Very Cheap Car Insurance With No Deposit (2024)

Some of the cheapest car insurance companies with low upfront costs include Allstate, Progressive, and Nationwide.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Edited by Kathleen Flear
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You can’t get car insurance without making an initial payment—but many major insurance companies offer monthly payment plans and discounts that can make the cost to activate your coverage as low as $73 or less. 
  • You’ll always need to make an initial payment to activate a car insurance policy.
  • Opting for monthly payments and stacking discounts can lower your upfront costs.
  • The average cost to start a car insurance policy is $73 for minimum coverage and $128 for full coverage.  
  • MAPFRE, Clearcover, and Nationwide are three of the best companies for low down payment car insurance.
  • Companies advertising “first month free” auto insurance are scammers after your personal information.

How to get auto insurance with a low down payment

The reality: You’ll always need to make a payment before activating a car insurance policy—even if it’s just the first month’s payment. True “zero deposit” car insurance with no money upfront doesn’t exist outside the world of scams. 
The alternative: Look for low deposit car insurance by comparing car insurance quotes from multiple providers, asking about monthly payment options, and stacking discounts. While splitting your premium into monthly installments will raise the overall cost of coverage, it’ll keep your up-front costs low if you need
quick, cheap coverage
How to get it: Start by
comparing auto insurance rates
from at least three to five
insurance providers
to find the company with the lowest car insurance premium for you. Look for: 
  • Companies that offer monthly payment plans (like Allstate, Nationwide, and Progressive)
  • Companies with strong discounts that match your profile (like accident-free discounts or good student discounts)
  • Companies with responsive customer service teams
Key Takeaway True no deposit car insurance doesn’t exist outside of scams. Instead of “no down payment car insurance,” start looking for low down payment car insurance
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What the experts say

"A down payment is always required to start a new car insurance policy, but there are ways to make it less expensive.
First, look at what service fees you can avoid by setting your policy for automatic payments with a bank account instead of using a debit or credit card. Next, look at your coverages and remove extras that you can add back later, like towing and lockout coverage and rental reimbursement.
Finally, split up the down payment if necessary. Some providers will let you spread the payments out over different bank accounts and even allow a friend or family member to help make a partial payment on your behalf."
- Shannon Martin, licensed insurance agent

Pay-per-mile car insurance: The key to cheap no-deposit insurance?

If you need to lower your car insurance costs and don’t drive very often,
pay-per-mile auto insurance coverage
could be the key to avoiding a big lump-sum down payment. 
In a regular car insurance policy, you’ll be charged for at least the first month up front—and, in some cases, you’ll pay extra to account for the cost of opening a policy. But with a pay-per-mile policy, you only pay a daily rate as low as $1.50 per day, plus additional costs for every mile you drive. 

The best pay-per-mile car insurance companies

Allstate Milewise
Nationwide SmartMiles
Metromile
Mile Auto
Sample base rate
$1.50 per day
$60 per month
$29 per month
$48 per month
Sample per-mile rate
$0.06
$0.07
$0.06
$0.08
How it's tracked
Plug-in device
Plug-in device or connected car
Plug-in device
Odometer photo
Availability
21 states
45 states
8 states
11 states
Average reported savings
25% to 50%
22%
47%
30% to 40%

Who it’s not for 

If you use your car every day and drive an average of 35 miles per day or more, pay-per-mile insurance likely won’t save you any money. 

Who it’s for

Anyone who drives less than about 10,000 miles per year, or 27 miles per day, is a good candidate to save with pay-per-mile insurance. Remote workers, stay-at-home parents, and anyone with a short commute or access to public transportation can use pay-per-mile insurance. 

The best car insurance companies for low deposit auto insurance

We ran the numbers and identified the five cheapest car insurance companies for drivers looking for minimum liability insurance with a low down payment: 
Insurance companyAverage monthly rate
Mapfre$73
Trexis
$90
Metlife
$90
Nationwide$98
Aspire Advantage$104
An important disclaimer: Some insurance companies won’t allow monthly payments, while others only allow drivers without any
insurance lapses
to make monthly payments. Check before you sign up to see what kind of payment plan is offered.

Best car insurance companies for cheap full coverage auto insurance

If you need full coverage auto insurance, the following companies are your best bet: 
Insurance companyAverage monthly rate
Mapfre$128
Nationwide$173
Clearcover
$177
Commonwealth Insurance$180
Progressive$180
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Why Nationwide is the best car insurance company for drivers with poor credit

Nationwide doesn’t just have some of the lowest monthly rates out of any insurer—they’ll also keep your annual premium low if your credit score drops, unlike most major insurers. 
New research from the Consumer Federation of America reveals that GEICO and State Farm charged policyholders with poor credit 91% more and 225% more, respectively, than drivers with excellent credit—even if the poor-credit drivers had a perfect driving record. 
By comparison, Nationwide raises rates by an average of just 57% for drivers with poor credit.

Avoid “first month free” scams

If you see anyone promising to cover your car with the first month entirely free, that’s a scam. No legitimate insurance company offers coverage without any kind of payment upfront. 
To avoid
car insurance scams
, follow these tips: 
  • Never pay for quotes: Any reputable insurance company offers free quotes to prospective policyholders.
  • Avoid “one day car insurance” scammers: The shortest policy length offered by legitimate car insurance providers is six months.
  • Trust your gut: If you’re feeling pressured by an insurance agent or broker, don’t buy the policy unless you’ve read the fine print and confirmed that everything's above board.

Learn more: Why do car insurance companies require a down payment?

Car insurance providers are all about risk. When setting your rate, insurance companies will analyze a ton of factors that essentially help them to evaluate how much risk you pose as a policyholder. 
An insurance down payment offsets risk to your insurance provider.
Key risk factors for car insurance
include: 
  • Driving record: A history of accidents and violations tells insurance companies that you’re a high-risk driver likely to generate claims. A clean driving history, on the other hand, shows them you’re likely to cost them less—so they’ll often charge less! 
  • Continuous coverage: Having a lapse of insurance coverage for any reason can negatively impact your rates—continuous coverage signals to the insurance companies that you are a good risk and have responsible payment habits.
  • Age:
    Young drivers
    , especially teens, have the highest statistical rate of accidents and violations. Insurance companies hike up rates for drivers under age 25. 
  • Gender: Statistics also show that male drivers have a higher rate of accidents, violations, and claims. You can expect your car insurance rates to reflect that. 
  • ZIP code: The rate of accidents, thefts, and weather damage where you live can all affect the cost of car insurance, especially if you have
    full coverage
  • Vehicle: Your vehicle’s make and model, size, engine type, safety ratings, and value all influence the cost of a policy. 
  • Credit score: Credit is a measure of your ability to pay your bills, so insurance companies typically give the best rates and payment plans to drivers with good credit. 
  • Mileage: The
    less you drive
    , the less likely you are to generate claims. 
While you can’t find car insurance with no deposit, understanding the factors that go into setting your rate can help you find the lowest monthly car insurance payment. Compare quotes from several auto insurance companies before you put down money on a policy.

Six ways to shrink your car insurance down payment

There’s no such thing as free car insurance. But with a few tips and hacks, you can lower your total premium and find the right coverage at a price you can live with. Here’s how. 

1. Compare auto insurance quotes

The only way to lower your car insurance down payment is to compare rates from multiple insurance companies. Use a
trusted insurance broker or comparison tool
like
Jerry
to quickly compare rates and find affordable car insurance based on your driver profile. 
The app will show you the first month’s premium for three different levels of coverage—Basic, Standard, and Preferred—along with potential discounts and tips to tailor your coverage options to your needs. 

2. Manage your budget

Take stock of your budget and see if you can free up extra cash for the payments you need to make—especially that larger first payment. 
If your car is financed,
auto loan refinancing
could bring down your monthly car payment so that you can afford the insurance you need. Refinancing isn’t for everyone, but if you purchase car insurance through Jerry, you’ll be able to see any eligible refinancing offers in the app. 

3. Opt for a lower coverage level

While it’s a good idea to buy
full coverage car insurance
if you can afford it—or if the lender that issued your auto loan requires it—dropping full coverage or picking a lower liability limit could reduce your insurance down payment. 
Know
what car insurance is required by law in your state
and check the terms of your auto loan before you start shopping. 

4. Change your payment date

If you’re looking for no deposit auto insurance to get through a tight time, ask about changing your payment date once you’ve signed up for a policy. 
Some insurance companies will allow you to move your due date so that you’re set up to make your payment on time. You should also look into your company’s grace period for missed payments. 

5. Choose a higher deductible

If you’re looking for full coverage car insurance without a large down payment, consider choosing a higher deductible. 
The deductible is the set amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in on a collision or comprehensive claim, and the higher it is, the less you’ll pay to start and maintain the policy. 
But be careful with this one. Never choose a deductible that’s higher than what you could realistically come up with in a week in the event of an accident! 

6. Look for discounts

Car insurance discounts don’t start and stop with
bundling home and auto policies
. While that’s the discount you’ll hear most about on TV, most insurance companies offer way more discounts that could save you a ton on your insurance plan—especially if you stack them! Here are just a few of the most popular discounts: 
Discount
Description
Average savings 
Maintaining a clean driving record or installing a telematics device to track your driving habits could earn you a discounted rate.
5% - 30% 
If you have multiple cars on the same policy, many companies will knock a percentage off your rate. 
10% - 20% 
Driver training discount
For teen drivers, taking an approved driver education course could result in premium savings. 
8% - 10% 
Drivers under 25 years old who are enrolled in school full time and have at least a 3.0 GPA or B average can qualify for discounts. 
5% - 25%
Continuous insurance discount
If you’ve never had a lapse in coverage, insurers will reward your consistency with discounts. 
10% - 15%
Electronic funds transfer (EFT) discount
Transferring funds directly from your bank rather than paying with a credit or debit card or check could earn you a slightly discounted rate. 
2% - 3%
If you’re paying monthly, an on-time payment every month for 12 months could qualify you for a lower rate. 
5%
Expert tip The main popular car insurance discount that typically isn’t compatible with a monthly payment plan is a paid in full discount. If you’re looking to lower your overall insurance costs but can afford a bigger up-front payment, consider paying in full to secure that lower premium. 

FAQs

You can’t get car insurance without making any initial payment, but you don’t always need to pay your total premium in full. Most insurers allow monthly payment plans, which can keep the upfront cost of a policy low. 
The minimum amount of car insurance required to legally drive differs from state to state, but it typically includes a small amount of bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance. 
Your first car insurance payment covers the first portion of your policy term, and in some cases may also include expenses associated with opening a policy, such as motor vehicle record checks. 
USAA consistently offers the cheapest rates of any auto insurance provider in the United States—but USAA only offers auto insurance policies to military members, veterans, and their immediate family. If you don’t qualify for USAA insurance, comparing quotes is the best way to find the cheapest insurance company for your profile. 
Liability-only car insurance is the minimum requirement in most states and the cheapest option for car insurance. However, most drivers need some amount of collision and comprehensive coverage. The combination of collision and comprehensive with basic liability coverage is often called a “full coverage” car insurance policy. 
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