Best car insurance companies for September 2021

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When shopping for car insurance, the company you choose can significantly impact how satisfied you are with your policy. Bankrate’s proprietary research method revealed that the most highly-ranked car insurance company is USAA. USAA is only available to military-affiliated customers; if you do not qualify for USAA, Amica or Geico could be a good option.

To help you find the best car insurance company of 2021 for your needs, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team calculated a Bankrate Score for each carrier by analyzing several insurance companies’ average annual rates (obtained from Quadrant Information Services), as well as average financial strength and customer experience ratings from several trusted third-party sources.

Bankrate Insight
  • USAA is both the best overall car insurance company based on our research and the cheapest car insurance company on our list, with an average annual full coverage premium of $1,225. Note: USAA policies are only available to the military and qualifying family members.
  • Amica could be a great choice if you don’t qualify for USAA but are searching for excellent customer service and low average rates, with an average full coverage premium of $1,378 per year.
  • Clearcover is a newcomer to the auto insurance industry, but its technology-based quotes and policies could be especially attractive to those looking to handle their car insurance digitally.

Comparing the best car insurance companies

Bankrate rated the following car insurance companies using our proprietary scoring system based on each featured company’s quoted 2021 premiums. Scores from industry-trusted sources such as AM Best, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), J.D. Power and others have also been weighed and used as a point of comparison.

Based on our research, we gave each company a Bankrate Score on a scale of 0.0 to 5.0. The higher a company’s Bankrate Score, the more highly that company ranked in each scoring category. Ultimately, the best car insurance company will likely be the one most closely aligned with your specific needs. Remember that car insurance rates are personalized, and you may pay more or less than the average rates listed below. Additionally, some states do not allow insurance companies to use your credit rating to calculate your premium. Getting quotes from several companies could help you find the right fit for your needs.

Car insurance company Bankrate Score Average annual premium for full coverage
USAA* 4.7 $1,255
Amica 4.6 $1,378
Geico 4.6 $1,405
State Farm 4.5 $1,457
Erie* 4.4 $1,233
Nationwide 4.2 $1,485
Progressive 4.1 $1,509
The Hartford 3.8 $2,270
Allstate 3.6 $1,921

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USAA

Why this company made our list: USAA could be a great option for military service members and their families.

USAA writes car insurance policies across the U.S. for military personnel and veterans and their eligible family members. Throughout every region of the U.S., USAA earns the highest customer satisfaction scores among its dedicated customer base, meaning most policyholders praise its exceptional customer service and claims processing. USAA members receive many benefits, including the company’s latest SafePilot program, where members can use the designated app for safe driving rewards.

Pros Cons
Excellent customer service and financial stretch scores Only available to military members and immediate family members
Low average rates Fewer optional coverages than other carriers
Military-focused coverages

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 890/1,000 points (Not officially ranked due to eligibility restrictions)
  • AM Best: A++ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
USAA $1,225 $1,463 $1,742 $1,277
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

Amica

Why this company made our list: Amica’s customer service is widely considered some of the best in the industry.

Amica has earned the highest customer satisfaction score among auto insurers in New England from J.D. Power for more than 20 consecutive years, which offers peace of mind to those looking for a customer-centric business model. The company currently provides auto insurance in a limited number of states, but if you live in its service area, you could benefit from excellent discounts and reliable claims processing. Amica is one of the few carriers that offer drivers an option to receive up to 20% back on their annual premiums through dividends.

Pros Cons
Highly-rated customer service No ridesharing coverage option is available
Unique optional dividend policies are available Not available in all states
Low average rates

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 907/1,000 points (#2)
  • AM Best: A+ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
Amica $1,378 $1,689 $1,665 $1,478
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: Amica Insurance review

Geico

Why this company made our list: Geico’s digital tools make it easy to handle your car insurance on the go.

Geico offers auto insurance in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., with regional offices in more than 10 major cities. The insurance company has excellent offerings for military members and government employees, as these discounts could save qualifying drivers more than 10% on auto insurance premiums or individual coverages. Geico’s mobile app is highly functional, allowing policyholders to access mobile ID cards, roadside assistance, vehicle service history, vehicle damage estimates, safety recall updates and more.

Pros Cons
Highly-rated digital app and mobile tools Customer service scores vary by region
Long list of discounts

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 871/1,000 points (#12)
  • AM Best: A++ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
Geico $1,405 $1,734 $1,971 $1,505
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

State Farm

Why this company made our list: State Farm’s extensive agent network could help you find a local professional to help guide your insurance choices.

State Farm is the largest private passenger auto insurance company by market share in the U.S. The company has discounts available for good driving or being accident-free and offers lower average rates to drivers after an accident. With over 19,000 agents throughout the U.S., you can feel confident in talking through your insurance needs with an easily accessible local agent who knows the area you live in.

Pros Cons
Large network of local agents May not be available to high-risk drivers
Excellent financial strength Higher-than-average compliant index score with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
Low average rates after an accident

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 881/1,000 points (#6)
  • AM Best: A++ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
State Farm $1,457 $1,590 $1,657 $1,656
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Erie

Why this company made our list: Erie’s Rate Lock feature could help you keep your premiums consistent.

Erie is only available in 12 states and Washington, D.C., but it could be a great option for young drivers, with some of the lowest average car insurance premiums for 18-year-olds, according to our research. Regardless of age, if you make a claim, Erie’s Rate Lock feature could help you maintain the same rate as long as no other changes are made to your policy — a huge benefit from a financial standpoint. The company also receives high customer service scores from J.D. Power in the regions where it is offered.

Pros Cons
Rate Lock features could help keep premiums steady Only available in 12 states
Low average rates for teens
Highly-rated customer service

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 880/1,000 points (#7)
  • AM Best: A+ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
Erie $1,233 $1,283 $1,398 $1,403
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

Nationwide

Why this company made our list: Nationwide’s two usage-based programs could help you tailor your premium to your driving habits.

For drivers looking for rates tailored to their driving habits, Nationwide could be a particularly appealing choice. The company offers two usage-based driving programs: SmartRide and SmartMiles. The SmartRide program can save you up to 40% based on how safely you drive. You can earn 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.

Pros Cons
Two driving programs could offer highly-personalized rates Customer service scores vary by region
Available in most states

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 876/1,000 points (#9)
  • AM Best: A+ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
Nationwide $1,485 $1,734 $1,745 $1,577
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

Progressive

Why this company made our list: Progressive’s online and digital tools could save you time and money.

Progressive’s online and digital tools are potentially unmatched in the industry. The company allows you to get quotes from several carriers on its website, potentially saving you both time and money as you shop for car insurance. You could also use the Name Your Price tool, which allows you to see coverage options based on your car insurance budget. Additionally, you can access ID cards, pay bills and submit claims on Progressive’s mobile app. Its Snapshot telematics program can also potentially save you money if you practice safe driving habits.

Pros Cons
Strong digital tools Below-average claims satisfaction score
Insurance options for numerous types of vehicles Customer satisfaction scores vary by region

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 856/1,000 points (#21)
  • AM Best: A+ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
Progressive $1,509 $1,826 $2,231 $1,629
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

The Hartford

Why this company made our list: The Hartford could help AARP members with unique perks.

The Hartford offers car insurance under AARP in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with agents located throughout most major metropolitan areas. Though it is the most expensive auto insurance provider among the best car insurance companies on Bankrate’s list, The Hartford’s AARP Auto Insurance Program allows drivers access to benefits like coverage for in-home services that they may be unable to perform following an accident, such as snow removal. The program also features a disappearing deductible as long as your driving record remains clean.

Pros Cons
AARP members could take advantage of unique perks Higher than average rates
Available nationwide

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 888/1,000 points (#4)
  • AM Best: A+ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
The Hartford $2,270 $3,617 $4,555 $2,450
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: The Hartford Insurance review

Allstate

Why this company made our list: Allstate’s unique rewards program could help you earn points toward hotels, gift cards and more.

Allstate’s Drivewise and Milewise programs can reward you with more than just personalized rates. By signing up, you could take advantage of the company’s points-based rewards system. By driving safely, you earn points — 10 trips with no hard brakes or rapid accelerations is worth 200 points, for example — that are redeemable for travel, gift cards, magazines, merchandise, local offers and more. Allstate is also bolstered by high customer satisfaction ratings and strong financial strength scores.

Pros Cons
Unique points-based rewards program Higher than average rates
Two driving programs could help customize rates Customer satisfaction scores vary by region

Third-party ratings

  • J.D. Power: 876/1,000 points (#8)
  • AM Best: A+ (Superior) financial strength rating

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates
Clean record One speeding ticket One accident Average credit
Allstate $1,921 $2,519 $2,752 $2,312
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $1,865

Learn more: Allstate Insurance review

Clearcover

Why this company made our list: Clearcover’s technology-driven car insurance is reinventing the insurance landscape.

Clearcover is disrupting the auto insurance industry by putting technology in the spotlight. The carrier uses digital tools to its advantage, revamping how car insurance is quoted, purchased and serviced. This business model allows Clearcover to sell highly affordable policies and enables customers to handle their insurance through a highly-rated mobile app. Policies are underwritten by Fortegra and are currently only available in 16 states. If you live in one of these states, getting a quote could take just 60 seconds.

Pros Cons
Cutting-edge technology Only available in 16 states
Fast quotes Limited data regarding customer satisfaction

Third-party ratings:

  • J.D. Power: Not rated
  • AM Best: A- (Excellent) financial strength rating

Learn more: Clearcover Insurance review

Why location matters when choosing car insurance

Auto insurance rates are based on several factors, and your 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 comprehensive review of your auto insurance coverage as part of your moving checklist is a good way to remember this important step. To view Bankrate’s picks for the best car insurance in your state, select it from the table below.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the best insurance company for a financed vehicle?

If you finance or lease a vehicle, your lender will generally require you to insure your car with both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, also known as “full” coverage. The best insurer for a financed vehicle will be different for everyone, but you will likely want to consider one that offers your desired coverage at affordable rates. You may also want to consider companies with numerous coverage options, such as original equipment coverage, gap insurance and even accident forgiveness.

If you are looking for a place to start your search, Bankrate’s study on cheap full coverage car insurance found that USAA, Auto-Owners, Amica and Geico offer solid options for affordable full coverage car insurance among the carriers we studied.

Which company offers the lowest auto insurance premiums for teenagers and young adults?

Young drivers are generally more expensive to insure than adult drivers since teens do not have as much experience behind the wheel. Auto insurance companies charge higher premiums to compensate for the higher risk of accidents that teen drivers have. However, many car insurance companies also offer discounts to help offset the cost of insuring a teenager or young adult driver. Common discounts for young drivers include good student discounts, telematics discounts and driver training discounts.

What types of coverage do you need?

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

Will an accident affect car insurance rates?

During the underwriting process, auto insurance companies often run motor vehicle reports (MVR) and a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report to determine rates for drivers. These reports will typically include information regarding your prior accidents, traffic violations, license status, claims history and other pertinent details. Car insurance companies often use these reports to gauge how risky a driver will be to insure. Generally, the more driving incidents you have on your record, the higher your premium will be.

Ask the industry experts

Do I need car insurance if I am not driving my car?

Coverage that is contractually mandated by your lender or coverage required by law is not optional. While this varies from state-to-state, some jurisdictions allow an individual to bind a seasonal policy or car storage policy. This tends to be a safer bet as property damage such as vandalism, fire, falling objects and theft may still occur.
-Ben Bingham, Benson & Bingham

How important is car maintenance to stay safe on the road?

Preventative car maintenance can seem like a pricey chore, but failing to properly take care of your car is even more expensive and dangerous. Being proactive can prevent bad things from happening like flat tires, leaks and dead batteries. Plus, it can help you avoid hazardous situations like getting stranded on the side of a busy highway, or worse, accidents. With healthy tires, windshield wipers, fluids, spark plugs, etc., you can be confident your car will perform and get you where you need to go safely regardless of weather.
-Ed Petersen, CEO of Wrench

How and when should parents introduce children to insurance as a part of financial literacy?

We asked Adjunct Business Professor John Colletti of North Central College in Naperville, IL.

“As families discuss a child’s registration to driver education class, include a talk explaining monetary considerations and important terms to improve financial literacy [to] help in grasping concepts [of] vehicle ownership […] Given the significant costs of typical vehicle and home insurance products I recommend instructional driving institutions encompass the relevant terms as part of student driving courses. Additionally, state driver licensing examinations could easily add basic questions to written tests to ensure new drivers understand applicable and relevant terms […] Other frequently used terms include: collision, uninsured motorist, co-pays and waivers. Just like my students, you may need to do a little homework to prepare for your talk with your family members.”

The insurance industry is closely tied to crucial economics principles Professor Colletti teaches his economics students:

“Let’s consider a prospective purchaser of auto insurance, Bob. He is very well aware of his own driving behavior and history. When seeking a quote for auto insurance he knows the number of tickets received and accidents he caused in recent years. The prospective insurance company will request Bob’s driving record from state authorities to reduce asymmetric information. Gaining access to Bob’s data reduces chances of adverse selection. The firm may opt to deny coverage should past records indicate he is a high risk for future accidents. […] A deductible represents the amount of funds the insured must pay in the future should an accident claim be made to his insurance firm. A higher deductible is an attempt to mitigate moral hazard. Bob understands poor driving resulting in damage or injury claims will result in a substantial payment from him as part of the overall settlement with the victim of his actions.”

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 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 base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Credit: Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor, average, good (base) and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. The following states prohibit the use of credit information as a rating factor in determining auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Washington and Massachusetts.

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Bankrate Scores

Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.

To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across more than 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.

While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.

J.D. Power scores

J.D. Power is a global market research company that has decades of experience within the automotive, financial and health industries, among others. It conducts annual surveys on customer satisfaction across these sectors to help provide insight into the qualities that matter most between consumers and businesses. Its auto insurance studies take into account customer satisfaction across several lines, including customer service, claims processing, policy offerings and premiums, which make its scores a useful qualitative tool in assessing providers.

Out-of-state road trip travel

Now that states are reopening and travel restrictions have eased up, Americans are taking advantage of the opportunity to travel again. Although flying is an option, many have chosen to road trip it to their favorite vacation destinations.

Your summer vacation spots may be home to the rudest drivers

Several states offer tourist attractions such as beach resorts, amusement parks, casinos and national parks. For some, it’s summer all year round, making them great road trip destinations. However, they may also be home to the rudest drivers, making the drive there even more stressful than it needs to be. California and Florida are among the most visited states in the U.S., and, according to a recent study by the Bankrate team, they are also in the top 5 states with the rudest drivers.

1. California

According to our research, California has the rudest drivers in the nation, and our findings on a high level of rudeness reflect California’s rankings as one of the worst states for bad drivers. A 2019 study determined that drivers in Sacramento, California, were the worst drivers in the nation.

2. Nevada

Nevada comes in second place for the rudest drivers. The state ranks high in multiple categories, including rude drivers, general rudeness and overall bad driving. With many residents from out of state who may be unfamiliar with the roads, as well as scores of tourists and a party atmosphere in Las Vegas, it’s unsurprising to see reckless and rude driving.

3. Florida

Ranking third on our list, it seems like Florida drivers may be less than polite. Florida sees a large number of out-of-state tourists year-round, and many are unfamiliar with the traffic and highways. Florida also ranks second in the country for the most expensive average annual premium for auto insurance which doesn’t help Florida driver’s sunny disposition.

4. Oregon

Oregon came in fourth place on our list for rudest drivers. Oregon does see a fair amount of out-of-state travelers visiting Portland and their national parks for the beautiful, scenic views. The state appeared in the top half of the rankings for rudest states, and in both studies we examined for worst drivers.

5. New Mexico

New Mexico comes in fifth place for rudest drivers. Although this state did not come in as the worst for rude drivers, it ranked as the 21st rudest state, and was in the top 20 for both of the worst driver studies we looked at.

Stay safe on the road

It’s important to note that what qualifies someone as a rude driver is not limited to making snarky comments out the window. It also includes instances where drivers don’t use turn signals, fail to yield to oncoming traffic, drive through stop signs and show an overall disregard to road rules.

It may come as no surprise that California and Florida are also ranked in the top three states with the highest number of fatal car crashes. If you’re planning an out-of-state road trip, especially to any of these states, it’s important to keep your wits about you while on the road.

Defensive driving tips
  • Stay focused and alert
  • Be careful at intersections
  • Avoid distractions like cell phones
  • Spare tire and car jack
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Don’t assume other drivers actions
  • Maintain a safe distance from cars ahead
  • Follow posted speed limits
  • Be aware of erratic drivers