Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

Full Bio →

Written by

Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Nov 6, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right car insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our car insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different car insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Key takeaways...

  • Individual insurance companies have their own set of standards
  • Some insurance companies favor drivers who have a long driving history with no accidents
  • HIgh-risk drivers usually pay more for car insurance than drivers with clean driving histories

Anyone shopping for auto insurance knows that although the industry revolves around statistical data concerning cars,  the actual packages offered and their corresponding rates and down payments vary greatly.

Using an online comparison site helps determine the best policy available at a cost that one can afford, as well as how much will have to be paid up front.

Compare car insurance quotes online! Enter your zip code above and get started for FREE!

Searching for Low Down Payments

Individual insurance companies have their own set of standards regarding how much one has to pay in order to get the policy activated.

These company rules differ to quite an extent, but when doing a comparison online nearly all insurance carriers will want some very specific information to put the driver or car owner into a category.

This information includes the following:

  • Start comparing with your zip code
  • Get a list of car insurance companies
  • Save money

An online site that offers quotes from numerous insurance companies will take this information and check it against the regulations of the individual carriers.

Not all insurance companies weigh the above factors exactly the same.

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Several Quotes With Varied Down Payments

If the shopper fills in the appropriate fields online, he or she will receive several different quotes that not only vary in the amount of premiums paid but also in the amount of the down payment.

This is due in part to the types of coverage being requested; one company may charge more for uninsured motorist protection, for example.

Different quotes might look like this:

  • Company “A” offers total premium of $750, with $200 down payment and five monthly payments of $110
  • Company “B” offers total premium of $800, with $300 down payment and five monthly payments of $100
  • Company “C” offers total premium of $700, with six equal payments of $116.67

Note that Company “C” does not require a down payment that is larger than the monthly installments.

Why Companies Offer Different Quotes

Some insurance companies favor drivers who have a long driving history with no accidents and are willing to offer a policy that does not carry an extra large down payment.

One should check out car insurance discounts before settling on a car insurance provider.

Others may factor in the type of vehicle to a greater degree and charge more up front because the vehicle is considered more of a safety risk no matter who is driving it.

Some insurance companies may charge a higher down payment for the first six months but from then on will renew the policy with only the amount of the monthly installments.

Compare Car Insurance Companies

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Factors That Influence the Down Payment

An online comparison allows the shopper to see which companies are weighing these factors and to what degree.

If the shopper inputs the same personal information but changes the make and model of the vehicle, one insurance carrier may quote a different price and down payment while another will stick to the same numbers.

In the latter case, the insurance company was basing its quote on the driver to a greater degree than on the vehicle.

The driver may have:

If any of the above apply, the company may have a strict rule about the down payment.

If the driver is considered low risk, the down payment may have been the amount of the monthly installment.

If the driver is considered to be high risk, the company may have a rule that requires at least 25 percent of the total be paid up front.

Being able to apply good driver discounts is always better than receiving high-risk drivers quotes!

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Comparison Shopping Helps

Because most individuals have no idea what these rules are and how each insurance company applies them, comparison shopping offers the greatest chance of finding a company that can offer a quote acceptable to the shopper.

Again, it’s important to understand that not all companies determine their rates using the same criteria.

The down payment required can vary immensely based on numerous factors; ten different drivers may get ten different down payment offers from the same carrier.

Lower Does Mean Higher

Regardless of the insurance company, the amount of the monthly installments will depend on the amount of the down payment.

Very few carriers offer a discount if more is paid up front, so if the policy is for $800 it doesn’t matter how much the down payment is.

The cost is still $800. It simply means that the monthly premiums will be higher if the down payment is lower.

Good driver discounts apply only to those who remain with a company for a certain period of time.

Adding Coverage Increases Down Payments

If the shopper wants uninsured motorist protection, personal injury protection or a lower deductible the cost of the policy will increase somewhat, and the down payment will probably increase as well.

However deciding the type of coverage needed is the first step, followed by getting the best quotes regarding total cost and down payment through an online comparison site.

Companies offering low down payments are just as reputable as those who charge a higher price.

It is up to the individual shopper to determine what can be afforded, not only in terms of the upfront payment but also the monthly installments.

In the end, the total cost of a 6-month or 12-month policy is the most important figure. Enter your zip code below and find affordable car insurance quotes for FREE!