How to Choose Cheap Auto Insurance & How to Get Discounts

Woman's hand unlocking white car with key fob

Taking advantage of discounts, paying your bill on time, and picking the right type of plan can help you save on your monthly auto insurance costs.

Below, we’ll explain how to get cheaper auto insurance using all of these techniques.

My Car Insurance Policy

Cheapest Auto Insurance Quote
I pay my bill in one six-month installment (this is pretty standard).
  • Provider: GEICO
  • Price per month: $18.07
  • Price per six months: $108.41
  • Policyholder: Myself
  • Age, Gender: 23, male
  • Vehicle: 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS
    • Clean title
    • Color doesn’t matter
    • GEICO said if I had the faster (AWD Turbocharged) version of my car, the policy would still cost the same.
  • Type of Insurance: State minimum liability
    • This means, if I crash into someone, GEICO takes care of all the damage, except for what happens to my own car.
    • The state minimum is the minimum amount of insurance coverage mandated.
    • If you want more coverage than the minimum, GEICO quoted me 70 cents extra for another $75k in coverage.
  • Discounts: $65.91
    • My discounts include a Good Driver Discount (for no traffic violations) and a Financial Responsibility Discount (for paying my bill on time).
    • The Sponsored Marketing discount is something I received for belonging to an honor society in college; there are many organizations GEICO partners with for this type of discount.
    • Other discounts may apply to you, including student discounts, being a driver on your parents’ policy, and driving an older car.

Cheap Car Insurance Policy

  • Negotiation skills required? I called GEICO on multiple occasions and spoke with quite a few people and got the same result. No negotiation is necessary.
  • Cons on my record: My car insurance lapsed for over a year. It’s like losing your credit score and having to rebuild it. My insurance would be cheaper had that never happened.
  • Pros on my record: I’ve never had a traffic violation.

Other Insurance Companies’ Quotes

  • Allstate: $26 per month
  • State Farm: $27 per month (by piggy-backing on my parents’ policy)
  • Travelers/AAA: $33 per month
  • 21st Century: $45 per month
  • American Family, Progressive, and Nationwide: Each quoted $50 to $60 per month
  • Liberty Mutual: $74 per month
  • The General and a few others: So high I won’t even write it here!

Tips for Choosing Insurance

I contacted many insurance companies and salespeople in the course of this research. My biggest takeaway was: Don’t go with an insurance agent. You’ll always pay more when you use one.

Compare rates on your own and be sure to ask about the discounts that may apply to you.

Also, avoid auto insurance comparison sites. They’ll give you a rough idea of what each company charges, but you never know the actual amount until you contact the company directly.


50 comments


  • Robert

    I am 76 years old. Haven’t had a serious accident ever. One fender bender 3 years ago. My credit is poor. I am a retired disabled vet. No tickets. I didn’t get a ticket when I had the fender bender. I need car insurance on my 2005 Ford Excursion. My residence is in Ferguson, Missouri.

    If anyone can help me, I would really appreciate it.

    I had car insurance but paying a high premium. It just lapsed two weeks ago. I am temporarily currently in China and don’t even drive my car but when I return to the states for two or three weeks. I need help. Thank you.

    Robert

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Rebecca Turley

      Hi Robert,

      While I don’t know all the specifics to be able to tell you which car insurance company would offer the cheapest premium for you, what’s great is that most insurance companies offer instant online quotes that will save you time and allow you to get your car insurance reinstated upon returning from China. Progressive is a good one to try, as they include their quote, along with the quote of other insurance companies. You can start the process here.

  • Alex

    Never ever ever ever ever carry less than $1Million liability. If god forbid you were to ever hit someone and seriously injure them, your life is over.

  • Shaun C

    I’m 34 years old, been driving since i was 20, never had an accident until last year when the road was slick and i slid under a lady’s bumper. No insurance company will give me anything below $150 a month, and to be honest at a job that will barely give me 32 hours a week, with mortgage, power, water, and cable. I can’t afford that every month.

    this includes geico and progressive. I don’t know any way to get a lower rate. Help?

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Hillary M. Miller

      Hi Shaun,

      One relatively quick and easy thing that other readers have suggested is taking a defensive driving classes. That can lower rates pretty significantly. Besides that, it’s worth just putting in some research — it’s not a bad idea to just call up every major insurance company and see what kind of offer you can get, and don’t be afraid to cite the price you’ve been given elsewhere and see if another company can beat it. Ask about discounts everywhere: good student, accident-free, a member of a club, etc. There’s just so many factors to consider, unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to even ballpark what you should expect to get — but if you get in touch with all the major companies, you’ll at least know that you’re getting the best deal that you can.

      • Shaun C

        Problem is I’m not a student, i\and I’ve had one accident in a year..

        • First Quarter Finance logo
          First Quarter Finance | Hillary M. Miller

          Hi Shaun,

          We published an article that may be useful to you — it’s about a company called Good 2 Go Auto Insurance, which offers an aggregate tool that can help you get quotes from an array of insurance companies. (The post also has a helpful list of other discounts that you may be eligible for.) Not all states are served by Good 2 Go yet, but it’s worth investigating to see if Good 2 Go can find you anything cheaper than what you’re already paying. You can reach the Good 2 Go website directly here. Best of luck!

  • Hailey

    I have one question. Are you single? Holy cow you’re on the ball, and that’s quite attractive.

    Okay, let’s overlook my plebeian feels. I’m currently trying to get a low rate. Parents just dropped me from their plan, so naturally every quote I’ve gotten has been sky-high ($60 from Allstate is lowest, and I consider that sky-high. I’m a tightwad).

    Would LOVE to pay 20/month.

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | William Lipovsky

      Hi Hailey,

      Thanks for the compliment. Are you uninsured at the moment? When you’re getting quotes from various insurance companies, do you say ‘yes’ when asked if you’re currently insured? This can make a big difference in the quote you receive.

      • Hailet

        No in currently under my parents. Their policy is set to expire in a week. That gave me a discount (existing policy-holder & early sign-on). Even with good student discount, secondary driver (mom [good driving record]) ‘low mileage’ discount, ‘no previous accidents/infractions discount,’ & driving a 99′ Camry put me at 62/mo. I kept being told that a lot of it is my age and that Texas is one of the most expensive states for liability. You got lucky mister Nebraska.

        Everyone else quoted me over 100. No thanks. Ha.

        • First Quarter Finance logo
          First Quarter Finance | William Lipovsky

          Okay because if you weren’t currently insured – quotes would be way higher. I ran an experiment to see just how much higher. I called four different places and the quotes I received were about 55% higher when I told them I didn’t have insurance as when I told them I had existing insurance. It’s unfortunate for people who just don’t need a car for a year and then try to get insured again.

          Make sure you’ve called every major insurance provider. I know it’s a lot of work but if you’re able to save even $10 every month moving forward, your ‘pay’ for making these calls is pretty high. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of calling already so you may have to bite the bullet at $62. Like real estate, location, location, location.

  • carren

    I see that you have insurance for 18.00 month so why am I paying 76.20 a month don’t tell me its because of the age of my car or the age of the driver
    you up my insurance every year why?
    maybe it’s time I start looking for cheaper insurance

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | William Lipovsky

      I searched around a lot before I found $18/month insurance. I encourage you to search around as well. Another big factor to consider is if you live in a high risk neighborhood. Then insurance companies need to charge you more since there’s a greater risk of your car being damaged.

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