One of the best ways to get cheap car insurance is by comparing car insurance quotes — and the companies offering them. To get you started, NerdWallet looked at car insurance prices across the country for different driver profiles and coverage levels to find the cheapest rates. We’ve sliced the data in several ways to give you an idea of average costs and what factors might nudge your car insurance rate up — or even better, down.
Term life insurance is typically the cheapest way for an individual to purchase life insurance coverage. Term life insurance rates are significantly less costly than those for a whole life insurance policy and still provide some flexibility. Our charts below detail quotes 10, 20, and 30 year term life policies so you can see the average cost of each. As you'll see, fewer policy coverage years equate to a cheaper life insurance premium.
This year’s rankings are dominated by SUVs and CUVs, which matches what is happening in the automotive market. According to industry tracker, LMC Automotive, 84 percent of the vehicles sold by General Motors in the U.S. market will be a truck or SUV by 2022. Ford's ratio of SUV and truck sales will grow to 90 percent and Fiat Chrysler's could hit 97 percent.
On the other hand, states where most of the drivers are properly insured and reside in rural areas saw some of the lowest car insurance rates. Maine climbed to the top of the heap this year with an average annual premium of $845, which is 42 percent below the national average. Wisconsin moved into the second place and Idaho stays in third place for the second year in a row. Iowa and Virginia filled out the top five.
Comprehensive coverage: This covers things that could happen to your car not related to an accident that might not be covered by standard insurance, such as weather damage, running into an animal or other factors. It’s a good idea to opt for comprehensive coverage if you can afford it, but it can get costly and might not be worth it if you drive an old or inexpensive car.
Progressive has a slew of available discounts — sharing the top spot for most discounts with Farmers. There’s even one for adding a newly-licensed teen driver to your existing auto policy (surprising given that teenage drivers are among the riskiest to insure). But a policy loaded with discounts isn’t necessarily cheaper than a non-discounted policy, and the Texas Department of Insurance’s data on premiums show that Progressive is, on average, the most expensive for young drivers among the top five in Texas.
Jeeps are rarely considered luxury vehicles. They tend to be pretty bare bones. That makes them cheaper to insure. “The Jeep Wrangler is the iconic off-road vehicle, which implies a rugged lifestyle. However, most Wranglers don't spend a lot of time off the pavement, so they are spared the rough service life. When they do get damaged, the body-on-frame vehicle is easy and inexpensive to repair, and parts are plentiful,” says Harley.
The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
But liability coverage levels come in threes — you’ll probably see something like 50/100/50 up to 250/500/250 in typical policies. You can think of these limits like: individual injuries / total injuries / property damage. Insurers are a little more technical, calling them bodily injury liability, total bodily injury liability and physical damage liability.
The most popular term life insurance option on the market, the 20 year term policy provides longer coverage than its shorter-term 10 year counterpart, though it comes with higher annual rates. These policies are usually recommended for young families who often have large debts and expenses, like mortgages and school loans, that would become extremely burdensome if the breadwinner of the family happened to die unexpectedly. Twenty years is typically long enough for the family to substantially pay down these debts and reduce the potential risk of someone else having to foot the bill should something happen. Take a look at the average cost by Rate Class below:
Averages are based on full coverage for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage.
There isn’t a definitive answer to the question, “which company is the cheapest?” Some companies are cheaper than others, plain and simple, but individual details of your driving profile can affect which companies offer you the cheapest rates. For example, while Nationwide wasn’t the cheapest for a driver with a clean record, it was the relatively cheap for a driver following an at-fault accident. The best way to find cheap car insurance is to compare as many companies as possible using your driving profile.
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Let's use the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as an example to illustrate the differences between collision and comprehensive. Within that storm, let's consider two events that might have happened: 1) a heavy tree branch fell on your car, or 2) you swerved to avoid a falling tree branch and wound up crashing into a tree. In the first event, you had no control over when or why a tree branch would fall on your car. This kind of accident would get reimbursed under your comprehensive policy. In the second situation, you were driving the car and ultimately swerved into the tree, which makes it a collision, and collision insurance therefore pays for the damages. Events like the hypothetical ones stated above are why it's important to differentiate between the two types of coverage.