Auto insurance commercials by company

Jake from State Farm, the GEICO hump day camel, Flo from Progressive, and Allstate’s Mayhem commercials all make our list of the 10 best insurance commercials of all time.

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Published May 4, 2022 | 4 min read

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From the classic GEICO hump day commercial to Peyton Manning’s model city, car insurance companies are working hard to make us laugh with their seemingly ubiquitous ads. We rounded up the top car insurance commercials that have entertained audiences for decades.

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Key takeaways

  • GEICO was one of the first insurance companies to figure out that funny car insurance commercials are good marketing.

  • Flo from Progressive is played by actress Stephanie Courtney.

  • The original Jake from State Farm was played by Jake Stone, an actual State Farm employee.

  • According to Farmers, all of the claims featured in their commercials are based on real events.

Why do insurance companies have such good commercials?

Insurance coverage isn’t a fascinating topic. Talking about claims, insurance rates, full coverage car insurance, and deductibles just isn’t enough to grab the interest of the average TV viewer.

Drivers don’t want to think about all the complicated details of their car insurance coverage while they are trying to watch TV, so insurance companies have funny commercials that focus more on the companies' names and slogans than on the actual policies. That’s all with the hope that you’ll remember them the next time you’re ready to shop for a new insurance policy.

Best car insurance commercials

Insurance commercials are well known for being witty, and often center around a company mascot like the GEICO gecko or the LiMu emu. 

In fact, this style of advertising is so common among insurance companies that in 2018, the NJM Insurance Group created a series of commercials poking fun at other insurance companies for their dependence on jingles and mascots. Although mascots and jokes may seem silly, they keep people entertained (and thinking about the insurance companies they see advertised on TV). 

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1. GEICO: Hump Day Camel

Why does GEICO have so many commercials? Part of GEICO’s strategy as a company is to put a significant amount of resources into advertising and marketing in order to develop name recognition (and a positive relationship) with potential customers, so they spend a lot of money on TV commercials. 

GEICO was one of the first insurance companies to figure out that funny car insurance commercials are good marketing. The GEICO gecko was first introduced in 1999, and was followed by even more mascots, like the hump day camel and the little piggy that cried “wee, wee” all the way home.

2. Allstate: Mayhem

Who is the actor in the Allstate Mayhem commercials? Actor Dean Winters portrays the concept of Mayhem personified in the popular series of Allstate commercials. Winters has also appeared in movies like “John Wick” and TV shows like “Oz” and “Brooklyn 99” in addition to working with Allstate Insurance.

3. Progressive: Flo meets Darryl

Who is the woman in the Progressive car insurance commercials? Flo from Progressive is a fictional spokesperson played by actress Stephanie Courtney, who has brought Flo to life for more than a decade. Although Flo is her most popular role, you may have seen Courtney in a number of other shows and movies, like “The Goldbergs” and “Mad Men.”

4. State Farm - Jake from State Farm

Who is Jake from State Farm? The original Jake from State Farm was played by Jake Stone, an actual State Farm employee who appeared in a 2011 commercial. When State Farm rebooted the concept in 2020, actor Kevin Miles was cast as the replacement Jake, and he’s since appeared as Jake from State Farm in a range of different commercials.

5. Liberty Mutual: LiMu Emu and Doug

Is that a real EMU on the Liberty Mutual commercials? Yes — sometimes. As Liberty Mutual’s Chief Marketing Officer Jenna Lebel said in 2019, "LiMu Emu is a mix of a real bird and CGI. Live emus were used during the initial shoot on set. The final images of the emu in the commercials are a blend of footage captured from the live emus and our digitally created emu.” [1]

6. USAA: Gronk

Why is Rob Gronkowski doing a USAA commercial? Although he isn’t in the military, Rob Gronkowski has been a vocal supporter of the troops for many years. He has appeared at multiple military events, participated in live-streams for deployed troops, and autographed gear for veterans. And since USAA only sells insurance to active and retired military members and their families, Gronkowski’s role as spokesperson is a fitting choice.

7. Nationwide: Drivers of Peytonville 

How much does Peyton Manning make for his Nationwide commercials? According to Opendorse, Peyton Manning is estimated to have earned a total of $15 million for his Nationwide endorsements. [2]   While Nationwide appears to be one of his most lucrative endorsements, it is just one of the many companies Manning works with. Others include Buick, Gatorade, Nike, Papa Johns, and DirecTV. 

8. Farmers: Hall of Claims

Are the Farmers commercials true stories? Yes! Farmers has a unique set of commercials starring J.K. Simmons that feature some of the silliest, most outrageous claims that have ever been filed through the company. According to Farmers, all of the claims featured in their commercials are based on real events. [3]

9. Travelers: The Drive

Are all insurance commercials funny? Most insurance commercials use humor to appeal to their potential audience, but not every insurance commercial is funny. Some insurance commercials focus on more emotional topics, like taking care of your family and how frightening car accidents can be, especially for new drivers. 

This commercial for Travelers isn’t funny, but it does show how important car insurance can be when it comes to taking care of your family.

10. MetLife: Snoopy

Is Snoopy the MetLife mascot? Not anymore. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang were the mascots for MetLife for more than 30 years, but the company opted to end their relationship with Snoopy and the gang in 2016.

While Snoopy usually appeared in ads for life insurance, MetLife used the Peanuts characters in ads for home and auto insurance as well.

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Frequently asked questions

Who is the actor in the auto insurance commercial?

Lots of famous actors and athletes have done auto insurance commercials. Dennis Haysbert, Tina Fey, and Leslie Jones have all appeared in commercials for Allstate. Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Alfonso Ribiero have starred in State Farm commercials. Bryce Harper and Billy Blanks have both appeared in ads for GEICO. Johnny Manziel, Fat Joe, and Tonya Harding have appeared in commercials for Direct Auto Insurance.

What is the name of GEICO's gecko?

The internet is full of stories about the GEICO gecko being named Martin because of the Martin Agency that designed the original gecko in 1999. However, GEICO hosted a Q&A on Twitter and, when asked whether or not his name is Martin, the response was, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

What insurance company spends the most on commercials?

According to a study from Statista, GEICO spent upwards of $1.55 billion on television advertising in 2021, followed closely by Progressive at $1.05 billion and State Farm at slightly less than $652 million per year.

Why are there so many car insurance commercials?

Car insurance is a competitive market. Everyone who owns a car needs insurance, which means car insurance companies need to reach the widest possible audience. Insurance companies also use other advertisements, including print ads and billboards, but TV commercials give them the widest possible exposure to the largest number of potential customers.