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8 Ways to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance PossibleMost of us need car insurance, yet few of us fully understand it.

Dozens of car insurance companies may be vying for business in your area, including nationwide players and local insurers. Each offers an eye-glazing assortment of policy options, making it hard to compare policies and figure out what is the best and cheapest car insurance.

If you are looking for the lowest prices, there are some guidelines worth following as you do your research. Here are eight things you can do to ensure that you’re getting the best coverage at the best possible rate.

1. Don’t assume any one company is the cheapest

Some companies spend a lot of money on commercials, trying to convince you that they offer the lowest car insurance rates.

The truth is that prices individuals will pay for the same coverage at the same company vary widely, and no single company can claim to be the low-price leader. The insurance company that’s cheapest for one person in one place might be the most expensive option for a driver in another state. Some insurance companies have also developed complex predictive models that may charge you higher rates if they show you are unlikely to switch providers. This practice, called “price optimization, ” is banned in 16 states.

And there’s quite a bit of savings at stake: A recent NerdWallet analysis found a difference of $859 a year between the average insurance quote and the lowest available quote.

The only way to ensure you’re getting the best deal is to shop around.

2. Don’t ignore local and regional insurance companies

Just four companies control nearly half the nation’s car insurance business: Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm. But smaller, regional insurers, such as Auto Owners Insurance and Erie Insurance, often have higher customer satisfaction ratings than the big names — and they may have lower rates, too. NerdWallet can help you compare rates for companies that serve your area.

3. Check for discounts

Insurers provide a variety of discounts, including price breaks for customers who:

  • Bundle car insurance with other policies, such as homeowners insurance
  • Insure multiple cars with one policy
  • Have a clean driving record
  • Pay their entire annual or six-month premium at once
  • Agree to receive documents online
  • Own a car with certain anti-theft or safety features
  • Are members of particular professional organizations or affiliate groups

Discounts vary by company and location. Check insurance company websites or consult with agents to find out which ones might apply to you.

4. Pay your bills on time — and not just your insurance bills

Your credit is a significant factor in the car insurance quotes you’ll receive — except in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, which don’t allow insurers to consider it. Insurance companies say that customers’ credit has been shown to correlate with their risk of filing a claim.

Improve your credit — and lower your premiums — by paying your bills on time and reducing your debt. Track your progress by checking your credit reports at least once per year.

5. Consider insurance costs when buying a car

You probably already pay attention to factors such as fuel efficiency and repair costs when deciding which car to buy, but you should also consider insurance premiums, which can vary between popular models. A NerdWallet review of rates for best-selling vehicles in 25 cities found that the Toyota Camry, for example, cost an average of $187 per year more to insure than the comparable Honda Accord. Similarly, a Toyota RAV4 cost an average of $201 more to insure than a Honda CR-V.



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