When it comes to shopping around for car insurance, it can be difficult to figure out the pricing structure. Part of the issue is that the price varies significantly by where you live, the minimum coverage requirements and a number of other factors.
The average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,758 per year, which works out to about $146.50 per month. In Florida, the average monthly cost is 29% higher than the national average. A car insurance policy in Alaska, on the other hand, will cost you much less on average, at just $77.88 per month. Even ZIP codes in the same town can differ.
This means that your insurance premium and the premium of your friend living across town will likely be quite different.
With all those factors, how do you know what to expect when it comes to the cost of auto insurance? Well, we’ve got your back. We’ll go into how much auto insurance costs by state and by insurance provider, dive into the other factors, and talk about what you can do to save money on auto insurance.
The Simple Dollar analyzed millions of car insurance rates in every U.S. ZIP code to determine the average cost by state, carrier, coverage amount, credit score, and other factors from Coverage.com. This includes analyzing thousands of rates from all 50 states that were publicly sourced from 2019 insurer filings. Rates are based on a 30-year-old male or female that had a clean driving record, and we looked at those who had both good and poor credit. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but your own quote may differ based on your unique driving profile.
What decides the cost of auto insurance?
Here, we’ll get into details about factors that decide the cost of your car insurance. They can be:
- Where you live
- The car you drive
- Your driving history
- Education level
- How long you’ve been driving
- Your credit score
- Your driving habits
- The amount of coverage you choose
- The type of coverage you choose
1. Why does where I live affect the cost of car insurance?
Car insurance rates vary dramatically by state and even ZIP code.
Let’s look at Louisiana. That state offers the most expensive rates for full coverage, with an average annual rate of $3,279.18. One of the reasons why car insurance is so expensive in Louisiana is because the state has one of the highest accident rates. The number of fatal accidents and frequency of collisions in the state is significantly higher than the national average, which leads to higher auto insurance rates.
State car insurance rates are also determined by the number of uninsured drivers on the road. This leads Florida to be the most expensive state for minimal coverage — 26.7% of drivers don’t have car insurance. Uninsured drivers create more risk and ultimately increase the price of insurance for everyone.
Most expensive full and minimum coverage costs per state
|State (Full coverage cost)||Average Full Coverage Cost||Average Full Coverage Monthly Cost||State (Minimum coverage cost)||Average Min. Coverage Cost||Average Min. Coverage Monthly Cost|
|1. Louisiana||$3,279||$273||1. Florida||$1,544||$129|
|2. Florida||$3,289||$266||2. Michigan||$1,525||$127|
|3. Maryland||$3,079||$257||3. Maryland||$1,489||$124|
|4. Michigan||$2,730||$227||4. Louisiana||$1,488||$124|
|5. New York||$2,609||$217||5. Rhode Island||$1,445||$120|
|6. Pennsylvania||$2,493||$208||6. Connecticut||$1,309||$109|
|7. New Jersey||$2,471||$206||7. New York||$1,245||$104|
|8. California||$2,417||$201||8. New Jersey||$1,162||$97|
|9. Rhode Island||$2,394||$200||9. Delaware||$1,017||$85|
|10. Colorado||$2,346||$196||10. Nevada||$989||$82|
Which states have the cheapest car insurance?
At an average premium of just over $300 each year, Iowa drivers pay the least amount for minimal coverage –– by a significant amount. Iowa’s low population density is one of the main reasons costs are so low. The majority of the state is made up of “dense rural” areas, rather than urban areas. With fewer drivers on the road, there is less risk of accidents overall.
Cheapest full and minimum coverage cost per state
|State (Full coverage rank)||Average Full Coverage Cost||Average Full Coverage Monthly Cost||State (Minimum Coverage rank)||Average Min. Coverage Cost||Average Min. Coverage Monthly Cost|
|1. Idaho||$1,094||$91||1. Iowa||$306||$26|
|2. Maine||$1,242||$103||2. South Dakota||$382||$32|
|3. Hawaii||$1,264||$105||3. North Dakota||$390||$32|
|4. Iowa||$1,275||$106||4. Wyoming||$393||$33|
|5. Vermont||$1,366||$114||5. Nebraska||$412||$34|
|6. Ohio||$1,397||$116||6. Idaho||$429||$36|
|7. Nebraska||$1,397||$116||7. Hawaii||$439||$37|
|8. North Carolina||$1,417||$118||8. Montana||$441||$37|
|9. North Dakota||$1,419||$118||9. Ohio||$462||$38|
|10. New Hampshire||$1,487||$124||10. North Carolina||$482||$40|
2. What are my choices of insurance coverage and which are more expensive?
Though every state sets its own regulations, there is a minimum amount of insurance you must carry in each of the 48 states that require car insurance. (New Hampshire and Virginia don’t require insurance.) You can choose to carry higher limits, which will result in a higher premium.
What type of auto insurance coverage should I choose?
You can also choose to add collision and/or comprehensive coverage to your policy to create “full coverage.” While minimum coverage only protects you against liability claims from others, full coverage also protects your vehicle. Collision coverage, as the name suggests, protects your vehicle when it collides with another vehicle, building or other objects. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle in non-collision incidents, such as theft or a natural disaster.
Not everyone needs full coverage. Here are some things to consider if full coverage is right for you:
- Older vehicles may not need full coverage since the deductible could be higher than the value of the car.
- Full coverage may not be worth it if you rarely drive and have little to no history of accidents.
- If you have a lease or a car loan, check with your lender. You may be required to maintain full coverage.
Your policy limits and deductible will fine-tune your car insurance costs, whether you choose minimum or full coverage. The policy limits are how much the insurance company will pay for each type of incident. The deductible is how much you are responsible for paying before the insurance company starts to pay.
Should I choose minimum coverage vs. full coverage?
Minimum coverage car insurance differs in every state, but it usually includes: bodily injury, liability coverage and property damage liability coverage at a minimum. This is the cheapest coverage you can buy, and you can’t legally carry less than the minimum amount.
Full coverage car insurance, on the other hand, is more expensive because it offers significantly more protection. However, it’s worth the added cost. If you settle for the state’s minimum insurance requirements, you run the risk of being underinsured.
Full coverage car insurance usually includes:
You will see coverage amounts listed as three numbers separated by slashes, such as 30/50/30. These numbers represent, in order, bodily injury liability per person, bodily injury liability per accident and property damage liability per accident, in thousands of dollars. So 30/50/30 insurance covers $30,000 of bodily injury per person, $50,000 of bodily injury per accident and $30,000 of property damage per accident.
Drivers can also elect to purchase additional coverage for things like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and accident forgiveness.
If you get into a costly accident, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have enough coverage to pay for the full extent of the damages. In that case, you would be financially responsible for paying the difference, which would come out-of-pocket.
3. Can my credit score impact the cost of car insurance?
Your credit score can have a massive impact on your car insurance rates, regardless of other factors. Only three states — California, Hawaii and Massachusetts — ban insurers from factoring in credit score, while in many states your rates could more than double if your credit is poor.
Car insurance cost: poor credit vs. good credit
|Carrier||Good Credit Full Coverage Average Cost||Poor Credit Full Coverage Average Cost||Difference|
4. Do my age and gender affect the cost of auto insurance?
In a word, yes. Even your basic demographics can have a strong impact on your car insurance costs. Most (though not all) states allow drivers to be rated based on:
- Age: Younger drivers and those over the age of 75 generally pay more.
- Gender: Among drivers under age 25, men typically pay more than women — this discrepancy tends to go away for more experienced drivers.
- Marital status: Married people are considered lower risk, and thus tend to pay less for car insurance.
5. Can my type of car affect the cost of my insurance?
Which car you choose can have a surprisingly big effect on your insurance rates.
Less expensive to insure
- Big vehicles
- Family vehicles such as SUVs or sedans
More expensive to insure
- Small cars
- Sports cars, especially those that are considered high-performance
6. How can my driving history affect the cost of auto insurance?
As you might expect, insurance companies don’t particularly like paying claims. So if your driving history is poor, you can expect higher premiums. In order of costliness, some things that could raise your rates include:
7. Do auto insurance companies care about my driving habits?
Statistically, the more you drive, the more likely you are to get into an accident. Likewise, parking on the street is more likely to result in damage than parking in your own garage. To save money on car insurance, consider:
- Taking public transportation to work
- Reducing your commute
- Paying for off-street parking
8. How does the car insurance company I choose affect my cost of auto insurance?
Of course, all insurance carriers are free to set their own prices. Some carriers offer discounts for which you might qualify, such as safe driving bonuses or discounts for military families, and some may rate your particular risk level lower than others. So it always pays to shop around.
As you can see below, most major car insurance providers are in the same ballpark for rates, but there are some clear outliers. You’ll get the most expensive full coverage auto insurance premium from Allstate, and the most affordable from USAA.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Travelers offered the most expensive minimum coverage rate of $815.41, and USAA offers the cheapest rate by far – just $487.04 each year. This makes USAA seem like the obvious choice, but USAA doesn’t provide coverage to just anyone — it has strict military and immediate family restrictions.
|Carrier||Full Coverage Average Cost||Full Coverage Monthly Cost||Minimum Coverage Average Cost||Minimum Coverage Monthly Cost|
How can I save on car insurance?
There are a few tricks for saving on auto insurance, including lowering the amount you drive, improving your credit score, and of course, driving more safely. You can also get a host of discounts, depending on your choice in insurance provider.
To get the best deal for your circumstances, conduct a car insurance comparison.
Different insurers offer different discounts. Insurers like Geico, State Farm and Progressive are frequently recognized for having cheaper car insurance rates.
Common discounts include:
- Good student savings
- Certain organization membership
- Active duty military
- Bundling other policies with the same company
- Driving a low-risk car
- Infrequent driving
- Having a good credit score
Boost your credit score
Taking the steps to improve your credit score is a powerful way to save money on your car insurance. As an added bonus, it will help reduce costs in other areas like credit card APRs. Start by paying all of your bills on time, checking your credit report for errors and keeping your credit card balances low. Remember, improving your credit score is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take some months to see your score increase.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the car insurance we recommend. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.