Auto insurance may sometimes seem like an unwelcome expense, but its purpose is a good one — it can shield you from financial loss due to injuries or property damage related to a traffic accident, auto theft, natural disaster or some other event.
But you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get dependable coverage. There are many auto insurance companies out there — you just need to take time to look for coverage that’s right for you, compare quotes and take advantage of whatever discounts might be available.
Here are seven ways to help find cheap car insurance that meets your needs.
Use an auto insurance comparison website to compare quotes
You’ll need to shop around if you’re looking for competitive insurance rates. Consider getting auto insurance quotes from not just national auto insurance companies, like Geico and Allstate, but also smaller insurers, since you never know where the best deals could be hiding.
One of the simplest ways to shop around for insurance coverage is to compare auto insurers online. If you prefer to review insurance options with someone, working with a car insurance agent is another way to go.
It’s not just your driving record that determines the insurance quotes you get. Insurers base the cost of insurance — their premiums — on the risk they’re taking by insuring you. They use claims data and personal information, among other factors, to assess this risk.
In some states, your credit can have some influence on your premium (though California, Massachusetts and Hawaii have all banned the practice of using credit-based insurance scores to help determine rates). And while it’s somewhat controversial, the use of credit-based insurance scores to influence premium cost is still a reality, with studies and surveys suggesting that those with less-than-ideal credit are more likely to make insurance claims and vice versa.
Whether you agree with the practice or not, you should be aware that in certain states drivers with better credit may get better rates than those with credit that’s not so great. For example, a 2015 Consumer Reports survey shows that single respondents with just “good” credit paid as much as a whopping $526 more a year (depending on their state) than similar drivers with the best credit scores.