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Cheapest rates for car insurance

When it comes to getting low rates on auto coverage, shopping around is key. Prices can swing dramatically from one insurer to the next and depend on personal factors such as age, marital status and credit rating. To help drivers simplify their shopping and find cheap car insurance in Maryland, NerdWallet researched the three lowest estimates in the state for the following groups:

Cheapest for drivers with a military connection

Get a quoteUSAA is available only to active military members, veterans and their families.

If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are good you’ll get a cheaper-than-average rate with USAA, an option that isn’t available to the general public. USAA is the cheapest auto insurance option for every driver type below, in many cases by a large amount. USAA customers also benefit from the insurer’s top-rated customer service.

Cheapest for good drivers

For drivers with no accidents, DUIs or moving violations; range: $808 to $1, 695 a year

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While USAA scored significantly lower rates than the competition, only retired or active military and their families are eligible. For non-military shoppers, both Erie and Geico offer plentiful discounts and similar coverages. Erie’s service area is much smaller than Geico’s, however, meaning drivers may have to switch companies if they move out of Maryland.

cheap-car-insurance-in-maryland-dummy-post-storyCheapest for young drivers

For drivers in their early 20s; range: $448 to $1, 346 a year

Drivers in their early 20s, given their leaner coverage needs compared to older motorists, can score relatively cheap car insurance in Maryland. USAA notched an average premium that was about half its nearest competitor’s, but again, only retired or active military and their families qualify. Among the other two cheapest options, Erie distinguishes itself with an unusually high number of young driver discounts, including discounts for living with parents, being insured under a parent’s policy, taking a driver safety course and attending college full time.

Cheapest for families with a teen driver

For middle-aged couples with one teen driver; range: 7 to , 650 a year.

ERIE_20LogoNerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates.

USAA also came out as the cheapest option for families with a teen on the policy. USAA is only available to active or retired military and their families. For non-military folks, our research found that Erie wasn’t much more, about $15 per month extra. With a massive range of quotes for this category overall — nearly $11, 000 between lowest and highest — shopping around is especially crucial.

Cheapest for drivers with poor credit

For drivers placed in the lowest credit tier as determined by the industry; range: $808 to $4, 241 a year

Per Maryland law, insurers aren’t allowed to refuse or cancel a policy based on drivers’ credit scores, but they can use credit as a factor in pricing. Military option USAA, which ranked as the cheapest option in our study, actually had the same average quote for drivers with poor credit as those with no credit issues. Given the same circumstances, Erie’s average premium was about $400 a year higher. Clearly each insurer handles credit scores a bit differently, which is why comparing estimates from a variety of companies is so beneficial.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault accident

Range: $994 to $3, 945 a year

Having an at-fault accident on your record may lead to a higher premium. Exactly how much higher depends largely on the insurer. Erie showed increases in the range of $150 to $300 a year above their quotes for accident-free drivers, while Geico raised its premium by nearly $600. If you have an at-fault accident on your record, you may want to look for insurers that offer accident forgiveness, which could prevent rates from climbing after your first at-fault incident (or first in a while).

Cheapest for retired drivers

For drivers in their mid- to late 60s who no longer use their car for commuting; range: $691 to $2, 584 a year

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