The 10 best car insurance companies in the US

The 10 best car insurance companies in the US


No matter what kind of vehicle you drive or where you’re going, it’s essential that you have car insurance coverage from one of the best auto insurance companies — and not just because it’s the law in 48 of the 50 states. A car insurance policy protects you in case of property damage or bodily injury liability if you’re in an accident. There are also policies that cover damage to your own vehicle for a variety of reasons (collision insurance), incidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers, plus medical expenses incurred due to accidents. Some car insurance companies have coverage options that even include roadside assistance or that can be bundled with homeowners insurance, if you have a house. Depending on the insurance product you decide on, you could have full coverage or limited coverage, though most states require that your minimum coverage includes liability insurance.

Those costs covered in an auto insurance quote can accumulate for an uninsured motorist, or even an underinsured one. Having comprehensive coverage can help keep out-of-pocket costs associated with car insurance premiums in check. Note that the monthly premium on your insurance policy typically won’t cover wear and tear on a vehicle, damage incurred by drivers not listed on the insurance policy or driving under the influence and damage to the engine as a result of oil leakage.

Sorting through car insurance companies and offers can be intimidating. There are an estimated 300 car insurance providers in the US, ranging from those operating at a nationwide level to smaller companies. It’s worth checking if you have any well-reviewed statewide options in your area before committing to a car insurance rate with a nationwide insurance company.

“Once you have a clear picture of how you use your car and your priorities, you’re ready to shop for insurance,” says Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communication at the Insurance Information Institute. “Generally, it’s a good idea to compare policies from at least three different insurers. You’ll want to consider fundamental factors such as coverage and price.”

It’s also worth delving into an insurance provider’s history. “Be sure to check out the claims handling of the company before buying insurance,” says Dan Karr, CEO and founder of ValChoice. “Insurance that won’t pay a claim was a waste of money, no matter what the price.”

There is also a lot that goes into a car insurance policy. Factors such as injury liability, property damage, accident forgiveness and roadside assistance play a role in quotes and rates. So can having teen drivers on your insurance policy. Then there’s gap insurance or personal injury liability insurance coverage and more. “Check prospective policies too for secondary options that could prove beneficial,” says Ruiz, “such as glass coverage, which often comes without a deductible, or reimbursement for a rental car.” How can you compare all these things as you’re trying to choose which auto insurance coverage is best for you?

“Try to compare apples to apples when choosing your insurance policy,” says Ruiz. “All of the policies that you review should have the same types and amounts of coverage. It is difficult to compare policies, for instance, if one provides $50,000 in property damage liability coverage, another only $30,000, and a third $100,000.” Understanding what goes into insurance coverage will help you make the best decision for your particular situation, but where do you start? 

You could do a deep dive into each company’s website, but we’re making it easier to find the best car insurance coverage for you by narrowing down the list. We’ve picked the 10 best insurance companies in the country, based primarily on audience satisfaction, as measured by the J.D. Power 2019 US Auto Insurance Study. The study measures five criteria: interaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and claims. 42,759 customers were polled from February through April 2019.

The top-scoring auto insurance policy overall was Geico, reporting high customer satisfaction levels in all regions of the country and making it the No. 1 auto insurer in the US. This insurance carrier is also routinely ranked among the cheapest car insurance coverage providers (and a big premium is a big expense), which undoubtedly contributes to the satisfaction.

That said, your auto insurance rates will ultimately be determined by personal factors, such as where you live, your credit score (for the best rates, a score of 770 or above is recommended) and the type of vehicle you drive, as well as its age and whether you’ve had an accident. The good news is that you can actually lower your insurance coverage costs if you maintain a safe driving record or work on your credit score — or your grade point average.

“For young drivers, there are discounts for taking drivers’ certification courses and maintaining above a B average,” says Karr. “Several discounts are based on the vehicle, including safety features like remote engine shutoff, anti-lock brakes, and airbags. There are also discounts for storing the vehicle in a garage. Many insurers provide discounts for insuring multiple cars through the same company and for owning a home and insuring the home through the same company.”

When you do find a solution, Ruiz explains how you can do your due diligence: “First, double-check that an insurer is licensed in your state by visiting the website of your state’s insurance division, where you can also review information about consumer complaints filed against insurance companies. In addition, you can check review websites and talk to friends about their experiences with insurers. Finally, take a few minutes to make sure prospective insurers are in good financial standing. Financial ratings agencies will provide this information. Online tools will often provide ratings information as well.”

5 things to know before you sign up for car insurance

1. What kind of coverage does your state legally require you to have? In most states, bodily injury liability and property damage liability are necessary to drive, but you’ll want to check the specifics of insurance premiums with auto insurance providers where you live.

2. What sort of coverage do you want? Most car insurance companies order many different policies that cover a variety of damages and risks, so your first step should be to determine your risks and how to compensate for them.

3. Which auto insurers are best? We’ve got this covered in detail.

4. It’s important to shop around. Even the cheapest insurance company may not offer the best rates for someone in your situation. Likewise, you may want a more comprehensive plan that makes more sense at another insurance company.

5. What payment plan is best for you? Some companies offer a variety of ways to pay (such as annually versus monthly, or with transfer of electronic funds), so you can figure out which one works best for you and then request it.

Before getting into the list, it’s worth mentioning that not every insurance company has your best interests at heart, both when offering auto insurance quotes or after you’ve been in an accident. A Buzzfeed News report from August revealed that State Farm, Farmers and Erie Insurance are three of a number of insurance companies that have paid off law enforcement to investigate their customers for fraud. All of those companies have been excluded from this ranking.

Geico

830

Allstate

826

Progressive

818

Auto-Owners Insurance

841*

Esurance

836*

Liberty Mutual Insurance

810

Nationwide

808

Travelers Insurance

818*

Safeco

810*

USAA

891*

* Not available in every region of the US, or to every person in the US. This affects overall placement.

GEICO

Geico’s clever commercials ensure that it remains one of the best known car insurance companies in the country, but its customers know the company for the great service and support it offers. Geico’s 97% customer satisfaction rate speaks for itself, as does its long list of honors, including the most desired insurer according to Kanbay Research Institute. You know, just in case the gecko isn’t enough to convince you that you want its insurance coverage.

Allstate

Allstate was one of the rare car insurance companies ranked on every single one of J.D. Power’s regional customer satisfaction lists — and was No. 1 in Florida. Allstate prides itself on its scope of coverage and offers a host of discounts that, depending on your circumstances, could easily make it the most cost-effective auto insurance policy available for many motorists.

Progressive

A giant in the insurance world with over 18 million customers, Progressive manages to attract and retain so many satisfied customers with continued commitment to saving its customers money on their car insurance rates. Progressive was the first auto insurer to offer safe-driving discounts, which makes the company a great option for people with a good driving record. Even today, customers who switch to Progressive save an average of $699 per year.

Auto-Owners Insurance

Auto-Owners Insurance may not have the flashy marketing presence of the competition, but how many of them can say they’ve been around almost as long as cars have? Established in 1916, the company has nearly 3 million policyholders across 26 states. Its high rankings from J.D. Power might prompt you to check if it has coverage where you live.

Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Ranked the No. 1 auto insurer in California, Esurance in quickly making inroads around the country (the company operates in 43 states). A division of Allstate, Esurance promises customers that switching or signing up for car insurance can be as easy as possible, or “painless,” as the company puts it.

Users agree with the assessment, as reviews on the website call attention to how fast and easy it is to sign up, either online or with the Esurance app. And calling all introverts, you likely won’t have to talk with an insurance agent directly to get set up.

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Operating globally, Liberty Mutual is the fifth-largest property and casualty insurer in the world. Still, the company makes it very clear that its business starts with you and the first step in that journey is getting an insurance coverage quote.

Most insurers offer free car insurance quotes on their websites, but Liberty Mutual offers you a discount for using its own — you can save up to 12% off your rate by getting a policy quote online.

Nationwide Insurance

With over 90 years covering drivers, Nationwide has learned a thing or two about what keeps customers happy (and in turn, what keeps them customers). The company’s list of visions and values shows exactly where its priorities lie.

Top ratings from a variety of outlets (such as A.M. Best, S&P and Moody’s) would suggest that it’s working. Those values extend to employees, as well — Nationwide was ranked No. 53 in Fortune’s most recent list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Travelers Insurance

Among the many plans Travelers offers is a car insurance coverage policy that you can customize based on your needs. Rather than upsell users, Travelers offers a host of resources (in the form of blog posts) designed to educate motorists prior to policy purchase. An informed customer is a happy customer.

Safeco Insurance

A division of Liberty Mutual, Seattle-based Safeco has been in the car insurance business for over 85 years and has been a national presence for more than two decades. Safeco partners with local agents who can devote the time and attention that customers need in order to get all of their individual car insurance questions answered and requests met.

Metlife

Judging entirely based on satisfaction, the United Services Automobile Association would take the top spot in our rankings. What affects the USAA’s ranking is that its scope is narrower than those of most other auto insurers, as the company only offers coverage to service members, veterans and their families. That said, USAA offers prices that even beat Geico’s, with customers who switch saving an average of $707 per year.

More help buying a new car

Disclaimer: The information included in this article, including program features, program fees and credits available through credit cards to apply to such programs, may change from time to time and are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please check the credit card provider’s website and review its terms and conditions for the most current offers and information.



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