Most states mandate that you carry a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. Unfortunately, they don't offer any guidelines on how much you should spend for that coverage, and rates can vary tremendously among insurance providers, with everything from your car's age to your credit history impacting the premiums you pay. While you don't want to skimp, you don't want to spend a fortune either.
Luckily for you, we did our homework on the cheapest car insurance options out there. In compiling the data, we considered all the major components that influence car insurance rates, including driving records, credit scores, discounts, daily driving habits, and more. Based on our findings, we selected the following as the five best cheap car insurance companies currently available on a national scale.
Below you'll find auto insurance offers available from our advertising partners, followed by our complete in-depth list of the best cheap car insurance companies we've found.
Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies of 2021
Best Discount Offerings : GEICO
While inexpensive premiums help, you also can save a lot of money on your car insurance by choosing a company that offers a wide variety of discounts. While most people know about typical rate reductions, like multi-car and multi-policy discounts, not everyone thinks to ask about other deals.
When we researched the best car insurance companies, we found that GEICO offered some of the cheapest rates and provided the most discount options out of all the major carriers. In fact, GEICO offers nearly 20 unique discounts, from up to 23% off for using airbags to 15% off if you're insuring a car you bought new less than three years ago.
Coverage & Discounts
GEICO provides the basic coverages everyone needs—liability and collision/comprehensive—in addition to mechanical breakdown insurance and coverages for other motor-operated items like motorcycles, ATVs, boats, and RVs.
What really makes GEICO worthwhile to customers is the sheer number of discounts the company offers. The things you can get breaks for include:
- Anti-lock brakes
- Anti-theft systems
- Daytime running lights
- New vehicles
- Good drivers
- Seat belt uses
- Educated drivers
- Federal employees
- Multi-vehicle and multi-policy
- Customer loyalty
GEICO offers an outstanding online experience, starting with its quick online quote process. It's one of the few companies that allow you to complete an entire quote and registration online. GEICO customers can manage policies and make any needed policy changes anytime from anywhere via the GEICO website. GEICO also offers a comprehensive mobile app.
GEICO's digital experience also offers connectivity with your Amazon Echo or Google Home. This means you can access your account information and check on the status of claims or payments anywhere in your home. Additionally, if you use the GEICO app, you can request roadside assistance or access your policy info from the road.
GEICO consistently receives top ratings from both its own customers as well as industry experts. It holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and an A++ rating (the top possible) in financial strength with AM Best. Finally, J.D. Power recently awarded GEICO the top spot in its 2020 Insurance Shopping Study.
Read the full review: GEICO Car Insurance
Best Variety of Coverages : Travelers Insurance
Different customers have different car insurance needs, and Travelers offers options that can help you customize your policy for your specific situation. If you're a student, an experienced driver with a clean history, a homeowner, or more, you can find options to help you save.
Travelers Insurance offers all the same basic types of car insurance as most other companies and coverages that help it stand out, including GAP coverage, roadside assistance, and rental car coverage.
It also features a new car replacement policy: If your car is totaled within the first five years of ownership, it will provide you with the same make and model. However, Travelers doesn't provide insurance in all states, so visit its website to verify if coverage is available in your area.
When it comes to discounts, Travelers offers breaks for:
- Multi-car and multi-policy
- Safe driving/clean records
- Automatic payment
- Hybrid and electric vehicles
When it comes to digital integration, MyTravelers® online portal customers have 24/7 access to pay their bills, view or print insurance cards, view their coverage plans and other information, or even report a claim. Travelers also offers an integrated experience with your Amazon Echo, which allows you to ask Amazon’s Alexa for information on your policy or even contact your local Travelers agent.
In addition to the amazing technology integrations, Travelers offers outstanding customer service. According to National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Travelers Company Complaint Index is far better than the industry average. The insurer also maintains an A rating by the Better Business Bureau.
Best Driving Habit Discount Program : Nationwide
Many car insurance companies offer sizeable discounts for drivers who agree to report their mileage and driving habits. Some of these programs require installing a device directly in your car, while others utilize a smartphone app.
Nationwide's SmartRide is one of the most generous such programs, offering drivers savings that can add up to 40% of their premium costs. You even get a 10% discount for just signing up.
Coverage & Discounts
Like the other companies on our list, Nationwide offers a full range of auto liability coverages plus other vehicle protection options. Some of the best choices include accident forgiveness coverage, which protects your premium rate if you are at fault in an accident, and a total loss deductible waiver, which waives your collision or comprehensive deductibles if you total your car or someone steals it.
When it comes to discounts, Nationwide offers deals for:
- Safe driver
- Good student
- Anti-theft device
- Automatic payment
- Paperless documents
However, the most important perk with Nationwide is the SmartRide program. When you join it, you will download the SmartRide App to record your driving habits: the number of miles you drive, the amount of nighttime driving, how often you do fast acceleration, hard braking, etc.
Depending on these measurements, the device calculates a discount each week; after several months, a final discount rate is registered and applied when you renew your policy. You get 10% off just for enrolling in the program, and Nationwide claims you can save up to 40% on your auto insurance.
Nationwide is trying hard to compete with GEICO regarding the digital experience it provides to users. It offers a mobile app for iPhones and Android phones, including payment options, claim management, and fingerprint login capabilities.
Nationwide maintains full accreditation and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but it does have several complaints, mostly due to the speed of the claims process.
Best Option for Poor Credit : Liberty Mutual
Many car insurance companies offer lower rates to customers with good credit scores and credit histories, figuring these individuals are more financially responsible and reliable. Thankfully, some companies keep their rates fairly constant, even for those with less-than-stellar credit scores. Liberty Mutual is one of the cheapest car insurance options out there for those with poor credit.
Coverage & Discounts
In addition to its low premiums, Liberty Mutual offers some uncommon coverage options that really help it stand out from other insurance companies: accident forgiveness, lifetime repair guarantees, and new car replacement. Additionally, they offer a special Teachers’ Auto Insurance that includes some perks like vandalism loss protection, personal property coverage, and collision coverage for school-related incidents.
Liberty Mutual has a variety of discounts, though some of them—being a student with a high GPA or having a hybrid car—are available only in certain states.
Liberty Mutual offers one of the most comprehensive websites in the industry. If you are not a Liberty Mutual customer but are in an accident with someone who is, you can file a claim against them through their website. Also, Liberty Mutual's mobile app can be used to pay bills, update policies, and file claims.
While Liberty Mutual is one of the top insurance providers in the nation, the company's customer satisfaction and complaint records still seem a little disproportionate to the number of customers served, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Best Rates for Military Members : USAA
If you or an immediate family is a current or former military member, you may qualify for the low rates and amazing discounts offered by USAA. Between the discount options and outstanding ratings, this company is hands down the best choice for any qualifying person looking for cheap car insurance.
Coverage & Discounts
USAA offers all of the basic types of car insurance coverage you could ever need. It also offers some great add-ons like rideshare coverage, life insurance, and medical policies. Also, like most other companies on this list, USAA provides policies for homeowners, renters, and more, so you can bundle policies and make USAA your only destination for insurance coverage.
When it comes to discounts, USAA offers most of the common discounts people expect, plus some lucrative discounts that specifically apply to military service members. For example, USAA provides discounts to those who live on base, store their vehicles, or drive only a limited number of miles per year.
USAA offers a great digital experience that includes website and mobile app access for customers. With either option, you can pay your bill, access digital ID cards, and even file claims. Furthermore, the USAA website also offers lots of information on insurance and financial planning, as well as calculators to help you plan everything out.
Although USAA is available only to current and former military members, USAA car insurance tops the charts when it comes to customer satisfaction. J.D. Power issued outstanding ratings to USAA in its 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, AM Best has given USAA the highest financial rating possible, A++.
Read the full review: USAA Car Insurance
Compare Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies
|GEICO||Best Discount Offerings|
|Travelers Insurance||Best Variety of Coverages|
|Nationwide||Best Driving Habit Discount Program|
|Liberty Mutual||Best Option for Poor Credit|
|USAA||Best Rates for Military Members|
How Can I Find Cheap Car Insurance?
Before committing to one car insurance company, it's always a wise decision to shop around and collect multiple quotes before committing to a provider; be sure to peruse the list of available discounts with each insurance company and be sure of what's available in your state.
On your own behalf, maintain a clean driving record and find ways to improve your credit score. Also, if the company offers different types of property insurance, consider bundling your auto and homeowners policies for additional savings.
How Much Coverage Do I Need?
When you look into car insurance, it's important to remember that different types of coverage take care of a variety of damages. When determining how much car insurance you need, you first should verify what your state's required coverages include. Base your decisions on which coverages and deductibles you select on the age and value of your car. While things like GAP coverage and collision/comprehensive make sense for newer vehicles, they don't always provide any real benefits to drivers with older, high-mileage cars.
The Bottom Line
When you're on a tight budget, every bit of savings helps. Luckily, there are numerous ways to save money on your car insurance, and you easily can find the cheapest car insurance provider for your needs with a little bit of homework. Whether you're a safe driver who can benefit from Travelers' rates or someone who can save up to 40% by using Nationwide's SmartRide program, do your homework and compare rates side-by-side to make sure you score the cheapest car insurance that fits your needs.
How We Chose the Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies
When selecting the cheapest car insurance companies to feature in this list, we evaluated every car insurance company with national availability based on several categories. These considerations included the company’s financial strength via AM Best, satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power’s most recent Claims Satisfaction Survey, customer-provided reviews from the Better Business Bureau, and other unbiased, data-collecting websites. In addition, we also sifted through comparison data from multiple consumer review websites and unbiased online write-ups for each company listed.