How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance With a Low Income

Take advantage of your state’s low-income car insurance program and money-saving strategies to get the best rates.

Alani Asis
Written byAlani Asis
Alani Asis
Alani Asis
  • 3 years of content writing

  • Bylines with leading financial publications

Alani is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. She aims to make complex topics more approachable through fun, digestible content.

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Ashley Cox
Edited byAshley Cox
Headshot of Managing Editor Ashley Cox
Ashley CoxSenior Managing Editor
  • 7+ years in content creation and management

  • 5+ years in insurance and personal finance content

Ashley is a seasoned personal finance editor who’s produced a variety of digital content, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and consumer lending products.

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Updated June 12, 2024

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Car insurance can be expensive, especially for low-income households, but you have several ways to make your premiums more manageable.

The good news is that insurance companies don’t use your income level as a factor to determine car insurance rates. And if you’re a low-income driver, you may qualify for your state’s government assistance program to get cheaper car insurance.

Quick Facts
  • Car insurance companies don’t use your income to calculate insurance rates.[1]

  • California, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey have low-income car insurance initiatives.

  • Comparing quotes can help you get the cheapest insurance rates on the coverage you need.

Cheapest car insurance companies for low-income drivers

COUNTRY Financial, NJM, and Auto-Owners offer some of the most affordable liability insurance coverage nationwide. Pay-per-mile companies, like Hugo and Mile Auto, can also help lower your cost of car insurance if you’re an infrequent driver.

Take a look at the table below for the companies with the cheapest average liability-only rates.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Saturday, June 1 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyAverage Quote: Liability Only
COUNTRY Financial19
NJM34
Auto-Owners37
USAA46
Hugo51
State Farm54
GEICO55
Erie55
Mile Auto60
Allstate62
Safeco72
Metromile74
American Family76
National General77
Progressive79
Mercury83
Dairyland84
Nationwide84
Clearcover87
Root87
CSAA88
Travelers89
State Auto94
Direct Auto99
Elephant100
Anchor101
Liberty Mutual103
Shelter107
Farmers111
The Hartford111
The General114
Chubb114
Commonwealth Casualty119
21st Century120
GAINSCO124
AssuranceAmerica125
Bristol West128
Foremost137
Amica169
Infinity186
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

You can lower your car insurance costs by using one or more of the following strategies.

1. Take advantage of state-sponsored programs

California, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey offer low-income car insurance programs to eligible drivers. These programs provide cheap or free car insurance, allowing low-income families to drive legally.

Good to Know

It’s worth noting that state programs may offer only enough coverage to meet your state’s minimum car insurance requirement. While state-minimum coverage is more affordable, it may not be enough to fully protect you and your vehicle on the road.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/885773089c/states_california.svg

    California

    California’s Low Cost Auto (CLCA) Insurance Program helps low-income people meet the state’s liability insurance requirement at lower rates. Additional coverage options, such as uninsured bodily injury and medical payments coverage, are also available at an extra cost.

    You and any secondary drivers must meet the following requirements to qualify for California’s car insurance assistance program:[2]

    • Have a valid California license

    • Be 16 or older (applicants younger than 18 must be legally emancipated)

    • Own a vehicle valued at $25,000 or less

    • Have a clean driving record or be a new driver

    • Earn less than the annual household income limit

    When you’re ready to apply or if you have further questions, call the customer support line at 1 (866) 602-8861 or find an insurance agent near you.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/5e9363a99e/states_hawaii.svg

    Hawaii

    The Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) offers free no-fault insurance to drivers who receive financial assistance. To qualify, low-income residents must show proof of payment from the following programs:

    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families with Dependent Children

    • General Assistance Program

    • Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled

    • Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security Administration

    Additionally, each policyholder must own the insured vehicle and have a valid Hawaii driver’s license (unless permanently disabled or unable to operate their own vehicle).[3]

    Contact the public assistance information line at 1 (855) 643-1643 for more information, or reach out to one of the DHS processing centers.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/3ee7c71fef/states_maryland.svg

    Maryland

    The Maryland Auto Insurance program caters to high-risk drivers whose policies have been turned down or canceled by other car insurance companies. While established by the state of Maryland, the organization is independently funded through premium payments and its investment portfolio.

    Maryland Auto Insurance provides state-mandated coverages, which include liability insurance, uninsured motorist, and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. You can also upgrade your policy with collision, comprehensive, rental car reimbursement, and towing coverage.

    Drivers must fulfill the following requirements to be eligible for this program:[4]

    • Be a Maryland resident

    • Own an automobile registered in Maryland or have a valid Maryland driver’s license

    • Had their policy canceled or denied by two or more insurers

    • Not owe Maryland any unpaid premium

    When you’re ready to apply, obtain a quote on the company’s website, call 1 (808) 492-7120, or fill out the online form. If you prefer to work with an insurance agent, use the agent locator tool to find an agent near you.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/96f6e05984/states_new-jersey.svg

    New Jersey

    New Jersey’s Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP) medical-only car coverage helps low-income drivers meet state insurance requirements. This policy covers your medical expenses, such as emergency treatments and treatments for severe brain and spinal cord injuries. It also provides a death benefit.

    To qualify for coverage, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:[5]

    • Be enrolled in federal Medicaid with a hospitalization benefit

    • Own a valid driver’s license or registration in New Jersey

    New Jersey’s “dollar-per-day” insurance costs $360 per year if paid in full or $365 if paid in two installments. To obtain coverage, find a Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (PAIP) producer in your area or call 1 (800) 652-2471.

2. Compare car insurance quotes

Insurance companies weigh various factors and calculate costs differently, so your premiums will vary by insurer. By shopping around, you can save upwards of 30% on your policy. You can use an online quote-comparison tool to find the best price for your situation.

Follow these steps to get a quote:

  1. Provide personal information. Answer a series of questions about yourself, your vehicle, and your driving history.

  2. Compare real-time quotes. Compare cost, coverages, and company reputation to find the best option for car insurance.

  3. Purchase a policy. Finalize your insurance policy online or by speaking to an agent.

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3. Ask for common car insurance discounts

Insurance companies offer discounts to reward safe driving and promote loyalty. If you’re looking to save money on your policy, check your insurer’s website or ask your agent for any deals you may qualify for.

Below are a few common discounts to ask about:

  • Good driver discount: Save up to 22% if you’re a driver who hasn’t been involved in an at-fault accident or received a ticket during a set period of time.

  • Telematics program discount: Participating in your company’s usage-based insurance program can result in a discount of up to 30% on your policy.

  • Multi-policy discount: Bundle multiple insurance products, like auto and home insurance, to save up to 25% on car insurance.

  • Good student discount: Students who earn good grades can get up to 15% off their insurance policy.

  • Military discount: Active-duty military members and veterans can qualify for up to 25% off their insurance policy with a military discount.

See More: Guide to Car Insurance Discounts

See More: Guide to Car Insurance Discounts

4. Consider pay-per-mile car insurance

With pay-per-mile insurance, your monthly premiums are tied to your mileage. You’ll pay a base rate plus a per-mile rate. For example, on its website, Mile Auto includes a monthly rate with a potential base rate of $48 and a per-mile rate of 8 cents. So, if you drove 300 miles, you’d pay a $72 premium for that month.

Pay-per-mile insurance is cheapest for people who don’t drive much, such as retirees or people who work from home. If you commute frequently, other insurers might be a more affordable option for you.

5. Reduce your coverage amount

A liability insurance policy is generally the least expensive option. If you’re on a tight budget, consider downgrading to your state’s minimum auto insurance requirements — but be aware of the risks.

A liability-only policy provides bare-minimum coverage and covers only the other parties’ expenses and injuries in an accident you cause. It doesn’t protect you or your vehicle, so you’d be financially responsible for your own expenses and vehicle repairs if you’re at fault in an accident. Depending on the severity of the incident and your car’s value, this could be costly.

One caveat: If you finance or lease your vehicle, your lender will probably require you to maintain a full-coverage policy. In that case, consider other strategies to lower your premiums.

Cheapest recent rates

Drivers using Insurify have found quotes as cheap as $35/mo for liability only and $41/mo for full coverage.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users within the last 10 days. Last updated on June 12, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 12, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users within the last 10 days. Last updated on June 12, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 12, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

6. Buy a car that’s cheaper to insure

If you find yourself in the market to buy a car, compare features before buying to determine how those features will affect your premiums. Older, lower-value vehicles with equipped safety features are generally cheaper to insure. Meanwhile, newer or luxury cars require more coverage, so they’re costlier to insure.

The table below shows the cheapest vehicle makes and models to insure, according to Insurify data.

VehicleAverage Monthly Quote
Chrysler Town & Country$153
Honda Odyssey$159
Subaru Forester$160
Toyota Sienna$169
Subaru Outback$170
Honda CR-V$173
Buick Enclave$173
Ford Ranger$174
Subaru Legacy$175
Chevrolet Trailblazer$177
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Low-income car insurance FAQs

If you’re a low-income driver in the market for car insurance, finding affordable coverage is possible. Check out the additional information below about low-income auto insurance options.

  • Who has the cheapest car insurance?

    COUNTRY Financial, NJM, and Auto-Owners offer some of the most affordable liability insurance coverage, according to Insurify rate data. But the company that’s cheapest for you will depend on your driver profile and coverage needs.

  • Which insurance companies cater to low-income drivers?

    Many insurance companies offer affordable car insurance. COUNTRY Financial, Auto-Owners, and USAA are just a few, according to Insurify’s round-up of cheap car insurance companies. In addition, California, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey have programs to assist low-income drivers with insurance coverage.

  • Which cars are the cheapest to insure?

    The cheapest cars to insure are older, are less expensive, and have safety features. The cheapest used cars to insure are the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey, and Subaru Forester. The cheapest new cars to insure are the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?."
  2. California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. "Who qualifies?."
  3. Hawaii Department of Human Services. "Hawaii No-Fault Insurance."
  4. Maryland Auto Insurance. "FAQs."
  5. New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance. "Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP)."
Alani Asis
Alani Asis

Alani Asis is a personal finance freelance writer with nearly three years of experience in content creation. She has landed bylines with leading publications and brands like Insider, Fortune, LendingTree, and more. Alani aims to make personal finance approachable through fun, relatable, and digestible content.

Ashley Cox
Edited byAshley CoxSenior Managing Editor
Headshot of Managing Editor Ashley Cox
Ashley CoxSenior Managing Editor
  • 7+ years in content creation and management

  • 5+ years in insurance and personal finance content

Ashley is a seasoned personal finance editor who’s produced a variety of digital content, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and consumer lending products.

Featured in

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