When every other commercial is advertising car insurance and there are dozens of brands from which to choose, how do you find the right coverage for you and your car? Do you pick an insurer out of a hat? Do you choose the one with the nicest-looking website? Or do you use a source you trust to help guide you in the right direction? If the last option sounds best to you, we’re here to help. In search of the best car insurance company, we checked out some of the biggest players in the game: Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm. To compare these companies, we looked at several key factors including coverage options, discounts, average 6-month premium cost, special tools or programs and their J.D. Power rankings for Overall Customer Satisfaction with Claims and Overall Customer Satisfaction with Shopping.
Why these four? Easy. They’re the biggest auto insurers in the country, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners list of insurance companies writing the most private passenger auto premiums. (Note: Geico is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.) And with over 50% of the market share between them, these are the companies worth reviewing first when you’re looking for the best car insurance.
What you should know about the best car insurance companies
First, let’s get a quick overview of key facts on each insurer. We’re highlighting their coverage options and discounts, plus important indicators from a trustworthy organization and other things you should know.
- Best for: Drivers with a history of accidents
- Coverage options: State Farm offers the car coverage standards (liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments), plus rental car reimbursement, coverage if you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and emergency road service. They also offer coverage for rideshare drivers and Payoff Protector®, their answer to gap insurance.
- Average cost: State Farm’s average 6-month premium costs drivers $1,188.
- Discounts: State Farm’s discounts include Drive Safe & Save™ and Steer Clear® for new and young drivers, plus discounts for good driving, being accident-free, completing driving training, driving a car with safety and anti-theft features and bundling multiple car policies or other types of coverage.
- Ratings: State Farm received 3/5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction with Claims (about average) and 3/5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction with Shopping (about average).
- Customer experience: State Farm is the largest auto insurer in the country. They offer a mobile app and have almost 18,000 agents across the country so you can easily find one local to you.
- Best for: Drivers looking for deep discounts
- Coverage options: Geico’s coverage options are virtually identical to State Farms’. They offer liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, emergency road service, rideshare driver and rental reimbursement coverage. They also offer mechanical breakdown insurance.
- Average cost: Geico’s average 6-month premium costs drivers $1,620.
- Discounts: Geico offers 15 different discount types, ranging from discounts for the safety features in your car to your driver’s education to your group affiliations (they offer discounts for military, federal employees and a number of other groups).
- Ratings: Geico received 3/5 Power Circles in Overall Customer Satisfaction with Claims (about average) and 3/5 Power Circles in Overall Customer Satisfaction with Shopping (about average).
- Customer experience: Geico has a coverage calculator to help you decide how much car insurance you need. And they don’t stop there with online tools. From their site and app, you can get your ID cards, pay your bill, file a claim and more. And because they do so much digitally, they’re able to keep costs low and pass that along to you in the form of lower premiums in many cases.
- Best for: Drivers with a clean claims history
- Coverage options: Progressive offers liability, medical payments, collision, comprehensive, uninsured and underinsured motorist, roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and rideshare driver coverage. On top of that, Progressive offers gap insurance and protection for the custom parts you’ve added to your car.
- Average cost: Progressive’s average 6-month premium costs drivers $1,481.
- Discounts: Progressive’s Snapshot® program helps you save more the safer you drive. They also offer safe driver, homeowner, multi-car, multi-policy, continuous coverage, teen driver and good student discounts. What’s more, if you’re comfortable using their digital systems, you can score savings for getting your quote online, signing your documents online, going paperless and setting up automatic payments.
- Ratings: Progressive received 3/5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction with Claims (about average) and 3/5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction with Shopping (about average).
- Customer experience: Progressive offers a deductible savings bank, meaning your collision and comprehensive deductibles drop $50 for every six-month period during which you’re claim-free. They also have a Coverage Checker®, which highlights any areas where your current coverage might be leaving you exposed. And you can chat with Flo on Facebook Messenger to get quick answers to your car coverage queries.
- Best for: New and young drivers
- Coverage options: Allstate covers the bases with liability, medical payments, collision, comprehensive, uninsured and underinsured motorist, rental reimbursement and roadside coverage options. They also offer protection for your car’s sound system and can extend your protection by adding a personal umbrella policy alongside your auto insurance.
- Average cost: Allstate’s average 6-month premium costs drivers $2,185.
- Discounts: Allstate offers discounts for your car’s safety and anti-theft features, safe driving, new cars, multiple policies and smart students. They also reward you for signing your policy early, paying on time, setting up automatic payments, going paperless and paying your policy in full.
- Ratings: Allstate received 3/5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction with Claims (about average) and 3/5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction with Shopping (about average).
- Customer experience: Allstate strives to make the claims handling process easy and offers a claim satisfaction guarantee. With Allstate’s Drivewise® program, drivers get personalized feedback on their driving, and get rewarded for safe driving by lowering insurance costs.
Average car insurance rates: what should you expect to pay?
Each of these insurers personalizes your rate to you based on a few key factors, including:
- Where you live
- What kind of car you drive
- Your history of car accidents and driving violations
- Your age and gender
- Your credit score
- Your marital status
- How much you drive each year
- Your insurance claims history
Additionally, your car insurance rates will vary based on how much coverage you choose to buy. Some people opt for bare-bones coverage, buying only what’s required by state law. Others want specific protection in case their car is stolen or breaks down on the side of the road. Adding more coverage types to your auto insurance policy increases the cost of your coverage.
In short, it’s difficult to pin down exact averages for each car insurance provider because there are so many factors in play. But that doesn’t mean you have to shop blindly. The Zebra has a factors-based resource you can use to get a closer idea of what you’ll likely pay. And you can learn more about the average premiums and car insurance expenditures in your state with this fast facts overview from the Insurance Information Institute.
Frequently asked questions about the leading car insurance providers
Still have outstanding questions? Here are a few FAQs to help.
What is the best car insurance company?
Truth is: it depends. When you look at J.D. Power’s State Farm, Geico, Allstate, and Progressive insurance reviews, the identical scoring shows you can expect similar service at each. So if you’re hunting for the lowest possible rate, companies that leverage more technology and fewer live agents (like Geico) are your best bet. If you owe more on your car than it’s worth and want gap insurance to make up the difference, Progressive can cover you. If you really want to work with a local agent, State Farm and Allstate are great options. And all of this changes dramatically if you plan to bundle your policies because then you need to consider which company offers the best home and auto insurance for you.
Ultimately, for many people, choosing the best car insurance comes down to price. If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance company, all four of these companies offer online quotes so you can see what rates they would charge you based on your unique personal factors and coverage needs.
How do I make sure I have enough car insurance coverage?
Buying car insurance requires you to balance the need for sufficient coverage with the desire to pay as little as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help. A coverage calculator like the one available from Geico reviews your coverage needs and helps you pick the right level of protection. But if you want to talk to a live person who can walk you through the coverage selection process, each of these companies have local agents who are eager to help. Just remember that their support isn’t selfless. They want to earn your business and the money that comes with your premiums.
How do I save on car insurance?
If you want to pay as little as possible for the coverage you need, you can take some steps to lower your premiums. Safe driving is an excellent way to bring the cost of your coverage down. Bundle your car insurance with the other policies you need (like home or renters insurance) and, if you don’t mind the risk, increase your deductibles. Most importantly, get quotes from multiple car insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.
Comparing the leading car insurance providers
|Coverage Options||Average 6-month Premium||Discounts||J.D. Power Ratings||Mobile/Online Tools|