Car insurance premiums are extremely individualized which makes it hard to know how much you’ll pay before getting a quote. But there are some rules of thumb to help you get a general sense for pricing.
For example, if you have a history of driving under the influence, your car insurance cost will be much more expensive than someone with a clean driving record. But there are many more factors that determine your car insurance price, including your age, where you live and driving history.
This makes it tough to estimate your individual auto insurance quote. But there are some general rules of thumb that can help you get a better idea of what to expect. For example, a sports car typically costs more to insure than a minivan. Likewise, younger drivers can generally expect higher car insurance premiums than older drivers. And a driver with a DUI or speeding tickets may have higher rates than one with a clean record.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of car insurance by various factors, including age, state, company and driving record.
The average cost of car insurance
A 40-year old male or female driver with a clean driving record and good credit in the US can expect to pay an average of $1,771 per year, or about $148 monthly, for. The minimum insurance cost — the bare bones you’d need to purchase to drive legally in your state — is $545 per year on average.
Average cost of full coverage by insurance company
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These are averages across all categories. You’ll probably end up falling somewhere above or below these numbers, depending on your particular situation. Let’s break down the various factors.
How much does car insurance cost by state?
Insurance providers must work with each state when setting rates. State insurance departments typically need to approve the carrier’s rates beforehand, so insurance costs vary from state to state.
Here are the five most expensive states for car insurance:
- New York: $2,996 per year — 69% above national average
- Louisiana: $2,864 per year — 62% above national average
- Florida: $2,762 per year — 56% above national average
- Nevada: $2,426 per year — 37% above national average
- Michigan: $2,345 per year — 32% above national average
And here are the five cheapest states for car insurance:
- Maine: $876 per year — 51% below national average
- Vermont: $1,000 per year — 44% below national average
- Idaho: $1,065 per year — 40% below national average
- New Hampshire: $1,182 per year — 33% below national average
- Ohio: $1,200 per year — 32% below national average
Average annual car insurance cost by state
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How much does car insurance cost by age and gender?
Age is one of the biggest factors determining your car insurance cost. Generally, the older you get, the cheaper your car insurance bill. Car insurance policiesare the costliest.
Premiums for teen drivers can be astronomical: The national average cost for adding a 16-year-old driver to a parent’s full coverage policy is $3,852 per year. From there, costs start dwindling down. By the time a driver hits 25, annual premiums for full coverage go down to about $2,000 per year.
Your gender also impacts your auto insurance costs — but this disparity diminishes as drivers get older. Overall, insurance costs by gender largely also depend on the driver’s age.
Teen boys are the most expensive drivers to insure, with 16-year-old boys in particular being the costliest. That’s because teen boys tend to be involved in more serious auto accidents and engage in riskier driving behaviors than their female cohorts, according to the CDC.
For this reason, 18-year-old males may pay $800 more on their car insurance premiums than 18-year old females. By the time drivers reach 40, though, the difference between genders is a mere $50 — and women become more expensive to insure. By the time you hit 60, the difference is under $20, with policies for men costing slightly more.
Average annual premium by age and gender
Other factors that could impact the price you pay for auto insurance
Your driving record is a double-edged sword. Drive well and you could receive a safe driver discount — but drive poorly and you might see a surcharge on your bill at your next renewal.
Insurers, including Geico and Progressive, typically have telematics programs that use your smartphone or a car plug-in device to analyze your driving habits, checking for speed, hard-braking or using your phone while driving. Establishing a history of good driving through telematics can make you eligible for safe driving discounts.
However, getting a speeding ticket could increase your annual premium by $367 on average, while a DUI could increase it by $1,650. An at-fault accident may also increase the cost of your bill.
Insurers may use your credit history when calculating a quote — and yourcould affect your premiums, depending on where you live. Some states, including Massachusetts and California, prohibit insurers from taking credit history into account when calculating a quote.
The type of vehicle you drive can have a big impact on your car insurance bill. Luxury or sports cars, such as BMW or Mercedes-Benz, typically cost more to insure than economy cars like Toyotas or Hondas. There are a couple of reasons for this, including the differences in the price and availability of car parts for certain makes and models, as well as the vehicle’s safety record and crash prevention features.
Carriers often offer discounts if you have a low annual mileage count, meaning you drive less than the average number of miles per year compared to other Americans. You may be considered a low-mileage driver if you drive less than 7,500 miles per year, which could be good news for remote workers. The average annual premium for Americans who drive 5,000 miles or less per year is $1,612 (some $150 less than the national average), according to Bankrate.
Type of coverage
The more coverage you purchase and the lower your deductible — which refers to the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in — the higher your monthly or annual premiums are likely to be. Conversely, the less coverage you buy and the higher your deductible, the lower your annual premiums will be. However, setting your deductible too high and lowering your coverage options may leave you vulnerable to larger losses if an accident occurs, and could cost you a significant sum of money.
Here’s how to decide how much car insurance you need to keep costs low, without jeopardizing your finances.
The longer you’ve had car insurance while being a licensed driver, the lower your rates may be. Additionally, some carriers offer discounts for having continuous car insurance over a length of time. And this doesn’t necessarily need to be with the same insurer. Progressive, for example, includes time with your previous insurer for its continuous insurance discount.
How to find the best rates on car insurance
Shopping around is essential to finding the best car insurance rates. The Insurance Information Institute recommends getting at least three quotes from a mix of national and regional insurers, says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications.
“We like to tell people to do an apples-to-apples comparison, meaning the same levels of coverage and the same deductibles,” Friedlander said. “And insurers offer a variety of discounts at different levels, and you might be able to get a better price just based on the discounts.”
A good time to check in on your policy and get new quotes is at your renewal period, which is typically every six or 12 months.
What’s the difference between full and minimum coverage?
If you purchase a full coverage policy, that means you purchase both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle in an accident resulting from a collision between your car and another car or object. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car caused by an event other than collision, including fire, flood, vandalism and theft.
Minimum coverage, on the other hand, often refers to purchasing the minimum coverage that your state requires. This will typically mean purchasing just bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. When possible, it’s advisable to purchase greater than minimum liability limits and consider adding full coverage for better protection in case of an accident or natural disaster.
How can I lower my insurance premiums?
There are many ways to reduce your premiums, including shopping around for better rates. Aside from comparing car insurance rates, you can also try these tips:
- Look for applicable discounts. Take advantage of discounts you may already qualify for. While discounts vary across carriers, some common discounts include safe driving, good student and defensive driving course completion discounts. Moreover, car insurance for veterans or active-duty military members tends to be cheaper, and you might be able to get a military discount with national insurers like Geico.
- Increase your deductible. Increasing your deductible will reduce your premium, but it will also raise the amount of money you must pay out of pocket if you get into an accident before your insurance kicks in. Don’t set your deductible too high though — make sure you’d be able to pay the amount in the event of an accident.
- Bundle your policies. One of the most straightforward ways to save money on insurance is by bundling your home and auto insurance, meaning you buy multiple insurance policies from the same company. If your current policies are through different carriers, look for an insurance provider that offers all three to see if you can save money.
Does the cost of car insurance drop every year?
It depends. If you’re a young driver, say anywhere from 18 to 25, and you’ve been driving safely, you can expect your car insurance bill to decrease slowly over time as you get older. Moreover, after every year, you may qualify for discounts that you didn’t qualify for previously, including good student discounts and safe driver discounts that require you to have gone accident-free for a certain length of time.
On the other hand, if you’ve recently gotten speeding tickets, been in an at-fault accident or gotten a DUI, you’re likely to see a surcharge on your insurance bill at your next renewal period.
Auto insurance rates come from Bankrate, CNET’s sister site also owned by Red Ventures, which gathers data using Quadrant Information Services.