After a really serious accident, bills for damage and injuries can easily reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you happen to cause such a wreck, the victims could sue you. In the worst case scenario, assets such as your savings and home could be seized. For this reason, choosing the right auto liability limits is the most important part of your car insurance quote comparison. NerdWallet typically recommends having at least as much liability coverage as your net worth.
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Insurers are a little more technical, calling them bodily injury liability, total bodily injury liability and physical damage liability. Auto insurance quote comparison tip: Whatever coverage you choose, make sure you compare the quotes for the same type and amount of coverage so you can find the best price. While shopping, make certain that each insurance quote includes.
The same drivers and cars. A lot goes into an auto insurance rate quote, including your ZIP code, coverage levels, marital status, annual mileage, driving history and vehicle make, year and model. In most states, your gender and credit history are also used to determine rates.
And again, the reason auto insurance comparison shopping is so important is because rates between companies are different for each person, too. Each insurance company evaluates personal factors in its own way, and they keep their methods as hidden as possible. But to help you get going, we can show you a car insurance rate comparison for the same hypothetical driver and car, using average rates from across the country. Here are annual rates from the 10 largest auto insurers in the country, averaged across the country for both full and minimum coverage.
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Keep in mind that not all of these companies are available in every state. However, it does have a very big impact and should be part of financial planning if you move out of your area. Here are our average annual car insurance rates by state for minimum and full coverage car insurance policies. Though it might seem unfair, your credit history is one of the largest factors affecting your car insurance quote in all states except California, Hawaii and Massachusetts.
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Below are sample car insurance rates for accident-free drivers with good and poor credit, both by company and by state, for full coverage insurance. Similar variations are true for many other companies as well. Certain states prohibit the use of credit in setting rates, and how insurers treat credit differs from state to state. For example, state legislators in one state may allow more wiggle room for credit-based pricing than others, leading to variations by state.
Among the largest companies, your history of accidents, tickets and other violations will affect your auto insurance quote in very different ways. The cheapest car insurance company for a driver with a clean history might not be the cheapest after an at-fault accident occurs. If you have an on-record accident, make sure to compare car insurance quotes one, three and five years after the date of the incident. State legislators set limits on how much a company can increase your rates after a crash. Keep in mind these are averages from across the country, so rates in your area will differ.
Credit history and at-fault accidents can heavily impact insurance rates. So can age, marital status and other factors.
Liberty Mutual was the most expensive for all of the driver profiles we analyzed. USAA is not ranked because it is only available to active military, veterans and their families.
However, it was by far the cheapest car insurance company in every category we analyzed. The table below shows average rates for additional driver types. Below are annual average rates from some small car insurance companies, according to our analysis. We chose these companies because of their low rates and availability in multiple states, but there may be cheaper options in your state. For example, there are many Farm Bureau insurance companies available only in a single state — and they were often cheapest in our state-by-state analysis this year.
Rates vary widely from one state to the next. The cheapest car insurance, period, will likely carry the minimum coverage required in your state. In most states, this is liability insurance only, which covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Policies with comprehensive and collision coverage are pricier, but cover you in case your car is stolen or damaged, no matter who or what caused it. To get an idea of the price difference, NerdWallet looked at quotes for the minimum required insurance in each state and compared them to average full coverage prices.
You may find that your current insurer is cheapest, but that can change, so check roughly once a year.
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Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:. In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used a Toyota Camry in all cases. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different. Rates in the first column are for minimum insurance coverage required by law in each state. For the full coverage category, we averaged rates from the largest insurers for year-old men and women in 20 ZIP codes and with the following coverage limits:.