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We looked at J.D. Power, A.M. Best, and Consumer Reports ratings to determine the best car insurance companies around.
Fabio Faschi - PLCS, SBCS, CLCS
Updated February 19, 2021|8 min read
Table of Contents
Car insurance exists to protect you from the financial burden if you’re in a car accident. At least a minimum amount of car insurance is required in almost every U.S. state, but most drivers should have more than the state-required minimum of coverage.
Almost every driver needs a similar range of basic coverage, offered by all major car insurance companies. But choosing a car insurance provider is more than just choosing the lowest quote you’ve gotten and calling it a day.
Some companies offer the best value, while some may quote you slightly higher rates but offer superior customer service, or nonstandard coverage options you won’t find with other carriers.
In order to choose the best car insurance company for you, you’ll want to weigh factors like claims satisfaction, financial strength and availability in your state.
|Rank||COMPANY||J.D. POWER CLAIMS SATISFACTION SCORE, 2020||A.M. BEST RATING, 2020||CONSUMER REPORTS READER SCORE|
|1||New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co.||909||A+||90|
|3||Auto-Owners Insurance Group||890||A++||81|
|16||Auto Club of Southern California||866||A-||86|
|17||COUNTRY Financial Property Casualty Group||863||A+||79|
|19||CSAA Insurance Group||862||A||79|
|21||Automobile Club Group||858||A+||83|
Note: USAA membership is exclusive to U.S. military personnel and their families and is not included in official J.D. Power rankings.
As far as nationwide carriers go, Amica is in the top tier when it comes to claims satisfaction. It scored 907 on the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, putting it above nearly all other competitors. Amica is known for best in class customer service and quick response times from agents. But it may be pricier than other carriers, and can be picky when it comes to customers — not everyone will be able to find affordable coverage with Amica.
Teen and young adult drivers are notoriously expensive to insure because car insurance companies see them as riskier than adult drivers. But State Farm offers ways to offset the cost of adding a teenage driver to your policy, with a good student discount and its Steer Clear program for drivers under 25, which tracks driving behavior through an app that also includes informational quizzes and videos. Drivers who complete the Steer Clear program can earn a discount that lasts until they turn 25.
While the price of car insurance depends mainly on individual factors like your age, driving history, address, credit score and the make and model of car you drive, some companies are more reliably affordable than others. GEICO is one of the most popular carriers out there, and its wide array of discounts and consistently affordable rates are two of the reasons so many people choose GEICO. Of course, the only way to ensure you’re getting a good price on car insurance is to compare quotes from multiple carriers.
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Choosing the right car insurance company for you isn’t as simple as getting a few quotes and going with the most affordable option, although that approach may work for some. It’s important to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples — one company may offer you a 6-month policy for $750 and another may offer you one for $900, but take a look at the specifics before you go for the lower-priced option.
Make sure you’re comparing the same coverage limits and deductibles — the first company’s offer may be lower because they’ve automatically set low coverage limits, which could leave you paying out of pocket when you actually need your insurance. You’ll also want to consider third-party reviews, especially claims satisfaction. In the event you file a claim, you’ll want the company to come through and give you the support you need.
Here are some of the factors to consider when comparing car insurance companies:
J.D. Power releases a yearly study of auto claims satisfaction, collecting data from thousands of policyholders about how well they rate their insurer’s ability to settle a car insurance claim. Results of the U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study are listed by designation. J.D. Power’s methodology yields four designations: among the best; better than most; about average; and the rest. It also declares an overall winner. Overall performance is calculated on a 1,000-point scale. The top six car insurance companies ranked by J.D. Power claims satisfaction scores are:
NJM Insurance Co.: 909
Amica Mutual: 907
COUNTRY Financial: 863
Erie Insurance: 880
GEICO Insurance: 871
A.M. Best rating
A.M. Best provides a credit rating that measures each insurer’s financial health and creditworthiness. A++ and A+ are considered superior, while A and A- are considered excellent. There are five other designations for active companies: good (B++, B+), fair (B, B-), marginal (C++, C+), weak (C, C-) and poor (D).
Consumer Reports Reader Score
A compilation of Consumer Reports subscriber responses, the Reader Score represents overall satisfaction with a company based on factors like courtesy and ease of reaching an agent, process simplicity, response promptness, and flexibility. The Reader Score is out of 100, with 80 being "very satisfied".
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau grades and accredits businesses based on reviews and complaints submitted by customers of the respective business. The BBB’s ratings are a qualitative measure of a company, but they’re restricted to local branches of an insurance company and may not reflect average consumer satisfaction nationally. Still, reviews on the BBB may be helpful for understanding how individuals fare with different insurers.
The best car insurance companies can offset the cost of your premiums by offering discounts on your car insurance. Many of the discounts are similar across different insurers, like the safedriver discount offered by virtually every insurer to people who’ve demonstrated consistently good driving. But the amount of the discount may vary, so be sure to compare them. Common types of discounts to look for include:
Good student discounts for maintaining above a certain GPA
Bundling discounts for combining your auto and home coverage, or for buying multiple policies through the same insurance agency
Affiliation discounts for belonging to certain groups or organizations
Discounts for paying your policy in full or going paperless
Discounts for having certain safety features on your vehicle, like an anti-theft device
Usage-based discounts that are awarded based on safe driving habits, often tracked through a smartphone app
Discounts can add up to big savings, so when you’re shopping around for car insurance companies, make sure to take a look at the available discounts from each carrier.
Another metric to consider when choosing a car insurance company is the quality of their customer service and claims satisfaction. In an ideal world you’d never have to make a claim, but many drivers will wind up filing a claim at some point. It’s good to do your research ahead of time so you aren’t caught off guard by poor service down the line. Policygenius has detailed reviews of many of the top car insurance companies in the industry, so read up on how some of the top providers fare on customer service and claims satisfaction.
You can also do a little independent research beyond just looking at a company’s claims satisfaction ratings. Consider calling the provider to see what the regular hold time is, and how long it takes to get a real person on the line. If it takes hours to reach someone for a general inquiry, imagine how frustrating it might be to try and get someone on the line when you just totaled your car.
Measuring the health of an insurance company based on the amount it holds in assets can tell you a lot about the customer service it offers to its policyholders. Larger carriers offer features like after-hours customer assistance and more varied types of policy provisions. They’re also less likely to go bankrupt, although most licensed carriers are unlikely to go bankrupt regardless of size.
Smaller companies may offer a more personalized experience but potentially lower levels of coverage, so be sure to research coverage limits while comparing policies.
The NAIC publishes an annual study of each carrier’s market share, meaning how much of the total auto insurance industry they make up. This list is organized by highest market share to lowest.
|Company||2017 Market Share||2016 Market Share||Chg. Vs. 2016|
|Allstate Auto Insurance||9.10%||9.52%||-0.42%|
|American Family Insurance||1.90%||1.85%||+0.05%|
|Automobile Club Group||1.26%||1.21%||+0.05%|
|Auto Owners Insurance||1.06%||0.95%||+0.11%|
|Erie Insurance Group||1.17%||1.17%||0.00%|
|Geico Auto Insurance||12.95%||12.12%||+0.83%|
|Liberty Mutual Insurance||4.85%||4.84%||+0.01%|
|Progressive Auto Insurance||10.61%||9.84%||+0.77%|
|Safeco (A division of Liberty Mutual)||NA||NA||NA|
|The Hartford (AARP insurance)||1.08%||1.25%||-0.17%|
|USAA Auto Insurance||5.33%||5.04%||+0.29%|
Auto insurance is comprised of multiple coverages, components of your overall car insurance package that protect you in distinct ways. Most major car insurance companies will offer all the basic coverage most drivers need, but some carriers have specialized or less-standard coverage options. These are the coverage options most drivers should look for when choosing a provider.
Reimburses you when you’re liable for property damage or bodily injury you cause with your car to someone else. Since bodily injury and property damage can carry a price tag in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars (or more!), make sure you don’t skimp on this coverage if you can’t afford to pay out of pocket.
Reimburses you for medical expenses incurred by you or your passengers when in an accident. Personal injury protection is no-fault insurance, meaning that it will cover medical expenses even if you caused the accident.
Reimburses you for damage to or loss of your own vehicle caused by another car. Collision is optional unless you lease your car or paid for it with an auto loan, in which case your lessor or lienholder typically requires it. The cost of including collision coverage in your policy will depend on how high or low you set your deductible.
Reimburses you for damage to or loss of your car caused by other forces, like extreme weather, falling objects, fire, flood, vandalism and theft. As with collision, comp insurance is optional unless required by your lienholder. As with collision insurance, the cost of adding comp coverage to your policy will depend on how high or low you set your deductible.
Reimburses you if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have car insurance, or whose car insurance doesn’t sufficiently cover the cost of the damage they caused.
Reimburses you the difference between the amount your car is worth after it’s depreciated the (ACV) and the amount you still owe on your car’s lease or loan, if the car is stolen or otherwise a total loss.
Covers the types of roadside emergencies that can leave you stranded by the side of the road, like flat tire changes, jumpstarts for dead batteries, fuel and fluid deliveries and towing up to a certain distance.
Covers the cost of a rental car if yours is in the shop for repairs after a covered accident. Coverage is usually set at a per-day-limit and a limit on the total payout.
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