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If you’re in the market for car insurance, you likely have a lot of questions. Among them is probably how much does car insurance cost? The answer, of course, depends on several factors. Understanding how insurance providers calculate car insurance rates can help you not only estimate your budget, but also save money by knowing what to avoid in the future.

Factors that influence the average cost of car insurance

1. The type of car insurance policy

The type(s) of car insurance you buy plays a huge role in determining the cost. A state-minimum liability policy will likely cost less than a car insurance package including comprehensive insurance, collision insurance, Accident Forgiveness and personal injury protection.

2. Your age

Drivers in different age groups pose different risks, which is why rates tend to differ based on how old the insurance policy holder is.

3. Your location

Geography, weather and population density are all factors in the price of your car insurance.

4. Your driving record

Insurance providers want to see demonstrated responsible behavior, which is why traffic accidents and citations are factors in determining car insurance rates. Keep in mind that points on your license don’t stay there forever, but how long they stay on your driving record varies depending on the state you live in and the severity of the offense.

5. What kind of car you drive

The price, style and age of your vehicle all contribute to how much car insurance costs will be. For instance, a brand-new sports car will likely be more costly than, say, a five-year-old sedan.

6. Your deductible

If you choose a lower deductible, it will result in a higher insurance bill – which makes choosing a higher deductible seem like a pretty good deal. However, a higher deductible could mean paying more out of pocket in the event of an accident.

7. Your policy limit(s)

Although all auto policies have a minimum amount, you can also raise your policy limits depending on the level of protection you want.

8. Your eligibility for discounts

Nationwide offers a variety of discounts on auto insurance. You can save money on your monthly bill by bundling policies, going paperless, driving accident-free and more.

9. Change of residence

Even if your new home is only a block away from your previous address, if it's in a different zip code, your auto insurance rate could change. Auto policies vary in price from state to state as well.

What is the average car insurance cost?

How much is average car insurance? There are a wide variety of factors that influence that cost, which makes it difficult to get an accurate idea of what the average person pays for car insurance. According to the American Auto Association (AAA), the average cost to insure a mid-size sedan in 2020 was $1245 a year, or approximately $104 per month.1 Keep in mind that this is a ballpark figure based on nationally collected data; depending on your situation, it could be more or less.

Nationwide not only offers competitive rates, but also a range of discounts to help our members save even more, including usage-based insurance. Members can join Nationwide’s usage-based insurance programs SmartRide and SmartMiles to earn discounts for safe and low-mileage driving.

How much does car insurance cost in my state?

Insurance costs vary from state to state. If you’re a resident of Florida, you’ll be paying the highest average rate in the country to fully insure your vehicle, approximately $2,587. Maine residents sit on the other side of that spectrum, averaging a full coverage rate of only $831.2

Why such a large disparity in average costs? There are several factors at play. Prices are affected by various state laws, from regulations on the rates insurance companies can charge3 to policies that affect the cost of medical care. General conditions in a state, such as weather trends or prevalence of insurance fraud, can also influence prices.4 View a comprehensive list of rates by state.

Most and least expensive cars to insure

Average insurance costs differ from model to model, and certain kinds of cars are significantly more expensive to insure than others.

Size is one distinguishing factor between the most and least expensive cars to insure. Larger and smaller vehicles are considered less safe, since small vehicles are more vulnerable to damage and large vehicles are more likely to inflict damage. The least expensive cars to ensure are typically somewhere in the middle of the size spectrum, often mid-size sedans and SUV’s. Any car that qualifies as a sports car or a luxury car is on the upper end of cost. These cars are both more expensive to fix if they’re damaged and statistically more likely to be driven fast. The likelihood of being stolen can also influence a car’s average insurance rate. Vehicles with parts that are in high demand are common targets for thieves and will thus cost more to insure.5

How to estimate car insurance

If you know how to estimate car insurance before buying a car, you’ll be that much more prepared when the time comes to sign on the dotted line. The best way to do that is to simply compare quotes until you have a good sense of the ballpark cost you’ll be paying. But first, you’ll need to consider the factors that will determine those quotes.

The minimum rates in your state determine the baseline coverage you’ll be required to get by law, so determining those will give you a good starting point. Decide on the kind of car you’re going to purchase, its size, features and cost. The cost of insuring your car is influenced by everything from its safety features to the statistical probability that vehicles of its model will be stolen. That means the more you can decide upon before shopping for quotes, the better. Once you’ve figured out these details, shop around for those quotes and do side-by-side comparisons. Be sure to include the same amount of coverage on each quote so your comparisons are accurate.6

So, how do I get car insurance?

Getting a car insurance estimate from Nationwide has never been easier. Get a free car insurance quote today. Simply enter your zip code to begin the auto insurance quote process. Within a few minutes, you’ll have an auto insurance estimate based on your specific circumstances. You can also talk to a Nationwide agent and get a quote over the phone.

[1], Accessed September 2021.
[2], Accessed September 2021.
[3], Accessed September 2021.
[4], Accessed September 2021.
[5], Accessed September 2021.
[6], Accessed September 2021.

Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which are controlling. Such terms and availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply.