Everyone needs car insurance to drive legally on the road. As you start shopping around for new coverage, you start to get a feel for what you might spend. But, how much does car insurance cost, and can you get the price any lower?
In this guide, we cover all of the factors that affect the price. At the end of the article, we will tell you some tips that should help to keep the costs down.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?
You can expect car insurance to cost between $500 and $2000 per year on average, depending on many factors. Full coverage insurance costs around $1,700 per year, while minimum coverage insurance could be closer to $500 a year.
However, several factors affect your rate, including the state you live in, your provider, your age and gender, plus your driving record, the type of vehicle you have, coverage selection, and credit score. So let’s take a look at the factors to consider to determine the car insurance cost.
Average Car Insurance Cost By State
|State||Average annual full coverage insurance||Average annual minimum coverage insurance|
Factors Affecting Car Insurance Cost
As with any expense, it makes a big difference where you live when it comes to auto insurance. Providers take into account the cost of living in a particular area, along with the probability of claims, traffic congestion and theft reports.
Usually, you can get a lower rate if you live in states such as Maine, Vermont, Idaho, New Hampshire or Ohio. Among the highest states, you will pay more if you live in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Louisiana, California or Nevada.
You will also find a wide variety of prices by provider if you do your own comparison shopping. Some of the cheapest companies overall include both Geico and USAA.
Auto insurance providers use their own underwriting systems to determine what you will pay. For some, there will be a factor that’s more important than others. For this reason alone, it’s important to comparison shop to get the best rate based on your circumstances.
Additionally, you don’t want to simply choose the cheapest car insurance company. If it’s not a reputable provider with good reviews, you could be paying for nothing. You want a company that actually has your back when it comes time to pay out.
Insurers place a lot of importance on age. Younger drivers are going to pay the highest premium rates of anyone. Don’t overlook the average rise in prices as you get older as well.
Both the young and the elderly are more prone to accidents, leaving the provider at a higher risk. However, in Massachusetts and Hawaii, it is illegal for the provider to take your age into consideration.
In most states, gender will also play a role in how much you pay. It’s been determined that men are more at-risk than women, thereby increasing the premium prices. Men tend to partake in riskier behaviors on the road than women, so the accidents tend to be more severe.
However, there are a few states that won’t look at gender due to laws. Residents of California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina don’t have to worry about this factor at all.
5. Driving Record
If you have a perfect driving record, you can expect the lowest prices on car insurance. Your driving record is one of the top reasons that the premiums go up. Starting with speeding tickets, having just one can increase your premium by more than 20%. Considering this is one of the most common infractions against drivers, there are a lot of people paying more than necessary for insurance.
There are worse issues than speeding ticket that will raise the rates even higher. One of these is having an at-fault accident on your record. Your premiums could easily go up 40% or more just from one accident. If you have accident forgiveness coverage, you may not pay extra after the first offense, but you will be held responsible moving forward.
The worst thing to have on your record is a DUI conviction. In fact, not all providers will even carry you as a customer with these convictions on your record. If you do get coverage, expect to pay a hefty premium to cover up for your mistakes.
6. Type of Vehicle
Along with your driving record, the insurance company must evaluate what type of vehicle you drive. If you are to get into an accident, the parts and labor costs need to be covered by the insurer, so it’s important that know what this might cost. Additionally, the safety scores are going to be evaluated to determine how much damage might occur during an accident.
Some vehicle types naturally come with a higher insurance premium than others. If you are thinking of driving a sports car or a luxury car, both of these will cost you more. Not only are they more expensive to replace, but they can also hit higher speeds than an average passenger vehicle. Larger vehicles are also going to carry a bigger premium. Not only can these vehicles weigh more, making them more dangerous, but they can also carry additional passengers, leading to bigger medical bills if an accident occurs. On the other hand, not all economy cars get off with a small payment. If the car is susceptible to theft or vandalism because of what kind it is, expect the premiums to rise accordingly.
7. Credit Score
You can pay a lot more for car insurance simply by having a low credit score. Some states use a credit-based score that determines if you are more likely to file claims.
For now, Washington is still deciding whether credit should be used for these purposes. In the meantime, Michigan, California, Hawaii and Massachusetts residents won’t have their credit looked at before getting an insurance policy.
8. Coverage Selection
There’s a multitude of insurance coverage solutions available to you. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan to choose from. Instead, the selections you opt for will have a dramatic impact on the cost. That’s why it’s important to carefully select the options to fit your needs.
If you want or need high liability limits, your premium will be higher. Additionally, full coverage will cost you a lot more than basic liability protection. On top of what plans are chosen, the deductible also plays a part in the cost. If you choose a higher deductible per incident, the plan can be cheaper. You would just need to make sure you have the cash to pay this deductible if an accident occurs.
How to Get Lowest Car Insurance Cost
1. Drive Safe
The best way to lower your insurance rates is to be a safe driver. If you can avoid tickets and accidents, you will be a hot commodity to providers. They may even fight to get your business. If you have no claims on your record over the past five years, you should be able to qualify for a safe driver discount.
If you feel like proving to providers that you are a safe driver, consider using one of the telematics programs. With the tracking software, the insurance company can easily see that you remain safe on the road, thereby lowering your premiums.
2. Bundle Plans
Most insurance companies offer more than just car protection. If your company also provides policies for your home or recreational vehicles, consider bundling them together for a better discount.
If your company doesn’t offer the chance to bundle, you might consider shopping around. A lot of money can be saved on one or more of your policies by putting them all with one company.
3. Qualify for Discounts
Auto insurance companies offer a variety of discounts that can save you money. You will find different offerings from each provider, so it’s important to look and see what your options are.
If you are a young driver, you want to look at the good student discount options. If you can keep your grade point average up, insurance companies are happy to reward you. There are also discounts available based on how much you drive. If you aren’t spending a lot of time on the road, you might want to take advantage of a low-mileage discount. Beyond this, it’s wise to check with your employer to see if they have a relationship with any providers for better rates.
4. Pay in Full
With many providers, you can choose from a multitude of different payment options, ensuring you aren’t enduring more hardship than necessary. With most of the main providers, you can pay monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or yearly.
If you pay the premium in full at the start of the policy, you might receive a discount. With the other payment options, it’s normal for the company to add a fee for the additional paperwork and handling. If you can pay it upfront, it’s best. However, not everyone can afford to do this, which is understandable.
5. Comparison Shop
Even if you love the company you are with, it’s smart to comparison shop every time your policy is up for renewal. Just because you shop around doesn’t mean you need to dump the coverage you currently have. In fact, if you find a lower rate somewhere else, you might take this information to your current provider to see if they will match it.
Otherwise, you might determine that there is a better deal out there for you. Depending on your life circumstances, you may discover better discounts through another company. Just make sure you perform plenty of research into the companies to ensure your claims will be paid out and you will be covered should the need ever arise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is car insurance so expensive in the US?
Car insurance is expensive in the US because the US has a high rate of car ownership and a high rate of car accidents. The United States has a higher rate of car ownership than other developed countries, mainly due to its large open spaces and long transportation distances. And the US has a higher rate of car accidents than other developed countries because Americans tend to drive more miles per year than people in other countries.
Is car insurance yearly or monthly?
It depends on the insurance company. Insurance companies usually have both options, and you can choose if you want to pay monthly or annually. Typically, if you are paying yearly, you will get a discount and if you are paying monthly, you will likely have to pay a higher premium.
How much does car insurance cost for a beginner?
The cost of car insurance for a beginner or new driver will depend on a number of factors, including the state where you live and your age. In general, young drivers can expect to pay more for car insurance than older drivers.
In order to get as accurate an estimate as possible of how much your car insurance will cost, it is important to compare prices from several insurance companies. The best way to do this is to use an online quote tool, which gives you instant quotes from a variety of suppliers in your area.
We hope our article helped give you an insight into the various factors that affect car insurance prices and how they vary from state to state. Now that you know more about what it takes to determine these costs, be sure to shop around for the best price on coverage for your vehicle.
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