I Can’t Afford Car Insurance Anymore – What Should I Do?

Last Updated on June 6, 2022

Car insurance can be prohibitively expensive for some people. Sometimes, even basic liability car insurance will break your budget. Or, in other situations, drivers with a bad driving record can face costly monthly insurance premiums.

Whatever your situation may be, you have a problem: you need car insurance but you can’t afford it. What should you do when you can’t afford car insurance anymore? Today, we’re explaining how to solve this problem.

I Can't Afford Car Insurance Anymore

If You Can’t Afford Car Insurance, Then You Can’t Drive

First and most importantly, let’s get something obvious out of the way. If you can’t afford car insurance, then you need to stop driving. It’s illegal to drive a vehicle without car insurance on any public roads in the country, even for a minute.

There are no “car insurance alternatives” for those who can’t afford car insurance. The only “alternative” is to stop driving altogether.

You could consider options like taking the bus, bicycling, or walking.

However, there are options available to those who can’t afford car insurance – like extremely low-cost car insurance plans. We’ll talk about these options below.

How to Get the Cheapest Legal Car Insurance

If you can’t afford auto insurance anymore, there are some things you can do to lower your rates. Let’s take a look at them:

Choose Basic Liability Coverage

If car insurance is too expensive for you, then it’s possible you’re looking at the wrong types of car insurance. Some people look at full-coverage car insurance plans when they should be looking at basic liability policies.

With just a couple of exceptions, basic liability insurance is required in order to drive on any public road in the United States. This insurance covers a certain amount of damage to other drivers, people, or property from an at-fault accident. If you cause an accident, then basic liability will cover damage you inflict on other people. It will not, however, cover damages to your own vehicle.

Understandably, basic liability insurance is significantly cheaper than full coverage auto insurance. Full coverage auto insurance will include comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, which provides full protection for your vehicle against theft, vandalism, storm damage, and collisions, among other things. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford insurance, then you may want to drop collision and comprehensive coverage from your car insurance policy.

Drive a Cheap, Old Vehicle

If basic liability coverage is still too expensive, then your next step is to drive a cheaper, older vehicle.

Cheap and old vehicles are cheaper to insure. If your old vehicle gets totaled, then the insurance company may only have to reimburse you $4,000, for example, instead of the $20,000 they would owe you for a newer vehicle. Your insurance will inevitably be cheaper.

Insure a Vehicle Under Someone Else

Sometimes, you have such a bad driving history that it’s virtually impossible to get cheap auto insurance. If that’s the situation, then you may not be able to buy your own auto insurance. You may have to purchase an insurance policy under someone else in your household, then register yourself as a secondary driver.

Sometimes, this can save you a lot of money. In other cases, however, you may not save much money: the insurance company will still see you as a high-risk secondary driver, so your insurance rates will still be high. Nevertheless, it’s worth comparing quotes.

Raise your Deductible

Your deductible is the lump sum you pay when making a claim on your insurance plan. Deductibles can range anywhere from $250 to $2,000. The higher your deductible is, the lower your monthly insurance premiums will be. If you’re confident about not making a claim on your plan, for example, then you may choose to raise your deductible to $2,000 to lower your monthly premiums.

If your car insurance is unaffordable, then talk to your insurance company about raising your deductible.

Compare Quotes from All Local Insurance Companies

Different car insurance companies calculate risk in different ways. Some car insurance companies might punish you harshly for a single at-fault collision, for example, while others will only charge a minor penalty.

If car insurance is prohibitively expensive from one provider, then make sure you compare quotes from all local providers in your area. Rates can vary widely among different insurance providers.

To get a better idea of which auto insurance provider to switch to, please review the table below. Listed are the average yearly premiums, by company, for drivers with clean records, drivers with a single speeding ticket, drivers with a single accident, drivers with a single DUI, and drivers with bad credit. USAA is cheap for all types of drivers while State Farm is cheapest for drivers with DUI’s.

CompanyRates with Clean RecordRates with Speeding TicketRates with AccidentRates with DUIRates with Bad Credit
State Farm$1,234$1,375$1,487$1,681$2,745
American Family$1,391$1,497$1,684$1,726$2,277

Data Source – US News & World Report

Final Word – What If I Can’t Afford Car Insurance?

If you can’t afford auto insurance anymore, and your policy lapses, you need to stop driving immediately. Fortunately, there are some ways you can lower your auto insurance rates before you get to that point. You can lower your coverage limits, get discounts applied to your policy, and even shop around for a cheaper auto insurance provider.

The cheapest car insurance in the United States can cost as little as $30 to $50 per month – if you have a clean driving record.

If you have a bad driving record, unfortunately, then you’ll inevitably pay more for car insurance. However, there are still plenty of options available to you. You can drive an older vehicle with liability-only coverage, for example, to save hundreds of dollars per year.

Above all, remember to compare quotes from all auto insurance providers in your area. It costs nothing to request quotes from auto insurance companies online, and it only takes a few minutes to get an estimate. The sooner you start shopping for car insurance, the sooner you can find affordable car insurance that works for your unique needs.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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