Best car insurance companies for 2021

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Car insurance is one of the most important purchases that you will make. Besides being legally required for drivers in almost every state, car insurance protects you against financial devastation in the event of an accident. Each driver has a unique set of preferences to consider when choosing the best car insurance provider, but factors such as the type of car you drive, the ages of the drivers you are insuring, the availability of discounts, a company’s financial strength and customer service ratings will all be part of the decision making process.

Our Bankrate insurance editors conducted research on dozens of car insurance companies, considering their average premiums, discounts, financial strength and customer service ratings to consolidate the best providers. Armed with this knowledge, you can feel confident in choosing the best car insurance company for your needs.

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How to compare the best car insurance companies

To find the right insurance company for your needs, determine what factors are most important to you. Do you need a company that provides online and mobile policy management? Are you most interested in the lowest premium available? Are you searching for specialized coverages? Knowing what is important to you will help you decide which company best fits your needs.

Car insurance company Bankrate rating Average annual premium for full coverage
USAA* 4.7 $1,252
Geico 4.6 $1,325
State Farm 4.6 $1,422
Erie* 4.5 $1,207
Amica* 4.4 $1,318
Progressive 4.1 $1,419
Nationwide 3.9 $1,475
The Hartford 3.7 $2,064
Allstate 3.6 $1,920
Farmers 3.6 $1,912

*This provider may not be available in all states or to all drivers

When researching which are the best car insurance companies, it is important to consider several factors, including financial strength, customer service ratings and average premiums. Bankrate uses financial strength ratings from AM Best, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s, as well as customer experience ratings from J.D. Power and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), combined with 2020 average quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services to assign an overall score to each company.

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Company reviews

USAA

USAA writes car insurance policies across the nation for military personnel, veterans and their eligible family members, including the states with the highest number of military service members — Alaska and Hawaii. The company received the highest scores in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance study, which landed it among the top insurers for Auto Claims satisfaction. However, due to limited availability, USAA is technically rank-ineligible.

USAA members receive benefits beyond generally low rates. It can take care of you on deployment and you can even receive discounts for garaging your vehicle on a military base. With USAA, both you and your family are taken care of, and when your children or others meet eligibility criteria, they can receive up to a 10% discount (as long as they were previously covered under USAA for at least three years and continue to meet criteria). Policies are also written to take into account the sudden and unexpected military-life changes that may otherwise affect your insurance.

Though you cannot plan for certain life events that would cause vehicle loss or damage, it can give you greater confidence to know that your insurer is financially sound. USAA ranks highly across several financial strength rating scales — an A++ (Superior) AM Best rating, AAA Moody’s rating, and AA S&P rating — which are all credits to its ability to make timely claim payouts. For those who qualify for eligibility, USAA is a top provider to consider as one of the best car insurance companies available.

Military discounts Benefit
Store a vehicle while deployed While away from home, it is likely that your vehicle will need to be stored. USAA offers savings up to 60% for members of the military that have to store their vehicles while deployed.
Garage a car on a military base You can earn up to a 15% discount on comprehensive coverage when garaging a car on a military base.
Legacy discount If you are a parent who is also insuring your children under your USAA membership, your children may be able to create their own policy with up to a 10% discount when they are of age.
Loyalty discount USAA rewards members who keep an auto policy with them over an extended period with a discount. You can speak with an agent to see if you qualify and how much you qualify for.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review.

Geico

Geico offers insurance in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., with offices set up in more than 10 major cities. For each of the 11 U.S. regions examined within the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, Geico ranks within the top five for overall customer satisfaction, which is one of the key reasons we include among the best car insurance providers. In the North Central, North West and Southwest regions, the company either has the highest score or ties with other high ranking best car insurance providers.

Geico has five categories of auto insurance discounts, each of which contain two or more discount offerings. The provider has excellent offerings for military members and federal employees as these discounts can save qualifying drivers more than 10% on premiums or individual coverages.

When it comes to mobile apps, Geico provides one of the best user experiences compared to competitors, based on app scores. The Geico app allows policyholders to access mobile ID cards, roadside assistance, vehicle service history, vehicle damage estimates, safety recall updates and more.

Mobile app ratings

Company App store Google Play store Combined score
Geico 4.8 stars 4.8 stars 9.6
State Farm 4.8 stars 4.7 stars 9.5
Farmers 4.8 stars 4.6 stars 9.4

Learn more: Geico insurance review.

State Farm

State Farm retains the largest market share of private passenger car insurance writers. The insurance provider often ranks well on J.D. Power Auto studies, ranking number one in the 2020 auto insurance satisfaction study in the Mid-Atlantic and New York regions. AM Best gives it a A++ (Excellent) rating, signifying superior financial strength.

A mobile app allows drivers to manage their policies, bills and directly interact with agents, although policyholders who prefer in-person interactions may find even more comfort in knowing that State Farm has more than 19,000 agents across the nation. While the company has discounts available for good driving or being accident free, many will be pleased to find that the company maintains lower rates on average even after an accident* making it one of the best car insurance companies for drivers who are working to improve their driving record or habits.

Before accident After accident Difference
State Farm $1,422 $1,773 $351
National average $1,738 $2,299 $561

*Based on Quadrant rates with an accident factored in

Learn more: State Farm insurance review.

Erie

Insurance through Erie is only available in 12 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., but the provider’s ratings in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto study rivals top ranking best car insurance companies. Young drivers who live in Erie’s covered states will be pleasantly surprised, as Erie not only offers the lowest annual premiums on average, but also the lowest premiums for 18-year-olds* (who typically pay more for auto insurance due to their limited driving experience).

Beyond coverage for drivers, the provider also offers protections for your pet if it is hurt in an accident. What about if your favorite shoes experience a loss from damage or theft while stored in your car? Erie also offers physical damage coverage for personal items like clothing and luggage up to $350.

Erie also offers a special auto insurance policy called Erie Auto Plus, which features a diminishing deductible and a $10,000 death benefit, among other advantages, for just an additional eight cents a day (about $30 annually).

Average annual auto coverage cost for 18-year-olds

Erie National average Difference
Average annual premium for full coverage $3,069 $5,355 $2,286
Average annual premium for minimum coverage $1,043 $1,957 $914

*2020 Quadrant rates reflect 18-year-old driver on their own policy

Learn more: Erie insurance review.

Amica

Amica ranked number one for auto insurance providers in New England in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Satisfaction Survey. It also earned the second rank overall in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. Amica currently offers car insurance in a limited number of states.

Amica is one of the few providers that offer drivers an option to receive up to 20% back on their annual premiums through dividends. Dividend policy benefits include lowering your long-term policy cost as well as offering flexible dividend payment options, typically ranging from 5%-20% of your annual premium. Amica policyholders even have the option to apply the dividends to future years’ policy premiums.

Of Bankrate’s best car insurance companies, Amica has one of the best overall customer satisfaction scores based on the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study combined with NAIC complaint index rating, where “1” represents the industry median and anything below “1” means fewer than average complaints.

Customer experience scores

J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction NAIC complaint index
Amica 907 1.3
Geico 871 1.2
State Farm 881 1.5

*Bankrate rating scores

Learn more: Amica insurance review.

Progressive

Progressive holds 12.2% of the industry market share and has more than 38,000 agents located across the entire country in addition to Canada. The company offers several types of vehicle insurance such as for ATV, classic cars, motorcycles and RVs. It ranks above average for auto insurance satisfaction in Texas, California and the Central region in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study.

Drivers can save up to $750 on average when signing up for an auto insurance policy through Progressive. The provider also offers multiple options for discounts, including unique ones such as its Snapshot program, which allows you to save an average of $145 a year the safer you drive.

Driver discounts

Discount name Average savings
Snapshot: Safe Driver About $145
Good student Up to 10%
Homeowner About 10%

Learn more: Progressive insurance review.

Nationwide

Nationwide ranks above average in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and is located in 46 states and Washington, D.C. For drivers working to improve their skills on the road, Nationwide is a particularly appealing choice to consider among our best car insurance companies. Optional coverage is offered for accident forgiveness and personalized savings are possible with Nationwide’s SmartRide and SmartMiles program.

The SmartRide program can save you up to 40% the safer you drive, in addition to a 10% discount just for signing up. Similarly, the SmartMiles program tracks your driving distance and allows you flexible premiums based on your vehicle usage. Nationwide’s On Your Side Review is also offered free of charge and helps policyholders ensure their coverages are still sufficient for their needs.

Discount How it’s earned Savings
SmartRide Driving behavior Up to 40%
SmartMiles Mileage based Up to 10%
Accident-free Clean driving record Up to 10%

Learn more: Nationwide insurance review.

The Hartford

The Hartford offers car insurance under AARP in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with physical locations for agents in 43. Anyone age 50 and above is eligible for full AARP membership, making The Hartford’s auto insurance available as well. The insurance provider earned the number four spot in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and ranks above average for the Southwest region in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study.

Though it is the most expensive insurance provider among the best car insurance companies on Bankrate’s list, The Hartford also offers an Advantage Program that allows drivers to lock in their annual premium for a full year and get benefits like coverage for home services that they may be unable to perform following an accident, like snow removal. The Advantage Program features a disappearing deductible as long as your driving record remains clean. The Hartford covers a range of vehicle types, making it particularly appealing for motor enthusiasts.

Other vehicles The Hartford insures

Classic car insurance RV insurance
ATV insurance Boat insurance
Golf cart insurance Snowmobile insurance

Learn more: The Hartford insurance review.

Allstate

Allstate offers coverage beyond basic auto insurance including sound systems, rideshare vehicles and will reimburse expenses for rental cars. Available in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C., Allstate ranks above average in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. For Florida, Allstate received the most customer satisfaction points for auto insurance among providers in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study. It offers a convenient mobile application which includes two key features: policy management and its Drivewise program.

Within the app, policyholders can access ID cards, reach roadside assistance, upload photos following a claim and even keep inventory of their personal property to make claim filing easier. Allstate’s in-app Drivewise program reviews your driving habits, offers driving insights and allows you to earn cash back every six months with safe driving.

Rewards for safe driving are redeemable through Allstate’s rewards program. You can earn points by signing up for Drivewise, activating your rewards account and avoiding speeding and sudden braking.

Options for redeeming your Allstate Rewards points

Daily deals Save up to 80% on daily merchandise deals
Merchandise Save up to 40% on brand-name products (apparel, tech, jewelry, etc.)
Gift cards Get 10% off on over 100 brands, including dining and travel, through gift cards

Learn more: Allstate insurance review.

Farmers

Farmers insurance has offered comprehensive coverage car insurance since 1933, when it was the first and only one to offer comprehensive coverage. Now, the company spans across the entire United States and offers additional coverage for things like customized equipment, spare parts and windshield and glass repair. The company has a J.D. Power score of 872 for auto claims satisfaction, which is on the higher end, compared to other insurance providers in the industry.

Out of all of Bankrate’s 2021 picks for best car insurance companies, Farmers offers the most ways to save. Drivers can find unique ways to save on premiums by using alternative fuel, having daytime running lights or sharing a family car. Discounts available will vary by state, but drivers are likely to find several that they qualify for.

Company Total number of auto discounts available
Farmers 22
Amica 18
Geico 16

Learn more: Farmers insurance review.

Why location matters when choosing car insurance

Auto insurance rates are based on several factors, and your specific city, state and ZIP code are among the most impactful. If you have moved recently, it may be a good idea to compare companies to ensure that your car insurance provider is still the best fit for your needs. This is especially true if you have moved across state lines, as auto insurance is not standardized across the country.

Adding a review of your auto insurance to your moving checklist is a good way to remember this important step. To view the best providers in your state, select it from the table below.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company will vary depending on your own specific needs and circumstances. Your location, age, type of vehicle, credit score, choice of coverage and more variables all go into determining your premium. When shopping for car insurance, look for a financially strong company 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?

Teenagers and young adults are generally more expensive to insure than more experienced drivers, since they do not have as much experience behind the wheel. However, most companies offer discounts to help offset the cost of insuring a teenager or young adult driver. However, factors such as the gender of the teen driver, the type of vehicle they drive and if they have had any accidents or tickets can impact how expensive they are to insure.

Who offers the cheapest auto insurance?

Car insurance premiums are determined by individual driver variables, so the “cheapest” is relative to each driver. Seeking out a company that offers discounts for which you qualify, purchasing the proper amount of coverage for your needs and comparing rates on an annual basis can help you keep your premiums reasonable.

What types of coverages do you need?

Every driver has a unique set of circumstances, meaning that determining the types and amounts of coverage that you need is an individualized process. Factors such as your budget, the age of your vehicle, your financial stability and your comfort with risk all impact the coverage decision that you make. If you are unsure of what you need in the auto insurance buying process, it may be helpful to consult with an agent.

Looking to save money on auto insurance?
Looking to save money on auto insurance?

Looking to save money on auto insurance?

Compare rates & save

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Rates are determined based on 2020 Quadrant Information Services data.

Bankrate Scores
Bankrate scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry standard ratings for financial strength (AM Best, S&P, Moody’s) and customer experience (J.D. Power, NAIC), in addition to average quoted rates from Quadrant Information Services. Our Bankrate editorial team’s extensive research and analysis provided a secondary assessment of each insurer’s online and mobile resources and policy management options, which also contributed to overall ratings.

Why Trust Us

Bankrate demystifies the insurance industry by making it easier to find insurance information. Regardless of where you are in your journey, Bankrate helps you make informed decisions.

We use two key sets of customer priorities to evaluate insurance carriers and help you decide what to consider:

First: we evaluated customer satisfaction and complaints, financial strength and stability and overall costs based on average rates quoted to real drivers.

Second: we evaluated customer experience by assessing each provider’s customer service options through online capabilities and agent accessibility.

About the author


Mariah Posey

Mariah Posey is an insurance editor who began working with the Bankrate site in 2021. She’s originally from New Jersey and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Elon University. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a copyeditor and writing consultant at her alma mater. Mariah has covered topics ranging from news to tech and lifestyle and has a vested interest in producing engaging content for audiences.