Cheap car insurance: How to find it

Have you seen the ads for auto insurance for $39 a month? That’s only $468 annually, which is quite a bargain. But who are the lucky drivers actually getting this kind of rate?

We decided to investigate. We looked at more than 52,000 car insurance quotes given to our users to see what combination of factors would result in a quote of $39 a month or less.

Not all of our findings will surprise you – you may already know that buying minimum liability coverage (like 25/50) helps keep your rate low. And you’ll probably have to skip collision and comprehensive coverage in order to score a bill of $39 a month.

Still, our research revealed that other factors play important roles in getting you a rock-bottom rate. If you've compared car insurance quotes and found that your numbers are a little higher than you'd like, noting the keys below may help.

Keys to getting cheap car insurance

Based on our analysis of quotes, here’s how to get auto insurance for $39 a month or less:

  • Don’t ask for an SR-22. This is a form required by many states when you’ve got a bad driving record and will be required to prove financial responsibility. It’s a big black mark, so don't expect a $39 a month rate if you need one of these.
  • Own your vehicle outright. Maybe you’re a superior driver, but if you’ve got a car loan it may keep you from getting the very best rates. This is because most lenders require you to carry comprehensive and collision insurance on cars that aren't paid off.
  • Insure only one vehicle. This makes sense – the more vehicles you put out on the road, the more possible claims. Our analysis found that in 91.1 percent of the cases where drivers received quotes for $39 a month or less, they had no SR-22, owned their cars and insured only one vehicle.
  • Don’t have any lapse in auto insurance coverage. This will make you an less-desirable customer to carriers. It suggests you may be bad at paying bills, or that you were possibly driving around uninsured. Either one of those traits makes you a riskier driver in the eyes of insurance companies.
  • Have no past claims. In many cases, a driver with no past claims equals a desirable customer for insurers.
  • Have no driving violations, license suspensions or revocations on your record. Again, customers with clean driving records are the likeliest to get ultra-low rates.
  • Have a credit score of 650 or higher. In most states, auto insurers are allowed to use your credit score in pricing your policy. Our data show that many of the drivers offered the best rates have scores of at least 650.

How comparison shopping can lead to low insurance rates

Are you a match to the qualities above? Remember, it all means nothing unless you find an insurer that’s pricing policies competitively for your particular combination of qualities. Quotes given to even the best drivers can vary by hundreds of dollars.

However, if you know you have the above advantages, you know you deserve a great price, and you can likely find it by getting quotes from multiple carriers.

Are your traits as a driver preventing you from getting the lowest rates? Here are some other ways to save money on car insurance.

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