Contributor, Benzinga
August 22, 2023

Want to save money on your car insurance? Find and compare free custom quotes here.

Almost every state in America requires some type of car insurance. And laws aside, driving without insurance can pose a huge financial risk to you and other drivers. That's why taking the time to find the best car insurance is so important.

Here, we'll walk you through what car insurance is, what it covers (and what it doesn't!) as well as what affects your car insurance rate. Or, if you're ready to dive right into choosing a plan, easily compare quotes from some of our favorite providers below.

Quick Look: The Best Car Insurance Companies

The Best Car Insurance

Benzinga has done ample research on a wide range of car insurance providers. Here's some of our favorites.

1. Best for Getting the Cheapest Rates: Savvy

Let someone else shop around for you. Why not get quotes from a few different places to make sure you’re getting the absolute best deal on your auto insurance?

A free website called Savvy will help you find the best rates — in under 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826 a year.

All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer.

2. Best for Pay-Per-Mile Insurance from an Established Company: Allstate

Do you have more than 1 vehicle you want to protect? You need to strike a balance between enhanced coverage and affordable rates. Allstate offers a number of bundled discounts that you can use to save when you insure more than 1 vehicle.

Allstate even offers replacement value coverage, which will give you the actual replacement value of your car if you total your vehicle. This can be a very important coverage if multiple adults in your home each rely on a vehicle and you can’t afford to take time off to save for repairs. As a car insurance company, Allstate understands the needs of policyholders and provides excellent customer service.

3. Best for Drivers With Consistently Good Driving Habit: Progressive

Progressive is a great option because it offers coverage for everyone at affordable rates. Progressive also offers a wide range of additional discounts you can take advantage of to lower your premium even further.

You can get a discount for having good grades if you’re a student and you can even get a discount for owning a home — even if your home isn’t insured with Progressive. You can use Progressive’s Name-Your-Price tool to choose a premium and deductible you can afford if you’re on a limited monthly budget.

4. Best for Roadside Assistance: AAA

AAA is a top choice for drivers. It’s affordable and offers multiple benefits, especially if you have more than 1 driver. AAA’s online quote tool is marked at an average of $1,101.04 for a 1-year policy, with discounts if you have multiple drivers, anti-theft and safety devices, have taken a defensive driving class, are a good student and more.

AAA also offers new car forgiveness and accident forgiveness. Save $10 with Auto-renewal enrollment & add a New Member for 50% off with AAA! All memberships include Road & Battery Service, Exclusive Discounts from our partners and more!

5. Best for Rideshare Drivers: State Farm

Benzinga’s State Farm review crowned it one of the most affordable car insurance providers because of its bundling options. State Farm also includes one of the most generous discount programs with dozens of ways to save. State Farm will insure a classic vehicle as long as the supporting policies are with them as well.

State Farm has a way that every driver can save, from bringing home good grades as a student driver to combining your auto policy with your homeowners insurance.

6. Best for Those Over 50: AARP Auto Insurance Program from the Hartford

The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford is designed exclusively for AARP members who are at least 50 years old. Some of the unique features of the program can help you save money on your policy over time, especially if you have and maintain a clean driving record.

This plan is best for AARP members who are safe drivers and looking to save some money on their premium as a result.

This program also offers several unique benefits and add-ons, including: new car replacement coverage, lifetime guarantees for car repairs and 24/7 roadside assistance. This is in addition to the standard coverages it already offers, including bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical payments coverage, personal injury coverage and more.

7. Best for On-Demand and Travel Coverage:  Bonzah

Bonzah by Pablow Inc. is a unique provider offering up to 1 million in on-demand liability insurance for your rental car — usually at a much lower rate than you’ll pay for rental care insurance at the rental desk. And unlike most auto insurance coverage, you’ll pay no deductibles when you’re covered by Bonzah.

Bonzah is available in every American state and in almost every country worldwide. They’re currently the only place online you can get on-demand primary and supplementary insurance for your rental car.

When you choose Bonzah for your rental car coverage, you enjoy the following benefits of your policy:

  • Rental car damage up to $35,000
  • Primary & Supplementary Liability up to $1 million
  • Baggage & Personal Items up to $500
  • Zero deductible
  • Cancel policy within 10 days of purchase free of charge if you haven’t filed a claim or left for your trip
  • All eligible drivers over 21 are covered

Main Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

Insurance is governed at the state level, so while many basic coverages will be similar, there are some different approaches on coverage options, depending on the state in which you reside. Most of these differences are in the liability coverage options and in the medical coverage options. First, let’s discuss the core coverage areas.

TypeDescriptionRequired by state*Required by lenders*What it coversWhat it doesn’t coverDeductible information
Full CoverageCombination of collision, comprehensive, and liability coverageNoYesEverything covered by collision, comprehensive and liability Car rental, gap insurance, Medical payments coverage,  uninsured/underinsured motorist,
Rental Reimbursement,
Depends on your combination of insurance
CollisionProtects your own property in the case of a collisionNoYesRepairs caused by an impact with another car, pot hole, guard railing, and repairs due to a collisions with a stationary object
*Not just a car
Damage to any other vehicle, injured pets, Medical payments coverage, other damages not due to a collision,
Rental Reimbursement
Reimburses actual cash value (ACV) for your car minus your chosen deductible
Comprehensive Covers non-accident related repairs NoYesDamages caused by broken glass, falling objects, fires, impacts with animals, theft, and vandalism Damage to other people’s personal property or expenses from their bodily harmN/A
Liability Covers damage to another person’s property and injuriesYesYesVaries, but generally costs incurred by another person’s bodily injury and their Your own damage to your personal property or your own bodily harm Coverage limits vary per person covered and their coverage limits
Medical Coverage Two main options, depending on state: MedPay and Personal Injury Protection (PIP)Yes. Depends on the stateN/AMay cover a combination of funeral, medical, lost wages, and dental care expensesRestrictions vary widely per policy Health insurance will be used first, That is used as a secondary payment. Auto Med Pay is first
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury & Property Damage CoverageProtects you from uninsured or underinsured drivers In some statesIn some statesYou and your passenger(s)’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering*If you do not have this coverage on your vehicle, you may not have coverage for it. Check with your agent.May or may not have a deductible, depending on your policy

*Varies by state and provider. Check your state laws and insurance provider’s requirements for specific information.

What is Car Insurance?

Like most insurance policies, an auto insurance coverage policy is a contractual agreement between you and the insurer. In exchange for your payment, known as a monthly premium, the car insurance company offers financial protection for you and your vehicle in certain instances and with certain terms and conditions.

Car insurance typically offers 3 types of coverage, or protection, with different states having different minimum coverage mandates.


3 Types of Protection in a Car Insurance Policy

  • Property coverage: this covers events like theft or damage to your vehicle in an accident.
  • Medical: this provides financial coverage for your or others medical expenses should any result from an accident or event while driving your vehicle.
  • Liability: this provides coverage for whatever legal responsibility you have for bodily or property damage that involves others.

How much your car insurance costs depends on several factors, which you can read more about below. Or, if you're ready to compare plans, check out some of our favorite providers below.

What Affects Car Insurance Rates?

Insurance is the transfer of risk from an individual to a pool of individuals. To make the math work, insurance companies need to understand the risk you represent relative to the pool. This is sometimes called your insurance score.

These following factors all play into your insurance score:

  • Credit
  • Driving history
  • Where you live
  • The type of car your drive
  • How many miles you drive
  • Your driving experience
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Home ownership
  • Recent claim trends
  • Geographic trends like laws or weather in an area

Credit: Insurance companies have found a correlation between credit ratings and the risk of a claim – for all major insurance types.

Driving History: Including tickets, accidents, DUI incidents, and reckless or careless driving violations. It’s common for insurers to weigh accidents in the past 5 years and tickets or violations in the past 3 years.

Location: Where you live is a bigger deal than you might think. Urban areas have more cars on the roads to bump into – and more distractions.

Type of Car: The repair or replacement costs may be higher with certain makes or models. Some types of cars are more likely to be stolen or scrapped for parts. Also, the safety features or crash ratings of a particular type of car affect rates.

Miles Driven: Every mile driven is a mile in which you could be involved in an accident. Some insurers offer a discount for low mileage drivers. If your mileage use is well above the average of about 15,000 miles per year, some insurers will charge more.

Experience: They say experience is the best teacher, and if we don’t have much experience driving, insurance companies may charge more. Some insurers won’t even write a policy for a driver with less than three to five years of driving experience.

Gender: On average, males will pay more than females, especially if they’re younger.

Age: Younger drivers will pay more than older drivers. Different insurers begin to give price breaks at different ages. Some begin at age 21. Others begin at age 25, or even 30. Some insurers will also charge more for drivers over the age of 70.

Home Ownership: Insurance companies generally give lower rates to homeowners because they have found a correlation between homeownership and reduced risk. You can also bundle your homeowner's insurance.

Recent Claim Trends: It’s not unusual for an auto insurance company to raise rates in a state following an event that creates a surge in claims, like a large storm. You should also be aware of how litigious your state is compared with others. Someone who had relatively inexpensive insurance in, for example, Ohio, might pay much more when they move to Georgia because litigation occurs far more often in Georgia.

Geographic Location: In some cases, these differences can be due to state rules that mandate certain types or levels of coverage. In other cases, an area can be more expensive because the roads are more heavily congested. Weather events can also be another driving force that affects rates by region. Hail, wind, and storms can cause damage to cars, cause accidents, and create surges in claims. As mentioned above, your location can also play into pricing, especially if your specific town or county is more litigious than the rest of the state.

What is Not Covered by Car Insurance?

Even the best car insurance policy won’t cover everything. Some insurers offer options to fill some of the gaps. Other gaps will likely never be covered.

Illegal or Criminal Activity

You’ll find some exclusions in your policy which explain that damage caused while engaged in illegal or criminal acts will not be covered.

Rental Cars

The coverages you have on your policy will extend to rental cars, but usually not if used for business, and usually not longer than 30 days. If the rental car is damaged, you may be covered for “loss of use”. You want to check with your insurance agent or carrier.

Additionally, if the rental car is damaged, you will not be covered for “loss of use” when the rental company can’t rent the car to someone else because it is being repaired, or for “diminution”, which is the loss of value for the rental car even after it is repaired.

Also, be aware that if you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage on your own policy, the rental car will not have those coverages either, unless you purchase separate insurance from the rental car agency.

Rideshare or Commercial Use

Your auto policy covers you when you’re not “on the job” with a rideshare company, but coverage becomes fuzzy if you are “available” to take a customer or “in transit” to pick up a customer, or even if you just dropped one-off.

Once you have a passenger, the rideshare company’s insurance takes over. The basic premise is that a personal insurance policy is for the personal use of your vehicle. With some insurance companies, they are able to add an additional endorsement to the auto policy to cover rideshare. Check with your auto insurance company agent or carrier to see if this is an option.

Your Personal Property

Personal property (laptops, phones, etc.) damaged in an accident or stolen from your automobile may be by your auto insurance policy. Some companies will cover a small amount of personal property on the auto.  You want to check with your insurance company.   If you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy, you may be able to place a claim with that policy, subject to your deductible.

Deliberate Damage

If you set fire to your car, the insurance company won’t pay to repair or replace your car. However, if someone else does those things to your car as an act of vandalism, you are covered if you have comprehensive coverage, subject to your deductible.

Riots, Civil Commotion, War, or Acts of Terrorism

These things may seem far-fetched, and you’re much more likely to have a common fender-bender, but your insurance policy probably excludes all of these risks – if any of them do happen.

Car Insurance and Medical Payments: An Overview

As mentioned earlier, the medical coverage for your auto insurance policy is an area that’s important to discuss. There are some potential pitfalls if your policy isn't robust enough to provide adequate coverage for medical expenses.

For example, if you live in a state that uses Personal Injury Protection to provide medical coverage on your auto insurance policy, you’ll have choices of coverage as low as $15,000 in some states. A lower amount of PIP coverage will help to keep premiums lower. An agent or producer might also suggest a higher deductible for your PIP, also to keep costs down.

Deductibles for PIP can go as high as $2500. This combination of a high deductible and lower coverage amount can keep your monthly costs low, but you could find yourself with hefty medical bills not covered by insurance if you don't have enough PIP coverage.

In the example above, here’s an example of what can happen if you are injured in a car accident with a policy that includes a $15,000 PIP coverage amount:

  1. You’ll have to pay $2,500 for your deductible.
  2. Your PIP coverage will cover up to $15,000 in medical expenses.
  3. However, in many cases, there is a copay of 20 percent up to the first $5,000 (after your deductible).
  4. This leaves you paying $3,000 out-of-pocket just for medical expenses.
PIP CoverageCopay Amount
$5,000 - $2,500$2,500 subject to Copay
$2,500 x 20%$500 Copay

At some point, you may reach the limit of your $15,000 PIP coverage. From here:

  1. Your coverage usually rolls over to your existing health insurance if you have some.
  2. You may have to pay another deductible and co-pay.
  3. Even if your deductible is only $500 with no co-pay, you're still paying $3,500 out-of-pocket at this point.

As you can see, the savings available through lower coverage limits and higher deductibles may be tempting, but also may not be worth the financial risk depending on your individual financial situation.

Ask your agent for quotes with different coverage limits, if available, and different deductibles so you can make a better-informed decision.

Car Insurance Quotes

Many companies treat insurance as a commodity, commonly available and with little difference in features or options. Amica and our Special Mention pick, USAA, both recognize that customers are buying service, not just insurance.

Insurance rates are individualized, so it’s important for consumers to shop around. One company might treat you better than another in regard to price. But also consider service and policy options, and have a conversation with your agent about coverage types and limits.

An insurance policy sits there silently waiting for a claim. When a claim happens, we want to know that our policy is structured properly to protect us financially and that the service we’ve paid for will be there when we need it most.


What is auto insurance and why do I need it?


Accidents happen. When they do, insurance is what keeps our finances safe and sound. Whether an auto collision is your fault or somebody else’s, your car insurance coverage should help you.

If you drive, you need auto insurance for a couple of reasons:

1. Some form of auto insurance is required in virtually every state. Unless you live in NH, you’re legally required to have it.

2. Regardless of which state you live in, auto insurance is an important piece of your financial puzzle, and having the right type and amount of it can keep you secure and provide you with peace of mind.



What are the three types of auto insurance?


Liability coverage protects you if you cause damage to others or their property. Liability can help cover another person’s medical bills or costs to repair their vehicle and property damaged from an accident. Again, most states have legal minimums to how much liability coverage you must have. However, it’s often a good idea to carry more than what’s required, to decrease your chance of high out-of-pocket costs later.

Collision coverage covers your car if you hit another car, person or non-moving object. Collision coverage helps cover costs to repair your vehicle regardless of fault. But note, collision does not cover if your car breaks down because it’s really old or unreliable.

Comprehensive coverage protects your car from things other than liability and collision, like theft, vandalism, fire, severe weather, etc. Comprehensive coverage is typically sold alongside collision coverage.


What are some factors that determine my auto insurance rates?


Many factors determine your auto insurance rates, some within your control, others outside of your control. Here’s a summary of the ones that generally have the most impact:

Your driving record – The better your record, the lower your premium. If you’ve had accidents or serious traffic violations, it’s likely you’ll pay more than if you have a clean driving record. You may also pay more if you’re a new driver without an insurance track record.

How much you use your car – The more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents so you’ll pay more if you drive your car for work, or use it to commute long distances. If you drive only occasionally—what some companies call “pleasure use”—you’ll pay less.

Location – Due to higher rates of vandalism, theft and accidents, urban drivers pay a higher auto insurance price than those in small towns or rural areas. Where you park your car (on the street or in a secure garage) and anti-theft features may impact the bottom line as well.

Cost of your car – a major factor in the cost to insure it. Other variables include the likelihood of theft, the cost of repairs, its engine size and the overall safety record of the car. Automobiles with high quality safety equipment might qualify for premium discounts.

Your credit – Similar to your credit score, your credit-based insurance score is a statistical tool that predicts the likelihood of your filing a claim and the likely cost of that claim.

The type and amount of auto insurance coverage – The limits on your basic auto insurance, the amount of your deductible, and the types and amounts of policy options (such as collision) that are prudent for you to have all affect how much you’ll pay for coverage.

Age and gender – Insurers generally charge more if teenagers or young people below age 25 drive your car. Statistically, women tend to get into fewer accidents, have fewer driver-under-the-influence accidents (DUIs) and—most importantly—have less serious accidents than men.


What is gap insurance, and do I need it?


Gap insurance is an optional car insurance coverage that helps pay off your auto loan if your car is totaled or stolen and you owe more than the car’s depreciated value.

This type of coverage is only available if you’re the original loan- or leaseholder on a new vehicle. Gap insurance helps pay the gap between the depreciated value of your car and what you still owe on the car.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is there any way I can lower my car insurance premiums?


You can often get a lower premium by maintaining coverage without any gaps in coverage. You can also lower your premium with discounts. Bundling your products is another way to lower your car insurance premiums.


How do I ensure that I’m properly covered for car insurance?


The best thing you can do is talk to your insurance carrier or agent and be honest about your car and driving history. If you have made any modifications to your vehicle, let your insurance company know so that you will be covered in the event of a loss. It’s a good idea to maintain more than the state minimum coverage — you want to replace your car for the full value if you have to.


What kind of discounts are usually available for car insurance?


The most common discounts available are multi-policy and auto-pay, but every company is different. Other discounts that are widely available are loyalty, good student and anti-theft device discounts.

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