Finding the best car insurance for you

So many factors, so little time.

Every time someone writes a “best of” list about money stuff, the answer ultimately is “it depends on you.” Well, when it comes to finding the best car insurance, the answer is … the same! But, listen, that’s not a cop out. Car insurance is complicated. For starters, there are all these different coverages you can roll under one policy. And there are state-by-state minimums that mandate how much car insurance you have to have. (Yes, it’s illegal to drive in almost every state without any, the exceptions being New Hampshire and Virginia.) Beyond that, pretty much everything affects how much car insurance costs you — your age, gender, credit score, exact zip code. The list goes on and on. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any guidelines for you to follow. Some companies are better at car insurance than others, whether because they offer better rates, ample car insurance discount opportunities, renowned customer service or simply specialize in the area. Plus, ratings agency A.M. Best scores insurers by how financially sound they are in general. So, there are few ways to narrow down the best car insurance companies at least, even if there’s no way to definitively say who will offer you the absolute best policy. Further complicating things, some insurance companies don’t service every single state.

The Best Car Insurance Companies

You can get an idea of how the major car insurance companies stack up against one another via the chart below, which includes their 2016 J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating, A.M. Best Rating and total market share.

Car insurance companiesJ.D. Power Claims Satisfaction RatingAM Best RatingMarket share
Allstate Auto InsuranceAbout averageA+ 9.54%
American Family Insurance Better than mostA1.85%
Amica MutualBetter than mostA+0.56%
Automobile Club GroupAbout averageA-1.21%
Auto Owners InsuranceAmong the bestA++ 0.95%
Erie Insurance GroupAmong the bestA+ 1.17%
Farmers InsuranceAbout averageA4.86%
Geico Auto Insurance About averageA++ 12.14%
Liberty Mutual InsuranceAbout averageA4.85%
NationwideBetter than mostA+ 3.50%
Progressive Auto InsuranceAmong the bestA+ 9.85%
Safeco (A division of Liberty Mutual)About averageAN/A
State Farm auto insuranceAbout averageA++ 18.39%
The Hartford (AARP insurance)WinnerA+ 1.26%
Travelers auto insuranceAbout averageA++ 1.88%
USAA Auto InsuranceAmong the bestA++ 5.05%

A few methodology notes:

J.D. Power results are listed by designation. It uses four of them: 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 are as follows:

  • The Hartford: 891
  • Erie Insurance: 886
  • Auto-Owners Insurance: 885
  • American Family: 874
  • Nationwide: 874

A.M. Best ratings represent financial health. 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).

Market share is based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ 2016 Property/Casualty Market Share report.

How to Choose the Best Car Insurance for You

Picking a company known for good customer service, affordable rates, sound financial health and more is important. But when shopping for car insurance, you also need to consider how your drive. Standard policies are complicated enough, but there’s also non-owner’s car insurance (for people who drive frequently, but don’t have a ride of their own), gap insurance (to cover the gap between what you owe on your car and its actual value), rideshare insurance (for all those Uber and Lyft drivers out there), rental car insurance (for those cross-country drives) and more. Plus, just like with life insurance, some auto insurers might be more (or less) accommodating to different scenarios. That’s why it’s crucial to compare quotes across companies, no matter what type of policy you’re shopping for. You can learn more about doing an auto insurance quote comparision here. Meanwhile, we can help you learn more about what car insurance is best for specific situations below.


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