1. Shop often. Check out several different insurance companies every two to three years. Maybe your situation has changed—say you’re driving fewer miles, which can lower your premium a little. Or maybe the carrier has adjusted its underwriting or rating in ways that help, or hurt, your bottom line. You get little benefit from sticking with the same insurer year in and year out; our research in the past has found that the “long-term customer discount” is mostly a myth.

2. Cast a wide net. Try shopping on TheZebra.com, which uses data from Quadrant, a private company that collects and analyzes rate filings supplied directly by insurers. (Quadrant is also the company we engaged for our price analyses.) The Zebra offers estimates from 18 to 35 insurers, depending on the state. That compares with just 3 to 10 quotes provided by other sites, including Insurance.com, NetQuote, and NerdWallet.

Find out which car insurance companies offer the best deals where you live.

3. Consider raising collision and comprehensive deductibles. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by impact with another car or object, regardless of who’s at fault. Comprehensive covers theft of your vehicle and damage from fire, flood, a falling branch, and the like. The average driver files a comprehensive or collision claim only once every 5 to 10 years, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The higher your deductible—the amount you pay before insurance kicks in—the lower your premium, especially for collision, as shown at right.

4. Protect yourself. Make sure you get enough liability coverage. We recommend 100/300/100 coverage, which pays for bodily injury up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and property damage up to $100,000. And buy uninsured/underinsured coverage at the same limits, in case you’re hit by a hit-and-run driver or someone without enough insurance. Finally, for added liability protection, consider an umbrella policy. A $1 million policy typically costs about $200 to $400 per year.

5. Check our ratings. They show CR subscribers’ overall satisfaction with auto insurance companies over the past two decades. An affordable policy won’t help much if the carrier provides subpar service or gives you a hard time about paying a claim. See our most current car insurance ratings.

Best value car insurance infographic
Infographic: Nicholas Rapp

What Companies Have the Best Deals Where You Live

In most states, a few insurers tend to be cheaper than others. Here are the ones to start with.* But the best deal also depends on your age, car, and other factors—so shop around. 

StateSingles and CouplesFamily With Teens
AlaskaState FarmState Farm
ArizonaLiberty MutualLiberty Mutual
ArkansasLiberty MutualSouthern Farm Bureau or State Farm
CaliforniaMercury or CSAA, singles; Allstate, couplesLiberty Mutual
ConnecticutGeicoGeico or Nationwide
DelawareState FarmState Farm
HawaiiGeicoState Farm
IdahoFarm BureauFarm Bureau
IllinoisThe Hartford, singles; Geico, couplesThe Hartford
KansasThe HartfordThe Hartford
KentuckyKentucky Farm BureauKentucky Farm Bureau
LouisianaGeicoSouthern Farm Bureau
MaineGeico, singles; Hartford, couplesGeico
MarylandErie or ProgressiveGeico or Liberty Mutual

Arabella or Geico

MichiganLiberty MutualLiberty Mutual
MinnesotaThe HartfordThe Hartford
MississippiLiberty MutualNationwide
MissouriThe HartfordThe Hartford
MontanaLiberty MutualLiberty Mutual
NebraskaLiberty MutualLiberty Mutual
New HampshireGeicoGeico
New JerseyFarmersFarmers or Geico
New MexicoLiberty MutualLiberty Mutual
New YorkProgressiveGeico or Travelers
North CarolinaProgressiveProgressive
North DakotaLiberty MutualLiberty Mutual
OhioThe HartfordThe Hartford
OklahomaThe HartfordThe Hartford
OregonGeicoNationwide or State Farm
PennsylvaniaThe HartfordThe Hartford
Rhode Island

Progressive, singles; Allstate or Progressive, couples


South CarolinaThe HartfordThe Hartford
South DakotaFarmersFarmers
TennesseeThe HartfordThe Hartford
TexasFarmersState Farm
VermontThe HartfordThe Hartford
VirginiaThe HartfordThe Hartford
WashingtonPemco, singles; The Hartford, couplesPemco
West VirginiaThe HartfordThe Hartford
WisconsinThe HartfordThe Hartford
WyomingLiberty MutualGeico
  1. *Note that Amica Mutual Insurance Company and USAA Group were not included in this analysis.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

An earlier version of the table in this article showed State Farm as an insurer to start with for families with teens in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as for singles and couples in Rhode Island. To clarify, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, new State Farm car insurance policies are sold only to existing State Farm customers.