Car insurance reviews

We researched 36 of the best auto insurance providers based on their ability to serve customers and actually pay out claims; not just on premium cost. Of course, premiums matter, but since rates depend on many different factors — like your age, driving history, and even your ZIP code — the best way to find the most affordable price on the policy you want is to compare quotes. Use our quote tool above to get started.

How We Chose the Best Auto Insurance
Strong financial solvency
There are a million things to worry about when you’re involved in an accident. Whether or not your insurance company will be able to pay your claim shouldn’t be one of them. A strong financial rating is the best way to guarantee your provider can pay what you need, when you need it, so we made sure all of our picks had strong ratings based on the Insurance Information Institute’s (III) guidelines.

We first looked for companies that received an «A-» or better (“strong”) from A.M. Best, a rating agency specifically focused on the insurance industry. Then, because the III recommends getting ratings from more than one agency, the best needed to earn at least an «A (“low risk”) from Standard & Poor or an «Aa» (“very low risk”) from Moody’s.

Painless claims process
You probably won’t think much about your auto insurance until you need it, but claims processing is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for auto insurance.

“You can buy cheap insurance anywhere, but if you find out that the provider isn’t able to adequately handle your claim, you might be disappointed in the settlement if and when you need to use your insurance.”

John Espenschied
Agency principal and owner of Insurance Brokers Group
In a recent survey, we found that our readers’ biggest complaints about their current insurance company related to customer service and their final settlement amount. So, we used J.D. Power’s 2017 claims satisfaction study to find out which insurers had done the best job settling claims for their customers. Scores are assessed on a 1,000-point scale, and all of our final contenders ranked above 850.

Must-have coverage
The best auto insurance companies provide a wide range of coverage options so your plan fits you the way it should — tailored to your specific needs. We required our top insurers to host all the basic essentials for coverage. This includes bodily injury liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection (PIP), property damage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. For a quick refresher on what those terms cover, check out our auto insurance guide below.

Supplemental coverage
Beyond the standard protections, supplemental (or “add-on”) coverage will keep you protected against the additional costs that often come with accidents. Features like car rental coverage may not seem essential when you view them as just another added cost, but the increase in your rate could still be lower than the cost of renting a replacement vehicle if your damaged car is in the shop for a while. The options offered by providers vary widely in both availability and cost. Our favorites offer supplemental coverage options that can build a policy for every profile.

Deep discounts
Discounts keep your premium down when other factors (like that pesky credit score) won’t. These fall into two main categories: driver and vehicle. We favored insurers with a wide array of discounts, since those providers will be able to offer costs savings for more customers.

Some, like deductions for paperless billing, are widely available and don’t have special eligibility requirements. Others will be determined based on conditions beyond your control, like the city you live in or the technology built into your vehicle. While not everyone will be eligible for every discount, the companies that offer more discounts give you more chances to save.

The 5 Best Auto Insurance Companies
Geico — Highest Claims Satisfaction
Travelers — Most Comprehensive Coverage
Progressive —Best for «High-Risk» Drivers
Allstate — Best for New Drivers
State Farm — Best for Uber/Lyft Drivers
Geico — Highest Claims Satisfaction
Pros Impressive customer satisfaction scores
Exclusive discounts
Cons Missing options for GAP insurance
Why we chose it
Impressive claims satisfaction scores
Geico received the highest claims satisfaction of our final contenders with a score of 870 from J.D. Power. Based on responses from 11,857 auto insurance customers, this score speaks to both Geico’s customer service and, more importantly, its ability to help when you need your insurance most.

We’re particularly impressed by the ways in which the company has crafted a simpler user experience: personal information can be auto-filled by linking your Facebook profile when getting a quote, and a Geico skill built into Amazon Alexa means you can access details about your policy using voice technology.

Geico’s mobile app, which can be used to view your policy, file claims, and even call for roadside assistance, also ranked #1 in Forrester’s 2017 US Mobile Auto Insurance Benchmark.

Exclusive discounts
Geico boasts an impressive 15 discounts, second only to Travelers’ 16. In addition to standard discounts for safe driving and being a good student, Geico emphasizes safety features: deductions for anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, airbags, and daytime lights make it a solid choice for owners of newer cars. Other discounts, like those for retired drivers, drivers over the age of 50, military members and federal employees, are exclusive to Geico among our finalists.

Points to consider
Missing options for GAP insurance
Though a Geico policy comes with all the essential coverage (and then some), the top auto insurer is noticeably missing options for GAP insurance, which pays the difference between how much your wrecked car was worth and the amount left on your loan. It’s also missing new car replacement coverage, which pays for the cost of a new vehicle beyond the depreciated value of your damaged ride. Given their prevalence, we were surprised to learn that this is the one area where Geico falls short.

Travelers — Most Comprehensive Coverage
Pros Comprehensive coverage
Generous discounts
Cons Below-average customer satisfaction scores
Why we chose it
Comprehensive coverage
When it comes to supplemental coverage, Travelers is hard to beat. It consistently met our marks for what we considered “the essentials” and it offers unique coverage, too. That includes accident forgiveness, GAP insurance, and special coverage for drivers employed by ridesharing operations like Uber and Lyft (though this add-on is currently only available in Colorado and Illinois).

Any choices that were missing from Travelers’ policies were more niche — like Progressive’s pet injury protection that covers veterinary bills after an accident. Compared to the competition, Travelers’ coverage options are the most practical.

Generous discounts
The company’s discounts are numerous, varied, and designed to reward you, not just your car. It offers deductions for paying your premium on time, signing up for a policy early, and it even offers discounts for continuous coverage (renewing your policy before it expires). These types of discounts are less common than you might think, and they demonstrate that Travelers doesn’t just want to save money for its new customers — it’s concerned with keeping its old ones happy, too.

Travelers also offers discounts for students who maintain a B average in school, and even deducts for students away at school who might only be driving when they’re home on vacation, making it an attractive option for families with children in college.

Points to consider
Claims satisfaction scores
Quite simply, Travelers didn’t inspire enough confidence with its claims satisfaction. We know one survey doesn’t paint an entire picture, but Travelers was the lowest-scoring insurer of our top picks. Its J.D. Power score of 851 out of 1,000 is below the industry average, and since our research consistently pointed to claims satisfaction as the best indicator of customer experience, we couldn’t give Travelers the top spot in confidence. If customer service is your primary concern, turn to Geico instead.

Progressive — Best for «High-Risk» Drivers
Pros Generous discounts
Usage-based insurance plan
Cons Limited supplemental coverage
Why we chose it
Generous discounts
Progressive impressed us with a solid array of discounts, including deductions for simple things like signing a new policy early and opting for paperless billing. The company has historically been known for insuring «riskier» drivers than many of its competitors, and it shows: Progressive is our only contender that offers a near unheard-of discount for drivers under 18 (who have a crash rate that’s almost nine times higher than that of middle-aged drivers).

Usage-based insurance plan
Progressive offers a unique discount through a program called Snapshot, a usage-based insurance plan that transmits real driving data to the company. Using a telematic device installed in your vehicle, Snapshot monitors your driving behaviors — such as how rapidly you accelerate or how often you stop abruptly — as well as the miles and times you drive, which can increase your risk of an accident.

The program uses this data to determine your rates, and if you’re a safe diver that could mean an average of $130 savings. This plan can save money for low-use drivers and may well mark the advent of a new form of insurance.

Points to consider
Limited supplemental coverage
Progressive allows policyholders to supplement their coverage with many of the standard additions we look for in providers, but it didn’t have quite enough options to merit a top place finish. You won’t find accident forgiveness, coverage for teen drivers, ridesharing coverage.

Progressive also lacks popular coverage like personal injury, property protection, and new car replacement. Evaluate your accident history and who you’ll be insuring to get an idea of what supplemental coverage you might need. If some of these unique coverage options are relevant to you, you’ll want to consider Travelers.

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Allstate — Best for New Drivers
Pros Extensive online resources
Student discounts
Cons Below-average customer satisfaction scores
Why we chose it
Extensive online resources
Whether you need to learn more about auto insurance, want to manage your policy online, or want to file a claim digitally, Allstate can offer that online experience. For first-time auto insurers, you can find detailed breakdowns of policy documents, tips for comparing rates, and blog articles on saving money and building a policy for young drivers.

Once you’re a customer, you can leverage its online portal to adjust your coverage, add or remove vehicles, add new drivers, or alter your deductibles.

Student discounts
Allstate thrives when it comes to discounts for young drivers and students. The company’s Smart Student Discount will apply to anyone under the age of 25 who is either a full-time student with good grades, has completed the teenSMART driver education program, or attends a school within 100 miles of their home. Young drivers are typically the most expensive to insure; this unique discount can alleviate some of those costs.

Points to consider
Customer satisfaction scores
Allstate ranked below the industry average in J.D. Power’s 2017 overall customer satisfaction report. When looking specifically at the shopping process, customers noted that Allstate’s policies tend to be more expensive than quotes from other insurers.

The report also noted that its sales representatives were less helpful compared to its competitors. If you find this to be true, you can also work with your local agent rather than an Allstate sales representative. In our experience, it’s possible to get more individualized, attentive service at the local level.

State Farm — Best for Uber/Lyft Drivers
Pros Impressive customer satisfaction scores
Rideshare coverage
Financial strength
Cons Buggy mobile app
Fewer discounts
Why we chose it
Rideshare coverage
If you drive for rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber, we strongly recommend State Farm. It’s one of the only insurance companies that will extend coverage to risheshare employees. Travelers offers some rideshare coverage too, but only in Colorado and Illinois.

By comparison, State Farm offers the coverage in 37 states. Typically, rideshare employees would have to purchase a separate, commercial auto insurance policy, but with State Farm you can easily add the coverage on to your normal auto plan.

Financial strength
Just after Geico, State Farm has the second-best financial strength ratings. From A.M. Best, it received an «A++», from Standard & Poor an «AA», and from Moody’s an «Aa1». In other words, you can trust State Farm to back your claims now and for many months to come.

Claims and customer satisfaction
With nearly 18,000 agents across the country, State Farm lives up to its “good neighbor” marketing claim. J.D. Power gave the company 865/1000 — a full 15 points above the industry average. That’s a clear sign that customers are satisfied with how State Farm handles auto claims.

Points to consider
Buggy mobile app
We experienced frequent connectivity issues with State Farm’s mobile app. This isn’t a total deal-breaker, but we didn’t feel confident the app would pull through during a roadside emergency. If you need to file a claim, we’d recommend taking photos and submitting them later or calling the State Farm help line instead.

Minimal discounts
Of our top auto insurers, State Farm has the fewest discounts. You won’t find any price breaks for young or elderly drivers, for being a loyal customer, nor for having a new car. Most of its discounts are safety related, like if you have airbags, anti-lock brakes, or enroll in a safe driving program. However, State Farm’s lack of discounts doesn’t mean your quote will be more expensive — just that you’ll have fewer opportunities to lower it.

Guide to Auto Insurance
How to Get the Most out of Your Policy
Make sure you’ve got the basics covered
If you don’t know what type of coverage you need, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a list of the ‘must-have’ coverage options you should look for in any policy, plus some common supplemental coverage choices, based on advice from our insurance experts.

These options aren’t always included in standard auto policies — even the ones we consider necessities — but purchasing them will guarantee a base layer of protection for any accident:

Best Auto Insurance
Finding the Best Auto Insurance
After closely evaluating available incentives, monthly premiums, customer service and claim processing policies, our pick for the best auto insurance is GEICO. This popular insurance company might be popular for its silly commercials featuring a gecko, but it was the high customer satisfaction score, low rates, numerous discount incentives and a great mobile app that made it the best car insurance company overall.

That said, it’s important to note that individual insurance rates vary greatly. GEICO may not have the best insurance plan for you. Insurance rates are based on a number of factors, such as your driving record, your car’s make and model, the mileage and year. In addition, claims processing is also difficult to evaluate because every claim in unique and the experiences are largely anecdotal.

What Affects Car Insurance Rates?
Insurance rates are carefully calculated based on numerous factors. Personal factors include age, location, average miles driven, gender, marital status, education and driving record. Financial factors include the replacement cost of the car, repair costs, claim history, insurance history and credit score.

To give you an idea of what a low-risk insured person might look like compared to a high-risk person, see these two extremes:

Low-Risk: A 40-year-old married female who is college educated and lives in a low-incident area. She also has a better than average credit rating, a good driving record, steady previous insurance and no claims in over five years. The car has low repair costs and is not tied to a bank loan. She might only be required to pay $60 to $90 per month for insurance.

High-Risk: A 23-year-old unmarried male without a college education who lives in a high-incident area. He would have spotty or bad credit, a DUI or other major moving vehicle violation, has been without insurance in the past and has recently submitted claims. The car is expensive to fix and a there is a loan on the vehicle. This person’s premium may be over $300 per month. In this case, some insurance companies may even deny coverage.

As you can see, numerous factors contribute to your premium. In addition, there are no protections in respect to gender, education, location or credit discrimination. Insurance companies are allowed, to the best of their ability, to calculate the risk of insuring individuals. If you are in the high-risk category, you might have to take a higher rate until you can build up a better history and or perhaps trade to a lower-priced, paid-off car.

If you are in the low-risk category, you may save some money by bundling your auto insurance with other plans such as homeowners or umbrella insurance. Some insurance companies also offer discounts to those who pay premiums in advance or by automatic payment. Discounts aren’t always listed on the company’s website, so you’ll want to ask about discounts before you enter a new contract so you can get the best possible rate.

Obtaining Auto Insurance Quotes
First and foremost, get more than one quote. We recommend that you obtain three quotes from three different insurance agencies. In our research, we learned that in most cases you can obtain ballpark quotes with just your basic information. However, eventually you will have to submit your social security number, VIN and other personal information to actually obtain the insurance coverage. Most will check your credit reports and driving status as well before they will provide coverage.

You can obtain a quote by visiting the insurance company’s website. On the website, you can enter your zip code or state information and obtain a quote in only a few minutes. You’ll need to enter your basic information such as name, address and car make. You will also be asked about your driving history, credit and average driving distances. The company will most likely mention a few discounts, but you should also ask about additional discounts before you sign up.

Possible discounts you might be eligible for include: good driver, good student, senior, hybrid vehicle, safety features, security features, multiple auto, defensive driving course discounts, farm vehicle, automatic payments, pay in advance, teen discounts and more. We noticed that Allstate specifically seems to offer a wide range of discount options. Many also offer discounts to military personnel or government employees, so it is worth asking about if you are associated with these organizations.

You should also consider supplemental add-ons such as:

Uninsured Motorist: Most people should consider this add-on. It helps cover medical or repair expenses when the other driver is at fault and has no insurance.
Roadside Assistance: These plans often include towing and tire changing.
Rental Car Coverage: Covers car rental expenses during the time your car is being repaired.
Gap Coverage: If your car is totaled, gap insurance will help pay the difference between the payout and what you still owe on your car loan.
Pet Insurance: This plan helps cover veterinarian expenses that may occur if your pets are injured in a car accident involving the covered vehicle.
Umbrella Policies: These cover a wide range of liability situations that other insurance policies may not cover completely.
Medical Payments Coverage: Helps pay medical costs related to an accident.
Sound System Insurance: This will cover the cost of replacing stolen or damaged audio or video equipment.
How We Compared Auto Insurance Companies
Because auto insurance premiums differ from person to person, no single company is best for every person. We tried to find out which company offers the best rates to the most people, and which ones have the best consumer experience reputation. We researched industry news, consumer reviews, financial reviews, third-party reviews and more. We also conducted our own research.

For the quote comparison, we obtained quotes for five of the most commonly purchased cars in the U.S. for rather average customer profiles in numerous zip codes. Some quotes were obtained online and others by telephone. We averaged the quote price per vehicle and compared quote rates against their competitors. With this information, we were able to determine whether you might expect to receive a lower than average, average or higher than average quote price from the insurance company. Of course, your quote experience will vary from our test model, but our scores can help you decide which companies you may want to obtain a quote from.

We obtained consumer satisfaction scores by quantifying numerous industry ratings alongside our own experience with the companies. We were somewhat surprised to discover that the 12 insurance agencies scored pretty close together. Most consumers seem happy with their insurance company until they need to file a claim and things don’t go the way they wanted. And since most drivers are only involved in a few accidents in their lifetime, they usually do not have to go through the claim processing experience often, so satisfaction scores are generally high. The company that rated the highest was State Farm, with GEICO and AAA only a few points below it.

Our Verdict and Recommendation
Once you find the insurance companies that look like they might satisfy your needs, we recommend that you obtain three quotes. Low-risk drivers can likely obtain low-cost auto insurance from GEICO. Seniors may benefit from using their AARP membership to receive discounts from the Hartford Financial Services Group. Those who can qualify for accident-forgiveness can benefit from a three-year accident forgiveness policy from Farmers. Make sure to answer the questions as accurately as possible when submitting your quote information. Incorrect information could be cause for non-payment later, so accuracy is critical.

Once you obtain your quotes, it is helpful to call up the insurance company and ask about additional discounts. As tedious and confusing as it may seem, carefully look through the fine print of your policy information. It might even be helpful to consult with an insurance specialist to explain industry terms you don’t understand. Careful shopping can help you obtain the best rate for the type of coverage you want.