Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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When money is really tight, sometimes it’s hard to afford car insurance. But most people need a car in order to get to work, which means they have to have car insurance. Some states have set up programs to help the low income families in their states to afford car insurance.

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However, not all states have a low-income program for car insurance. If not, then you’ll need to shop around for the best deal.

State Low Income Car Insurance Programs

All states require that drivers assume responsibility to pay for any damages, either to other vehicles or other drivers that they cause during an accident. All but one of the states requires that be done by buying a certain amount of liability insurance. Some states also require uninsured motorist coverage and some sort of medical coverage.

That cost can be substantial, especially in certain parts of the country. Therefore, some states have established programs to help good drivers who meet income requirements to afford car insurance.

Check with the department of insurance in your state to see if your state has such a program.

For example, California has such a program that can provide car insurance for as low as $400 per year. You must have a good driving record, have had a driver’s license for at least three years, be at least 19, and have a car worth less than $20,000. You must also meet the income requirements.

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Problems with Low-Income Programs

While $400 per year sounds great for car insurance, remember that there are some drawbacks. These programs usually only provide the minimum amount of coverage you need to drive legally in your state. However, this might not be enough insurance to protect you financially. If you total someone’s $40,000 car and only carry $20,000 in liability, then they might sue for the remainder.

Also, remember that this policy doesn’t usually carry optional coverage like medical payments, personal injury protection, or comprehensive and collision. If you have a car loan, you’ll be required to have comp and collision. You’ll need to add that to the policy which will increase the cost of the premium.

In California, there’s also a surcharge added to premiums for men under the age of 25. This is because men in this age range are at the highest risk of being in a car accident. So make sure you read all of the fine print about these programs before signing up.

Other Ways to Save on Car Insurance

For those who live in states that don’t have a low-income car insurance program, there are still many ways you can cut the costs of your car insurance. By spending some time calling around or searching online combined with some smart shopping skills, anyone can save money on their car insurance.

If you can at all scrape the money together, pay the six-month premium in advance. Most insurance companies give a significant discount if the premium is paid in full rather than spaced out monthly. Then each month for the next six months, set aside one-sixth of the premium, so that in six months, when the next premium is due, you’ll have the money ready to pay.

Also, ask about other discounts. Don’t assume that the company is giving you every discount you are eligible for. Sometimes they don’t give it to you until you ask about it. You might be eligible for multi-car discounts if you own more than one car all insured on the same policy. If you use public transit and don’t use your car for regular commuting, be sure to tell them that as well.

If you are a student or have one on the policy who makes good grades, a good student discount can help lower rates as well. Also, try to get your car insurance and homeowners or renters insurance from the same company. Doing this will save you money on both types of policies. Also, ask for a good driver discount if it’s been at least three years since your last ticket or accident.

One of the best things you can do to save money is to shop around.

Not all companies charge the same for the same cars or for the same people. By getting quotes from different companies, you will have a better shot at finding a lower premium on the coverage you need. For more tips on saving money on car insurance, watch this podcast from the Insurance Information Institute.

Start your search for low-cost insurance now by typing your ZIP code into the FREE box!