How to Buy Car Insurance Online without a Credit Card (2022)
Updated June 20, 2022
Some form of car insurance is required virtually everywhere in the United States, but not all drivers have a credit card or even a checking account to make payments. Other drivers simply don’t want to use credit to pay for car insurance. If you fall into any of those categories, know that there are several options for you to buy and pay for the coverage you need.
Regardless of how you plan to pay for your insurance premiums, you should always shop around and compare prices. The price of the same level of coverage can vary from company to company, so it’s important to get quotes from multiple insurance providers. With Insurify’s price-comparison tool, it’s fast and easy to get personalized car insurance quotes.
Most insurance companies accept several payment options and some don’t require a credit card or checking account.
There are even ways to use cash to pay your car insurance premium, though they might take an extra step and advance planning.
Shopping online allows you to get quotes and compare options from multiple companies so you can find the best deal, regardless of how you plan to pay.
While paying insurance premiums is easiest with a credit card, there are a few loopholes that will let shoppers without them get insurance online.
Data from the 2019 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) “How America Banks” survey found that 7.1 million households in the United States are “unbanked”—in other words, without a checking or credit account. Drivers in such households still need car insurance, though, and they still need a way to pay for it.
And let’s be honest: car insurance companies want to make it easy for you to give them your money. That fact, plus the rise of online banking and digital payments, means you’ll be able to find a way to pay for your insurance premium even if you don’t have a credit card or checking account.
Take note that if you need to use cash or send payment by snail mail, you’ll need a little advance planning. So be sure to leave yourself enough time. There are penalties for missing your car payment deadlines, which we’ll get into later. Exact payment options vary by company, so if you know you’ll need a specific payment option, be sure to find a company that accepts it.
See More: Best Car Insurance Companies
If you have a checking account, especially a debit card, you have several options for buying car insurance online.
Debit Card: Simply enter your debit card details through your insurance company’s online portal, or if you use paper billing, you can write the card details on the paper return slip that comes with your bill and send it back.
Paper Check (by mail or in-person): Odds are you can write an old-fashioned paper check. Remember that you need to mail the check-in time for it to arrive by your payment due date, though some companies will accept payments posted by the due date. You might also be able to take a check directly to a local office, but confirm that with your insurer.
Cashier’s Check (by mail or in-person): If you’re out of paper checks or simply want something more secure than a paper check, go to your bank/credit union for a cashier’s check. A teller notarizes the check, and the bank verifies the transaction before it releases funds. As with regular checks, mail it in time to arrive by your due date.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from your checking account: Sometimes called an e-check, online check, or an ACH (automated clearing house) payment, this option allows you to use your checking account to pay for your car insurance online even if you don’t have a debit card.
Most insurers allow you to set up electronic automatic payments so you never forget to pay your bill on time, and some companies even offer discounts for setting up autopay.
See More: Car Insurance Quotes
No checking account? No problem. You can still buy car insurance online with these payment options. Confirm with your auto insurer which payment types they accept. If you’re shopping for a new policy and will need a specific (non-checking account) payment type, you should confirm in advance that they accept a payment method that’s feasible for you.
PayPal: Auto insurance companies increasingly accept PayPal; the first to do so was Esurance, back in 2005. GEICO and Progressive now accept payments via this format as well. Even without connecting to a checking account, you can use money in your PayPal account to pay for your car insurance.
You can also use PayPal Cash, which allows you to go to participating stores and use a barcode in the app to deposit cash directly into your PayPal account.
Prepaid Card: You can purchase a prepaid Visa or Mastercard with cash and use it like a debit card, including for online car insurance payments. Prepaid cards are available at major grocery stores, gas stations, and many other retailers, and at some of those locations, you can also use cash to reload the balance on prepaid cards for ongoing use.
Payroll Deduction: Some major insurers, like Liberty Mutual and Travelers, will allow you to set up payroll deduction so that your car insurance premiums are deducted from your paycheck. One benefit of this option is that you won’t have to remember to pay your premium since it will happen automatically as long as you have that job.
Money Order: You can use cash or check to buy a money order, available at U.S. Post Offices, Walmart, Western Union, and most major grocery stores. You’ll have to pay a small fee, usually somewhere between $0.80 and $2. Then, you’ll mail your money order like a check. The max amount you can send with a money order is $1,000.
Cash: Some insurance companies, but not many, still accept in-person cash payments at brick-and-mortar offices. Check with your local office to see if cash is an option.
See More: Cheap Car Insurance
Insurance companies use credit scores as one rating factor in determining someone’s auto insurance score, which in turn determines their insurance costs. To an insurance company, bad credit suggests that someone might be a high-risk driver. That’s why drivers with good credit scores almost always get better auto insurance rates than drivers with poor credit scores.
Only three states ban the use of credit ratings in determining insurance rates: California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts; Washington had a temporary ban in 2021, but the ban was overturned. For most drivers outside of these states, it might well be impossible to find a no-credit-check car insurance option. Your best bet for that type of plan is to look for smaller, regional companies.
Another option is to look for a usage-based insurance program, which uses a telematics device to track driving behaviors like how fast you accelerate, how hard you brake, how much you drive, and even if you use your phone while driving. These programs might still look at your credit report, but it won’t have as much of an impact on your quotes as with traditional plans.
Missing the due date for your car insurance payment could leave you facing a late fee or, even worse, the cancellation of your policy. Most insurance companies provide a grace period and/or waive your first late fee. But if your car insurance gets canceled, you’ll have an insurance gap on your record, and this will result in higher premiums.
If you’re having trouble affording your car insurance, call your current provider to ask about ways to save money (including discounts, reducing your coverage, or increasing your deductible). And call them if you’re facing hardship and know you’ll be late on your payment; they might be able to extend your due date or help in other ways.
Car insurance companies provide an array of payment options because (spoiler alert) they want your money. There are pros and cons to each payment option, so find whatever method works best for you to make your insurance payments on time.
No matter what type of insurance you need for your vehicle or whether you have excellent credit or none, to find the cheapest car insurance, you need to shop around. Get personalized, free quotes from multiple companies with Insurify’s price-comparison tool.
If you need to pay cash, you still have options for buying car insurance online using PayPal Cash or a prepaid card that you purchase with cash. Existing customers can pay using a money order purchased with cash, and some insurance agents (but not the majority) still take cash payments in person at local offices.
It’s difficult to find no-credit-check auto insurance outside of the three states that prohibit companies from looking at your credit score. If you have bad or fair credit, try car insurance companies that specialize in “high-risk” drivers, such as Allstate, Direct Auto, and Progressive. Remember that you’ll still face higher rates than people with good credit.
There’s no simple answer to this. It depends on many factors, like how much you owe on your car, how much savings you have, what kind of health insurance you have, and minimum required by your state or your auto loan lender. Insurify’s insurance agents can provide objective guidance for free at 1 (866) 405-5518.
Remember that car insurance is meant to protect you from financial catastrophe in the event that you cause a motor vehicle accident, you are injured in such an accident, or your vehicle is damaged outside of a collision. Depending on the circumstances, without sufficient car insurance coverage, you could be responsible for so much in damages it could ruin your finances.
Many factors affect car insurance rates, including your age and marital status, type of car, driving history, and credit score. So remember that a sedan will cost less to insure than a sports car, and in order to keep your driving record clean, avoid traffic violations/speeding tickets, and think twice before filing car insurance claims, especially for repairs you can afford out of pocket.
Since a bad credit score is almost guaranteed to result in higher premiums, work on increasing your score (or maintaining it if it’s already in good shape). And since most auto insurance providers offer a variety of discounts, ask an insurance agent about all possible savings you might be eligible for, like deals for safe drivers, good students, military members, anti-theft devices, new vehicles, paying upfront, or bundling with your homeowners or renters insurance.
Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.
Mal Profeta is a writer, editor, educator, and public health advocate. They serve as the communications director of an NIH-funded clinical and translational science research center that focuses on addressing health disparities in Appalachia. A former Fulbright recipient, they hold a bachelor's degree from Transylvania University and a master's from New York University.Learn More