How to Get Help Paying for Car Insurance

California, Hawaii, and New Jersey all offer state programs to help people pay for car insurance.
Written by Mariza Morin
Edited by Amy Bobinger
, Hawaii, and
New Jersey
all offer state programs to help people pay for their
car insurance
, and some local nonprofits and aid groups might be able to help you pay your car insurance bills temporarily. 
Even if you can’t get help with your car insurance payments, there are a few ways to reduce your auto insurance premiums, including shopping around, searching for discounts, and reducing your coverage.

Where can you get help paying for your car insurance?

In most cases, you won’t be able to get outside help with making your car insurance payments. However, it’s worth checking out payment assistance programs in your area before you give up on this idea.
Some local nonprofits and aid groups have programs in place to help low-income people afford their car insurance payments temporarily. However, these groups usually won’t be able to help any of their patrons for more than a few months since these types of programs are designed to help low-income families get back on their feet after financial hardship. Finding this type of programming can also be difficult if you don’t live in an urban area.1
Currently, there are also three U.S. states offering :
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
These programs have strict eligibility requirements and offer very little coverage, but this service may be able to help you find affordable coverage if you live in one of these states.

State programs to help with car insurance costs

Let’s take a closer look at the financial assistance programs available in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey.

California low-income car insurance programs

California’s Low-Cost Auto Insurance program was created by the California Department of Insurance to help drivers get cheaper state minimum
liability insurance
, coverage that is legally required for all California drivers.
This government program is not free, but it is very low-cost. Depending on which county they live in, California drivers can expect to pay between $244 and $966 per year for their insurance via this program.3 
When you compare the low-income program to average
California car insurance costs
for minimum liability and full coverage, you’ll see just how beneficial this lower rate could be for low-income drivers.
Type of California insurance
Average cost (monthly)
Low-income program
State minimum liability
Full coverage 
*Costs vary by county; these averages may include additional discounts
Because this program is only for state minimum coverage, it won’t cover any damages to your own vehicle or any of your medical bills following an accident. You would need a standard car insurance policy with
uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage
for your medical expenses and
full coverage
for your vehicle—none of which are required by California state law.
There are several eligibility requirements for the program. You must:
Be at least 16 years old
Have a valid California driver’s license
Own a car worth no more than $25,000
Meet certain household income requirements, starting at $32,200 for one-person households to $66,250 for four-person households.
Fill out the
eligibility questionnaire
to start the application process for this low-cost auto insurance assistance program.

Hawaii low-income car insurance programs

Drivers who receive aid from Hawaii’s state Department of Human Services are also eligible for the state’s free auto insurance program. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, this program is free.
To be eligible for this program, you must:
  • Own a vehicle
  • Have a valid Hawaii driver’s license
  • Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Temporary Assistance for Other Needy Families; General Assistance; or Aid to the Aged, Blind or Disabled.
You can apply through one of the
state's processing centers

New Jersey low-income car insurance programs

New Jersey’s
Special Automobile Insurance Policy
(SAIP) covers up to $250,000 for emergency care after car accidents or long-term care for severe brain and spinal cord injuries after a car accident. It also grants a death benefit of $10,000 if a loved one dies in a car accident.5
This program is strictly for personal injury, meaning it won’t cover any damages to your or another person’s property. But, at just $365 per year (that’s $1 per day), your
New Jersey car insurance costs
will be extremely low with this coverage.
To qualify for this program, you must be enrolled in the federal Medicaid health care program with hospitalization benefits. You must also hold a valid New Jersey driver’s license and registration.
To get coverage via this program, look for an
SAIP provider
or call 1-800-652-2471.

What should you do if you can’t afford car insurance anymore?

If you can’t afford to pay your car insurance anymore, take steps to lower your premium as much as possible. If you don’t pay your premium, your insurance company will cancel your policy, and you won’t have coverage.
If you get caught
driving without insurance
, you risk consequences like fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension. Letting your
insurance lapse
indicates to insurance companies that you’re a high-risk driver, and you’re likely to pay much higher insurance prices in the future as a result.
You could also face other consequences, such as:
  • Having to pay out of pocket for the costs of an accident you cause (car repairs, medical bills, etc.)
  • License suspension
  • Large fines
  • Repossession of your car (if you have a
    car loan
    or lease)
  • Being required to file an
    SR-22 form
    with the state

How can you lower your car insurance payments?

If you’re struggling to pay for your car insurance, try looking for a new provider. You may also be able to make changes to your current policy to bring down your insurance rate.

Shop around for a better rate

One of the best ways to find cheap car insurance is by regularly comparison shopping for a better deal. Gather quotes from several car insurance providers and compare rates to see which providers offer the coverage you need for the lowest price.
Jerry has compiled a list of some of the cheapest average rates for different auto insurance policies from different providers.
Insurance provider
State minimum insurance
Full coverage insurance
However, your actual insurance rates will be highly personalized and might not reflect the rates you see in the table. 
The only way to find the best rates for you is to shop around and get insurance quotes from as many insurance companies as you can. An insurance broker like
compares quotes from dozens of top car insurance companies to help you find the best rate available to you.

Ask about insurance discounts

Most insurance providers offer a variety of
car insurance discounts
that could save you money on your car insurance premiums. Some of the most common types of car insurance discounts include:
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Increase your deductible

When you
choose a car insurance deductible
, your insurance rates change accordingly. The higher your deductible, the lower your car insurance rates. Just remember that in the event of an accident, you’ll be financially responsible for paying your deductible out-of-pocket.

Reduce your coverage

If you carry more than your state’s minimum required car insurance coverage, reducing the amount of coverage you carry is one way to lower your rate. This can be helpful in the short term if you’re struggling to pay your insurance bills. However, reducing your coverage should always be a last resort, as it leaves you vulnerable in the event of an accident.

Drive safely, and ask about telematics discounts

Are you a good driver?6 Ask your provider about installing a telematics device in your vehicle. Many insurance providers will give you discounts by electronically tracking your driving habits, and some even offer a discount for signing up.
Additionally, drivers with a clean driving record are considered low-risk, whereas drivers with a lot of tickets, accidents, and other traffic violations on their record are considered high-risk. If you can keep your driving record clean over time, you’ll see lower average insurance rates.

Improve your credit score

Drivers with good and excellent credit scores are consistently offered significantly better car insurance rates than their counterparts with fair and poor credit scores. Drivers with ​​poor credit scores between 524 and 577 pay 44% more than drivers with fair credit (710-740) and 115% more than drivers with excellent credit (823+). If you’re able to improve your credit, your auto insurance rates might improve, too.7


How can I lower my car insurance rate fast?

The quickest way to lower your car insurance rate is to find a different provider with a better rate. This is a quick and easy process when you use a car insurance broker app like Jerry. If you like your current provider, you can also try asking your insurance agent about any available discounts to lower your auto insurance rate.

What is the lowest you can pay for car insurance?

A policy that includes state minimum liability insurance will cost the least of all your car insurance options. State minimum coverage requirements vary a lot from one state to another, so check your state laws to learn more about the requirements for you.

Does not paying your insurance affect your credit?

Yes, a failure to pay your car insurance bill can have a negative impact on your credit. This type of report will also remain on your credit for seven to 10 years, although the actual effects on your credit report will depend on your personal financial standing.8

Meet our experts

Mariza Morin
Mariza Morin is an insurance writer with over 10 years of experience in the writing and research industry. Mariza specializes in car insurance, car maintenance, and home insurance content at Jerry, and has over 600+ published articles that help readers handle everything from scheduling regular car maintenance to saving money. Before joining Jerry’s editorial team, Mariza earned her Masters in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. in Art History and Photography from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Amy Bobinger
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Licensed Insurance Agent — Expert Insurance Editor
Expert insurance writer and editor Amy Bobinger specializes in car repair, car maintenance, and car insurance. Amy is passionate about creating content that helps consumers navigate challenges related to car ownership and achieve financial success in areas relating to cars.
Amy has over 10 years of writing and editing experience. After several years as a freelance writer, Amy spent four years as an editing fellow at WikiHow, where she co-authored over 600 articles on topics including car maintenance and home ownership. Since joining Jerry’s editorial team in 2022, Amy has edited over 2,500 articles on car insurance, state driving laws, and car repair and maintenance.

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