Car insurance is a fact of life for the majority of Americans. With the average cost of full-coverage car insurance in 2023 at $2,014 nationwide, we understand you want to save money where you can.
We researched sample yearly premiums and vetted each company to help you find cheap car insurance without sacrificing any of the coverage you need. Read on to find our top picks for the best affordable car insurance for 2023.
Our Top Picks
USAA: Military Families
Geico: Most Drivers
Nationwide: Safe Drivers
Erie: Member Perks
State Farm: Teen and Young Adult Drivers
Comparing the Best Affordable Car Insurance Providers
Monthly Cost for Full Coverage*
J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Rating
NAIC Complaint Index Rating**
*Rate quotes are based on a driver profile with a good driving record. Your quote may vary depending on your driver profile.
**A complaint index score of higher than 1.0 means the company receives more complaints than average. Alternatively, a complaint index score lower than 1.0 indicates fewer complaints than average.
USAA Auto Insurance
- AM Best score: A++
- Average annual full-coverage cost: $1,172
- Offers a wide variety of discounts in addition to already-low rates
- Coverage available nationwide and in Washington, D.C.
- Available only to the military community and qualifying family members, not the general public
- Higher-than-average NAIC complaint index score
Why USAA made our list: USAA offers rock-bottom auto insurance rates — with an average full-coverage yearly cost of $1,172, or $97.67 per month. However, USAA insurance is only available to the military community and qualifying family members.
If you qualify for USAA auto insurance, we highly recommend looking into the company. USAA not only offers cheap rates, but also receives a superior financial stability rating from AM Best (indicating the company has the resources to pay your claims) and a high auto claims satisfaction rate showing that other customers were happy with the company’s claims process.
Even though USAA offers affordable rates, the company also offers a variety of additional discounts that can bring your premium down even more. The company offers up to a 30% discount with their safe driving program, USAA SafePilot.
USAA also offers a military-specific discount of up to 60% for garaging your car during a military installment. Note that the storage discount is not available in Hawaii, North Carolina, or Virginia.
Geico Auto Insurance
- AM Best score: A++
- Average annual full-coverage cost: $1,318
- Offers a wide variety of discounts
- DriveEasy app can help lower your premium by tracking your safe driving habits
- Limited insurance coverage beyond auto
- Limited network of local agents
Why Geico made our list: Geico is our top pick for the cheapest auto insurance for most drivers. While USAA does offer the lowest rates, their insurance is available only to the military community. Geico, on the other hand, offers affordable rates to drivers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
While your driving record is one of the main factors in determining your premium cost, providers may also look at your credit-based insurance score. Similar to a traditional credit score, your credit-based insurance score looks at your debt and payment history. According to research from NerdWallet and Bankrate, Geico touts the lowest minimum coverage annual rates for drivers with poor credit.
The company is also known for their wide selection of auto insurance discounts. These include traditional safety feature discounts for things like anti-theft systems and anti-lock brakes to more unique discounts like the federal employee discount and membership discounts if you belong to one of hundreds of qualifying groups.
Geico’s DriveEasy program is yet another potential way to save on your car insurance. Once you download the app, it will automatically detect when you’re driving and will calculate your driving score based on good practices like distraction-free driving. Your DriveEasy score is then calculated into your auto insurance rate.
Nationwide Auto Insurance
- AM Best score: A+
- Average annual full-coverage cost: $1,321
- Offers a vanishing deductible feature of $100 off your deductible for each year of safe driving, up to $500
- SmartRide program rewards safe driving with a discount on your next policy renewal
- Available in 46 states excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Massachusetts
- Below-average J.D. Power claims satisfaction score
Why Nationwide made our list: We found that the average yearly full-coverage insurance rate for Nationwide is $1,321, or $110.08 per month — making it the third cheapest auto insurance provider on our list.
The company offers a wide array of discounts in addition to a few other options and perks, including:
SmartRide program: This usage-based insurance program gives you personalized feedback to help you become a safer driver. You’ll receive a 15% discount when you sign up, and the safer you drive, the higher the discounts can get — up to 40%.
SmartMiles program: If you don’t drive often, the SmartMiles program could save you money. This pay-per-mile program charges a base rate, plus a variable premium based on how many miles you drove in the previous month. In addition to savings based on low mileage, you could also get a 10% discount for safe driving. The program is not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, or Oklahoma.
Vanishing deductible: With this optional feature, for every year you don’t have an accident, your deductible goes down by $100, up to a $500 reduction.
On Your Side Review: Annually and after a big life change (such as a marriage or having a baby), one of Nationwide’s agents can walk you through a free assessment to help you determine if you have the best insurance policy for your current circumstances and discuss available discounts.
Accident forgiveness: After an accident involving you or someone on your policy, accident forgiveness helps you avoid a rate increase so you can save for other costs like a lawyer.
Total loss deductible waiver: If your car is totaled, this coverage lets you waive your comprehensive or collision deductible.
Erie Auto Insurance
- AM Best score: A+
- Average annual full-coverage cost: $1,331
- Ranked number three on CRASH Network’s list of the best insurers that ensure quality repairs and customer service for motorists
- Wide variety of member perks and discounts
- Only available in 12 states and Washington, D.C.
- Doesn’t offer a usage-based auto insurance program
Why Erie made our list: While Erie has limited state coverage availability, the insurance provider is known for its high auto claims satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power, low complaint index score from NAIC, and affordable premiums.
One area where Erie truly stands out is for its member perks, which can help you save money on some of life’s unexpected costs. With its comprehensive coverage, if you lock your keys in the car, for example, Erie will reimburse you up to $75 for the locksmith fees.
If your pet is hurt during a car accident while riding in your car, Erie will help with vet costs by reimbursing you up to $500 per pet (up to two pets) for a maximum reimbursement of $1,000.
For drivers with a good driving history, Erie’s optional Rate Lock benefit is a good one to add to your policy. With Rate Lock, Erie will only increase your premium if you add or remove a car or driver or change your address. If those changes don’t occur, your rate won’t go up even if you’re in an accident or make a claim.
State Farm Auto Insurance
- AM Best score: A++
- Average annual full-coverage cost: $1,355
- Steer Clear program provides discounts and savings for teen and young adult drivers
- Includes a large network of local agents
- Fewer coverage options compared with other top insurers
- Does not offer gap insurance or accident forgiveness
Why State Farm made our list: As the largest insurance company in the U.S. by market share, State Farm offers affordable auto insurance rates with an average full-coverage cost of $1,355 for a driver with a good driving history.
In addition to the common driving discounts offered by many other top insurers, State Farm offers two programs that reward good drivers for their continued safety behind the wheel. The Drive Safe & Save mobile app gets you an initial discount just for enrolling. From there, you can receive up to a 30% discount by driving with the mobile app or connecting the app in your 2020 or newer Ford or Lincoln car.
The other program, Steer Clear, is geared toward teens and young adult drivers. Eligible drivers can use the Steer Clear app to watch safe driving videos, take quizzes, and record their trips. Upon finishing the program, the driver will be awarded with a certification that they can send to their local agent for extra savings.
- AM Best score: A++
- Average annual full-coverage cost: $1,361
- Ranked number 13 on CRASH Network’s list of the best insurers that ensure quality repairs and customer service for motorists
- Received high customer satisfaction scores from NAIC and the Better Business Bureau
- Only available in 26 states
- Doesn't offer online quotes
Why Auto-Owners made our list: Auto-Owners Insurance offers competitive car insurance rates in addition to a slew of discounts to lower your premium even further. It’s worth noting that you can’t get an online quote with Auto-Owners. Instead, you’ll need to reach out to an individual agent who lives in your area.
The insurer offers all the standard and optional coverages you’d expect, and also bundles additional coverages into a Personal Automobile Plus Package for one single price. While you can’t purchase these coverages individually, the package is enticing for rare perks you likely won’t receive elsewhere, including:
Lost or damaged cell phones
Personal property stolen from your car
Damaged or stolen audio and video equipment
Trip interruption when your vehicle is disabled
Transportation expenses after your vehicle is stolen
Expenses and bail bonds resulting from a traffic violation
Additional transportation costs
Waived or reduced deductibles in certain situations
Rental automobile gap coverage
The company’s discounts range from multi-policy bundling to safe driving habit discounts. While these discounts aren’t necessarily unique among top providers, they do offer the opportunity to make a low rate even more affordable.
How To Get Cheaper Car Insurance
Your car insurance quote will depend on your personal driving history and unique circumstances. However, there are steps you can take to help lower your annual premium.
Get multiple quotes: The best way to compare cost is to get quotes from three to four insurance providers. Don’t get tunnel vision during this process — remember to consider how comprehensive the coverage would be with each provider.
Don’t be afraid to switch: While many companies provide small discounts for loyal members, sometimes the biggest savings can come with switching providers entirely. You can even shop for coverage and switch while your policy is in effect if you think your rates are too high.
Make sure you have the right amount of coverage: While we recommend purchasing full-coverage insurance for most drivers, there may be instances where you don’t need it and can save money with minimum-coverage insurance.
Be smart about your deductibles: While a dirt cheap premium can be great, if you need to make a claim and have to pay a sky-high deductible, this can put a strain on your wallet. Consider your finances and see if you can get away with a lower deductible — your future self will thank you.
Drive safe: It’s no secret that safe drivers save on their car insurance. Commit to safe driving practices by stowing your cell phone away and limiting distractions like phone calls when you can.
Bundle your policies: If you can, bundling your homeowners or renters insurance with auto can result in significant discounts.
Let your insurance know of big life changes: Buying a house or getting married can provide additional discount opportunities, so be sure to reach out to your insurance agent when these changes happen.
Factors That Impact the Cost of Your Car Insurance
While you probably already know that your driving record (accidents, tickets, or DUIs) greatly impacts the car insurance quote you will receive from an insurer, there are many other factors that might not be quite so obvious.
Credit score: Credit scores tend to be a good indicator of how many claims a driver will file.
Age: Young drivers and senior drivers are more likely to be involved in a wreck, which can result in a higher premium.
Telematics: Insurers gather data about your actual driving habits to determine how likely you are to have a wreck.
Car make and model: Some cars can increase your premium because of higher repair costs or the potential for the car to cause more damage in a collision.
Car safety features: Older cars without features like anti-theft or anti-lock breaks could increase the cost of your premium. On the flip side, these types of features can result in a discount if your car does have them.
Where you live: Drivers living in a highly populated area can expect a higher premium than those living in a rural area because of the increased risk of an accident.
Driving frequency: The more you drive, the more likely you are to be in an accident. Those who work from home or have a short commute may be able to save money with usage-based discounts.
Should You Get the Cheapest Car Insurance?
While it’s hard to look beyond an exceptionally cheap car insurance quote, we recommend pumping the brakes before you make a decision.
That’s because the cheapest car insurance is for a minimum-coverage policy. While you can save hundreds with a minimum-coverage policy compared to a full-coverage one, it won’t include comprehensive or collision coverage.
So, if you’re at fault in an accident and the damage you cause is more than your liability limits, you’ll be on the hook for the rest yourself. This can result in owing thousands of dollars to an injured driver or paying out of pocket for repairs to their vehicle.
While full-coverage insurance costs more, the long-term savings make it well worth the investment.
Cheap Car Insurance FAQ
Below, we answer some of the commonly asked questions about car insurance.
The cheapest car insurance for the military community is through USAA. For drivers who do not qualify for USAA, we recommend looking into Geico for their affordable rates and variety of additional discounts to help bring your premium down even more.
It’s important to note that the rate information we pulled to determine the cheapest car insurance was for a driver with a good driving record. If your driving record includes multiple tickets or a recent at-fault accident, the quotes you gather may look much different. That’s why we recommend getting quotes from multiple insurers to ensure you’re getting an affordable rate and the coverage you need.
To determine the cheapest car insurance providers, we evaluated the average full-coverage insurance rates of 12 of the top car insurance providers.
From there, we vetted each company against a variety of factors including auto collision satisfaction, financial strength, customer satisfaction and complaint index data, coverage options, discount availability, and state availability to determine the most reputable insurance providers.