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Car insurance is mandatory in most states, though required minimums vary. But if you don’t have access to a credit card or even a checking account, it can be challenging to pay your premiums. Fortunately, you can still purchase auto insurance if you don’t have a credit card or checking account.
“You can pay for car insurance with cash, money orders, or prepaid debit cards,” says Jesse Cunningham, licensed agent and owner of Bauple, an independent insurance brokerage in Maryland. “None of these payment methods require a bank account.”
Some companies even accept payments through PayPal or Apple Pay. It’s important to learn what your options are so you can ensure your coverage doesn’t lapse from nonpayment.
How to pay for car insurance using a checking account
Most insurance companies accept multiple forms of payment, and a credit card isn’t necessary to pay for auto insurance. If you have access to a checking account, you can pay your insurance premiums in various ways.
“Most insurance companies will accept alternative forms of payment,” Cunningham says. He recommends speaking with an independent agent if you’re concerned about paying for car insurance without a credit card.
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Check (paper, electronic, or cashier’s)
Writing a check isn’t as common as it used to be, but it’s a safe and convenient way of paying for your car insurance. A check is a document promising someone they’ll receive payment from you.
You can mail a paper check, send an electronic check through your online banking software, or have your bank issue you a cashier’s check. Just make sure to mail your check early to avoid any late payments.
When you open a checking account at a bank or credit union, you’ll typically receive a free debit card. A debit card looks like a credit card, but when you swipe it or enter its information for payment, the funds are directly deducted from your checking account. On the other hand, credit cards offer a revolving line of credit that users pay back after they spend with the card.
If you choose to pay with a debit card, your insurance company can keep your card number on file and automatically charge you each month. That way, you don’t have to worry about missing a payment or lapses in coverage.
Keep in Mind
You’ll need to make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the payment when it’s due. Otherwise, you risk overdraft or returned payment fees from your bank and late payment fees from the car insurance company.
Electronic funds transfers
An electronic funds transfer (EFT) lets your insurance company receive the money electronically, instead of you writing a paper check. When you sign up for car insurance, you’ll give your insurance company your checking account and routing numbers. Then, the insurance company deducts the funds from your account each month when your payment is due.
EFT is one of the safest forms of payment, and by setting up autopay you’ll never have to worry about your policy lapsing or canceling due to nonpayment. Some insurance companies even offer discounts for setting up autopay.
Apple Pay allows you to store your card information in a mobile wallet on your phone.
Currently, a few car insurance companies accept Apple Pay for premium payments — only State Farm, GEICO, and Progressive accept Apple Pay through their mobile apps. You may even be able to add your insurance cards to your Apple Wallet so you always have them on hand.
How to pay for car insurance without using a checking account
Approximately 5.9 million Americans are “unbanked,” which means no one in their household has a checking or savings account.
Paying for car insurance without a checking account is slightly more difficult, but it’s possible. As you’re shopping around for different insurers, ask each company if it allows something other than a checking account for ongoing payments.
Here are five ways you can pay for car insurance if you don’t have a checking account. However, not all car insurance companies will accept these payment methods, so it’s a good idea to contact a representative to see which payment methods an insurer accepts.
PayPal or other mobile payment services
PayPal is a payment platform you can access via a website or mobile app. It allows you to send and receive payments through online money transfers. Most car insurance companies don’t accept PayPal, but some do — for example, Progressive accepts this form of payment.
A prepaid card isn’t linked to a bank account. Instead, you load money onto a card and can only spend up to that amount until you reload it. Many prepaid debit cards come with reload or monthly maintenance fees, so it’s an expensive way to store your money. Furthermore, if the prepaid card is lost or stolen, there’s usually no avenue to recover the funds. But if you can’t get a traditional bank account, a prepaid card can provide a stopgap for paying for car insurance.
You can also purchase prepaid Mastercard or Visa cards and use them in place of a debit or credit card. Most insurance companies will let you pay for your car insurance with a prepaid card.
Some insurance companies will let you set up a payroll deduction so your insurance payment is automatically taken out of your paycheck. Liberty Mutual and Travelers both offer this option to policyholders.
Progressive accepts money orders as a form of payment. People can buy money orders to pay a business or another person as an alternative to a check.
You can purchase a money order at a bank, credit union, or most U.S. Post Office locations. Money orders are also typically available at places like Walmart, most major grocery stores, and even gas stations.
Money orders are a good option for people without access to a standard checking account since they’re safer than cash. However, you may pay a fee each time you purchase one.
In-person cash payments
Some insurance companies still accept cash payments at their local offices. You’ll have to check with your insurance company to see if it accepts cash as a payment option. If your insurance company won’t take cash, you could purchase a money order or use a prepaid card instead.
Do all car insurance companies accept checks?
Most major car insurance providers accept various payment methods, including checks. For instance, popular insurers like Progressive, State Farm, GEICO, and Allstate accept check payments.
And companies that do accept checks usually accept paper, electronic, and cashier’s checks. Most will let you mail in a paper check or cashier’s check with the payment stub.
You also may be able to log into the insurance company’s website or mobile app and enter your checking and routing numbers to send an electronic check. The advantage of setting up autopay with an electronic check is that you don’t have to worry about potential late payments.
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How does your credit score affect car insurance rates?
Insurance companies consider your credit information to determine how much your car insurance policy will cost, depending on the state. Your insurance-based credit score is a rating that uses elements of your credit score to determine how likely you are to file an insurance claim.
“Car insurance companies do a soft pull on credit as a part of their process to determine risk,” explains Cunningham. “Car insurance companies use data from credit scores to determine how likely a potential customer is to file a claim. There’s a correlation between lower credit scores and filing more car insurance claims.”
California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington prohibit insurance companies from using credit information to determine your insurance rates. But unless you live in one of those states, your credit history will influence your insurance premiums.
You still can find cheap car insurance, even with a bad credit score. Raising your deductible and eliminating any unnecessary coverage will lower the cost. It’s also a good idea to receive quotes from multiple insurance companies.
The following table outlines what you can expect to pay on average based on your credit rating. The better your credit rating, the lower your insurance premiums will be.
Average Monthly Cost: Full Coverage
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.
Buying car insurance without a credit card FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about buying car insurance without a credit card.
Can you pay your car insurance bill with your bank account?
Yes, you can pay your car insurance bill with your bank account in several different ways. You can set up an electronic funds transfer (EFT) and automated clearing house (ACH) payments. You should be able to set this up through the billing section on your insurance company’s website or mobile app.
Can you pay for car insurance with a check?
Yes, most major insurance companies accept check payments. For example, Progressive, State Farm, GEICO, and Allstate all accept check payments. And companies that do accept checks usually accept paper, electronic, and cashier’s checks.
Do insurance companies ask for your bank account number?
If you pay your car insurance company directly through your checking account, you have to provide your banking information. You need to provide your checking account and routing numbers so your insurer can process the payment.
You should be able to do this online or through your insurance company’s mobile app. And your insurance company will have security features in place to keep your banking information safe.
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.
Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based personal finance writer whose work has been featured on several of the top finance and business sites in the country, including Insider, Credit Karma, Bankrate, Rocket Mortgage, Fox Business, Quicken Loans, and The Balance. For the past six years, she's dedicated more than 10,000 hours of research and writing to more than 2,000 articles about personal finance topics.