Good car insurance

When it comes to auto insurance companies, the best ones are often the most versatile in their coverage options and services. In order to put together our list of the best car insurance companies, we’ve scoured the industry looking at customer service, shopping experience, and more. You can also take advantage of our quotes tool to find the best coverage available in your area:

Find the Best Car Insurance
Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

Ex: 20004
Price is the single most important factor for a lot of car insurance shoppers. Choosing a policy based on rates alone could cost far more out of pocket when filing a claim, however. Statistically speaking, that will happen to each driver at least once every 18 years. It pays to get the right amount of coverage, whether it’s the cheapest package or not.

The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks for Best Auto Insurance Companies
Best Overall: Amica
Best Customer Service: State Farm
Best Policy Options: The Hartford
Best for Military: USAA
What car insurance is required by law?
In virtually all states, drivers are required by law to have mandatory liability insurance coverage. This is done as a way to ensure that the driver can cover the cost of damages to other people or property in the unfortunate event of an accident. Some states implement a “proof of financial responsibility” requirement, which is a little more flexible.

How I Picked the Best Car Insurance Companies
First, I conducted an in-depth analysis of 15 auto insurance providers. I gathered data on 86 different features (like a 24/7 claims center or discounts for electric vehicles), organized them into 12 categories, and scored each company on a 100-point scale. Below are the categories I used, along with the weight each one was given in the test.

Category Test Weight
Policy Coverage 13%
Vehicle Coverage 13%
Driver Discounts 11%
Policy Management 10%
Getting Started 9%
Mobile 6%
Payment Options 10%
Claim Management 8%
Support 6%
Additional Benefits 6%
Vehicle Discounts 5%
Learning Materials 3%
Next I incorporated learnings from auto experts, insured drivers, and third-party studies into my evaluation and calculated the final scores. I organized this research into three distinct categories, which are outlined below.

Claims and Price Satisfaction: I looked at J.D. Power’s 2014 Auto Claims Satisfaction Reports, Insure.com’s Best Car Insurance Companies for 2014, and Consumer Reports’ 2014 Car Insurance Ratings to get a bird’s-eye view of the industry across the nation. I also conducted a survey of 100 insured drivers who had filed a claim within the past 12 months.
Ease of Shopping: I applied for quotes from over 15 auto insurance companies to evaluate the shopping experience. I also considered J.D. Power’s 2014 Auto Insurance Purchase Experience Ratings, which asked customers about their personal take on local agents, call-center representatives, and websites.
Financial Strength Ratings: I used A.M. Best to gauge financial stability. Any company with a “B” grade or below is considered vulnerable, so I chose companies with an “A-” or above.
The Best Car Insurance Companies of 2017
Amica: Best Overall Car Insurance Company
Amica was the strongest company overall in my research, and ranked number two in J.D. Power’s 2015 customer satisfaction report — that means out of 11,469 surveyed drivers, it had the second highest satisfaction rating among more than 20 different companies. It also received the highest Consumer Reports rating among auto insurance providers. Consumer Reports even noted that an overwhelming number of customers reported “relatively few” problems during the claims process.

Pros
A high J.D. Power satisfaction rating: Amica received a perfect score in 4 out of 7 categories in J.D. Power’s 2015 auto insurance study.
High financial stability ratings: Amica boasts a “Superior” financial stability rating from A.M. Best, which is the highest rating available.
No repair facility restrictions: Unlike most every other insurer, Amica has zero restrictions on which body shop you use for repairs.
“Platinum Choice” coverage: Amica offers an additional tier of coverage called Platinum Choice, which costs more, but includes identity fraud monitoring, full glass coverage, prestige rental coverage, and rewards for good driving.
Best array of coverages: Amica offers the most driver and vehicle coverages of all my top recommendations. Its list includes GAP insurance and interior vehicle coverage, which aren’t offered by State Farm, The Hartford, or USAA.
Cons
Quote process is less than desirable: Whether you start online or over the phone, you will eventually wind up on the phone to get an official quote — that can tack an extra 20 to 30 minutes to the process.
Fewer driver discount opportunities: Amica is missing a few key driver discounts, including pre-pay, low mileage, and military discounts. Consequently, it scored only 46 out of 100 in my driver discount evaluation.
Few online resources: There are a few FAQs on the site, but Amica lacks in-depth online materials to help customers get a complete grasp on their purchases without having to talk to someone. Additionally, some policy changes require direct assistance from an Amica agent, which can be time-consuming.
State Farm: Best Car Insurance Company for Customer Service and Interaction
State Farm is the largest car insurance company in the nation, per Insurance Journal in 2016. Fortunately, it’s also one of the best — especially when it comes to the customer service experience. In 2015, State Farm received high praise from J.D. Power for its service interaction and claims handling. And of all the insured drivers I surveyed, it received the most positive remarks by far.

It is incredibly easy to get in touch with State Farm. You can call one of the company’s 18,000 agents, go online, or even send a picture of your damaged car with your smartphone using the Pocket Agent mobile app. Compare that to Amica, which doesn’t allow you to connect with an agent via an app, or file a claim through an agent. State Farm also gets high marks for a pain-free shopping experience that lets prospective customers call their local agent or chat with a representative online if they have any questions.

Pros
Superior claims handling: No other insurer makes it easier to file a claim — a fact corroborated by its high service rating, 18,000 agents nationwide, and excellent mobile app. Sure, most other auto insurers offer the basic trifecta of phone, app, and email contact to agents, but State Farm’s is the easiest to use by far.
Great financial standing: State Farm has an A.M. Best outlook of stable, and a “Superior” overall rating — the highest given.
Best online quote tool: Out of all the competition, State Farm has the simplest online quote tool. In less than five minutes, it’ll guide you completely through the process, replete with thorough examples of coverage options.
Cons
Missing a few common driver discounts: Like Amica, State Farm lacks two extremely common discounts: pay-in-full, and automatic pay. These two discounts don’t save a ton of money, but are definitely nice options to have — and are offered by my third pick, The Hartford.
Lacks a couple of important coverages: Unlike its competitors, State Farm doesn’t offer stacked uninsured motorist or new car replacement coverages. That could be a deal breaker for someone who lives in a state with an incredibly high rate of uninsured drivers.
The Hartford: Best Car Insurance Company for Policy Options
The Hartford is only the nation’s 11th largest insurer, but it still packs a punch. In fact, it had the highest score in my 12-category feature evaluation (92 out of 100). It also offers a wide range of policy options and benefits (including rates based on how much you actually drive your car and a new car replacement program for cars totaled shortly after purchase) and was the only insurer to score a perfect 100 in my vehicle-discount evaluation.

Pros
Mechanical breakdown coverage: Mechanical breakdown insurance helps cover the cost of repairs that aren’t covered by your car’s warranty. The Hartford is the only one of my top picks that includes this coverage.
Useful policy benefits: The company provides not only a solid set of coverages, but also a great selection of policy benefits. For instance, frequent travelers will appreciate The Hartford’s towing and roadside assistance programs.
Excellent purchase experience: The Hartford is one of two national providers to receive a perfect “Overall Purchase Experience” score from J.D. Power.
Cons
Less-than-average claims satisfaction: The Hartford received a perfect score in my claims management evaluation, but according to J.D. Power, customers are still less than satisfied — it received only a 2-star rating for service interaction.
Fewest online educational resources: The Hartford offers the fewest online learning materials among this field of competitors.
USAA: Best Car Insurance Company for Members of the Military
Throughout my research, I found that the company’s stellar reputation holds true. If you are a member of the US armed forces, or are related to one, there is no better option than USAA.

It is one of the three highest-rated automotive insurers in the country. The only downside is its limited availability: USAA only services the immediate families of active and former members of the military. Given those restrictions, the quote process is a bit more intense compared to its competitors, but that’s a small price to pay for its exemplary service.

Pros
Rated no. 1 nationally for purchase experience: USAA received the only perfect score in J.D. Power’s 2016 report.
Solid financial stability: A.M. Best gives USAA the highest possible stability rating: “Superior.”
Cons
Membership restrictions: USAA is only available to members of the military and their immediate family.
Missing three key vehicle coverages: USAA doesn’t offer GAP insurance, interior vehicle coverage, or new car replacement coverage.
Other Car Insurance Companies to Consider
Progressive

Progressive is worth noting due to its variety of discounts and special coverages that could shave a decent amount of green off your monthly bill. For example, the Snapshot tool allows Progressive to reward you based upon your driving habits. Have an anti-theft device? There’s a discount for that too. The company also offers pet injury coverage — which is included with collision, and comes standard in most states. However, Progressive’s scores across the board were only average, and I couldn’t justify recommending it over my top picks. And, despite what Flo, Progressive’s famous, peppy insurance cashier, would lead you to believe, its mobile apps ratings average out to just under 3 out of 5 stars.

Erie Insurance

If you live in the South, Midwest, or Mid-Atlantic regions, Erie Insurance is worth your consideration. Erie has consistently received high marks from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, but didn’t make it into my top four recommendations due to limited availability — it only serves residents in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and certain parts of DC.

Outside of that, Erie is one of the best commercial auto insurers, offering policies that come standard with coverage for road service, lawyer fees, and loss of earnings. It also has particularly comprehensive coverage options that include extras such as money toward rental cars after a crash (this is usually an add-on policy with most insurers).

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners Insurance is available in 26 states located primarily in the South and Midwest. It uses an agent-only model that promotes customer relationships, so if you prefer talking to a human being, Auto-Owners is a great choice. The company also scored a nearly perfect score in J.D. Power’s 2015 satisfaction report, falling short only in the realm of its rental car experience.

States Serviced by Auto-Owners:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin

Choosing the Right Amount of Coverage
Let’s say I live in Florida and cause an accident that injures another person to the tune of $40,000. If I only have the state’s minimum bodily injury protection ($10,000 per person, $20,000 per accident), I’d be responsible for the remaining $30,000. But, if I had purchased more than Florida’s minimum — say $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident — I wouldn’t have to pay a single dime out of pocket.

Sure, upgraded coverage means a higher monthly premium. But which would you rather do: Pay an extra $80 a month or wind up owing a lump sum of $30,000 out of pocket? It would take an accident-free 30 years to spend the same amount on the extra coverage. And remember: statistically speaking, you are going to get in a wreck every 18 years. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a fender bender, but if the worst should happen, you’ll appreciate being fully covered.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to understand what type of coverages you need, and how much coverage you need, before you start shopping for a policy. And in the same vein, it’s also crucial to compare rates that include more than your state’s minimum required coverages (which you can find online at your state’s DMV). You do not want to be the victim of a serious accident only to find out after the fact that you’re underinsured.

Below is a comparison of the coverages offered by my top four auto insurance companies, and a breakdown of each type of coverage.

Vehicle and Policy Coverages Amica State Farm The Hartford USAA
Bodily Injury Liability ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Personal Injury Protection ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Property Damage Liability ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Rental Car Coverage ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage ✓ X ✓ ✓
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Pet Injury Coverage X X X X
Collision ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Comprehensive ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
GAP Insurance ✓ X X X
Interior Vehicle Coverage ✓ X X X
New Car Replacement ✓ X ✓ X
Types of Auto Insurance Coverages
Bodily Injury Liability: Coverage against bodily injuries to others in an accident that is your fault.

Personal Injury Protection: Coverage for injuries sustained by the driver or any passengers, often including medical bills and lost wages.

Property Damage Liability: Coverage against property damage to another party in an accident that is your fault.

Rental Car Coverage: Coverage for your rental car if it is damaged or stolen.

Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Coverage that allows you to combine or “stack” the individual limits of coverage on multiple insured vehicles in the same household.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage: Coverage that protects against property damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Pet Injury Coverage: Coverage for injuries to your pets sustained in an auto accident.

Collision: Coverage against any damage resulting from a collision.

Comprehensive: Coverage against any non-collision vehicle damage including fire, theft, or vandalism.

GAP Insurance: Coverage that pays the difference between the actual value of a totaled car and the balance remaining on an auto loan.

Interior Vehicle Coverage: Coverage of personal belongings inside of the car, like your clothes, sound system, or purse.

New Car Replacement: Coverage that will replace a totaled car with a brand-new version if it is less than one year old.

Are car insurance extras worth it?
As the name suggests, car insurance extras are coverage options that usually do not come with a standard policy. Examples include roadside assistance and accident forgiveness. These coverages can be added to a policy for an extra cost. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if they are worth it. By carefully assessing your coverage needs, you can come to a conclusion whether the extras are worth the cost or not.

You should shop for a policy every two years
Contrary to popular belief, car insurance companies don’t just calculate rates on risk alone. It goes much deeper than that. Welcome to the world of “price optimization,” which is the practice of setting rates based upon how much insurers think customers are comfortable paying. Simply put, it’s a way to maximize profit.

In 2013, Earnix found that 45 percent of larger insurance companies analyze a ridiculous amount of customers’ personal data (like social media posts, credit scores, and web shopping habits). Then, they churn the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around. By doing so, they can charge you based upon a perception of your level of comfort, raise profit margins, and do it all without causing you to lift an eyebrow.

The best way to prevent falling victim to this practice is to shop for a new policy every one to two years. Companies are aware of your online activity, so the more quotes you get, the less likely you are to be tagged as someone who won’t jump ship for a better deal. Plus, it helps you find a policy rate that reflects you as a person and isn’t based on predictive analytics.

Find the Best Car Insurance Rates
Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

Ex: 20004
Should I use an agent or go online?
Depending on which companies you consider, you may have to decide whether to do business with an insurance agent or purchase a policy online. If you value face-to-face relationships and personal service, it’s hard to beat an agent. But all agents aren’t created equal. Some are “captive,” meaning they sell car insurance for only one company. Others are “independent,” meaning they can sell car insurance for multiple companies. Here are a few things you should consider for each scenario.

Using Captive Agents
The biggest benefit to captive agents is that many aren’t primarily motivated by commission. That means they have less of a reason to “sell you” and more of a reason to spend quality time educating you. Going with a captive agent also makes sense if you’re already committed to a particular company. Additionally, they will know their company’s policies and coverages from top to bottom.

Using Independent Agents
Independent agents have special access with several companies and help you to find the best rate available. However, some companies pay higher commission than others, and that means you may face pressure to choose a particular company or coverage plan.

During my research, I interacted with several independent agents who refused to give me a single detail about higher-priced plans. Despite my persistence, I was repeatedly asked, “Why would you want to consider something that costs more?” and did not get the information I wanted. On the flip side, if your rates go up after committing to a policy, independent agents are best-suited to help you negotiate a lower price.

Shopping online
Some companies allow customers to do business directly online. If you’re a self-starter, this could very well be the most convenient option. And in some cases, it may also be the cheapest option.

The biggest downside to buying a policy on your own is the risk of underinsuring yourself. Buying the wrong policy, or a policy that doesn’t have state-mandated coverage levels, could cost you a pretty penny if the worst should happen.

What are some helpful tips for keeping insurance costs down?
Selecting the right insurance company for you doesn’t mean your work is done. There are still some steps you can take to keep insurance costs down. Some are obvious – such as shop around and compare insurance costs before purchasing a car. But here are a few others to consider:

Explore options for group insurance: Getting insurance through your employer or other professional group can allow companies to lower costs.
Think about purchasing additional insurance at one company: Some companies work with drivers who purchase multiple forms of insurance, or have more than one car insured with them. This isn’t a guarantee, but it doesn’t hurt to find out if the option is available.
Request a higher deductible: This is of course dependent on your financial standing. You want to make sure you have enough finances saved to cover the expense. But, requesting higher deductibles up front can lower coverage costs anywhere from 15%-20%, depending on the amount you pay up front.
Keep an eye on your credit score: Maintaining a solid credit score is recommended no matter what. But it’s especially important when your score is being referenced to develop your auto insurance policy. Just as you investigate a car’s accident history before purchasing, insurers are investigating your payment history before doing business with you. The higher the risk, the higher the policy costs.
The Bottom Line
In the end, you’ll need to first determine your exact needs when it comes to coverage and then shop for an affordable policy. Just because an auto insurance policy is cheap doesn’t mean it’s the best. Our quote tool can also help you put together a list of candidates. All you need to do is input your ZIP Code and start comparing rates from our top picks (State Farm, USAA, Amica, The Hartford) and more.
Whether you’re looking for a full coverage car insurance policy or liability coverage only, nobody wants to overpay. And the best way to get the cheapest car insurance possible is by comparing car insurance quotes — and the companies offering them.

» SIGN UP: Find savings on your car expenses

To get you started, NerdWallet looked at car insurance prices across the country for different driver profiles and coverage levels. We’ve sliced the data in several ways to give you an idea of average costs and what factors might nudge your car insurance rate up — or even better, down.

Cheapest overall: Liability-only car insurance
Cheapest of the big car insurance companies
Check out smaller insurers, too
Cheapest car insurance in your state
How to get the cheapest possible insurance
Cheapest overall: Liability-only car insurance
The cheapest car insurance will often be the minimum coverage required in your state, which in most states is liability insurance. Liability insurance covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Some states require additional or alternative coverage, such as personal injury protection.

Full coverage car insurance is more expensive and often comes with a deductible, a set amount you are responsible for if you file a claim. But it also provides more expansive coverage for your car, like if it’s stolen or damaged, whether by you, a hit-and-run driver or a fallen tree.

To get an idea of the cheapest car insurance rates, period, we looked at quotes from available carriers for the minimum required insurance in each state. Then, we compared it to the average cost of full coverage car insurance to show the difference in cost.

State Average annual price: Minimum required coverage Average annual price: Full coverage Annual difference
Average $699 $1,537 $838
Alabama $563 $1,367 $804
Alaska $419 $1,105 $686
Arizona $684 $1,527 $843
Arkansas $578 $1,449 $871
California $629 $1,654 $1,025
Colorado $713 $1,738 $1,025
Connecticut $1,029 $1,984 $955
Delaware $1,209 $2,350 $1,141
District of Columbia $842 $1,558 $716
Florida $1,253 $2,355 $1,102
Georgia $727 $1,523 $796
Hawaii $676 $1,637 $961
Idaho $389 $990 $601
Illinois $706 $1,389 $683
Indiana $493 $1,091 $598
Iowa $309 $968 $659
Kansas $585 $1,297 $712
Kentucky $1,092 $2,185 $1,093
Louisiana $995 $2,789 $1,794
Maine $431 $961 $530
Maryland $924 $1,644 $720
Massachusetts $540 $1,179 $639
Michigan $2,696 $3,986 $1,290
Minnesota $824 $1,598 $774
Mississippi $612 $1,669 $1,057
Missouri $683 $1,581 $898
Montana $428 $1,457 $1,029
Nebraska $431 $1,126 $695
Nevada $679 $1,721 $1,042
New Hampshire $495 $1,041 $546
New Jersey $1,095 $2,069 $974
New Mexico $576 $1,416 $840
New York $1,161 $2,017 $856
North Carolina $527 $1,027 $500
North Dakota $393 $1,148 $755
Ohio $548 $1,106 $558
Oklahoma $561 $1,645 $1,084
Oregon $1,063 $1,782 $719
Pennsylvania $475 $1,303 $828
Rhode Island $977 $2,017 $1,040
South Carolina $524 $1,167 $643
South Dakota $330 $1,083 $753
Tennessee $499 $1,294 $795
Texas $826 $2,452 $1,626
Utah $695 $1,284 $589
Vermont $396 $1,035 $639
Virginia $431 $1,039 $608
Washington $545 $1,009 $464
West Virginia $635 $1,501 $866
Wisconsin $491 $1,084 $593
Wyoming $329 $1,085 $756
Average rates can give you an idea of pricing in your state for minimum or full coverage car insurance policies, but that says little about the companies available to you.

Cheapest of the big car insurance companies
Just five car insurance companies make up more than 55% of the U.S. market. They include Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm, which are available to anyone, as well as USAA, the insurer for active military members, veterans and their families.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s ranking of the best car insurance companies

Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.

Keep in mind these are averages from across the country, so rates in your area will differ.

1. Geico
Geico NW
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,177/year
Good driver, poor credit: $1,901/year
One at-fault accident: $2,225/year
Among the biggest four car insurers, our data indicates Geico is often the cheapest. Not only was Geico the cheapest for drivers with good credit and no moving violations, it was also cheapest for drivers with poor credit. However, drivers with a recent at-fault accident might see significantly higher quotes from Geico compared to other insurers.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s Geico review

2. State Farm
State Farm car insurance
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,366/year
Good driver, poor credit: $2,867/year
One at-fault accident: $1,637/year
State Farm was the second-cheapest for good drivers, but it also came in cheapest for drivers with one at-fault accident — nearly $600 per year cheaper than Geico in that category. State Farm also beats Geico, Progressive and Allstate in NerdWallet’s ranking of best car insurance companies.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s State Farm review

3. Progressive
Progressive_genericlogo
NerdWallet’s rating: 3.5 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,726/year
Good driver, poor credit: $3,056/year
One at-fault accident: $3,024/year
Progressive isn’t the cheapest in this large national analysis, but that only illustrates the importance of shopping around. In many states, Progressive had some of the lowest rates for all of our 2018 driver profiles.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s Progressive review

4. Allstate
Allstate2018
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,812/year
Good driver, poor credit: $3,054/year
One at-fault accident: $2,719/year
Allstate averaged more than others in this list for good drivers, but it was cheaper than Progressive for drivers with an at-fault accident or poor credit.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s Allstate review

Cheapest for military-affiliated families: USAA
usaa-logo-320×229
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $870/year
Good driver, poor credit: $1,654/year
One at-fault accident: $1,162/year
USAA is only available to veterans, active military members and their families, so we didn’t rank it against the others. Even so, we found it to be the cheapest, by far, among large companies for all categories.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s USAA review

Check out smaller insurers, too
Finding cheap car insurance doesn’t mean you have to stick with large insurance companies. Regional and small insurers may beat the lowest offers from the big guys. For example:

Grange Insurance, which is available in 13 states through independent agents, came in cheaper than USAA in all three of the above categories. The average rate for good drivers was only $566 per year.
Erie Insurance, available in 12 states and the District of Columbia, had an average rate of $759 per year for good drivers. Bonus points: Erie locks in your initial rate for four years and ranks fourth among our best companies. Read our Erie Insurance review for more information.
Country Financial is available in 19 states and returned an average rate of $940 per year for good drivers. It was also cheaper than the big four (but not USAA) for drivers with at-fault accidents and poor credit.
Cheapest car insurance in your state
Click your state to find the cheapest car insurance there
Alabama Alaska Arizona
Arkansas California Colorado
Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia
Florida Georgia Hawaii
Idaho Illinois Indiana
Iowa Kansas Kentucky
Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota
Mississippi Missouri Montana
Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire
New Jersey New Mexico New York
North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania
Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota
Tennessee Texas Utah
Vermont Virginia Washington
West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
How to get the cheapest possible insurance
No matter who your auto insurance company is, here are tips for saving on your policy:

Look for discounts — even ask for them. There could be discounts you’re not taking advantage of. For instance, maybe you retired and are driving less than when you bought your policy. Mention it and you might get a low-mileage discount.
Rethink insurance limits and deductibles. A higher collision and comprehensive deductible might make sense if you rarely drive or are financially comfortable with the risk. Raising deductibles means you’d owe more out of pocket if you had to file a comprehensive or collision claim, but it’s a surefire way to get cheaper car insurance.
Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of a lower price. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.
Cash in on major life changes. Certain life events could translate to cheaper car insurance. For instance, many companies offer a lower rate for married couples or domestic partners. Or perhaps you moved to a suburb with lower accident and crime rates. If your risk for accidents goes down, your rates just might, too.
NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool makes it easy to see side-by-side rates from top companies.
If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area
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Table of Contents
Cheapest Car Insurance
Car Insurance by State
The Best Car Insurance
What is the Cheapest Car Insurance Company?
After our analysis of 2,700 cities and 128 companies, we found that Erie was the most affordable major insurer in the country with an average yearly rate of $1,052 based on our sample driver — about 31% cheaper than the national average across every insurer. The very largest of the five is GEICO, the second largest auto insurer in the U.S. by market share.

Graph shows the five cheapest car insurance companies in the United States

In the table below, you can see how the average annual rates for the 15 most affordable large auto insurers in the country compared based on quotes we obtained for an example 30 year old driver.

Rank Company Annual Rate
1 Erie $1,052
2 GEICO $1,067
3 American Family $1,099
4 Auto Owners $1,201
5 Progressive $1,241
6 Farmers $1,249
7 State Farm $1,372
8 State Auto $1,397
9 Nationwide $1,404
10 Allied $1,470
11 Allstate $1,718
12 Safe Auto $1,855
13 MetLife $1,957
14 Victoria $2,057
15 Encompass $2,129
*Premiums based on our sample driver

The Three Cheapest Car Insurance Companies
Erie

Erie is the United States’ 13th largest insurer despite being found in only nine states. Overall, it was frequently the cheapest insurer for drivers in its market, beating state averages by 28%. In states like Virginia and Pennsylvania, drivers could find Erie for 40% less than the state average.

GEICO

The nation’s second largest insurer is the second least expensive one as well. Though found in every state, drivers in New York and Utah can save up to 50% by going with GEICO. On average, GEICO beat state averages by 28%.

American Family

Though not the most well known brand of auto insurance, we still found American Family in nearly 1,000 cities nationwide where it beat state averages by 14%. Drivers in Washington and Colorado can even reap premiums 32% and 29% under their state averages.

The Cheapest Insurers By State
The price of car insurance can vary greatly between states. One company may be expensive in Utah, but inexpensive in New York. In some states, a small, local company could even offer the best price. Below, click through to your state to see which company and cities have the least expensive car insurance based on the numerous studies we’ve conducted.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
What Is The Best Car Insurance Company?
We identified the auto insurance companies with the cheapest rates, but, as with anything, you want to be sure you are getting high quality service from your insurance company. Reliable car insurance companies are critical in ensuring a smooth customer-insurer relationship. There are a few factors we deemed most important to evaluate a company on which affect policy holders’ satisfaction, such as, the average shopping experience, customer service, ability to resolve complaints, and quote filing process.

The Best Car Insurance Companies
Erie: Best Overall Company
State Farm: Best Large Company
Progressive: Best Company After Getting into an Accident
USAA: Best Company for Military Families
Metromile: Best Company for Low Mileage Drivers
The Hartford: Best Company for Handling Claims
Liberty Mutual: Best For the Shopping Experience
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Best Overall Car Insurance Company: Erie
Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we personally found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won’t see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver among others.

The biggest downside to Erie is that it is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. As well, Erie still relies strongly on its agent network; which isn’t always a bad thing. A strong agent network is usually key to ensuring a smooth claims process. If you want to quickly buy car insurance without speaking to anyone though, Erie may not be the company for you. While you can start the process online, you ultimately will have to speak with an agent to finalize your quote. Erie will be ideal for any customers within its market, who do not mind putting in some extra effort to get quality and cheap auto insurance.

Best Large Car Insurance Company: State Farm
Of the biggest auto insurers in the U.S. — State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Progressive and Farmers — State Farm ranks as the greatest overall. State Farm was rated 4/5 stars by customers and policyholders in a JD Power survey on companies shopping experience. State Farm is best known for its large agent network; they boast over 18,000 across the nation. It shouldn’t be surprising then that State Farm gets 5/5 stars for how its agents interact with customers. As well, State Farm is great when it comes to offering discounts. If you go with State Farm you will have up to 15 discounts to be eligible for which can equal hundreds of dollars worth of savings.

While State Farm’s shopping experience is well-reviewed, customers did not feel as strongly about it’s claims handling process. The company scored about the same as the other four large companies, but was still mediocre. A large national company may be expected to not be very efficient because of the various departments involved in handling individual claims. If you want the assurances guaranteed to you by a large, «legacy» carrier, then State Farm is the best to go with.

Best Auto Insurance Company after an Accident: Progressive
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEICO and American Family.

Other pros of Progressive include it being an online company. You can get a quote directly from the Progressive website without having to speak to an agent. Cons of Progressive involve its customer service. Customers in the J.D. Power survey only gave mediocre remarks for Progressive for its buying experience and claims handling process. It isn’t the worst, but Progressive is far from the best in the field. Because of this, Progressive might be the best insurer ideally for customers prioritizing low rates, especially after an accident, and do not mind a bit more cumbersome claims handling process.

Rank Company Starting Rate After Accident Rate Percent Change
1 Progressive $1,241 $1,605 29%
2 Sentry $2,397 $3,220 35%
3 State Farm $1,372 $1,788 35%
4 Erie $1,052 $1,489 41%
5 Safe Auto $1,855 $2,634 42%
Best Car Insurance Company for Military Members: USAA
If you are or were in the military, or if your parents, parent-in-law, or spouse was in the military you are eligible for USAA auto insurance, and they may just be the best company for you. USAA scores 5/5 stars for the both shopping experience, and claims handling process in the J.D. Power study. They do particularly well on how you can report your claims to the company. You should also be highly satisfied with their final settlement claims. For more information, read here.

Best Car Insurance for Low-Mileage Drivers: Metromile
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver’s premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.

Best Auto Insurance for Handling Claims: The Hartford
Also known as AARP, The Hartford was the recipient of the 2016 J.D. Power study for car insurance companies ability to handle claims. The Hartford scored 5/5 stars for nearly every step of the claims process; from notifying them, to the repair process, and the final settlement. Those who think a smooth claims process is the most important factor for car insurance, The Hartford should definitely be considered.

Rank Company Initial Claims Process Service Appraisal Repair Process Settlement Overall
1

The Hartford 5 5 4 5 5 5
2 USAA 5 3 4 4 5 5
3 NJM Insurance Co. 5 5 5 3 5 5
4 Erie Insurance 5 5 5 5 5 5
5 Auto-Owners Insurance 5 5 4 4 5 5
Best Company for the Shopping Experience: Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual actually tied Erie insurance for this category, but since we already called Erie the best overall company, we’ll describe how Liberty Mutual is well known for a strong shopping experience. Customers of Liberty Mutual report in the study they were particularly satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by Liberty Mutual, as well as their relationship with Liberty Mutual agents. If Erie is not located in your state, Liberty Mutual can be a good alternative if you can get a competitive rate.

Rank Company Policy Offerings Contentment w/ Pricing Local Agent Overall
1 Liberty Mutual 5 4 5 5
2 Erie 4 5 4 5
3

USAA 5 5 NA 5
4 The Hartford 5 5 3 5
5 American Family 4 4 4 4
The Best Car Insurance Coverage for You
To determine how much auto insurance is best for you comes down to understanding your current economic circumstances and how the different types of coverage work together. If you own a car, buying car insurance is inevitable, so it is really important you are getting the right amount for the right price. The following table gives a quick summary of what types of insurance you should have.

Type of Coverage Should You Have It?
Bodily Injury Liability

Required in mostly every state except FL
Property Damage Liability Required in every state
Uninsured Motorist Required in 22 states and/or you do not have PIP or Collision insurance
Collision and Comprehensive Recommended only if your car is worth more than $2,000
Person Injury Protection/Medical Payments Required in 15 states and/or you do not have health insurance
As to how much coverage you should have will depend on your economic situation. High net worth individuals should get high liability limits, as in those well above the minimum mandated by the state. In fact, they should have limits that equal their net worth. To read more in-depth about how much coverage you need, you should read on here.

Methodology: How We Got Our Info
We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.