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Updated November 14, 2022
Zero-down car insurance doesn’t exist. Car insurance companies want to mitigate their risk of financial loss, so they’ll always require you to pay at least the first month’s premium up front when you start a policy. Some may require a down payment that’s higher than the first month’s premium.
But, it’s still possible to get cheap car insurance with a low down payment. You can find an affordable policy within minutes by comparing car insurance quotes from top-rated providers in your area.
Can you get cheap car insurance with no deposit?
Despite what some car insurance companies advertise, it’s not possible to get cheap car insurance with no money down. Most insurance companies require at least the first month’s premium when you purchase a policy, which locks in your coverage.
However, you can find a car insurance policy that doesn’t require an additional deposit. For example, State Farm and GEICO don’t require a separate deposit on top of your initial premium payment. With these companies, your down payment is equal to your monthly rate.
You should focus on finding the lowest car insurance premium if you want very cheap car insurance with no deposit. Start by shopping around and comparing quotes to see which provider offers you the lowest rate for the type and amount of coverage you want.
Hear from the experts:
Car insurance with no downpayment or upfront premium doesn't exist—so be wary of companies offering to reduce your cost. The best way to save money on car insurance is to understand which discounts are available and whether you're eligible for them. For instance, if you recently got married, bought a home, or have a young driver who's a good student, that can cut your rate. Also, completing a defensive driving course may qualify you or other drivers in your household for an auto insurance discount. Online school, Aceable, allows drivers to complete a state-approved curriculum in just a few hours. The savings vary by insurer, so ask your providers what discount may be available.
Understand the ‘why’
The reason car insurance companies require payment up front is to reduce risk. The minute your policy takes effect, the insurer agrees to compensate you for any covered losses. A deposit protects the insurance company financially if you have a claim early on in your coverage period.
Additionally, charging a down payment prevents drivers from purchasing a policy to show proof of coverage and then never paying. A driver who needs to reinstate a suspended license or get their car out of impound might consider this tactic – but think twice if they know they’ll lose their deposit.
Most states require drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of liability coverage. Failure to maintain car insurance coverage can have significant legal and financial consequences.
How to find a low-down-payment auto insurance policy
You’ll need to find the lowest premium to get the lowest down payment. But before you start getting quotes, it’s helpful to understand what factors insurance companies look at when pricing your policy.
When you apply for a car insurance quote, the insurance company looks at a variety of criteria. Some are unique to your personal driver profile, and others are related to your vehicle. Here are some of the biggest factors that impact your car insurance premium.
Information about your car: Your vehicle’s make and model have a big impact on the cost of your car insurance. In general, new cars and models with lots of bells and whistles tend to be more expensive to insure than older cars.
Information about you: Some of the personal factors that affect your car insurance premium include your age, gender, driving record, and insurance claim history. Your location also impacts your rate.
Credit information: In most states, car insurance companies run a credit check when you apply for a policy. Drivers with good credit typically pay less for car insurance than drivers with poor credit. Improving your credit score can help you get a lower rate.
Learn More: Compare Car Insurance by Age and Gender
Car insurance discounts
To help drivers get affordable coverage, most car insurance companies offer discounts. Here are some of the most common discounts from top-rated companies.
Safe driver: You can usually qualify for a discount on your premium if you have no prior insurance claims, accidents, or tickets.
Paperless billing: You can often get a slightly lower car insurance premium if you enroll in paperless billing and electronic policy statements.
Multi-vehicle: Insuring two or more vehicles on the same car insurance policy will usually result in a lower premium.
Safety features: If your car is equipped with certain safety features, like antilock brakes and airbags, your insurer may lower your rate.
Good student: Teen and college-age drivers may be able to get a good student discount if they maintain a GPA that meets the insurer’s requirements.
Every car insurance company uses a different rating algorithm and offers unique discounts. To get the most affordable no-down-payment car insurance, you should get quotes from a few different providers and pay attention to the discounts available to see how much you can save.
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How to get the best cheap car insurance
Dozens of reputable car insurance providers are available, but each company has pros and cons. If you’re looking for cheap car insurance, here are some things to consider.
Monthly payment plans
Many car insurance providers offer monthly payment plans, which can make your premium payments more manageable if you’re on a budget. Rather than paying your annual premium up front and in full, you usually have the option to pay it in six or 12 installments, depending on the length of your policy term.
However, you can often get a discount for paying your annual premium in a lump sum when you first purchase coverage. You should consider paying annually if you’re looking to save money.
The best car insurance companies offer excellent customer support options. Look for features like live chat or 24/7 customer service and claims-handling when comparing providers. We also recommend providers with a robust mobile app or online customer portal that allows you to make changes and file claims anytime, anywhere.
Learn More: Diminished Value Claim Explained
Company history and financial strength
Before you purchase car insurance, do some research to make sure the company is reputable. Free resources, like J.D. Power’s Auto Insurance Study and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Complaint Index, can help you gauge current customers’ opinions of the insurer.
You should also check out A.M. Best to see how the insurance company fares in terms of financial strength. Insurers with excellent or superior financial strength have a strong balance sheet and have demonstrated their ability to meet policyholder obligations and pay out claims.
Comparing car insurance quotes
The most effective way to find cheap no-down-payment car insurance is to compare quotes. To make the process easier, we recommend using a car insurance quote-comparison platform to get quotes from multiple providers with a single application.
Another option is to get quotes on individual provider websites and compare the quotes manually. However, comparing quotes this way takes longer, and some car insurance companies require you to call an agent to get a rate estimate.
Keep In Mind
You should focus on getting the cheapest car insurance premium if you want the lowest down payment. Get quotes from multiple providers and compare them to see which insurer offers you the lowest price.
Finding very cheap car insurance without a deposit
Zero-down car insurance doesn’t exist, and it’s not possible to secure coverage without paying any money up front. In most cases, car insurance companies require you to pay at least the first month’s premium before your policy becomes active.
However, getting very cheap car insurance with no additional deposit is possible. Find the best insurers by considering criteria like discounts, customer service, and financial strength. Then, compare car insurance quotes to find the lowest rate for your coverage needs.
Frequently asked questions
All car insurance companies require some form of payment up front before you can purchase coverage. This is a way for insurers to reduce risk. Whether you make a traditional deposit or pay the first month’s premium, you must pay something to lock in your policy. You won’t find any car insurance companies that provide coverage for free, with zero dollars down.
Although you can get coverage without an additional deposit, you’re always required to pay at least the first month’s premium up front before your coverage takes effect.
Depending on your insurance company, you usually also have the option to pay the premium annually, biannually, or quarterly. Whatever amount you pay up front is considered the deposit, with the lowest deposit being the first month’s premium.
Every car insurance company requires a down payment in the form of the first month’s premium. However, many car insurance providers don’t require a secondary deposit on top of the initial premium, including:
This list is not exhaustive, so it’s a good idea to contact a car insurance company directly if you have questions about its down payment requirements.
Comparing car insurance quotes is easy, and there are a few ways to do it. One option is to apply for quotes on provider websites. Most of the biggest car insurance companies have an online quote tool where you input some personal information and receive an automatic quote.
Another way to compare quotes is to use a quote-comparison platform. This makes the process of comparing car insurance quotes quicker and easier. With a single application, you can get personalized quotes from multiple insurance companies. Then, you can purchase a policy online or over the phone with an agent.
No matter which option you choose, it’s important to compare car insurance quotes to find the most affordable policy for your unique coverage needs.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed more than 40 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partner providers 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. Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Service's database of auto insurance rates. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how companies price their car insurance premiums.