North Dakota’s low rate of uninsured drivers and spread-out population makes our state’s average monthly auto insurance premium $40 less than the national average. That’s a pretty sweet deal, but it could get even better. With a half hour of research, you could save hundreds on your annual premium.

I got several quotes for minimum coverage and found I’d save $288 by choosing the right company for the same coverage from a company with equally strong customer service rankings at that. For me, that company happened to be GEICO, but the cheapest option for you may be a different insurer. There are so many factors that influence your premiums that it’s impossible to say one company is the best for everyone.

Insurance companies calculate rates by analyzing a lot of different factors that are unique to you: your record, your vehicle, your family situation, and your credit score. What’s more is every insurer has its own proprietary formula for ranking those factors, so the only way to know which provider is going to give you the best car insurance really is for you to hit the dirt and compare quotes. I’d recommend investigating no less than five companies. Otherwise, you might miss out on some serious savings.

Online quotes take no more than five minutes and you should know most, if not all, of the information off the top of your head. If you have to get a quote by phone, that’ll take about 10 minutes, and if you’re dealing with an independent agent, you may have to wait for a call back. Before you get started, grab your vehicle’s basic information (the make, model, and configuration) because you will need it to complete the process and I’m betting you don’t have that memorized.

Find the Best Car Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

The Simple Dollar’s Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in North Dakota

  • GEICO
  • Allstate
  • State Farm
  • American Family
  • Farmers

I got quotes from the following five companies and I’d recommend them to anyone in North Dakota because of their excellent customer service ratings and financial solvency.

I chose these companies because of their high ratings from both A.M. Best and J.D. Power. A.M. Best is a top financial strength rating agency that assesses a company’s long-term stability (which directly impacts how able they’ll be to pay any claims you file) and J.D. Power surveys customer satisfaction with auto insurers every year (a measure of how horrible or wonderful they’ll be to deal with). High marks from these companies mean you can count on the insurer to make the claims process as painless as possible. No one needs or deserves the hassle of bickering with an insurance company in the heat of the moment.

Insurer My quote
GEICO $335
Allstate $346
State Farm $386
American Family $407
Farmers $623

After collecting and comparing my quotes, the winner for me was GEICO at $335. Allstate wasn’t far behind at $346. Even though GEICO was cheaper, I’m considering Allstate because they had higher customer satisfaction ratings in the J.D. Power survey. I consider it worth paying an extra $11 a year in exchange for fewer headaches, should I ever need to file a claim.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Insurance providers also consider how likely you are to leave them when calculating your rates. It’s a process called price optimization and they use big data to determine if you’d take a higher rate. They analyze your credit score, your online shopping habits, and other factors including how recently you’ve gotten quotes from other companies to measure your loyalty to them. Loyalty should earn you savings, and many companies even give you a loyalty “discount” to make it seem that that’s the case, but it’s not the case. The less likely you are to shop around, the more you’ll be charged come renewal time; it’s a way for insurers to maximize their profits by capitalizing on complacency.

That’s why it’s best to shop for new coverage at least every year or two even when you like the company you’re with. When you prove you’re not loyal to any one company, they’ll all offer you more competitive rates in an attempt to gain your business. Your overall risk as a driver for also changes over time, so in a year or two, you may find your rates are much lower than they are today anyway.

More than 15 states, including California, Florida, and Pennsylvania, have banned price optimization, but North Dakota has yet to respond. For the time being, it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re getting a fair rate and that means setting aside time here and there to reevaluate your coverage. So don’t settle for what might seem like cheap auto insurance; go get some quotes and make sure you’ve got the lowest premiums possible.

North Dakota’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

North Dakota’s required liability coverage is pretty standard: $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $25,000 of property damage liability coverage. North Dakota also requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, both with minimums of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. It’s also one of the few states that requires personal injury protection, which covers medical expenses and loss of income following an accident, regardless of fault. Every driver must carry $30,000 of this type of coverage.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

Before you sign up for the bare-minimum coverage, consider this:

  • The average driver will file a claim for an accident once every 17.9 years.
  • The average disabling, nonfatal injury costs $80,700.

If I have only the minimum coverage and I cause someone an $80,000 injury, I’m going to be left paying a lot out of pocket. My insurance is only going to cover the $25,000 it’s responsible for and I’m going to be left with the remaining $55,000 bill. I’m likely to end up being sued for the damages, and the money I’ve put away for a down payment on a house is going to go toward the injured driver’s medical bills instead.

But if I’d purchased higher coverage limits at the start — let’s say $100,000/$200,000/$100,000 — with GEICO, I’d only pay $27 more each year. I won’t even miss the extra $2 I’m paying on my monthly premiums, but in an accident like the one I described above, it’d mean I wouldn’t have to pay for any damages out of my own pocket. Personally, I’d rather have that peace of mind more than an extra $27 in my bank account. Over the course of those 18 years, it’d be the difference of less than $500, and if I did get into that accident, those $500 would mean I’d save $55,000. So, it’s absolutely worth it to me.

You may also want to think about adding some vehicle protection. North Dakota law doesn’t require this, although your lender might if you have a lease or a loan on the vehicle. There are two types: collision coverage pays for damages after a crash with another driver, even if you’re at fault; comprehensive coverage deals with claims not involving collisions with another vehicle, including wildlife collisions. Given the high risk of hitting a deer in North Dakota, investing in more than cheap car insurance is a smart move.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Ignoring North Dakota’s auto insurance laws will cost you at least $150. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll also have 14 points assessed against your license, which is enough to earn you a suspension.

Expert’s Corner

During my research, I spoke with Bryan A. Larson, a partner at Larson Law, and asked him a few questions about state minimums and auto insurance providers. Bryan got his degree at Brigham Young University in 1980 and has spent the last 30 years of practicing injury law. He’s had thousands of car accident cases that have ranged from simple, minor injuries to catastrophic multi-million dollar accidents. I definitely don’t have a couple million dollars in my savings account.

Bryan absolutely agreed that it’s worth the increase in my premium for (or anyone) to get more than the minimum coverage. He underscored just how fast the costs of an accident can pile up, “Unfortunately, it is very easy even in a relatively simple auto accident to cause injuries to another person that will well exceed $25,000, especially if there are MRIs, other radiology or other kinds of emergency procedures performed.” In accidents involving a more expensive car or more people, he said it wasn’t even hard to imagine that the injuries could easily “exceed $65,000 for all of the medical bills, lost wages or lost income, pain and suffering or other kinds of damages.”

He had a great point about the purpose of insurance, too: it’s “a means of protecting you from the carelessness from yourself and others.” It’s easy to think about car insurance as just another bill that I’d love to drive down the costs on, but as Bryan pointed out, “Everyone is capable of negligence.” When I think of it that way, the extra $11 a year really seems small.

Find the Best Car Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

There are a ton of ways you can cut costs on your auto insurance. Moving to a cheaper area, driving less, and improving your credit score are just a few ideas. I always like to pay my premium for the year upfront so I can get the paid-in-full discount. It’s a small enough amount that I’m able to accommodate it and the discount is a nice perk. For some more suggestions, check out our tips below.

Nine Ways to Lower your Car Insurance Rates

FAQs

Why are North Dakota’s rates so affordable?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
North Dakota: $101 United States: $139
Bismarck $108
Fargo $98
Source: Quadrant

North Dakota’s auto insurance premiums sit well below the national average thanks to the state’s low population density and few uninsured drivers. With the population spread out, there’s a smaller chance of collisions and auto theft, which is good news to insurers and, consequently, good news for you.

Less than seven percent of North Dakota drivers are uninsured, which also helps lower the risk to insurers. In states with a large uninsured population, like Oklahoma, auto insurance providers must build that risk into premiums because there’s a good chance they’re going to end up paying to cover damages caused by an uninsured driver. Without that risk here, insurers are able to offer lower rates.

The Bottom Line

Insurance policies are so personalized, there’s no way to say that one company has the best car insurance out there. Getting quotes and comparing prices and coverage levels is the only way to find the best deal for you. Remember: I was able to find nearly $300 in savings and I only checked with five different companies.

I also recommend getting more than the minimum coverage if you can afford to do so. The extra you’ll pay on your premiums is worth it if it helps you avoid paying out of pocket in the event of an accident. Set aside an hour and get some quotes to see how much you’ll be able to save.

Find the Best Car Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.