The best car insurance companies offer quality coverage at affordable rates. But who offers you the best deals on auto coverage can change depending on where you live, your driving record, and other factors. That means comparing insurance providers can be a challenge. We’ve made the process easier by comparing four of the best auto insurance companies and looking at their average rates.
We chose these top providers based on coverage, affordability, customer service and reputation. Our in-depth industry research includes customer feedback, reviews and our own experience with the quotes process. See our recommendations for the nation’s best cheap car insurance companies below.
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4 Best Car Insurance Companies
We used data from industry groups like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and AM Best, along with pricing data and customer reviews to assess the top names in the insurance industry. After performing extensive industry research, our team recognized these four providers as the best car insurance companies in the nation. Each of these providers has a strong reputation among experts, comprehensive coverage and competitive pricing.
|Best Car Insurance Companies||Best For||Overall Rating||Coverage||Price|
|#1 GEICO||Most drivers||9.1||9.5||10.0|
|#2 USAA||Military families||9.6||8.5||9.0|
|#3 Progressive||High-risk drivers||9.1||9.0||9.3|
|#4 State Farm||Students||9.1||9.0||9.0|
Read on to learn more about our top choices. But keep in mind that the best auto insurance provider for you will depend on many factors, including your driving history and how much coverage you need.
GEICO: Best Car Insurance Coverage Overall
Availability: All 50 states
AM Best Rating: A++
2021 J.D. Power Score: 881/1000
Average annual cost estimate: $1,352
GEICO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, and it has served customers in the insurance industry for over 80 years. GEICO is one of the most popular insurance companies to date, but is it the best auto insurance company for you?
Strong financial and industry standing
User-friendly mobile app
Partnerships with Mexican insurance companies for Mexico coverage
Good student discounts
Local agents may not be available in your area
Some issues with autopay and policy cancellations
GEICO Auto Insurance Coverage
GEICO policies cover accidents, liability, medical expenses, property damage, rental reimbursement and emergency roadside assistance. You can also purchase policies that cover both personal and rideshare use, as well as insurance mechanical breakdown insurance, which saves you money on major repairs that result from a defective part.
One of the things we like about GEICO is its Mexico auto insurance policy. The company is partnered with Mexican insurance companies like Grupo Nacional Provincial and El Aguila Compania de Seguros, so you can be insured while you drive in Mexico. You can get liability coverage up to $500,000 that covers cars, ATVs and other recreational vehicles. These policies come with their own international staff to help in an emergency.
GEICO Average annual cost estimate: $1,352
GEICO prices are considered slightly above average according to J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping StudySM. Getting a free, customized quote is quick but thorough. You will be asked about your annual mileage and even your school, business or government affiliations so that the quote engine can find the best discounts with your estimate.
GEICO offers discounts for the following:
- Safe or defensive driving
- Good grades
- Seat belt use
- New vehicles
- Multiple vehicles
- Federal employees
- Military members
- Fraternity or sorority affiliations
- Alumni associations, universities and student organizations
- Air bags
- Anti-theft systems
- Accident forgiveness (for five years without an accident)
Students tend to pay much more for car insurance each month, averaging $318 per month compared to $75 per month for the general population. It’s important that students can find the best auto insurance company for their budget. GEICO discounts are especially valuable to students, who can get discounts for grades and even the university they attend.
Claims and Customer Service
GEICO has many tools customers can use to make the claims and repair process smoother and more efficient. GEICO’s Auto Repair Xpress® program, for example, provides special treatment to customers that use an Auto Repair Xpress facility. A shop representative evaluates the damage to your vehicle, arranges for repairs and updates you on the status of your claim and repairs.
Customers can also get answers to their questions at any time using GEICO’s mobile app virtual assistant. The mobile app allows you to track your maintenance schedule, manage your claims and call roadside assistance. Unfortunately, in our experience finding a local agent, the number of local agents in each state was quite small. The best way to communicate with a representative is online.
According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM, GEICO customers rate the fairness of claims settlements positively. The Better Business Bureau (BBB), which monitors company transparency and business practices, gives GEICO an A+ rating. Complaints to the BBB include slow communication and issues with autopay.
What Experts Say About GEICO Car Insurance
As a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, GEICO comes only second to State Farm in market share and the number of direct premiums written. GEICO is a well-known insurance company due to its popular marketing campaigns.
USAA: Best Car Insurance for Military Families
Availability: All 50 states, but limited to military members and their families
AM Best Rating: A++
2021 J.D. Power Score: 909/1000
Average annual cost estimate: $1,013
USAA was established in 1922 and provides insurance products, banking and retirement services for military members and their families. The company’s services are only available to qualifying active service and veteran members and their immediate relatives. However, the company is known for its generous discounts and membership perks.
Mileage-based plans available
Discounts for members living on a military base
Flexible payment plans
Excellent claims servicing
Strict membership restrictions
Some benefits only available in certain states
USAA Auto Insurance Coverage
In a survey of more than 3,000 insurance customers conducted by Insure.com, USAA was ranked third overall, and 94% of customers said they would renew their USAA policy.
USAA policies include the standard coverage plans (liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist, etc.), as well as roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and accident forgiveness after five years with no accidents.
For Lyft and Uber drives, rideshare gap coverage can insure drivers while they wait for their request. However, this coverage is not available in every state.
USAA average annual cost estimate: $1,013
The J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study gave USAA the highest score out of large insurance providers, with customers reporting a good value for the level of coverage they received. USAA ranked higher than GEICO, State Farm and Progressive for price value. To make policies more affordable for members, USAA offers a number of discounts. Members can save money if they do the following:
- Keep a clean driving record for five years
- Improve driving skills with a defensive driving course
- Complete a driver training course (for drivers under 21)
- Make good grades
- Purchase insurance for a vehicle under three years old
- Purchase insurance for two or more vehicles
- Drive a certain number of miles per year
- Store their vehicle or garage vehicle on military base
- Continue your parents’ coverage
- Maintain loyalty to USAA
Unfortunately, the quote process is limited to USAA members. If you are not a USAA member, then USAA is not the best car insurance company for you.
Claims and Customer Service
USAA sports an A+ rating from the BBB. It also received the highest claims satisfaction rating of any insurance company in the J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, which suggests customers have expressed overall satisfaction with the claims process.
Customers will find it easy to make and manage claims, request roadside assistance and perform other tasks using the USAA app. USAA won multiple innovation awards in 2018 due to its pilot programs and member challenges, which help to improve the customer experience.
What Experts Say About USAA Car Insurance
USAA has strong name recognition in the industry, but it ranks fifth amongst the top 10 competitors for direct premiums written and market share. Still, this is not something that should greatly deter potential customers.
To start comparing quotes, we recommend using our comparison tool:
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Progressive: High-Risk Car Insurance
Availability: All 50 states
AM Best Rating: A+
2021 J.D. Power Score: 862/1000
Average annual cost estimate: $1,397
Progressive began offering insurance in 1937 with the mission to serve basic insurance at a lower price than its competitors. Progressive markets itself as affordable, but price isn’t the only thing that’s important when looking for the best car insurance companies. What do we think about Progressive?
Shop based on your budget with the Name Your Price® Tool
Deductible savings bank helps lower deductibles
Discounts for online and paperless account management
Custom parts coverage
Quote engine with rate comparison
Customers do not rate affordability above industry average
Below average call center service
Progressive Auto Insurance Coverage
In addition to basic insurance policies (e.g., collision, comprehensive, liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist, personal injury, roadside assistance, etc.), Progressive offers rideshare policies that cover you while you wait for a trip request, rather than covering you only after you’ve accepted a request.
Progressive also offers coverage for custom parts and equipment, such as navigation systems or tire rims, up to a certain limit. Customers can also get gap insurance to cover the remainder of their loan if their vehicle is totaled.
Progressive average annual cost estimate: $1,397
Despite Progressive’s reputation for cheap insurance, customers ranked Progressive auto insurance as just average with regard to the value they get for the cost. However, customers can find an affordable rate using the competitor rate comparison tool or the Name Your Price Tool®, which allows customers to shop for policies based on what they are willing to pay.
Progressive offers basic discounts for multiple vehicles and good students, but we like the following unique discounts:
- Discounts for customers who make automatic payments
- Paperless and online sign up/quote discounts
- Discounts for being continually insured
- Accident forgiveness for customers with no accidents in three years
- Small accident forgiveness for your first accident with a claim under $500
You can also use the deductible savings bank discount to subtract $50 from your deductible for every policy period without an accident or traffic violation.
Like State Farm, Progressive also offers safe driving discounts with their own tracking app, Snapshot. You can log your trips and get tips for safer driving. As with any app that monitors your driving habits, it is possible that you can actually increase your prices. Progressive states that only two in 10 customers see their rates increase.
Claims and Customer Service
The BBB gives Progressive an A+ rating, but participants of the J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study placed in second-to-last place for large insurers.
Progressive’s claims process is rated as average. One of Progressive’s strengths is its simple online and mobile interfaces. Customers can upload photos of damage from an accident to the mobile app and receive an electronic estimate.
What Experts Say About Progressive Car Insurance
Progressive Corp. stands at number four in industry standing with 5% of the market share, following closely behind Liberty Mutual. Progressive writes more than $33 million in direct premiums in a year. You can learn more about this insurance provider in our Progressive insurance review.
State Farm: Our First Choice for Student Drivers
Availability: 48 states (excludes Massachusetts and Rhode Island)
AM Best Rating: A++
2021 J.D. Power Score: 892/1000
Average annual cost estimate: $1,339
State Farm opened its doors to customers in 1922 and has since become the market leader of the auto insurance industry. If you’re looking for the best car insurance company, then you may want to look at the unique coverage options and discounts available from State Farm.
Most direct written premiums per year
Competitive rates for insuring teens
Policies available for rental cars and sports cars
Multiple safe driver discounts
Lack of discounts for longtime customers
Local agents and repair process rated just average
State Farm Auto Insurance Coverage
Finding the best auto insurance companies often means finding comprehensive and affordable coverage for drivers and vehicles that are more difficult to insure.
With State Farm, drivers can find unique coverage that goes beyond basic collision or liability insurance. State Farm offers affordable policies for teenagers, rental cars and even sports cars – which are especially expensive to insure.
State Farm Price
State Farm average annual cost estimate: $1,339
J.D. Power’s Insurance Shopping Study ranked State Farm prices as average among competitors. State Farm markets multiple safe driver programs that can improve rates, including Drive Safe & SaveTM and Steer Clear®.
The Drive Safe & Save app uses information from your smartphone or vehicle communication system to monitor your driving habits and deliver discounts for safer driving. Some experts believe, however, that tracking devices used by insurance companies may have greater benefits for your insurance company than for your premiums.
The Steer Clear program is a good offer for drivers under 25 that have had no violations for three years. By completing safe driver courses online, they can save even more money on their policies. State Farm also offers the following discounts:
- Good student discount
- Away-at-school discount (for students under 25 who only drive during school breaks)
- Passive restraint discount for passive restraint systems in older vehicles
- Multiple car discounts
- Multiple insurance policy discounts (bundles with home or life insurance)
State Farm’s list of customer discounts is not as long as some of the other companies on this list. However, we think that shoppers can find good rates for specialty vehicles and younger drivers.
Claims and Customer Service
Currently, there are 19,000 State Farm agents across the country ready to help. Customers give their experience dealing with their local agents of 872 out of 1,000 points in the J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study. By comparison, the average for the large insurer category was 871 points.
Despite slightly above-average claims servicing, customers also rate the estimation process and repair process as simply average. We found that filing a claim and checking its status is very easy to do on the State Farm website. It is also easy to find a repair shop online, and Select Service can assist customers with arranging for repairs and getting a guaranteed date for completion.
The BBB currently gives State Farm an A+ rating with relatively few complaints in the past year compared to the number of policyholders.
What Experts Say About State Farm Car Insurance
State Farm currently has the highest percentage of market share in the auto insurance industry at 9.7%. The company has significant financial strength with more than $65 million written in direct premiums in a year.
Car Insurance Costs
According to our research, the national average for full coverage insurance for a 35-year-old driver with good credit and a clean driving record is $1,732. However, your own rates will vary – often by quite a bit.
That’s because insurers use a number of different cost factors to determine your individual rates. Here are some of the biggest drivers of your premiums:
- Coverage options: The cheapest car insurance rates come with plans that only satisfy your state’s minimum coverage requirements. You can help protect yourself from financial risk with coverage like collision insurance, but more coverage equals higher premiums.
- Coverage amounts: Your premiums also reflect the amount of coverage you choose. Again, you can go with the state minimum coverage amounts to save on insurance costs, but these can leave you exposed to serious financial risk.
- Deductible: Most insurers let you have some say in your deductible – or how much you need to pay out of pocket following an at-fault accident. Your premium will go up as your deductible goes down and vice versa.
- Add-ons: You can help prepare for the unexpected with add-on options such as roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement. But each additional coverage option you include in your car insurance policy will add to your premiums.
- Driving record: Any recent moving violations, speeding tickets, or at-fault accidents will cause your rates to go up.
- Age: Seniors and young drivers will pay higher auto insurance rates than middle-aged drivers. However, it’s teen drivers who pay the highest rates.
- Credit history: A poor credit score will mean you have to pay more for your car insurance coverage than drivers with a good credit rating. However, state laws have made it illegal for insurance companies to factor credit scores into insurance rates in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey.
- Location: The state where you live plays an important role in your car insurance premiums. But even within the same state, drivers in different zip codes will still pay different rates. For example, drivers in rural areas tend to pay less for coverage than those in cities.
Car Insurance Costs By State
The state where you live is one of the biggest factors in how much your insurance costs. That’s because different states have different risk factors like weather conditions, population, and others. Here’s a look at the average cost of car insurance in each state, as well as which provider offers the cheapest rates in that state.
|State||State Average Annual Cost Estimate||Cheapest Car Insurance Provider||Average Annual Premium|
|District of Columbia||$1,787||USAA||$812|
|New Hampshire||$1,181||Auto Owners||$602|
|North Carolina||$1,277||Erie Insurance||$927|
|Texas||$2,067||Texas Farm Bureau||$1,010|
Car Insurance Costs by Driver Profile
It may also be helpful to know how much your rates can change based on other factors. This chart shows the provider that offers the best car insurance rates for drivers in several different categories, along with that company’s average rate for those drivers.
|Driver Profile||Cheapest Provider||Average Rate|
|Recent Speeding Ticket||USAA||$1,220|
Car Insurance Coverage
When it comes to car insurance coverage, you have lots of choices. Most insurers offer a wide selection of coverage options and policy add-ons to their customers, ranging from bare-bones policies that cover the state minimum coverage to full coverage policies with coverage limits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Standard Car Insurance Coverage
Every insurance company offers the same standard types of coverage. Here are the standard options you’ll find no matter which company you choose:
- Bodily injury liability: Covers lost wages and medical expenses for others involved in a car accident you caused.
- Property damage liability: Covers damages to other drivers’ vehicles and personal property for an accident you caused.
- Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage: Covers the cost of medical expenses and property damages when the driver who caused the accident does not have sufficient coverage.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): Covers medical expenses for you and your passengers’ medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is found at fault for the accident. PIP coverage is also known as “no-fault” insurance.
- Medical payments (MedPay): Similar to PIP but only covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses and not lost wages.
- Collision insurance: Covers damages to your vehicle no matter who is found at fault for the accident.
- Comprehensive insurance: Covers damages to your vehicle that aren’t accident-related, such as damages from floods, civil unrest, or fire.
Additional Coverage Options
In addition to the standard options, the best car insurance companies offer plenty of add-ons and other types of coverage that can help cover other costs that come with driving and owning a car.
Here are some of the most common additional coverage options insurers offer:
- Rental car reimbursement: Covers the cost of a rental car when your car is immobile or in the shop following a covered accident.
- Rideshare insurance: Covers the gap between your personal auto insurance and the insurance provided while you’re driving for rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber.
- Roadside assistance: Covers some or all of the cost of emergency roadside services like towing, fuel and fluid delivery, and tire services.
- Guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage: Covers some or all of the difference between what you owe on a car and its value in the event the car is totaled.
How to Find the Best Car Insurance for You
Finding the best rate for auto insurance depends on a number of factors both in and beyond your control. Unfortunately, your rates can be higher based on your marital status, occupation, level of education and even the gender listed on your license. That’s why it’s important to understand how to give yourself the best chance for an affordable rate.
How can you get the cheapest car insurance? Here are a few tips:
- Drop unnecessary coverage: Lower your insurance premium by increasing your deductible or opting out of optional policies, such as collision coverage on older cars.
- Try paying by the mile: Look for mileage-based policies if you have a short work commute or don’t drive many miles on average.
- Use a telematics program: Most of the top insurance companies now have telematics programs that use a mobile app to monitor your driving habits. If you maintain good driving habits, you can often get a substantial discount on your policy.
- Bundle: Combine your auto and homeowners insurance to get bundle discounts.
- Shop around: Compare multiple car insurance quotes for similar policies across a number of companies.
- Find the discounts: Companies offer all sorts of car insurance discounts that can help you make insurance more affordable. For example, you can get discounts for simply having safety features like anti-lock brakes installed on your vehicle or for staying accident-free for an extended period of time.
- Be a good customer: Pay attention to your credit history and pay your bills on time.
- Be a good driver: Drive defensively to qualify for decreased rates or accident forgiveness.
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FAQ: Best Car Insurance
What is the number one car insurance company?
Our research team gives GEICO the best overall award for car insurance coverage due to the company’s competitive rates, customer satisfaction ratings and options for consumers. It offers car insurance discounts for good drivers, safety features and building policies like renters insurance.
How do car insurance companies pay out claims?
When evaluating a car accident, vehicle theft or other potential claims, the insurance agent is attempting to determine if the claim falls within the scope of the car insurance policy. If approved, the provider reimburses the policyholder up to the actual cash value (ACV) of their vehicle, minus the deductible.
Who actually has the best car insurance?
The best auto insurance policy ultimately depends on the needs of the policyholder. Some companies offer better rates for teen drivers or young motorists, or others have better rates for customers with poor credit. It also depends if you seeking full coverage or just need liability insurance, which normally means bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, pricing, estimates from Quadrant Information Systems, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.