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The best car insurance companies are those that offer you the most coverage for your situation at rates you can afford.
Car insurance is protection for you from the financial liability you incur when you injure someone or damage their property with your car. Your coverage can also help cover the costs sustained when your car is damaged or when you or your passengers are injured in an accident.
Car insurance is offered by many different insurance companies, from major carriers with millions of customers to smaller, boutique, and independent insurers who may offer more specialized coverage.
The best car insurance companies are those that offer you the most coverage for your situation at rates you can afford. But you should also consider such measures as how well other customers are satisfied with their service and each company’s financial strength, since you may be with the insurer for a long time.
Read on to learn more about what makes the best car insurance companies the best:
Another way to look at the best car insurance companies is beyond what they can do for you directly and more at how they function overall. Third-party ratings agencies provide standardized measurements for a range of car insurance carriers.
|COMPANY||J.D. POWER SCORE, 2018||A.M. BEST RATING, 2018||Consumer Reports Reader Score|
|Allstate Auto Insurance||857||A+||88|
|American Family Insurance||853||A||89|
|Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group||868||A+||94|
|Automobile Club Group||854||A++||N/A|
|CSAA Insurance Group||835||A||90|
|GEICO Auto Insurance||857||A++||N/A|
|Liberty Mutual Insurance||847||A||88|
|Progressive Auto Insurance||849||A+||87|
|Safeco (A division of Liberty Mutual)||848||A||N/A|
|The Hartford (AARP insurance)||868||A+||90|
Note: USAA membership is exclusive to U.S. military personnel and their families and is not included in official J.D. Power rankings.
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J.D. Power releases a yearly study of auto claims satisfaction, collecting data from thousands of policyholders who 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 five car insurance companies by their J.D. Power claims satisfaction scores are:
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).
A compilation of Consumer Reports subscriber responses, the Reader Score represents overall satisfaction with a company based on such factors as courtesy and ease of reaching an agent, process simplicity, response prompness, and flexibility. The Reader Score is out of 100, with 80 being "very satisfied".
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.
Measuring the health of an insurance company based on the amount it holds in assets can tell you a lot about how 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. 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%|
There are many factors that measure the objective standing and performance of different insurers, which we will get into below. But to determine whether an insurance company is the best for you is a factor of how much coverage you can get from the company in return for what you can afford.
Here’s how to make your car insurance company work for you:
Auto insurance is comprised of multiple coverages, components of your overall car insurance package that protect you in distinct ways.
Reimburses you when you’re liable for property damage or bodily injury you cause with your car to someone else. Since bodily injury and 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, and every insurer charges a different premium to add collision to your policy.
Reimburses you for damage to or loss of your car caused by other forces, like certain kinds of weather or elemental perils or malicious activity. As with collision, comp insurance is optional unless required by your lienholder, but the price to add it to your policy may vary among insurers.
Reimburses you for the difference between what the at-fault party’s insurance, if he or she has any, can reimburse you, and what the at-fault party owes you in total.
Reimburses you the difference between the amount your car is worth after depreciated and the amount you still owe on your car’s lease or loan, when the car is stolen or otherwise a total loss.
After accounting for how much coverage you need in each component, carriers also use your personal information when underwriting your car insurance policy. That means data like
The more driving experience you have, the lower your premiums will be. The best car insurance companies offer significant discounts after age 25, so make sure you get new quotes in your mid-20s. But as you age and accrue more driving experience, you may find that other insurers are offering lower rates at different ages, which you can take advantage of when you renew your policy.
Your location can affect your rates if you live in a place with a lot of crime or an elevated level of car accidents. Some auto insurance companies may rate one location differently from another, so you may have more luck if you shop around to find a carrier that assesses your area more generously.
If your car is insured in one state, make sure it’s still insured if you drive to another state. Not every insurer is licensed to operate nationally, so be sure to choose auto insurance coverage that follows you out of state.
If your driving history is marked by traffic violations and lots of car insurance claims, you’ll be forced to pay higher insurance premiums. The best auto insurance company for you is the one that works with your checkered driving record. High-risk drivers should look for an insurance provider willing to work with them without charging too much.
Car insurance companies typically price more valuable and newer cars at higher rates than lower-end and used cars, but the metrics they use for these calculations vary between insurers. We dig into this more below, but the best car insurance company for you will give you the most affordable rate for your particular car.
How much of a discount each car insurer offers for usage depends on the carrier. If you drive less – for example, if you’re retired, or if you left your car at home to move away for school – you’ll be able to pay lower premiums, but how much lower may vary from insurer to insurer.
Most car insurance policies have very similar and frequently identical provisions for your coverage. That’s because states require that insurers who operate within their borders offer a minimum degree of coverage both in the sense of a dollar amount – the 48 states that require you to have auto insurance also set a minimum amount of coverage you need – and in the actual terms of your protection. While that makes it challenging to compare auto insurance companies to find the best one, it also means you won’t be quoted dramatically different rates between one insurer and another.
Your car insurance company will charge you premiums that reflect the cost of repairing or replacing your car in the event that it’s damaged or destroyed in a covered peril. That means newer cars and higher-end cars will cost more to insure, while used and more budget-friendly cars are less expensive to insure.
The best car insurance company for you is the one that can fully insure your car, regardless of its value, at the most affordable price point. However, some cars, like exotic and performance vehicles or vintage and collectible vehicles, may not be eligible for coverage from major insurers. In that case, you may need to find a smaller or independent auto carrier. Talk to a representative at Policygenius to find a policy that covers your car.
Whether your ride is a BMW, a Tesla, or another kind of luxury auto, most car insurance companies will provide coverage. Keep in mind that insurance rates for these types of cars are higher than nonluxury cars, but some differences may exist between insurers. When you get your car insurance quotes, don’t be surprised to find that the cost is higher than you’re familiar with for a lower-end car.
At the upper end of the cost spectrum, it becomes more and more difficult to insure some cars. If you drive a Maserati or a McLaren, finding insurance may be more of a challenge than it would for even traditional luxury cars. Exotic and performance cars often require imported parts for repairs and cost significantly more in general to replace, so the best car insurance companies for these types of cars may be from a boutique carrier that works with your specific vehicle.
Vintage, collectible, and antique autos are frequently not eligible for coverage except under a special policy called classic car insurance. Provisions under such a policy may require you only use the car for limited use and keep it in a secure storage unit when not being driven.
If you’ve souped up your car with modifications, the car itself may be covered by your base auto insurance policy, but the modifications may need to be covered by a separate policy or a rider to the policy that extends coverage to the additional special equipment. When shopping around, the best car insurance companies for people who modified their cars may be those which charge the lowest additional premiums for a given modification while still fully covering the mod.
If your ride is a two-wheeler, you can still get covered in the same way you would for a traditional four-wheeled car. Just check with your insurer to make sure they offer motorcycle insurance, and shop around from other providers that may be more motorcycle-friendly. Companies that offer the best motorcycle insurance policies should be able to offer biking-specific coverage, like coverage for your safety gear – you can actually insure your leather jacket and helmet – and accessories like saddlebags and radios.
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 safe-driver discount offered by virtually every insurer to people who’ve demonstrated consistent good driving. But the amount of the discount may vary, so be sure to compare them.
Insurers who offer multiple insurance products usually offer a discount if you purchase all your insurance through the same insurer. This is called bundling, the multiple-policy discount, or the multi-car discount, and it’s frequently used by people who bundle their homeowners or renters insurance with their auto insurance policies. An insurance agent at Policygenius can help you figure out which insurers have the best deals on bundles.
Your premiums will be reduced by a certain percent if you can demonstrate years of safe driving to the insurer. That means causing no accidents or moving violations. Every insurer has different rules about what constitutes an adequate length of time, so if one insurer doesn’t think you’ve been a safe driver for long enough, it may pay off to switch an insurer with more lenient restrictions.
The best insurance companies offer discounts on your car insurance rates for installing safety and security features, like airbags, car alarms, anti-lock brakes, roadside service systems like OnStar, or an anti-theft device like LoJack.
The best car insurance companies for students are those that offer lower premiums for getting good grades and taking driver’s education courses. Additionally, both students and alumni of a university may get a discount as long as that university partners with the insurer. Check with the insurer about the effect student discounts will have on your insurance premium.
Simply working for certain employers or belonging to certain groups can yield a discount. There are discounts available for members of the military and veterans as well as sorority and fraternity discounts. Your insurer should have a list of all the organizations with which it has an affiliate agreement.
Shopping around is the best way to make sure you’re paying the right amount for your car insurance rates. Using your coverage needs and personal information as a benchmark, Policygenius’s representatives can help you compare policies and quotes until you find one that fits into your budget without leaving you lacking coverage.
Getting quotes from many different insurers can save you hundreds of dollars per month. Once you go through underwriting, your quote may be increased or decreased, but the final amount is your premium, which you’ll have to pay for the policy period to keep the policy in force.
Last updated January 10th, 2019
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.
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