5 cheapest states for car insurance

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How to Reduce Your Car Insurance Costs

Car insurance can be really cheap or extremely expensive, and sometimes, it can seem like one small thing can make a huge difference in how much your premiums cost. There are the obvious factors, like your driving record and the value of the car you drive, that can significantly affect your insurance premiums, but things like your age, sex and ZIP code can make a big difference in price, too.

Even your credit history can make it more expensive to insure your car. It matters more in some states than in others, but before you shop around for car insurance rates, it can be helpful to know where your credit stands. Unless you look at your credit reports, you won't know if errors are dragging down your scores or if there are small things you can fix to improve your scores in the short term. You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.

If you're trying to get the cheapest car insurance you can, where you live will be a huge factor in how much you pay. Each state has different minimum requirements for car insurance, so unless you're willing to move, there's not much you can do to minimize the cost of your annual premium. Keep in mind, state-minimum insurance generally only covers a limited amount of others' medical bills and property damage if you cause an accident, so even if you're trying to save money, it's not necessarily the best way to minimize your costs.

CarInsurance.com collected average rates for state-minimum coverage to determine which states had the cheapest bare-bones coverage. (Data comparison company Quadrant Information Services provided the numbers to CarInsurance.com.) Here are the states with the cheapest minimum coverage, based on annual premiums from Progressive, Allstate, State Farm Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, GEICO and Farmers Insurance in 10 ZIP codes.

10. North Dakota

Average Annual Premium: $512

9. Vermont

Average Annual Premium: $487

8. Nebraska

Average Annual Premium: $472

7. Montana

Average Annual Premium: $467

6. South Dakota

Average annual premium: $431

Related: How to save money on a road trip

How to save money on a road trip
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5 cheapest states for car insurance

1. Calculate your expected fuel cost before your trip. It’s always wise to get an accurate estimation of how much to budget for gas beforehand. GasBuddy's fuel calculator is an excellent tool to get an expected price point. Just enter your vehicle information, startpoint and endpoint, and the app will calculate how much you’ll spend.

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2. Don’t fuel up near popular areas. You’ll find inflated gas prices near popular tourist destinations and metropolitan areas, so it’s worth venturing to the town over for more affordable prices. For example, gas costs on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway in California are considerably higher than the stations a few miles off the main highway.

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3. Fill up your tank at truck stops. You'll often find the cheapest gas prices here. 

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4. Download gas apps. Apps like GasBuddy and GasGuru come in handy by computing the cheapest station in relation to your current location.

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5. Drive efficiently to save gas costs. These 5 fuel-efficient tips are proven to maintain a full tank longer:

           1. Turn off your AC

2. Engage cruise control in low-traffic areas

3. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking

4. Inflate tires close to maximum

5. Avoid speeding

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6. Travel with friends. Traveling with a few buddies is an efficient (and fun) way to save cash by splitting the cost of a tank.

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7. Grocery shop in advance. Pack water and snacks beforehand in a cooler -- inflated convenience store prices will eat away at your budget.

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8. Bring reusable water bottles. Filling up a water bottle is cheaper than buying a Poland Spring at every stop.

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9. Buy fountain drinks over bottled drinks. If you’re craving a Mountain Dew, fountain drinks give you a better bang for your buck over bottled soda.

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Use Yelp: Download Yelp on your phone to see the best restaurant offers in your area.

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11. Take advantage of restaurant deals. Chances are there will be tons of chain restaurants along the way, so use sites like Groupon and GiftCardGranny to get a deal on the road.

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12. Load up on free coffee and breakfast from hotels for the road. Take advantage of a free meal and avoid Starbucks and other expensive coffee shops.

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13. Avoid staying in popular areas. Tourist-driven and metropolitan areas are often paired with inflated prices, so find a place to sleep in surrounding towns.

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14. Check out sites like Airbnb, Tripadvisor, and Kayak to score the best low-cost lodging deals.

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15. Rent a car. If you don’t own your own vehicle, renting a car beforehand for as cheap as $22 a day on sites like ExpediaHotwire, and Travelocity can be a great deal.

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16. Alert your bank. Sometimes banks will deem charges in new cities as fraudulent and cancel your cards.

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17. Stick to budget-friendly activities. Some ideas include hiking national parks, visiting beaches and checking out a town’s culture by walking the streets and venturing into a street fair.

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18. Take advantage of student discounts. If you’re currently a student, bring your student ID for maximum discounts.

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19. Download road trip planning apps. Apps like Roadtrippers are a great way to help plan and finance your new excursion.

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Dying to know which states cracked the top five? Check out the full list on Credit.com.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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