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Which car insurance is best for families?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Having a family can mean changes in your life — and that includes changes in your family insurance plans. Switching from a sedan to a minivan, getting married or having children and even the addition of in-laws to your home can all mean your premiums and coverage will be different.

What can you do to make it easy, efficient and inexpensive to manage your insurance? Consider family auto insurance, which can cover you and all those in your family as the years go by. It’s beneficial to look at family insurance plans as a way of saving money while offering the best coverage for your family, no matter who’s behind the wheel.

What is the best car insurance for families?

There is no one “best” option for every family. Because your circumstances are unique, so is your family car insurance. Numerous factors, from the type of car you drive to the number of new drivers in the family, will impact the amount you’re paying in auto insurance premiums.

One factor that can greatly impact your insurance costs is the use of discounts to get your premium price down. Most major insurers offer family-oriented discounts, and they take into account your marital situation, the number of cars you have and who is on the policy.

There’s often a slight dip in costs when you get married because married drivers traditionally make fewer claims than single drivers do. Plus, if you become a two- or more-car family, you may qualify for a multi-car discount. More discounts will apply if you have additional drivers on your policy, such as when your children start driving. You’ll want those discounts because teen drivers are the most expensive age group to insure.

How much is car insurance for families?

The average cost of car insurance for families depends on several factors, from where you live to how old your car is. As a benchmark figure, the Insurance Information Institute says that the average cost to insure a 2019 sedan is $1,251. But there’s a lot more that goes into your family insurance quote.

Factors affecting the cost of your family car insurance policy

  • Tickets/accidents: It goes without saying that a clean driving record will earn you a lower insurance cost. Once you’ve made a claim on your policy, you’re likely to see your rate rise. This can impact your family insurance plans, especially when you have teen drivers, who statistically are responsible for more accidents than any other age group. 
  • The state you reside in: Your location plays a big role in determining your premium. The most expensive state for car insurance is Florida, where the average driver pays $2,587; the cheapest is Maine, where the average is a much more reasonable $831. 
  • Age of drivers: As we’ve noted, new drivers have the most accidents of any age group, making them expensive to insure. The second-highest age group is those who are 80 years old and over, and this group is the highest ranking for fatal crashes. You’ll want to note this if you, like many people in the U.S., have elderly parents or in-laws living with you. One exception: age cannot be a factor in the states of Hawaii or California.
  • Genders: More men than women die each year in car accidents, and traditionally, insurance rates for men — especially young men — have reflected that. New research, however, refutes this claim, and may impact insurance rates in the future.    
  • Students’ achievements: Yes, teen drivers are more likely to have accidents, but many teens are good, careful drivers, and insurers often reward them. If your teen has a good school record, with a B average or better, they are likely to earn a discount from your insurer. The use of telematic devices to record your teen’s driving habits in real time may also net you a discount.  
  • Number of policies: Almost all big insurers offer a discount if you bundle your car insurance with home or life policies. Allstate, for example, will give you 10 percent savings if you add your homeowner policy to auto. With Geico, you could save up to 25 percent by insuring multiple vehicles with the company.
  • Types of vehicles: A general rule of thumb is that the more expensive your car is to repair, the more you’ll pay for insurance — so that pricey import may increase your premiums. Luxury cars and high-end SUVs will almost always have higher premiums than sedans and smaller, less-expensive cars.   
  • Age of vehicles: The older a car is, in general, the less expensive it is to insure, especially when it reaches an age where you can drop collision from your coverage. This is worth noting when you have new, young drivers to add to your policy. An older, reliable car will cost less in insurance premiums and be less expensive to repair if your teen does have an accident. 
  • Number of people on the policy: This may impact your family car insurance in ways you didn’t expect. Your rate, for example, may drop slightly when you get married because you are less likely to make a claim on your policy than a single person. Your rates will continue to drop until your children reach driving age and get added to your policy, at which point they will rise significantly.   

The best way to know how much you’ll pay for your family car insurance is to get several quotes and ask about these factors.

How to save money on car insurance for families

Having a family auto insurance policy may save you money through discounts and other factors and may also save you hassles, because all your insurance needs will be under one company. Here are some ways to maximize your savings.

Type of cars

Of course, some cars are cheaper to insure than others. According to USA Today, these are currently the five cheapest cars to insure in the U.S.:

  • Subaru Outback 4WD 
  • Honda CR-V
  • Acura RDX
  • Subaru Forester 4WD 
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible

Discounts

We’ve talked about a few discounts already, such as multi-car and multi-policy discounts and good student discounts. Most companies list discounts on their websites, but it’s a good idea to double-check with your agent in case you’ve missed any. Here are some more common ones that may help you reduce your premium costs:

  • New car 
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Anti-theft device 
  • Early signing, if you sign your policy 7 days or more before it goes into effect
  • Responsible payer, with no missed payments
  • Automatic online premium payment
  • Full pay, if you pay for a whole year at once
  • Driver education class
  • Teen away at college, at least 100 miles from home

Telematics

Telematics are devices that you install in your car, or, increasingly, downloaded onto your smartphone, which monitor your driving in real time as you drive. They can tell, for example, if you speed, make hard stops or drive at night, when accidents are more likely to happen. 

Allstate’s Drivewise is one example. After you’ve been monitored for a certain time, if you’ve proven you’re a safe driver, you’ll be eligible for family auto insurance discounts or preferred customer rewards. You can also get feedback on your driving, which can be a great idea if you have a new teen driver behind the wheel.

Type of coverage

Each state in the U.S. has certain insurance requirements for liability that you’ll need to meet with your family car insurance plan. You can also choose coverages that meet your needs without costing more than you can afford. Some of these types of insurance include:

  • Collision and comprehensive: These common coverages pay for damage to your car from an accident or other causes, such as a tree falling on your car, vandalism and theft. If your cars are older, you may not find this coverage as important because the low value of the car may make it not worth fixing.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage: These would pay your medical and other expenses if you or passengers in your car are hurt in an accident.
  • Rental reimbursement: This would pay for a rental car while yours was being repaired or you shop for a new one after an accident.
  • Umbrella policy: This would cover your liability beyond the limits of your other coverage. 
  • Roadside coverage: Similar to what organizations like AAA offer, this would get you back on the road if you are stranded and need something simple like a battery jump or tire change.
  • Rideshare coverage: Insurers are increasingly offering this type of coverage to augment the insurance you have as an Uber or other ride sharing company driver.

When to reevaluate your family car insurance policy

Just as your family is always growing and changing, so too should you family insurance policy be tweaked to reflect those changes. We recommend that you read through your policy every year when you renew it. Contact your agent if changes are needed. 

Other times when you should connect with your insurance company include the following:

  • When you get a new car or sell an old one.
  • When you add or remove a driver from your policy.
  • When you move or your living situation changes (i.e., you downsize from a house to an apartment .
  • When you are in an accident, regardless of who’s at fault, or have a moving violation, DUI or DWI.
  • When you have a question about your coverage or think your bill is wrong.

The takeaway

Family insurance plans are convenient and can lead to savings.

  • Having one agent and a single company means fewer hassles.
  • Volume discounts lead to lower premiums.
  • Optional coverages may not be necessary.
  • Consider your cars: older models generally are cheaper to insure.

Once you have a family, it makes sense to consolidate all your insurance needs with one company: it’s easier to manage, and most insurers offer multi-car and multi-policy discounts. Your costs may go down once you are married, until your children are starting to drive—then you’ll see significant increases. Older drivers, too, have fairly high rates, especially those over 80. 

By using discounts wisely, choosing cars for their insurance value and taking advantage of insurer benefits like telematics, you can save money on premiums, even if you have teen drivers. A clean driving record is also vital for getting the best rates.

Mary Van Keuren

After 30 years as a writer and editor in academia, Mary now writes full-time for the insurance and finance industries. Her work has appeared on Reviews.com, TheSimpleDollar.com and Bankrate.com, as well as other consumer-focused websites.

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