To help you understand what makes a top-rated car insurance company, it’s important to first find out how much coverage you need. This guide will help you understand what makes a top-rated car insurance company, how much coverage you need and ways to save money when getting a car insurance quote. Don’t worry; our top picks are not based on how good the TV commercials are during the Super Bowl.
The 8 best car insurance companies of 2021
- Best Overall Car Insurance: Amica Mutual
- Best Car Insurance for Customer Support: State Farm
- Best Car Insurance for Discounts: Progressive
- Best Car Insurance Policy Options: The Hartford
- Best Car Insurance for Online Experience: Geico
- Best Car Insurance for Military Members: USAA
- Best Car Insurance for East Coast Residents: Erie
- Best Agent-Only Car Insurance Company: Auto-Owners
Why trust us in finding the best car insurance?
Research methodology and car insurance rates
Whether buying your first car insurance policy or switching companies, there is no “best” in auto insurance. This isn’t Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants — your car insurance premium might not fit your best friend’s needs. So what makes a good car insurance company? Our methodology uses five important factors to rate top companies. We evaluate coverage options, discounts, customer support and digital accessibility.
Additionally, The Simple Dollar analyzed millions of car insurance rates in every U.S. ZIP code to determine the average cost by state, carrier, coverage amount, credit score, and other factors from Coverage.com.This includes analyzing thousands of rates from all 50 states that were publicly sourced from 2019 insurer filings. Rates are based on a 30-year-old male or female that had a clean driving record, and we looked at those who had both good and poor credit. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but your own quote may differ based on your unique driving profile.
Compare 2021 car insurance rates
Make sure when comparing car insurance quotes from different companies you are looking at the same policy type and coverage level. Cheaper quotes could just be a policy with less coverage.
A quick look at the best-rated insurance companies
Looking to switch car insurance providers soon? We narrowed down the top picks to help you pick the best policy and provider.
There are a few factors to consider when shopping for providers, including the average minimum premium — or the lowest annual cost you can expect to pay from your provider. You’ll also want to think about the average cost you’ll pay annually for full coverage.
While you want to save money, picking a new insurance provider isn’t all about rates. Customer service matters just as much.
In general, Amica and Geico offer the lowest rates all around. Even the providers with the second-lowest rates have a high Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating amongst competitors, though. State Farm also has a high customer service rating, but has more costly premiums for their auto coverage.
If you’re trying to narrow it down, use the table below to help you decide which insurer is best for you.
|SimpleScore rating||J.D. Power||Average minimum premium||Average full coverage premium|
Rate data provided by Coverage.com. Rates are based on the national average of a 26-year-old driving a Honda Civic. This is an average across all 50 states and credit tiers. Your own rates will differ. Rates for The Hartford were not available.
- Our SimpleScore uses a five-point scale to evaluate each provider’s discounts, coverage options, customer satisfaction, support and accessibility.
- J.D. Power rating was included for additional insight into each provider’s customer service.
- Our top auto insurance providers include Amica, State Farm, Progressive, Geico, Erie, Auto-Owners and USAA. All of our top choices offer great customer service, affordable rates and a wide range of coverage options.
Best car insurance companies reviewed
Additional reviews on other national car insurance companies
Though not selected as our top-rated car insurance companies, you can find more information about some of the largest auto insurance carriers in our reviews. You can also visit the Insurance Information Institute or NAIC for more information.
How does the auto industry work?
The sales and service of cars drive nearly $953 billion annually across the country, and in 2018 alone, 17.2 million cars were sold nationwide. When you buy a new car, the value depreciates the moment you drive your new car off of the lot because the car goes from new to used right away. Your car also loses value when you drive, get into an accident, or everyday wear and tear.
Auto insurance helps cover car repairs and personal costs when life happens. Whether it’s an accident, pothole or car trouble, your coverage can help you cover these costs after your deductible. The less your car’s value is, the less you’re likely to pay in premiums — though it will depend heavily on your coverage, state, age and other factors.
It’s helpful to think of the auto industry as a never-ending cycle. We pour money into cars and maintenance, but car insurance helps cover the cost if anything goes wrong.
What’s factored into auto policies and rates?
Your auto policy and the premium will depend on a few factors. It will also determine whether or not an insurer is a good fit for your car coverage needs. Most policies depend on the following:
Depending on these and other factors, you could pay more or less in car insurance. Think about buying a brand new, high-end car when you turn 21 years old. You’re likely to pay more for the car’s year, make and model. You may also pay more as a young driver with a less established driving record. You’re also likely to pay more if you live in California than your friends in South Carolina are paying. Keep in mind that your policy and premium are unique to your needs, driving record and other personal factors.
What’s happening in the car insurance industry today?
At the start of the pandemic, some insurers offered drivers a reimbursement on their monthly payment to help economically. Policyholders were driving less due to COVID-19 nationwide lockdowns. Allstate offered their drivers a 15% Shelter in Place payback on their premiums for April, May and June. Other providers offered credits toward premiums instead. Since that point, drivers have been on the road less often. If you’re working remotely but still need auto insurance, it’s the perfect time to look into low-mileage auto insurance for extra savings or switch carriers for extra savings. You’ll only pay for the miles you drive, and you’ll still have all the coverage you need.
Guide to finding the best car insurance for you
There’s a lot to know about the car and insurance industries to fully understand how auto insurance works, but we don’t want to bore you with a long history lesson. Here’s what you need to know to help make a well-informed decision about your car insurance.
What makes the best auto insurance companies?
The best auto insurance companies give policyholders flexibility, affordability and simplicity from beginning to end. Whether it’s getting a free quote, paying a monthly premium or filing a claim, today’s top picks are giving customers what they need when they need it most.
Start by looking at a provider’s coverage options. You’ll want an insurer with a number of policies and coverage options to meet your needs. Ask your agent what types of car insurance they offer and if any add-ons are available, including rental car coverage and Roadside Assistance. Many insurers will offer a few options including collision, personal injury and gap coverage.
Switching insurance providers isn’t all about rates. Service matters just as much, if not more. After all, you’ll be working closely with an agent to handle your policy, claims and any other concerns. Take a look at your agent’s BBB rating or J.D. Power rating to see what other customers think, and to weigh any pros and cons. You can also give your agent a call for a first-hand customer service experience to ask about claims, coverage, rates and more.
Your auto insurance shouldn’t break the bank. Shop around for the most affordable rates by speaking with agents and getting free quotes online. Be careful when aiming for the lowest rates, though. Cheaper coverage doesn’t always mean it’s the best. You may pay a low monthly price, but the policy could lack the coverage options you need. Make a list of necessary coverages and find the most affordable rate for your needs.
Once you’ve found a premium you’re comfortable with, give the agent a call to get more information on discounts and other ways to lower the cost. You may save money on your rate by bundling home insurance, driving safely or taking a driver’s safety course.
Steps to finding the right coverage for you
Finding the right auto insurer is easy. All it takes is a few simple steps to get you on the road with the coverage you can rely on.
- Make a wish list of what you’d like to get from your auto insurance policy. Include how much you want to pay a month and what coverages you’re not willing to budge on when it comes to your car and driving safety.
- Research auto insurers in your area to see what options are available. Take a close look at coverage options and get a free quote based on your wish list and personal information. Remember to get multiple quotes from different insurers to compare.
- Talk to an agent once you’ve narrowed down your choices. Evaluate the quality of their customer service and ask any questions about the policy, coverage or available services.
- Once you’ve found an agent you like and the coverage you need, review your policy. Make sure you’re happy with the ins and outs of your coverage. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for clarification on anything.
- Understand your payment cycle and when it’s time to renew your policy. Remember to keep your insurance card and insurer’s information readily available to file a claim. The best way to do both is to download the mobile app if your insurer has one.
Consider these factors when shopping for car insurance
Check your state requirements: not every state is the same
In nearly all states, drivers are required by law to carry some form of car insurance or proof of financial responsibility. Every state has requirements for the level of insurance and the minimum amount of coverage each driver must have. Use the Insurance Information Institute’s guide to determine the insurance requirements for your state.
After you’ve found what’s the minimum amount of insurance required for your state, you should know if you live in a no-fault or fault state. If you live in a no-fault state, regardless of if an accident is your fault, collision damages and medical expenses will be covered by your insurance company.
We’ve researched state requirements and the best carriers across all 50 states:
What is an at-fault state?
There are two kinds of state laws when it comes to establishing fault in an accident:
- No-fault state — This means that drivers only assume responsibility for their own injuries and damages. No-fault state drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to ensure that you have the adequate coverage to pay for medical expenses from an accident.
- At-fault state — Also known as a tort state, this means that the person responsible for the accident pays for all of the damages associated with that accident, including the other driver’s expenses.
Choose the right amount of coverage for you: Full coverage vs minimum
Full coverage annual rates are significantly higher than minimum coverage rates. But an inclusive car insurance policy isn’t something you should opt out of just to save money— especially if there’s a collision. Full coverage pays for damages to your car caused by an accident, while the state minimum, also known as liability insurance, will cover damages you cause to other people and their car while driving.
Even though a cheaper monthly premium might seem attractive, having more than the imposed state minimum will ensure that you’ll pay less out-of-pocket in case there’s an accident.
For example, in a major car accident, an individual’s medical expenses are likely to exceed $15,000, yet that’s the minimum liability limit in some states. When shopping for liability insurance, it’s a good idea to choose a coverage that will exceed what you might need.
While different states will require different types of coverage, the most basic auto insurance policies are bodily injury liability, personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability. There are additional coverage options as well, which typically cover things like pet injuries or new car replacement costs, among other expenses. Some examples include:
Below is a comparison of the coverages offered by our top car insurance companies, and a breakdown of each type of coverage. Note that not every type of coverage is available in all states.
|Vehicle and policy coverages||Amica||State Farm||The Hartford||Geico||USAA||Progressive|
|Bodily injury liability||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Personal injury protection||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Property damage liability||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Rental car coverage||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Pet injury coverage||X||X||X||X||X||✓|
|New car replacement||X||X||✓||X||X||X|
Understand your deductible and how it affects your premium
Most coverage options will have a deductible –– the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket towards a covered loss before your insurance policy will step in. Collision, comprehensive and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will all have a deductible.
While you shouldn’t opt out of coverage options just to save money, there are times it just doesn’t make sense to have the extra coverage. A classic example is collision coverage. If your car’s value is too close to the deductible, you probably won’t get reimbursed from your insurance company after a loss.
Let’s say your car is worth $1,000 and your deductible is $1,000. If you get into an accident and your car sustains $800 worth of damage, you wouldn’t get an insurance payout because your deductible would cover the entire cost. It’s always important to determine which types of coverage make sense for you, but especially if you have an older car that’s low in value.
How to save money on car insurance
Now that we’ve laid out the most important aspects that you should know about car insurance, here are some tips on how to save money on your car insurance policy.
1. Compare car insurance quotes
Risk isn’t the only factor that car insurance companies use to calculate your rate. Many insurers also use “price optimization,” meaning they set rates based on how much customers are willing to pay.
Large insurance companies analyze an enormous amount of customers’ personal data, such as social media posts, credit scores and even your online shopping habits. Then, they run the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around or just renew your existing policy each year. Shopping around every year or two is the best way to avoid this practice and it will help you find the cheapest car insurance options. For most car insurance companies, getting a quote is an easy, online process that you can do in minutes. You’ll just need to provide information like your address, vehicle information and driving history.
[ For You: Understanding Auto Insurance Quotes ]
Shopping around every year or two is the best way to avoid this practice and it will help you find the cheapest car insurance options. For most car insurance companies, getting a quote is an easy, online process that you can do in minutes. You’ll just need to provide information like your address, vehicle information and driving history.
2. Raise your deductible
A higher deductible means a lower monthly cost. It’s a better budget option but know that if you get into an accident, you’ll have a steeper up-front cost to pay for the damages.
3. Raise your credit score
A good credit score saves you money on just about every monthly service or bill and car insurance is no exception. If you focus on improving your credit score first, you’ll save hundreds and thousands of dollars on your annual premium. Look for ways to improve your credit score ahead of shopping.
4. Ask for discounts
If you want a policy with a lot of additional coverage, the end price can feel a little overwhelming. Especially when you consider car insurance isn’t something you’re actively using every day. Capitalizing on the discounts providers offer is one way to ease that financial burden. When you’re shopping around, look for discounts that tailor to your needs. Here are some of the common discounts offered by most providers:
- Defensive driving discount
- Good driver discount
- Low mileage discount
- Safe driver discount
- Multi-driver or multi-policy discount
- Student discount
5. Bundle your insurance
Do you pay separate companies or have separate policies for your renters, home or motorcycle insurance? Renter + auto discounts and home + auto discounts are common. Ask your insurance provider if there is a chance you could be saving money each month by bundling separate insurance.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the car insurance companies we recommend. Contact us at email@example.com with comments or questions.