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Best cheap car insurance in Columbus

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The average driver in Columbus, Ohio, pays $1,385 per year for their full coverage car insurance, or about $115 a month. For state-mandated minimum coverage, the average is $387 per year. These rates are above the state averages of $1,266 for full coverage and $338 for minimum coverage, so many drivers may be looking for ways to save on their premiums in the Discovery City.

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Based on our assessment of average premiums, coverage options, discounts and other key factors, Columbus drivers may find the best cheap car insurance with Geico, USAA, State Farm, Nationwide and Auto-Owners.

Best cheap car insurance companies in Columbus

Using data provided by Quadrant Information Services, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team determined that Geico, USAA and State Farm offer some of the most affordable average car insurance rates in Columbus. However, we understand that for many drivers, price isn’t the only factor that determines the best car insurance company.

To determine the top carriers, we also looked at coverage options, available discounts, digital tools and third-party scores, like those from the 2023 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study. Using these metrics and more, we assigned each carrier a Bankrate Score out of 5 points. We hope that the Scores and average rates below will allow you to quickly assess carriers to determine which may be able to meet your needs and budget.

Insurance company Bankrate Score J.D. Power score (North Central region) Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Geico 4.4 831/1,000 $789 $276
USAA 4.3 878/1,000* $984 $260
State Farm 4.2 837/1,000 $1,035 $279
Nationwide 3.9 821/1,000 $1,114 $424
Auto-Owners 4.2 833/1,000 $1,160 $325

*USAA is not officially ranked by J.D. Power due to eligibility restrictions.

Geico

Geico offers some of the lowest average rates for Columbus drivers. These rates, coupled with a robust list of discounts, may make it an ideal option for drivers on a budget. Potential savings are available for students, active-duty military and veterans, federal employees, and employee or membership groups. Geico scored above the North Central industry average in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction study and has robust digital tools, but it does not have as many endorsements as some competitors, which may be an issue for drivers looking for specialized coverage options.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

USAA

USAA only writes policies for active-duty military members, veterans and their eligible family members. If you qualify for coverage, USAA may be a great carrier for low rates, excellent customer service and military-focused discounts. For example, USAA policyholders may save if they garage their vehicle on base or if their vehicle is driven less while they’re deployed. You may be able to build a more robust policy with endorsements for roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement. Although it is not technically ranked due to eligibility restrictions, USAA had an unofficial J.D. Power score of 900/1000 in the 2023 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, which indicates customers are generally very satisfied with the carrier’s claims process.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

State Farm

If you like doing your business face-to-face with a knowledgeable agent, State Farm may be worth considering. The company is the largest in the U.S. by market share and has nearly 30 agents in Columbus itself, with many more in the suburbs. State Farm also has an impressive J.D. Power claims satisfaction score of 891/1,000. For shoppers looking to customize their policy, State Farm offers a handful of optional coverage types, including emergency road service, ridesharing and car rental coverage. In addition to low average rates, State Farm policyholders may save even more with potential discounts for bundling, safe driving, enrolling in a telematics program and more.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Nationwide

Nationwide may be a good carrier for drivers who value endorsements and discounts over customer service. The Columbus-based company’s potential endorsements include vanishing deductible, accident forgiveness and classic car coverage. You might find low rates by qualifying for some of Nationwide’s 10 advertised discounts, but the carrier scored just below average in the North Central region of J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction study, so it may be worthwhile to speak with existing customers about their experience.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners is a regional carrier writing car insurance policies in 26 states, including Ohio. The carrier is known for top-notch service, as demonstrated by its high score in the North Central region of J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction study. The carrier has a long list of potential endorsements including gap insurance, roadside assistance and additional expense coverage. Homeowners who bundle their home and auto insurance with Auto-Owners may be able to simplify their billing with a single deductible for both. Although its list of discounts rivals most large carriers, Auto-Owners does not have the same robust digital tools as many national insurance companies.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review

How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in Columbus

Compared to the rest of Ohio, which is predominantly rural, Columbus is more populated, which may contribute to its higher insurance rates. Metropolitan areas generally have higher accident and crime rates, leading insurers to charge higher premiums in these regions. Fortunately, Columbus drivers may still be able to find cheap rates using the following strategies:

  • Shop around and compare quotes. Carriers weigh rating factors differently, so one may offer significantly lower rates than another based on your circumstances. Comparing car insurance quotes from a few different carriers may help you identify the cheapest company for you. Experts recommend requesting quotes for the same coverage types and levels from each company to get an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • Look for new discount opportunities before your policy renews. You likely qualify for at least a couple discounts with your insurance company, but as your circumstances change, you may qualify for more. It may benefit you to check and see whether you’re eligible for additional discounts when your policy renews. For example, if you recently purchased a home, you may be eligible for a bundling discount if you carry a homeowners insurance policy with the same carrier as your auto insurance.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance company is different for every driver. For example, if saving money is your highest priority, the best company for you might be different from the best option for someone who values excellent customer service. Making a list of what features you value in a car insurance company and comparing rates from carriers that meet these criteria may be the best way to identify the best Ohio car insurance company for you.
    • The average driver in Columbus, Ohio pays $1,385 per year for full coverage insurance and $387 per year for minimum coverage insurance. This is well below the national average, which sits at $2,014 for full coverage and $622 for minimum coverage, but slightly above the Ohio state averages of $1,266 and $338 for full and minimum coverage, respectively. Keep in mind that every driver pays a different rate based on more than a dozen individual rating factors. In Ohio, these include age, gender, ZIP code, credit-based insurance score, make and model of your vehicle, claims history and more.
    • Drivers in Columbus are required to carry at least 25/50/25 personal liability coverage and they must be offered uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, though this may be declined in writing. However, most insurance professionals recommend carrying more than minimum coverage if you can afford to do so. Full coverage, for example, which includes comprehensive and collision coverage, offers financial protection for your own vehicle in the event of an accident or other covered incident. If you lease or finance your car, you may be interested in gap insurance, which covers the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and what it’s worth if it is totaled or stolen and nonrecoverable.
    • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

      • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
      • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
      • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
      • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
      • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
      • $500 collision deductible
      • $500 comprehensive deductible

      To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

    • Our 2023 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.Like our previous Bankrate Scores, each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. This year, our 2023 scoring model provides a more comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and better highlighting where they fall short.

      • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, were analyzed.
      • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
      • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.

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