companies to deny you insurance because of your credit rating, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Utah.

Methodology

Policygenius analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. We used the following coverage limits to calculate the cost of full coverage for drivers with bad credit:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers aged 30. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles/year.

Rates for driving violations and “Poor” credit determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with 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.