Purchasing a new car is an exciting experience. But cars aren’t cheap, and you need car insurance to protect your investment. Car insurance covers your vehicle in the event of an accident and protects you from certain liabilities as a driver. To find the best car insurance company, it’s important to look at financial strength, customer service reviews, coverage options and the price of policies. The good news is, we’re here to help make the process easier.
You may be working from home and driving less because of COVID-19. But having car insurance is still important for when you do drive. Plus, if your car is financed and you’re still paying it off, auto insurance is mandatory.
To rate the best car insurance companies, we looked at factors such as customer satisfaction, claims satisfaction, claims settlement and customer complaint scores. For the most accurate and reliable auto insurance reviews, we turned to industry experts, J.D. Power, AM Best, Consumer Reports and The National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
The best car insurance companies
The insurance market has a seemingly endless number of car insurance companies, but we’ve narrowed the list for you. Auto insurance doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all package. Factors such as your age, credit rating and budget can determine the insurance provider that best fits your needs.
|Company||Bankrate rating||J.D. Power 2020 satisfaction score||AM Best financial strength rating||Average Full coverage yearly premium|
We looked closely at the individual rankings for each provider and scored them based on their ratings across the board. Certain insurance companies, like State Farm, were rated highly by multiple research companies. Our rankings account for the average ratings of these companies by multiple sources.
Best overall: Amica Mutual
Amica Mutual has a long history of providing great coverage and customer service. The provider ranked #1 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study in the New England region and #1 in the nation in Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. Amica offers all of the usual coverages, like personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist, along with great addons, including roadside assistance and glass coverage.
We particularly like Amica’s Platinum Choice Auto package, which features a bundle of benefits, including accident forgiveness, no-deductible full glass coverage and identity fraud monitoring. Best of all, Amica Mutual makes the top five of cheapest car insurance on our list, with annual premiums of $1,449.
- Ranked #1 in auto claims satisfaction study
- Ranked #1 for overall customer satisfaction in New England
- No-cost lock replacement for lost keys
Amica is the best choice for drivers who care about good coverage and great customer service and are willing to pay a premium for it. Amica doesn’t offer the cheapest policies, but it’s the best in nearly every other category.
- Defensive driver discount program through SafetyServe
- Legacy discount for people under 30 whose parents have had an Amica auto policy for at least 5 years
- Loyalty discount if you’ve been insured with Amica for at least 2 years
Best coverage options: Progressive
Progressive is our top pick for drivers who want the best coverage options. Get an online quote, enter the rate you’d like to pay for a car insurance policy and Progressive will show you the coverage options available in your price range.
Additionally, the company makes shopping easier for high-risk drivers with its Name Your Price online tool. High-risk drivers can redeem their driving record with Progressive’s usage-based Snapshot program. Using a mobile app, Snapshot monitors your driving habits and rewards you with discounts when you follow the rules of the road.
Overall, Progressive has good ratings. In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, the company received a 3-star rating. It also ranked highly in several regions based on J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
- Below average claims handling
- Expensive rates compared to other providers on this list
Progressive is best suited for drivers who care about coverage options and want to customize their policy to fit their unique needs. The company offers a number of discounts and add-on options you can choose from.
- The Name Your Price tool can help you get the lowest rate for the coverage you need
- The Progressive Snapshot program can save safe drivers an average of $145 a year on their insurance
- Drivers who stayed with their previous auto insurance provider for an extended amount of time without lapses in coverage qualify for a discount when they switch to Progressive
Best cheap car insurance: Geico
In our studies of top car insurance companies, Geico consistently offers the lowest rates for most drivers. It ranks at #2 on our list, with average annual premiums of $1,260.
As a Berkshire Hathaway company, Geico has earned the top AM Best financial rating and second highest market share, 13.8%, in the United States. The company earned a three-star rating in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, and was rated the best car insurance company in three regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
Founded in 1936, Geico originally offered insurance exclusively to federal employees and military members. Today, Geico provides insurance products from coast to coast and employs over 40,000 people.
Geico car insurance is for the driver who is looking for a low rate. It’s also best for drivers who want a minimal amount of coverage without the fancy (and expensive) extras.
- Federal employees qualify for the Eagle discount, which comes with an 8% discount
- Active military service members can save up to 15% on their car insurance
- Any military service member who goes on emergency deployment can get a discount up to 25% on their car insurance
Best for customer service: Allstate
Launched as a division of Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 1931, Allstate has provided quality customer service for countless American motorists. In the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Study, Allstate ranked among the top auto insurance providers in most U.S. regions and earned top billing in the Florida region. Allstate continues to operate local agencies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with dedicated agents to help you file a claim or purchase additional coverages.
Allstate is a little more expensive than some other car insurance companies ($1,896 per year), which may be due to the limited discount offerings, but the company throws in plenty of value for what you’re paying for.
- Available everywhere
- Good mobile app and online tools
- Discounts for teen drivers
Allstate is a great insurance provider for any driver. However, it’s best for drivers who care about good customer service and efficient claims handling. Allstate is also a great option for drivers who often move around. With agents in every state, you won’t have to worry about losing Allstate as your insurance provider if you move.
- With the Allstate Drivewise program, safe drivers can save up to 25% on their car insurance, plus 10% for signing up
- If you sign a policy with Allstate at least one week before it becomes effective, you qualify for a discount
- Drivers can save money on their insurance if their car is a current model year or one year prior and they’re the first owner
Best if you want a local agent: State Farm
State Farm sold its first automobile insurance policy in 1922. In its nearly century-long history, the provider has grown to offer products through 19,000 agents who service more than 80 million policies.
State Farm offers a full line of automobile, health, life and property insurances, as well as banking and investment products. But what sets State Farm apart is its traditional approach to offering local, dedicated agents to serve your needs.
State Farm earned a three-star rating in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and was ranked as the best auto insurance provider in New York and the Mid-Atlantic regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
A State Farm annual policy averages $1,681. The company is not known as the cheapest of the best auto insurance companies, but they’re strong when it comes to resolving claims quickly and satisfactorily.
- Available nationwide
- High claims satisfaction rating
- Wide range of discounts
State Farm is one of the best car insurance companies for drivers who prefer to work with an agent, rather than manage their policy online. The company has 19,000 agents around the country, so it’s easy to find an agent in your area.
- Drivers who enroll in State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save program can save between 5-50% on their insurance
- Young drivers who enroll in the Steer Clear program qualify for a discount of up to 15% on their car insurance premium
- Accident-free discount for drivers who have been insured by State Farm for at least 3 years and haven’t had a chargeable accident
Best for military families and veterans: USAA
Active military members, veterans and their qualified family members can’t find a better auto insurance company than USAA. The provider tailors its car insurance coverage to fit the needs of military members, with reduced rates for low annual mileage and up to a 60% discount for vehicles stored during deployment. It has the third-lowest annual premiums on our list, at $1,484.
For qualified members, USAA offers a full portfolio of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, investment products and retirement accounts. USAA has exceptional ratings, and is consistently ranked as one of the best insurance companies on the market. In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, USAA received a perfect five-star rating.
- Excellent customer service and claims satisfaction ratings
- Good online and mobile tools
- Available nationwide
Naturally, USAA is best for drivers who qualify for its service-either active military members, their immediate family members or veterans. It’s also a good choice for drivers who want top-notch customer service and a personalized customer experience.
- Drivers whose parents had a USAA car insurance policy can save up to 10% on their own policy
- Military members who garage their vehicle on base can save up to 15% on comprehensive coverage
- Drivers who don’t use their car frequently can qualify for savings with the Annual Mileage discount
Best for young drivers: Erie
Erie makes hitting the road a little easier for young drivers, with loads of benefits that can also put their parents’ minds at ease. The insurer has the lowest average cost ($1,141 annually) of all the companies in our roundup.
All Erie policies include roadside assistance and rental car coverage and pay up to $350 for personal items damaged in an auto accident. Standard policies also pay up to $500 per pet if your fur baby sustains an injury while riding in your automobile and up to $75 for locksmith services, if you carry collision or comprehensive coverage. Parents with unmarried kids under 21 who haven’t left the nest can save up to 20% by adding their young drivers to their existing auto policy.
Erie ranks about average with J.D. Power, with a three-star rating in the 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
- Ranked #3 in auto claims satisfaction
- Standard policies include roadside assistance
- Good rates for young drivers
We recommend Erie for young drivers and newly licensed drivers. Erie is one of the only car insurance companies that offers a discount for drivers under 21 who live with their parents. This is different from a good student discount, which Erie doesn’t offer.
- First accident forgiveness after three years
- The Erie Rate Lock program guarantees that you’ll pay the same rate until you make a change to your policy
- Diminishing deductible program lowers your deductible by $100 for every consecutive claims-free year, up to $500
Best for drivers 50 and over: The Hartford
Available in all states and Washington, D.C., The Hartford offers a full line of auto coverages through a unique partnership with AARP. The Hartford offers one-stop shopping for active seniors, providing insurance for ATVs, boats, classic cars, golf carts, RVs and snowmobiles.
The Hartford’s Advantage Plus auto plan comes packed with benefits, including hybrid vehicle discounts, accident forgiveness, emergency expense coverage and a disappearing collision deductible if you don’t file a claim. The Hartford received a three-star rating in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. Pricing is higher than average at $1,572 per year, but policies come with benefits other insurers don’t provide.
The Hartford has a partnership with AARP which provides services to people 50 and older. Any AARP member will qualify for discounted car insurance through The Hartford. Because of that, we recommend this provider for any AARP member.
- Guaranteed rate protection for one year
- First accident forgiveness
- Disappearing deductible
Best for those with poor credit: Nationwide
Nationwide offers a full range of standard coverages, along with great optional coverages, including accident forgiveness and vanishing deductible. The insurer hovers in the average range of pricing – the average annual cost of car insurance from Nationwide is $1,533 per year.
Nationwide’s highly rated mobile app enables you to file a claim, pay your bill and contact roadside assistance from your Android or Apple device. Conscientious drivers can enroll in Nationwide’s user-based SmartRide program to save up to 40% for maintaining safe driving habits. Nationwide was ranked #2 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Survey.
- Local offices
- Affordable prices
- SmartRide usage-based program
Nationwide offers affordable rates, so it’s ideal for drivers who have a poor credit score. Having a low credit score puts drivers in the high-risk category, which usually means paying a higher than average premium.
- Accident-free discount
- Affinity member discount
Best for comprehensive coverage: Farmers
Farmers Insurance offers all the standard auto insurance you need, including collision, comprehensive, liability, medical payments and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages. But Farmer’s pulls ahead of the pack with its optional coverages, offering customized equipment, new car replacement, original equipment manufacturer and spare parts coverage, to name a few.
Farmers gets decent reviews from customers and was rated three-stars in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Pricing comes in close to Nationwide’s – expect to pay an average of $1,540 per year, about average in our list of best car insurance companies.
- Lower than average customer satisfaction ratings
- Lower than average claims satisfaction ratings
- No loyalty discounts
Farmers stands out for offering comprehensive coverage options for drivers. If you’re looking for a wide range of coverages and ways to customize your policy, we recommend checking out Farmers.
- Drivers who own a hybrid or electric vehicle, or use an alternative fuel source for their vehicle, can save money on their insurance
- Good students under age 25 are eligible for savings on their insurance premium
- Drivers over 55 who complete a state-approved driver safety program are eligible for a discount
Comparing small and large car insurance companies
The table below includes information about the largest car insurance companies based on their market share.
|Insurance Company||NAIC Market Share|
When shopping for car insurance, there are a few advantages to choosing a large carrier. Companies like State Farm, with almost 10 percent of the market share, have more credibility because they have so many members. You could also assume that companies with a higher market share offer the best prices because so many people use their service.
On the other hand, there are perks to going with a smaller company. Smaller insurance providers tend to offer a more personalized experience and better customer service.
If you’re most concerned about price, know that smaller providers do tend to charge higher rates. Larger providers will generally offer cheaper rates and discounts that help you save even more money.
What should you look for when shopping for car insurance?
Avoid mistakes and get the most affordable car insurance rate for you by following the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ shopping tips:
- Call or visit the website of your state’s insurance department to find out what type of insurance the law requires. Most states require at least liability insurance, with minimum coverage levels for bodily injury and property damage.
- Read auto insurance carrier reviews and ask friends and family members to recommend companies and agents.
- Request quotes from several companies and carefully compare the results. Pay attention to the details, including deductibles, payment options, discounts and included and excluded services.
- Narrow down your options, then check with your state’s insurance department to make sure the company you choose is properly licensed.
- Ask insurance agents about details of the coverage. Will a history of speeding tickets affect your premium? Does the company consider credit history to determine rates? Will the coverage protect all drivers in your household? Does the policy cover rental cars when you travel?
- Always pay your premium on time. Otherwise, your coverage could lapse. Some insurers offer direct withdrawal from your checking account, which can safeguard against lost coverage.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company?
Choosing car insurance is a subjective process. When shopping for car insurance, look for a company that is financially strong and capable of providing the best coverage, service and value in your price range.
Do car insurance companies offer military discounts?
Some car insurance companies offer military discounts and some do not. USAA caters exclusively to military personnel and their families, offering great car insurance rates and a host of financial products and services.
Which company offers the lowest auto insurance premiums for teenagers and young adults?
Of the major car insurance companies, Geico and USAA offer some of the lowest premium rates for young drivers.
Who offers the cheapest auto insurance?
Though we found that NJM Insurance offered the cheapest average six-month premium, it’s important to remember that this rate may not apply to you. Car insurance premiums are determined by a number of factors, which include your age, your location, your driving experience and history along with a number of other determinants.
Bankrate’s ratings are calculated using weighted averages of scores on several important qualities of auto insurance carriers, including price, customer satisfaction, financial strength and more. We considered ratings from the following during this process:
- J.D. Power: We used J.D. Power & Associates to gauge customer satisfaction. This source rates providers based on how customers rated their overall satisfaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, interaction and claims.
- AM Best: AM Best is an independent organization that rates an insurance provider’s financial strength and ability to pay claims.
- Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports is another organization that rates providers and how well they can assist customers.
- S&P Global: This organization also analyzes how easily a provider can meet its financial commitments. It is usually a tool for investors to evaluate a company’s credit rating.
- Fitch Ratings: Fitch’s ratings also evaluate a company’s credit rating.
- Moody’s: Moody’s also evaluates a company’s credit rating.
These ratings are intended to help you easily compare auto insurance providers. We will continue to update them as we review more carriers and additional third-party information is made available.