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A Guide to Finding Cheap Car Insurance in Columbus, Ohio

The average insurance rates in Columbus are on the rise. But, this city still has remarkably affordable rates compared to the rest of the country. Columbus seems like it’s crowded with cars. And it’s true. Only 10% of households don’t own any vehicles. More than 50% of all the households in the city own two and more cars. This increases competition among the insurance companies, which causes the prices to drop.

If you want to know about cheap car insurance in Columbus, Ohio, read this article. Here you may find some of the most affordable insurance rates and details about the insurance laws of this particular state.

Find Cheap Car Insurance Rates in Columbus
Pro tip: Click on 2-3 companies to find the best rate

Quick Look: Cheap Car Insurance in Columbus, OH

By the Numbers: Car Insurance in Columbus, Ohio

  • Number of vehicles: 2 cars per household as of 2017. Most insurance companies offer discounts on multi-car insurance, which is extremely useful in Columbus
  • Minimum state insurance requirements: 25/50/25 rule – $25,000 Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) for individuals, $50,000 BIL in total, and $25,000 per accident to cover property damage
  • Average rate with a clean record: $702.59 per vehicle per year, depending on your zip code and driving history

What You’ll Need to Know Before You Get Coverage in Columbus

Before you get a quote, you’ll want a firm understanding of any unusual driving laws and insurance requirements.

Ohio Car Insurance Laws Explained

The state of Ohio requires minimum coverage for all the vehicles a person registers on their name. This article already mentions the 25/50/25 rule which is the bare minimum that insurance will cover. Always check if your insurance agency has policies that take the state-mandated minimum into account.

If you don’t have proof of insurance with you in the vehicle, you will risk a penalty. The penalties may vary, and they include the suspension of your license and registration or a $150 fee for the first offense. These penalties increase with every new offense.

If law enforcement takes your license due to a DUI or other traffic violations, you will have to provide proof of financial responsibility. This basically means that you have to send proof of insurance before you can get your driver’s license back.

Even when you aren’t driving, there is a chance you can get a penalty for being uninsured. As of 1998, the state uses an algorithm to choose registered drivers at random and require proof of insurance by mail. If you fail to send proof of insurance, the state can suspend your license, among other things.

Columbus Traffic Laws That You Should Know About

The state of Ohio recently introduced new traffic laws that you might not know about.

Distracted driving laws. Ohio prohibits the usage of mobile phones while driving. It doesn’t matter whether you’re texting, talking, or taking a selfie, you will get a fine. As of 2019, any distracted driving is fined by up to $100. Actions that count as distracted driving now include using the radio or a tablet, applying makeup, and many other actions that take your attention from the road.

Moving on to the shoulder. There is a new law that requires drivers to move over to the shoulder if they need to switch a tire or make an urgent stop. Anyone who doesn’t move over could pay a fine up to $300.

Motor vehicle lights. A ban on colored front lights, only white or amber lights are allowed. Drivers must also have license plate lights.

Emissions. Having mufflers that aren’t damaged is obligatory in Ohio, as well as passing an emission test prior to the registration.

New residents. If you are a new resident in Ohio, you need to get an Ohio driver’s license within a month, or you risk paying fees and more serious penalties.

What You Can Expect to Pay for Car Insurance in Columbus

Your car insurance rates will heavily depend on your car make and model, driving record, financial background and more.

Columbus Car Rate Per Vehicle

The type of vehicle, as well as its model and age, can greatly impact your insurance rate. If your car is older, you will probably have to pay a higher rate. Many insurance agencies provide a discount for new cars, and older cars come with a much bigger risk of malfunction.

Bigger cars such as 4-door SUVs and other cars with higher horsepower will cost more. After all, their impact can cause a lot more damage than smaller cars.

You have to consider the difficulty in obtaining replacement parts for your car too. If your car is older, the insurance company may have trouble getting a cheap replacement.

Most Columbus drivers own a Ford or a Chevrolet, with Ford F-150 (a light-duty truck) being at the very top of the popularity list. In addition to these two domestic manufacturers, Honda is also very well-received in this city, especially the Honda Accord.

Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Although there are states that don’t allow insurance companies to delve into your financial data, Ohio isn’t one of them. Here, your auto insurance provider will take a look at your credit score to determine how risky it would be to cover you.

This credit score is a little bit different than a traditional one (e.g. for bank loans), but the insurers will still look at your credit management history. The parameters include paying bills on time, bank loans, credit cards, etc. Statistics show that people who have lower credit scores usually have a higher risk of committing an accident.Try to maintain at least a fair credit score, as the difference in yearly rates can be around $550.

In the table below you can see the most affordable rates for different credit scores.

Credit ScoreCheapest ProviderRate For State Minimum Coverage
Poor 300-579Progressive$1,919
Fair 580-669Progressive$1,358
Good 670-739GEICO$1,158
Excellent 740+GEICO$998

Car Insurance Rates for Drivers With Clean Record

A clean driving record will always lower your insurance rate. The logic is simple – if you’ve committed driving offenses in the past, there is a huge risk that you will do the same in the future.

To prevent this, you should drive safely and always carry your driver’s license. By no means should you drive under the influence or over the speed limit.

Liability insurance will cover any injuries and property damage to the other side. This doesn’t include your injuries, your car, or any other property damage. That’s why it is better to opt for full coverage whenever possible.Full coverage typically includes comprehensive and collision insurance, and it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Comprehensive insurance will cover any damage your car takes from accidents excluding collision. This includes a tornado, fire, flooding, a run-in with an animal, vandalism, etc. Collision insurance will cover the damage to your car if you’re at fault for the accident. It is clear why drivers need both to avoid great expenses down the line.

A clean record can help you afford full coverage. In the following table, you will be able to see some of the most affordable rates that certain agencies provide for different types of coverage.

Insurance AgencyState Minimum InsuranceStandard CoverageFull Coverage
Allstate $1,593$1,691$2,308
American Family$1,489$1,527$1,530
Cincinnati Insurance$1,243$1,370$1,656
GEICO$1,808$1,859$1,935
Nationwide$1,648$2,200$2,356

Car Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions

Just like a clean record can make your insurance rates cheaper, driving infractions can drive the prices up. If the offense is serious, you risk paying a lot more, and you may not even be able to get insurance at all.

Here are the insurance agencies that offer some of the most affordable rates for drivers with infractions.

Insurance Agency At Fault Accident Speed Violation DUI
Allstate $3,251$3.040$3,809
American Family $1,536$1,536$1,536
Farmers$3,635$3,689$3,545
Cincinnati Insurance$2,829$1,926$2,645
Nationwide$3,365$2,924$4,720

The Best Auto Insurance Providers in Columbus

Columbus has cheaper than average car insurance rates but that doesn’t mean that all are cheaper than usual. From the table above, it is obvious that Cincinnati Insurance and American Family offer the most tempting rates overall, even if your record isn’t clean.

You can also opt for USAA, who has great customer reviews and rewards its members with discounts. Also, it offers the lowest rate for all credit scores. To qualify for USAA rates, you must be an active service member, spouse or immediate family member of an active service member or veteran. 

Best Overall: American Family

American Family provides the required minimum coverage for a reasonably low premium, but you’ll only realize its full potential if you look into other coverage types.

For example, American Family offers various umbrella insurance, gap insurance, and rideshare coverages. The company’s website is very user-friendly with a good customer support team, making it easy to find various discounts.

Cheapest Car Insurance: Cincinnati Insurance

This locally-based insurance company receives high regards from J.D Power and their customers. While maintaining low rates their service is one of the highest in the region.

With an average rate of about $1,300 per vehicle for recommended coverage customers claim Cincinnati Insurance provides excellent coverage when it comes to handling their auto claims.

Cincinnati Insurance can also cover other aspects of your life such a business, life, home, umbrella, and personal articles insurance. 

Cheapest Full Coverage: American Family

Once again, this insurance company is the clear winner. Compare American Family’s $1,530 coverage with the full coverage of most other companies, which easily go over $3,000.

This is especially helpful if you are bundling multiple cars on your policy. 

With American Family, full coverage isn’t much more expensive than other options, so it’s a great perk that keeps you fully covered. 

Cheapest Car Insurance for Active Military: USAA

USAA has a consistent record of great service, multiple added benefits, and some of the cheapest rates. USAA awards active military, veterans, and qualifying family members with membership.

The suite of products offered by USAA range from investing, real estate, banking, and insurance to name a few. 

Read Benzinga’s full USAA Auto Insurance Review

Take Your Time to Decide

Columbus, Ohio has various attractive car insurance rates. Since the rates are below the national average, there are many great deals to choose from. That’s why it is recommended that you take your time and learn more about car insurance before making a decision.

Want to learn more about finding the best possible insurance? Check out Benzinga’s guides to the best affordable health insurance companies, the best flood insurance and the best earthquake insurance companies.