When it comes to how much U.S. drivers pay for auto insurance, prices are all over the map. Auto insurance costs vary greatly due to geographic factors, state requirements, as well as differences in how various insurance companies assess risk.
Your rates also vary, of course, based on the breadth of auto coverage you choose. So if you skip, say, collision or comprehensive insurance — both of which are optional — you’ll no doubt save money. But forgoing these forms of insurance may not be in your long-term financial interest.
Perhaps that’s why 71% of U.S. drivers have collision coverage, according to a December 2013 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
The data from NAIC also show that 76% of all drivers have comprehensive coverage.
If you’d like to know how you stack up against what other drivers are paying for auto insurance – or better yet, snag a sweeter deal on auto insurance rates – here are two easy tips to help you do just that, including a brand new website called AutoInsurance.com.
Tip #1: Know average prices, but keep your specific circumstances in mind
Nationwide, the average U.S. car owner paid $797 in auto insurance costs in 2011, based on the latest figures available from NAIC. So among American families with two cars in the household, they’re typically paying just under $1,600 in total auto insurance costs.
Customers in New Jersey paid the highest average auto insurance rates: $1,184, followed by drivers in the District of Columbia ($1,138), and Louisiana ($1,111). Residents of Idaho and South Dakota had the cheapest average auto insurance premiums, totaling just $535 and $540, respectively.
Here are the 10 Most Expensive and Least Expensive States for Auto Insurance:
Source: © 2013 National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Keep in mind, however, that these are only averages.
Needless to say, if you have a worse-than-average driving record, or if you’re tooling around town in a high-powered sports car or a custom-built vehicle, your auto insurance premiums can be much, much higher than these averages.
Ultimately, the only way to truly know if you’re getting a good deal is to shop around for auto insurance and get the best rates currently being offered for your specific situation – which leads us to the next tip.
Tip # 2: Shop online for the best auto insurance rates
Instead of spending a lot time and effort calling a slew of insurance companies, a better approach to finding affordable auto insurance is to shop online for it.
A surprisingly low number of people – just 20% or so – hop online to comparison shop for auto insurance, even though doing so could save consumers a bundle. Perhaps so few people leverage the Internet because in the past, it took a lot of time and effort to go scouring the websites of multiple insurance carriers. Even for those people who made the effort, they couldn’t be sure they were getting direct comparisons.
But there’s a new website, AutoInsurance.com, that lets you comparison shop for auto insurance, buy it instantly, and save money all at the same time. Unlike other insurance-related websites, AutoInsurance.com points out that it isn’t a lead generator that sells your information and then you wind up later getting a ton of phone calls or emails from companies trying to solicit your business.
Instead, when you visit AutoInsurance.com, you simply enter your name, address, date of birth and contact information. Then you can opt-in to have the site pull your existing auto insurance policy. AutoInsurance.com is then able to match up your current policy with real quotes from other auto insurance carriers. That way you can be sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples in terms of coverage amounts and deductibles. All of this takes just a handful of minutes.
AutoInsurance.com offers you auto insurance quotes right on the spot from multiple insurers, including such top-rated companies as Progressive, Esurance, Safeco, The General and others.
Many people aren’t aware of this: but if you find more affordable auto insurance coverage elsewhere, you don’t have to stay locked in to your current policy or carrier. You can simply cancel your auto insurance, and you’ll get a refund for the unused amount.
To give you a sense of how much you could save, when AutoInsurance.com did a test pilot with customers in Pennsylvania, among those who reported their savings, customers saved $1,168 a year – or nearly $100 a month.
Since AutoInsurance.com is a relatively new company, you might not have heard of it until now. But you’ve no doubt heard of Walmart, which is the exclusive retail and marketing partner for AutoInsurance.com. As a result, anyone can access the service through Walmart.com or even go into in Walmart stores to learn more about getting better auto insurance rates.
Disclosure: Lynnette is a brand partner of AutoInsurance.com.