If you want the best protection money can buy, buying an auto policy from one of the best car insurance companies is essential. By buying a high quality policy from a reputable provider, you’ll gain both peace of mind and protection from life-changing financial losses.
In addition to policies that can be tailored to your unique insurance needs, the best car insurance companies generally offer superior customer service, an up-to-date website where you can pay your bill or check your policy details, and a top-notch claims process that makes recovering from an auto accident as seamless as possible.
Most of the time, the only way to find out how much you’ll pay is to apply for several quotes and compare them side by side.
Because car insurance has become such a competitive space, shopping around for the best automobile insurance rates is crucial. Where one company might charge higher rates due to your age or driving history, another might offer special discounts based on an entirely different set of criteria.
What are the best car insurance companies of 2018?
When your goal is finding the best policy at an attractive price, it pays to compare several of the highest rated companies side by side. When figuring out which companies to highlight, we looked at several auto insurance related studies, including J.D. Power’s Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. From those studies, we handpicked several companies that received high ratings across the board.
Progressive Insurance is a well-known company with a large base of customers and strong reviews. According to a recent study by JD Power on insurance companies and how they handle claims, they came in extremely competitive when it comes to pricing, among other things.
Did you know Progressive has more than 18,000,000 drivers insured today?
This means roughly 1 in 10 drivers in America has chosen Progressive over all the others. Stack on an exquisite lineup of discounts like the safe driver discount, pay-in-full discount, a multi-car discount, their multi-policy discount, and more, and you’ve got quite a front-runner.
How about bundling your home and auto to save another 5%?
How about their Snapshot® program to let all you safe drivers take advantage of even more savings?
How about the ability to literally Name Your Price®?
Other benefits Progressive offers include plenty of opportunities to save, a solid online presence (#1 rated website), and their Snapshot program®, which rewards good driving behavior.
- Plenty of available discounts and highly competitive pricing
- Great online presence
- Loan or Lease payoff program
- Roadside assistance
- Strong company financial ratings
- Motorcycle coverage
One mistake many consumers make when they are shopping for Car Insurance is not comparing rates.
It’s often cumbersome to shop a lot of companies, which is why we suggest visiting QuoteWizard.com. QuoteWizard is the largest independent insurance lead company in the United States which offers a tool which can help you get several quotes all at once.
If you decide to use QuoteWizard, they make it extremely simple to find auto insurance plans to meet your needs. They’ll get your zip code since rates vary by location and then collect information about your car’s make and model. You’ll be able to add additional vehicles if you’d like to bundle (and save up to 20%).
Finally they’ll ask for information such as your name and email before providing you with the best providers available in your area for your vehicle(s).
- Many people don’t take the time to properly compare rates on car insurance. Fortunately there’s a service like QuoteWizard.
- Save time and money in a matter of minutes
Founded in 1922, State Farm Insurance has a history of financial stability and customer service satisfaction. With physical offices and agents dispersed throughout the country, State Farm is also known for offering individual service that simply cannot be matched by online-only firms.
The company’s biggest benefits include its brick-and-mortar stores and agents, the many discounts it offers, and its strong mobile app. State Farm also makes it easy and painless to get quotes online, which means you don’t have to head into a local office if you don’t want to.
- Local offices and agents provide in-person help
- Great mobile app and website
- Plenty of discounts available
One of the main advantages of buying auto insurance through Esurance (owned by Allstate) is you have the control and flexibility to build a policy which fits your needs. Esurance was one of the first companies which start selling directly to the customer instead of going through an agent.
They have made it incredibly simple to customize your plan, get a quote, and get approved for protection. The problem with all the customization and convenience is it’s going to come at a price.
Esurance says they are the “insurance for the modern world,” and they truly are. They let anyone get a quote as long as you have an internet connection. The days of going into an insurance office are long gone. Now you can get an insurance policy without having to spend hours on the phone.
- Quick and easy access to auto insurance
- Customized options
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Founded in 1912, Liberty Mutual Insurance insures more than 1.5 million vehicles and has some of the top customer service ratings.
- Ranked “among the best” by J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study
- 24-hour claims service
- Great standard coverage, as well as the option to add:
- Accident forgiveness: Your insurance rates won’t go up when you’re involved in your first accident.
- New car replacement: If you total your car when it’s less than a year old and has fewer than 15,000 miles, they’ll reimburse you the cost of a new car, not just the depreciated value.
- Better car replacement: You’ll be reimbursed for a car that is one model year newer and 15,000 fewer miles than your totaled car.
- Deductible fund: Reduce your deductible by $100 when you add this feature, and then another $100 every year after that.
- Policies can be expensive if you are purchasing a single policy.
If you’re looking for a car insurance company that offers high quality insurance policies with the opportunity for discounts, Allstate Insurance should be on your short list. Allstate received fairly high ratings across both studies mentioned in this article, with its highest marks received from customers who reported a positive rental car experience.
Allstate Insurance offers the best of both worlds when it comes to the user experience. With brick and mortar offices and agents placed all over the country plus a user-friendly and helpful website, customers have the opportunity to get in-person help or access information online at any time.
- Most areas have a physical office and local agents
- Multiple opportunities for discounts for bundling, anti-theft devices, and passive restraint
- Consumer-friendly website
- Several comparable companies received higher ratings across the board
- Can be expensive if you don’t bundle policies
USAA received extremely high marks from J.D. Power’s Claims Satisfaction Survey, including 5/5 in overall customer satisfaction. In addition, USAA customers were extremely satisfied with their final settlement after an accident, which is one of the most important indicators or a high quality insurance company.
The biggest downside to USAA is that it is only available to members or former members of the United State military and their close family members. So, if you’re in the general public, you won’t have the opportunity to buy a policy from USAA.
- Top ratings, including overall customer satisfaction
- Superior customer service
- Diverse policy options to meet anyone’s needs
While Auto-Owners Insurance keeps a fairly low profile, they receive extremely high marks across the board. In fact, J.D. Power awarded Auto-Owners Insurance the highest rating in their 2015 Auto Claims Study, with a 5/5 in every category except for rental car experience. That puts Auto-Owners Insurance ahead of the pack in terms of overall customer satisfaction whenever a claim is filed.
The fact that Auto-Owners Insurance has been around since 1916 should also put consumer’s minds at ease. During that time, they have exhibited financial stability consistently. Auto-Owners Insurance also has 6,300 independent agents, meaning you can buy your policy directly from an individual who understands your needs.
- High ratings for customer service and claims experiences
- Individual agents who care
- Variety of discounts available
- Policies can be expensive if you don’t qualify for discounts
- Website isn’t as user-friendly as it could be
With more than 200 years of history in business, The Hartford has built an excellent reputation for customer service and claims processing. As of today, the company is still receiving high marks from companies like J.D. Power. In its 2015 Auto Claims Satisfaction study, The Hartford received excellent marks (4/5 or 5/5) in every category except for service interaction.
Although The Hartford is an old company, they still offer some of the best technology in the business. Using their website, you can shop around for and even apply for a new policy. Plus, you’ll have 24/7 access to agents either on the phone or online.
- Multiple policy discounts
- Top ratings for claims management
- Guaranteed renewals of your policy as long as you can drive
- Low ratings for service experiences during the claims process
- The best benefits go to AARP members
- Only available to U.S. military members, veterans, or their close family members
Who hasn’t heard of GEICO? Their lizard-like mascot is one of the most recognizable insurance company spokesmen (spokes-lizard?). Just because they are one of the most recognizable doesn’t mean they are the best option.
They have a quote tool you can use on their website to determine how much you’ll pay for your plan. You can also submit a claim or make a payment through their website as well.
There are a lot of benefits of having an auto insurance policy through GEICO. You’ll have access to several additional coverages you can add:
- Emergency roadside assistance
- Breakdown coverage
- Ridesharing insurance
- Auto Repair Xpress
All of these benefits are going to impact your monthly premiums. Some of them are more affordable than others, but they can be a great way to get the most out of your auto insurance coverage.
- Additional riders
- Excellent customer reviews
- Not the most affordable option
- Difficult claim process
How to pick a policy with the best auto insurance companies
Knowing which companies received the highest marks year after year is just part of the battle. Beyond researching the best auto insurance companies on the market, you’ll also need to decide which type of policy to buy – and how much coverage you really need. On top of those factors, you’ll need to consider how high your deductible should be.
Consumer Reports offers an extremely helpful guide that highlights the steps you can take to find the best policy for your needs. Even if you’re fairly happy with your policy, they suggest shopping around to compare rates at least every two or three years. That way, you have a good idea of where car insurance rates are headed and how much you could save if you switch. Plus, it never hurts to shop around. Based on your age, your driving record, and other factors, the policy you have now could be considerably cheaper if you switched firms.
Here are some tips to consider as you shop around and compare policies:
1. Pick a top-rated insurer
By checking auto insurance ratings, you gain insight from each company’s existing customer base. Consumer Reports suggests reading through the most recent auto insurance claims and satisfaction studies to see which companies consistently come out on top.
2. Set the right deductible
No matter whether you buy liability coverage or full coverage for your vehicle, you need to pick a deductible that meets you needs. Consumer Reports suggests choosing a higher deductible if you want to save on monthly premiums, but setting a lower deductible if you want to avoid a large out-of-pocket expense in the event of a car accident. “If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an at-fault accident in years, or ever, opting for a higher deductible on collision coverage might be a good bet,” writes Consumer Reports. Just remember to keep that much cash on hand in case you need it.
3. Don’t buy state minimum coverage if you truly want a high quality auto policy
While state minimum coverage is less expensive in the short-term, it can prove extremely costly if you have a claim that far exceeds the cap on the policy you purchased. By investing in a policy that offers more generous coverage limits, you can save yourself some heartache and protect your personal property in the event of a costly accident.
4. Ask friends and family for recommendations
While reading auto insurance provider reviews and ratings is a smart move, you can also ask family and friends for their recommendations. General ratings can help you gauge the quality of any company; however, personal reviews tend to hold more weight. Ask friends and family members whether they have had a good experience with their auto insurer before you purchase a policy. You may be able to nail down the best insurer for your needs based on the suggestions of others.
5. Get quotes from multiple companies
If you’ve read plenty of insurance company reviews and still can’t decide, it might help to get several quotes to compare. Depending on where you live and other factors, one company could offer a much better deal on auto insurance than the rest. In this scenario – where one company is much cheaper over all – you should figure out why the price is so affordable. Are you comparing apples to apples?
6. Compare similar policies
Speaking of an “apples to apples” comparison, this part of your search is crucial. To find the right auto insurance company and policy for your needs, you need to compare similar auto insurance policies among multiple providers. This means comparing policies with the same levels of coverage and a similar deductible.
How to choose car insurance coverage limits
While you can buy a similar level of auto insurance coverage from multiple insurers, it might be wise to tailor your policy to your specific needs. The higher your coverage limits, the more you’ll generally pay for your premiums. However, having higher coverage limits also means more security in the event of a catastrophic accident. The same is true for your deductible as well; with a lower deductible, you’ll pay a lot less out-of-pocket if an accident should occur. On the flip side, you’ll pay higher premiums to have a lower annual deductible.
As you navigate the intricacies of comparing policies among different insurers, it’s important to decide on the coverage limits you’re comfortable with as well.
Before purchasing your new auto insurance policy:
1. Consider your assets
If you own your home and have plenty of other assets, you should consider buying a policy with higher coverage limits than what is normally offered. For more peace of mind, consider buying the top tier of auto coverage to protect your family. With more coverage in place, you can ensure you won’t run out of coverage in the event of a catastrophic accident – or worse, get sued by someone who plans to go after your assets in court.
Of course, some people also buy a generic umbrella policy to kick in in times like these. With an umbrella policy, you’ll have additional coverage to tap into if your auto insurance policy’s limits have been reached, or if someone sues you in a court of law.
2. Take your car payment into account
If you paid cash for your car or paid it off slowly over time, it’s your right to choose an auto insurance policy with any limits you desire. If you financed your car and still owe money, on the other hand, your lender might dictate the type of policy you have to buy.
Most lenders who carry auto loans will require you to add comprehensive coverage with collision benefits to your policy. This type of coverage is definitely more expensive, but it will help defray the costs if you should damage or total your car while you’re still making payments.
Gap coverage is another type of coverage that will “bridge the gap” between what your car is worth and how much you owe. Since many newer cars tend to lose value quickly, this type of coverage can be a smart purchase towards the beginning of your auto loan.
3. Figure out what kind of driver you are
If you’re a reliable driver who has never been in an accident, having the highest levels of coverage may be the last thing on your mind. If you’re not a great driver or have been in several accidents, on the other hand, you may be keenly aware of just how important those coverage limits are.
At the end of the day, the type of driver you are and how often you drive may play a part in the coverage limits you select. If you drive infrequently, you may be more comfortable with lower or average limits. If you drive at high risk times or commute back and forth to work, on the other hand, more or better coverage might help you sleep better at night.
4. Decide how much you can afford to pay if you have an accident
Coverage limits play a huge role in how much your auto insurance premiums cost, but so will your deductible. Since you’ll be required to pay your deductible in full to access your insurance benefits after an accident, it’s important to make sure your deductible is affordable enough you can cover it with your savings. The right auto policy for your needs will have the right combination of healthy coverage limits with an annual deductible you can actually afford.
Want the lowest auto insurance rates? Do this.
While auto insurance rates are extremely competitive, they still vary widely depending on the company you use and the type of policy you purchase. With that being said, there are still plenty of ways to keep your costs lower than average.
Consider these tips if price is an important consideration:
1. Ask about discounts
Some of the best car insurance companies offer discounts on anything from bundled policies to good credit, zero claims, theft protection devices, and more. Others offer discounts for paying your six-month premium in-full or installing an electronic device that lets the company monitor your driving habits over the long haul.
Allstate Insurance, for example, offers Drivewise – a discount program for customers who install a tracking device into their vehicle. By letting Allstate monitor your driving habits, you can qualify for a discount of up to 30 percent.
2. Take advantage of low mileage discounts
If you work at home or have a short commute to work, some car insurance firms will extend a discount. Low mileage discounts can also apply if you carpool to work and share miles and expenses.
Qualifying for a low mileage discount may require you to prove how much you drive each year. Further, each auto insurance company has their own limits on how many miles you can rack up and still qualify for this discount.
The best way to find out if you qualify for a low mileage discount is to ask your auto insurance agent when you apply for coverage – or even after you qualify.
3. Shop around
If your goal is saving money, the most important step in your search for car insurance is shopping around. Auto insurance rates can easily vary by hundreds of dollars per year with the same car and driver. If you want the best shot at affordable rates, it’s crucial to shop around with at least 5-6 auto insurance firms.
Fortunately, shopping around online or over the phone is easy. Most of the time, a quick phone call or online inquiry is all it takes to get a handful of new auto insurance quotes in minutes. Make sure to shop with private companies and insurance brokers who may be able to offer a car insurance quote from different insurers.
Also, don’t base your decision on price alone. Where securing an affordable policy is important, the quality of your auto insurance policy is equally crucial. Buying a cut-rate policy won’t leave you better off if you get in a wreck and really need coverage. When shopping for a policy, you should focus on price and value.
4. Consider raising your deductible
Whether you’re shopping around for a new auto insurance policy or planning to keep the one you have, raising your annual deductible is a smart way to save on your monthly premiums.
If you want a $500 deductible to access your auto coverage, your insurance will be more expensive than if you chose a $1,000 deductible from the start. To save money, you should choose the highest deductible you can reasonably afford to pay.
If you do choose to go with a higher deductible, make sure you keep enough cash on-hand to cover it at any time. If you have a $1,000 deductible on your auto policy, for example, you should set aside at least that much in an account – or make sure you keep enough cash to cover your deductible in your regular emergency fund.
5. Reduce coverage on older cars
While you might consider full coverage on your cars, that doesn’t mean you need it. Where full coverage is smart on newer cars, liability insurance coverage may be a smarter move for older, paid-off models.
To find your break-even point, check out how much your car is actually worth on a website like Kelley Blue Book. If the cost of full coverage on your car is nearly as much as the car is worth itself, converting your policy to liability only can help you save money without jeopardizing your financial life.
6. Keep your credit in good shape
Most of the best auto insurance companies check your credit before they extend a new policy. If your credit is excellent, this will only help you get the best auto insurance rates. If your credit is poor, on the other hand, you might be asked to pay a whole lot more.
To keep your credit in good health, check your credit score and report frequently. While Credit Karma lets you see an estimate of your credit score for free at any time, AnnualCreditReport.com is a government-approved website that lets you see your full credit report from all three credit reporting agencies once per year for free.
7. Keep insurance costs in mind when you choose a car
The newer your car is, the more expensive your car insurance premiums will likely be. Also consider the fact that some car models with expensive replacement parts can cost more to insure regardless of age.
Consumer Reports suggests asking your car dealer to show you the “Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information Booklet,” produced annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That way, you’ll be in the best position to avoid models with insurance costs that are higher than most.
The Bottom Line
When shopping around on the best deal for auto insurance, it’s important to look at more than just premiums. The best auto insurance companies should offer more than affordability – they should also receive good ratings and reviews from their existing customer base, same goes for life insurance, burial insurance and health insurance.
The best way to find this out is to complete some research on your own. Look at some of the recent studies completed and read through them, then read as many online reviews as you can find. Also, make sure to shop around and compare rates among the handful of companies you feel comfortable with. The more you shop around and compare, the better off you’ll be.