We review the best car insurance choices on the market and offer insights on the industry as a whole, including how to find the best premiums. Scroll on to learn how to save on your policy.
Money’s Top Picks for Car Insurance Companies of 2021
Amica Mutual – Best Car Insurance Package
State Farm – Best Car Insurance For Young Drivers
Farmers Insurance – Best Car Insurance for Discount Availability
Travelers – Best Car Insurance Quoting Process
Progressive – Best Car Insurance for Payment Flexibility
GEICO – Best Car Insurance Rates
Nationwide – Best Car Insurance for Policy Breakdown
Liberty Mutual – Best Car Insurance for Discount Bundling
Allstate – Best Car Insurance Telematics Program
QuoteWizard – Best Car Comparison Tool
Amica Mutual – Best Car Insurance Package
No-cost airbag replacement after it deploys
Lock replacement in the event of stolen keys
$1,000 for bail bonds and wage reimbursement if you're required to appear in court
No rideshare insurance
Not all features available nationwide
Coverage is not available in Hawaii
A.M. BEST RATING
JD POWER RATING
Amica Mutual stands out for its most robust car insurance package, Platinum Choice Auto, which includes Advantage Points, a program where policyholders earn rewards for good driving, renewing policies, and referring others. Advantage Points can also reduce or even eliminate your deductible.
If you don’t select Platinum Choice Auto, Amica Mutual still has extensive coverage options. The basics are personal injury protection, property damage, bodily injury liability and uninsured/underinsured motorists. More options include: glass repair, auto loan/lease gap protections, comprehensive and collision coverage, roadside assistance and rental reimbursement.
Amica Mutual offers discounts for:
Bundling policies, insuring multiple cars and company loyalty
Paperless payment, up-front premium payments and AutoPay
Good driving habits; filing no claims in the past three years and taking defensive driving classes
Underage drivers who complete training program, students with good grades, and full-time students who are away at school
State Farm – Best for Young Drivers
Provides rideshare insurance in most states
Save money with Drive Safe and Steer Clear programs
Travel expenses coverage
DriveSafe program not available in CA, MA, and RI
A.M. BEST RATING
JD POWER RATING
Above Average (878-1,000)
State Farm offers great savings on standard policies and a selection of specialty policies few other companies can match. If you own a classic automobile or a sports car, are a young driver, or plan on renting a car, there’s a State Farm policy that’s tailor-made for your car insurance needs.
If you have a young driver at home, the best way to insure them is to add them to your policy and take advantage of State Farm’s discounts. If they get good grades, they can save up to 24% on premiums and qualify for other discounts if they study away from home, complete driving training programs, and maintain a safe driving history.
Finally, State Farm’s Steer Clear program lets drivers under 25 complete a training course that may result in a reduced premium. The company also has programs designed to help motorists save. With their Drive Safe & Save program, safe drivers can pay up to 30% less after having their driving practices monitored and analyzed.
State Farm’s travel expenses coverage pays for meals, transportation (home or to your destination) and lodging if your vehicle is disabled in an incident 50+ miles from your home that’s covered by your comprehensive or collision insurance. A return trip to pick up your car is also covered. Additional coverage types include: liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payments, roadside assistance and rideshare (if you use your car for Uber or Lyft).
State Farm offers discounts for:
Bundling with renters, homeowner’s or life insurance
Insuring more than one car
Taking defensive driving courses in some states
Having safety features (seatbelt, airbags) on older vehicles
Adding anti-theft alarms and other security devices to vehicle
Farmers – Best for Discount Availability
coverage pays out an "agreed value" if your car is totaled
Multiple discounts categories
First major insurer to offer a discount for alternative-fuel vehicles
Discount eligibility and size varies depending on your place of residence
Does not offer gap insurance
A.M. BEST RATING
JD POWER RATING
Farmers Insurance offers a broad range of car insurance discounts and other ways to save on car insurance premiums. For starters, those who offer essential services — such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, teachers, and police officers — are eligible for a premium reduction.
Farmers includes standard coverage options like liability, property damage, collision, comprehensive coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payments and personal injury protection. Added coverage types include: rideshare, loss of use, rental reimbursement and roadside assistance. Owners and collectors of classic vehicles will also appreciate Farmer’s coverage of up to $750 on spare parts replacements.
Farmer’s extensive list of discounts offers reductions for:
Bundling policies and insuring multiple vehicles
Safe driving, good grades and students away from home
Setting up automatic and paperless payments
On-time payment history
Shared family car, except in CA
Anti-theft, anti-lock brake and passive restraint systems
Hybrid/electric vehicles or powered by other alternative fuels, exclusive in CA
Employees, members or retirees of particular groups
Travelers – Best Quoting Process
Features two accident forgiveness plans
Intellidrive program can reduce rates by as much as 20%
Optional Premier New Car Replacement coverage bundles new car replacement, loan or lease gap coverage, and a glass deductible
Rideshare coverage only available in CO and IL
Coverage, discounts, deductibles and features not available in all states
A.M. BEST RATING
JD POWER RATING
In five minutes or less, Travelers can give you a quote using just your basic personal and car information. You don’t even have to provide a driver’s license number. If you request your auto insurance quote while you’re still insured with another company, you’ll receive up to a 10% discount.
Travelers list of coverage options includes protection for: liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection, medical payments, loan/lease gap coverage, rental reimbursement, accident forgiveness, replacement of new car and roadside assistance. For Uber or Lyft drivers, rideshare is only available in Colorado and Illinois.
Travelers also offers additional discounts for:
Insuring multiple cars
Good grades from full-time students,
Owning hybrid/electric vehicles
Progressive – Best for Payment Flexibility
Snapshot insurance-based rating program
Name Your Price tool
Compare quotes with Progressive's comparison tool
Loyalty Reward program
Pricing varies depending on how you buy, be it through phone, online, or with an agent
Discounts vary and are not available in all states
A.M. BEST RATING
JD POWER RATING
Progressive offers the most control when it comes to how much you want to pay for your auto policy. It does this through its well-known Name Your Price tool, which neatly reverses the usual method of getting an insurance quote.
You first enter some basic information (address, vehicle make and model, owned or leased) and state how much you can spend. Progressive will then provide you with available policy options that may be within your budget.
Policy options include: liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical payments, collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist. You can also add more protections like: gap coverage, rental car reimbursement, custom parts, rideshare and roadside assistance.
Progressive offers discounts for:
Owning multiple cars
Automatic and paperless payments
Maintaining continuous car insurance
Including student that is away at college
Other Auto Insurance Companies We Considered
We evaluated all companies on financial strength, discounts, technology, and customer experience. The companies below were close runner ups worth mentioning. Depending on the coverage you need, these can offer valuable services.
GEICO – Best Rates
Pay bills or request roadside assistance with the Mobile app
Discounts available for seniors, students, federal and military employees
Accident Forgiveness not available in CA, CT, and MA
Does not offer gap insurance
GEICO has a reputation for being one of the most affordable car insurance companies and the second-largest provider in the U.S. Despite its size, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recorded fewer than 300 complaints against GEICO which represent a 0.74 ratio — a very low number.
They’re also one of only two companies with a dedicated discount for military members. Other discounts apply for safe driving history, vehicle safety and security features. Young drivers benefit from discounts for driving well, good grades, and taking driver’s education.
GEICO offers basic coverage for: medical payments, personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist, collision and comprehensive coverage. Add-ons include roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance products. The latter can cover repairs after your new car warranty expires.
Nationwide – Best for Policy Breakdown
Get discounts with the SmartRide safe driving app
Reduce your cost based on how many miles you drive
Get up to $500 cash bonus with the purchase or lease of a qualified new vehicle
SmartRide and SmartMiles discount availability vary per state and coverage selected
Accident forgiveness not available in all states
Nationwide offers its policyholders a free annual car insurance assessment called the On Your Side Review. Its purpose is to help consumers further understand their policy and benefits, receive all applicable discounts, and make changes to their policies after major life events.
The company offers common coverage options such as comprehensive and collision insurance, gap insurance, uninsured motorist, bodily injury liability, and roadside assistance, as well as policies designed specifically for young drivers and classic car owners.
The discount offering is a bit more limited than other companies, but you can lower your monthly premiums by bundling policies, setting up direct payments, driving fewer miles monthly and staying accident-free.
Liberty Mutual – Best for Discount Bundling
Save up to 30% on your policy for safe driving with RightTrack app
Get a discount for your hybrid or electric vehicle
Find a better price when you purchase your policy online
Accident forgiveness not available in CA
Higher NAIC complaint ratio than our other options
Like many other auto insurers, Liberty Mutual offers various discounts. Unlike the others, however, it doesn’t limit the number of discounts you may be eligible for. This feature may reduce your premium substantially. The company’s website also provides a useful tool in the form of a coverage calculator that may help point you in the right direction.
Available discounts include: bundling policies, multiple cars, homeownership, military, good student, student-away-at school, paying-in-full and paperless, driving safely, and many more.
Liberty Mutual’s coverage options start with the basics: medical payments, uninsured motorist, personal injury protection, liability coverage, collision and comprehensive. More coverage types offer roadside assistance, gap coverage, rental reimbursement and even teacher’s insurance if you store valuable supplies in the car.
Allstate – Best Telematics Program
Receive driving insights and obtain discounts for safe driving with Drivewise
Safe Driving Bonus for every 6 months driving accident-free
Get discounts for new cars and teen drivers
Drivewise feature not available in every state
Policy cost varies depending on how you buy: online, with a call center, or an agent
Allstate offers policyholders a chance to save on their premiums by driving safely with its telematics program, Drivewise, which is easily activated on their mobile app. Additionally, if you’re trying to understand the confusing ins and outs of car insurance, the company’s website provides drivers with a wealth of information, helpful articles, and videos. Allstate also has high social media responsiveness on platforms like Twitter, replying directly to users on weekends.
Coverage options with Allstate include: collision, comprehensive, liability and medical payments, uninsured motorist, sound systems, roadside assistance, personal injury protection, rental reimbursement and even extended umbrella coverage.
You can save by bundling policies, being a good student and completing their driving education program. Discounts also apply if the car is new, features certain safety and security add-ons, and if you meet their safe driving requirements.
QuoteWizard – Best Comparison Tool
One-stop shop to compare various top insurance providers at the same time
Website is well organized and easy to navigate
Users can compare other types of policies such as home, renters and life insurance
Doesn't offer quotes, the website redirects you to third parties
Website doesn't open to certain IP addresses without a VPN blocker
Quote Wizard is an excellent comparison tool if you want to see a variety of car insurance quotes from different providers, side by side. QuoteWizard also claims that the information they provide is geared toward helping drivers save on premiums, by helping them pick the best auto insurance rates. This tool might be most beneficial for drivers who want to double-check information from other sources before committing to one insurance company.
Auto Insurance Guide
Auto insurance is a form of financial protection for you and your vehicle, against theft, collisions, and/or liability. It’s regulated at the state level, so your policy’s minimum liability limits will depend on your local laws. All states, with the exception of New Hampshire and Virginia, require drivers to buy car insurance or pay some sort of fee if uninsured.
Types of car insurance coverage
There are six common car insurance coverage options:
Auto liability coverage: pays for any legal fees, property damage liability, and/or medical payments if you’re at fault
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage: protects you if you’re in an accident caused by another driver and they have little or no insurance.
Comprehensive coverage: protects your vehicle if it’s damaged by something other than another vehicle–hail, fire, floods and theft or vandalism.
Collision coverage: protects the vehicle if it’s damaged in a car accident, no matter who is at fault
Medical payments coverage: covers medical payments for you or your injured passengers
Personal injury protection (PIP): covers medical bills, wage loss and funeral costs for you or your passengers in an accident, no matter who is at fault
To be fully protected, we recommend you compare your car insurance coverage with your homeowner’s or renters insurance, in case there are any gaps.
For example, if you’re moving using a rental vehicle, your homeowner’s policy probably won’t protect your possessions. You need to make sure your auto insurance policy does. Likewise, if you live in a flood-prone area, your auto policy should include comprehensive coverage, since standard flood insurance excludes vehicles. If you’re unclear as to what to expect from your home policy, our guide What does homeowners insurance cover in 2021 can help you.
Consider insurance riders if you need added coverage for a specific category or want to add an uncovered item. Umbrella insurance can expand your liability protections and it’d enhance your home policy, as well. Here’s how to figure out the amount of homeowners insurance you should actually buy and avoid under-insuring your home. We also reviewed the best home warranties for those who want to complement their home insurance further.
What determines your auto insurance premium?
Underwriters assess risk to determine the chances of a policyholder filing a claim in the future. Here are other factors beyond auto and driver risk that further affect car insurance premiums:
A clean driving record without speeding tickets and accidents will keep your premiums low.
Type of car
Everything about your car, from its anti-theft technology to horsepower, will be taken into consideration
If you don’t drive often, there are fewer chances you’ll be involved in an accident. The opposite is also true.
Place of residence
Where you live is a big factor, especially the vehicle theft rates in your area.
Inexperienced drivers below the age of 25 usually pay higher premiums.
Statistically speaking, women are involved in fewer car accidents than men.
Whether you have a good or poor credit score, or credit history, may be viewed as a reflection of your responsibility or lack thereof.
What Drives Premiums Up
Your premium costs will rise if the following factors apply to you:
Marital status: Single drivers aren’t considered as safe as married ones.
Commute: Longer and high-risk commutes may raise your premiums.
Homeowner status: If you rent, you’ll pay more. If you’re thinking of buying, read our tips on how to buy home insurance and find more information in our guide: What is homeowners insurance and how does it work?
Owning luxury or sports vehicles: These types of cars have high repair costs, high theft rates, expensive parts and lots of horsepower that increase risk
Accidents or tickets: These can run up your payments for three years or longer, on top of legal costs and fees. The worse the offense, the higher the increase. Not wearing a seat belt could result in a 5.8% increase, while a DUI will increase your premiums up to 71%.
How You Can Save Money On Auto Insurance
Bundle Insurance Policies
Bundling can save you 8% on your combined premiums, on average. Drivers typically combine their car insurance with their homeowners or renters policy. See if you can get a better insurance deal by bundling auto insurance with some of our best homeowners insurance providers.
Raise Your Deductible
A deductible is an amount you will pay out of pocket in the event of a collision, before your insurance pays the rest. High deductibles reduce premium payments. It may be a worthwhile gamble if you don’t drive a lot and aren’t accident-prone — just be sure you’re making a well-informed decision.
Review Your Policy Regularly
Reassessing your current policy yearly before renewal can ensure you’re getting the type and level of coverage you need and can afford. If the policy isn’t working for you, look for companies with the best rates. Our guide to cheap car insurance can help you shop around. Make sure to check your insurer’s cancellation policy before making the jump.
Car Insurance FAQ
What is the best car insurance?
Amica Mutual, State Farm, Farmers, Travelers and Progressive offer some of our best car insurance policies. Look for insurance providers with financial stability and high customer experience ratings. Their policies should feature competitive rates, multiple policy discount options and comprehensive coverage.
How does car insurance coverage work?
Regulated at a state level, car insurance covers your car's repair expenses after an accident, as well as medical bills for you or any passenger. Also, if you're at fault, it can also cover repair and personal injury protection for costs you may have caused others.
What documents do you need to buy car insurance?
You need your driver's license, your vehicle's registration documents and a copy of the driver's license of anyone else who will drive your car. You will also need a copy of your existing insurance's declaration page if the vehicle is already insured.
What is full coverage?
Car insurance lenders call "full coverage" the union between a collision and a comprehensive policy. Although these two policies are optional, cars that have both policies are considered "fully insured," since liability coverage is required by law in almost every state.
Will my car insurance increase if I am in an accident?
This all depends on your policy's fine print, but if you are the at-fault party, there's a high probability that your premium will go up. That being said, be aware that other factors can still drive your premiums up, even if you're accident-free.
How long does an accident stay on your auto insurance record?
It's common for accidents to stay on your record for a total of three years, from the moment the accident happened.
What's the risk of having a bare-bones policy?
If the damages of an accident where you're at fault exceed the amounts stipulated in your policy, you will be held liable and have to pay the difference. You should always consider additional coverage, since you might be putting assets - like your home - at risk if you can't pay these expenses out-of-pocket.
What does it mean when I see numbers like 50/100/50 on my auto policy?
These numbers represent limits to your insurance, meaning the total amount that your car insurer will cover on your behalf. The numbers are in the thousands and are usually ordered the following way: Bodily injury per person ($50k), bodily injury per accident ($100k), and property damage ($50k).
How We Chose The Best Car Insurance Companies
In order to find the best auto insurance companies, we vetted a total of 23 carriers.
We analyzed data such as market share, the number of complaints filed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for private passenger car insurance in 2019, and the overall ratio of those complaints compared to the industry average, which is 1.00.
We started our research into the best car insurance companies in the nation with a list of the 23 top auto insurers, featured both in the NAIC’s 2020 Property/Casualty Market Share report for the Private Passenger Auto category and J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction study.
We evaluated these companies based on their number of direct premiums written over the last year, their A.M. Best rating, market share, and cumulative market share for private passenger car insurance in the U.S.
Additionally, we looked up each of the companies and their respective subsidiaries in the NAIC’s database to get their total number of complaints under the private passenger car insurance category.
We then proceeded to add the share of complaints percentage of each one, as well as the share of premiums percentage within the U.S market. Finally, we divided the total share of complaints by the share of premiums to get the complaint ratio percentage, discarding companies with a complaint ratio of over 1.00%, since that is the national average according to the NAIC. Once we evaluated all of these factors, we were able to narrow our list to 15 companies.
We then did further research into our preliminary picks, looking into their coverage levels, the ease of their claims process, customer satisfaction, deductibles, complimentary perks, and special features.
Due to state laws requiring minimum coverage, like liability insurance for drivers, most car insurance companies offer the same types of coverages: liability, comprehensive, and collision.
That means that auto insurers have to differentiate themselves through supplemental policies, features, and add-ons that enhance their policyholders’ coverage and protection. We paid special attention to these additional features.
After taking into account all the above factors, we cut our list down to five top car insurance companies. We also put together a list of an additional five companies that provide noteworthy services.
We ranked the companies on our list based on the following factors:
To verify the financial strength of our list of companies, we relied on AM Best ratings to shed some light on the matter. We also used NAIC's 2019 data to evaluate any given company's market share. If a company's numbers weren't up to par, they were automatically eliminated. While insurance marketplaces don't have financial strength ratings, they can still serve as useful tools for drivers looking for competitive premiums. When considering a company that does not underwrite their own policies, make sure to look into the ratings of the insurer with which they're partnering.
One of the best ways of lowering your insurance premium is to qualify for any available driver discounts. Most car insurance companies offer discounts of up to 30% to eligible policyholders. Discount percentages vary depending on location and some companies limit the number of discounts you can apply to your premium. We took a close look at the discounts offered by the companies we researched. Many of them allow you to bundle different types of insurance policies together to pay less on premiums. For drivers who are only shopping for car insurance, there are plenty of other savings opportunities depending on your profession, the kind of car you drive, how well you drive, etc. We favored companies with a wide range of alternatives that could result in a lower premium for drivers.
More and more car insurance companies are employing the use of new technologies to remain relevant in an ever-changing industry, but also to provide better services. Most of the companies on this list use automation to provide quotes in a matter of minutes. Likewise, claims processes typically begin online or through mobile apps. These advances offer convenience if you need to file a claim after business hours. Telematics is also playing an increasingly important role in car insurance, with drivers often given an upfront discount on their premium if they opt for a telematics policy. If the data indicates they're good drivers, more discounts may become available to them over time. Technology has become an indispensable part of every insurance provider's quote and claims processes. Car insurance companies that use these technologies ranked higher on our list.
We paid special attention to each company's claims satisfaction ratings based on J.D. Power's latest report (2020), to get a better idea of which companies have a greater probability of fulfilling a claim to the policyholder's satisfaction. Accessibility was another big factor. The ways in which a company provides support is telling of their dedication to their clientele. With that in mind, we looked into the different platforms through which car insurance companies provided the best customer support. Most offer assistance through phone, email, and agents. Others went further by providing live online chat, 24/7 support via mobile app or call center, and social media responsiveness after business hours and during weekends. Accidents are unexpected, so being insured with a company that's available around the clock could be more of a necessity than a convenience for many. We ranked these practices highly.
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