If you own a car, you’re probably aware that you need to carry auto insurance.
All 50 states require drivers to have car insurance with certain minimum coverages, mainly to compensate for injuries and property damage due to vehicle crashes. If you lease your car or took out a car loan to pay for it, you already know that lenders require additional coverage to protect their financial interests in the event the vehicle is seriously damaged or totaled.
This coverage comes at a cost, of course. But you can do a lot to control that cost — and get more value from what you do pay — by choosing the right car insurance company for your needs.
The Best Car Insurance Companies
These are the best car insurance companies on the market right now. Each excels at one thing, whether it’s rewarding loyal customers, keeping premiums low at a baseline, or offering potentially valuable policy add-ons like new car replacement.
Our best overall pick offers the greatest value for the most drivers, in our opinion. Let’s dive in.
Best Overall: State Farm
State Farm doesn’t blow away the competition in any specific way, but it offers undeniable value for drivers from coast to coast. That’s enough to make it our best overall pick for car insurance customers.
State Farm’s top selling points include:
- The largest agent network in the industry, with nearly 20,000 office-based professionals
- An extensive array of discounts, including two safe-driving programs
- The highest possible financial strength rating from AM Best (A++)
- A very low proportion of customer complaints
- A direct sales platform that can bypass the agent network if you wish
- Competitive rates for teen drivers and students
- Competitive rates for drivers with good credit, though drivers with poor credit will pay more
Best Customer Service: Auto-Owners Insurance
Auto-Owners Insurance isn’t available everywhere, including big southern and western states like California and Texas. But if you’re fortunate enough to live in its coverage area, you can take advantage of its legendary customer service built on a network of loyal, hardworking agents.
As long as you’re willing to go through a local agent to get a car insurance quote, which is probably the case if you’re seeking great customer service, you’d be hard-pressed to find better than Auto-Owners. That’s thanks to:
- The best possible customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Power
- An unusually low rate of consumer complaints
- The second-highest financial strength rating from AM Best
- Great subjective customer service outcomes, including prompt responses to quote requests
Auto-Owners Insurance has more going for it too. Additional features include:
- 24/7 tow service anywhere in North America
- Multiple deductible reduction programs that can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses when you’re involved in an accident with another Auto-Owners policyholder
Best for Service Members and Their Families: USAA
Let’s be clear: Most drivers are not eligible for USAA auto insurance. To qualify, you need to be a current or honorably discharged member of a qualifying U.S. Armed Forces branch or be closely related to someone who is.
That leaves out about 95% of the U.S. population. But if you’re fortunate enough to qualify for a USAA policy, you can look forward to a bevy of sign-up and loyalty incentives that — per USAA data — saved new USAA customers upwards of $700 in the first year after switching.
- Top scores in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction rankings and other measures of great customer service
- Impressive customer loyalty discounts (the longer you’ve been a USAA member, the better)
- Family discounts (more family members on your membership means bigger savings)
- Safe driver and defensive driving discounts
- New vehicle discounts
- Multipolicy discounts (more USAA insurance policies means lower premiums on each)
Best Safe-Driving Discount: Nationwide
Nationwide offers direct and agent-based sales to serve the preferences of its diverse customer base. Although it’s widely available, it boasts a proportionally low share of customer complaints, even if its overall customer satisfaction rating can’t compete with the best of the best.
Where Nationwide really shines is on competitive pricing, broad policy choices, seemingly endless policy discounts, and a vast array of perks cut-rate insurers simply can’t match.
On the discount front, Nationwide’s safe-driving leads the pack. Drivers willing to install a tracking device in their vehicles qualify for an instant 10% car insurance discount and may earn up to 40% off with safe-driving practices through Nationwide’s SafeRide program.
- Affinity discounts for members of hundreds of organizations, from credit unions and nonprofits to municipal governments and Fortune 500 companies
- Quick buy discount rewards policyholders who start a new policy within a week of requesting a quote
- Deep bundle discounts for policyholders with multiple Nationwide policies
- Accident forgiveness included with all policies by default, but you can remove it for a modest premium discount
- Optional vanishing deductible program — a modestly higher premium in exchange for a shrinking deductible every accident-free year
Best General Policy Discounts: Amica
Amica is a smaller insurer with a big heart — and an unusually wide array of policy discounts. Policyholders who bundle home and auto save up to 15%. Multiple cars are good for discounts of up to 25%. And young policyholders whose parents have been with Amica for five consecutive years qualify for an unspecified variable discount.
If you’re among the tens of millions of Americans living in a multicar household, and Amica operates in your state, this provider should automatically make the cut.
Amica offers another unusual, although not unheard-of, solution that may reduce your long-term insurance costs: dividend policies, which pay back up to 20% of premiums over time.
Since you’ll pay more upfront and will be set back when you file a claim, you should only explore a dividend policy if you’re confident you can avoid Amica’s claims department. If you can, an Amica dividend policy could magnify the company’s already competitive pricing.
- Wide range of other insurance types, including flood, business, and property
- Towing and Labor coverage can help cover the cost of roadside assistance and rescue
- Preferred pricing on new and pre-owned cars thanks to Amica’s relationship with TrueCar
Best Policy Add-Ons: Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual offers reasonably priced direct-sold auto insurance policies that draw lower-than-average complaint volumes and impressive discounts. One standout is the RightTrack discount, which can save you up to 30% for documented safe-driving habits.
Liberty Mutual is even more notable for its optional policy add-ons, including:
- Accident Forgiveness, which essentially gives you a mulligan on your first accident claim if your record is otherwise clean — you won’t see a premium increase as you would with other insurers
- Better Car Replacement, which provides you with a car one model year newer than the totaled vehicle it replaces, even if that vehicle isn’t new
- All policies come standard with fixed rates for 12 months, even when you choose a monthly payment option
- 24/7 roadside assistance with all policies
- Lifetime guarantees on all work performed through authorized repair shops
Best for Older Drivers: The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford is the exclusive car insurance partner of AARP, giving its 40 million-odd members access to competitively priced policies tailored to their needs.
If you’re not an AARP member or don’t qualify for membership due to age — you must be at least 50 years old to join — then you may not qualify for auto insurance through this program. That means the program’s appeal isn’t as broad as most national competitors, though it’s still comfortably ahead of USAA on this measure.
For those who do qualify, The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford’s auto insurance offers a slew of discounts and perks that cautious older drivers are sure to love. RecoverCare is particularly welcome. It reimburses home-related expenses such as landscaping and pet care, as well as commuting costs, following an injury-producing accident.
- New policyholders save more than $500 per year
- Lifetime car repair assistance with eligible coverage
- 24/7 claims support by phone
- New car replacement coverage when you total a qualifying new vehicle
Best for Roadside Assistance: Allstate
Allstate’s reputation precedes it. Despite high name recognition following decades of growth and untold millions in marketing investments, Allstate remains known for reasonable premiums and excellent customer service.
It does one type of customer service better than any other insurer on the market: roadside assistance. Allstate is the only major insurer that offers multiple roadside assistance and driver support programs of the sort AAA is known for. These plans include basic travel insurance coverages as well.
For $7/month for the first year, Roadside Advantage offers:
- 24-hour roadside assistance
- Up to 3 roadside rescues per year
- Towing up to $150 per incident
- Jumpstarts, fuel delivery, lockout service, and more
- $1,500 in trip interruption coverage
- $100 in roadside hazard coverage
For $12/month for the first year, Roadside Elite is even better:
- 24/7 roadside assistance with up to 5 roadside rescues per year
- Towing up to $250 per incident
- The same roadside assistance options as Roadside Advantage
- RV coverage
- $1,500 in trip interruption coverage
- $250 in roadside hazard coverage
- Get a customized quote from your local agent
- Tons of add-on options and discounts to choose from
- Reduce your premiums with the Drivewise safe-driving discount
- Gap insurance for rideshare drivers
Best Application Process: Progressive
Progressive is another highly recognizable insurer with tons of discount opportunities and more than its fair share of add-ons. Like some of its fellow national providers, its high incidence of complaints is partly the result of its size. J.D. Power’s overall satisfaction rating finds most customers satisfied with, if not overjoyed by, Progressive’s service.
But Progressive’s real differentiator is a smooth, insightful onboarding process with two features worth noting:
- Transparent quote comparisons that show you at a glance how your proposed policy’s premium stacks up against comparable coverage from other top insurers — and whether it’s the lowest of the bunch
- The Name Your Price tool, which tailors coverage to your preset budget
The path of least resistance is to begin and complete your quote online, but you can chat with an agent or sales rep if you need more help.
- Impressive safe-driving discounts for Snapshot program participants, who save around $150 on average (per Progessive)
- Deeper discounts for low-mileage driving and limited or no driving at night
- A range of other types of insurance with bundle discounts available
Best for Consistently Low Premiums: Geico
Geico is yet another household name with impeccable financials and extremely competitive pricing. In fact, Geico is the best auto insurer on this list for people seeking low premiums without compromising coverage.
That said, Geico is not for those seeking white-glove treatment. From onboarding to claims processing, this company is all about efficiency. You get what you pay for, in other words.
- Use the comprehensive Geico mobile app to make policy changes, file claims, and more
- Great lineup of specialty vehicle insurance, including boat, RV, and motorcycle
- Wide array of specialty insurance options available, including overseas insurance, travel insurance, and umbrella insurance
- Average annual auto insurance savings upwards of $500 when you switch (per Geico)
Methodology: How We Select the Best Car Insurance Companies
We consider a number of important factors when evaluating car insurance companies. Ultimately, we select insurers that excel in at least one of these areas, and preferably more than one.
The auto insurance industry is really competitive, so most auto insurers claim they have the best rates around. In truth, premiums vary quite widely across the industry.
Generally, direct-to-consumer insurance companies (also known as online insurance companies) offer more competitive rates than traditional insurers that require or encourage you to buy through an agent. We give preference to insurers that are cheaper overall, though we encourage you to use a quote aggregator like Policygenius to source multiple quotes quickly.
Most of the auto insurance companies on this list issue policies nationwide. However, some companies stick to smaller geographies or don’t offer certain products in certain states. All else being equal, we give preference to insurers that don’t discriminate by location.
New Customer Discounts
One outward sign that the car insurance business is competitive is insurers’ constant hawking of new customer discounts. Insurers need a steady flow of new customers to offset departing ones, and they’re willing to cut newbies a break to secure their business.
We’re fans of companies known for generous new customer discounts, though the real tell is whether those low rates remain in later years.
General Policy Discounts
Auto insurance companies offer a ton of optional discounts that can reduce your premiums:
- Bundle discounts for people who have multiple policies with the same company
- Multiple car discounts for households with more than one vehicle
- Homeownership discounts, which may apply even if you don’t have homeowners’ insurance with the same company
- Good student discounts for people who maintain solid grade point averages
- Paid-in-full discounts for people who pay their policies annually rather than monthly
- Low-mileage discounts for drivers who don’t use their cars much or at all (such as college students away from home)
- Affinity discounts for policyholders who work for partner organizations
- Hybrid and electric vehicle discounts
Our view on policy discounts is: the more, the better. We order our list of the best auto insurance companies accordingly.
Loyalty and Safe Driving Discounts
Many auto insurance companies also offer discounts for loyal customers and policyholders who avoid trouble on the road. These include:
- Discounts for policyholders who agree to have their driving tracked by a device installed in their vehicle
- Claims-free discounts for drivers who avoid claims year after year
- Safe driving discounts for drivers who avoid accidents and citations
- General loyalty discounts for policyholders who remain onboard for years and years
We’re fans of insurers that make it as pleasant as possible for policyholders to remain loyal and reward longtime customers as they deserve.
Every auto insurance company offers optional policy add-ons that can significantly enhance the value to the policyholder. We’re big fans of companies that go the extra mile here.
These add-ons do come at a cost, of course. One popular example is new car replacement coverage, which typically pays for a brand-new vehicle when a covered car is totaled before it clocks 15,000 miles.
Try as they might, even the best car insurance companies can’t satisfy every customer. There will always be disgruntled policyholders in the world.
That said, great auto insurers tend to have a lower proportion of customers dissatisfied enough to lodge formal complaints with industry associations or state attorneys general offices. While adjusting for total customer counts, we give preference to insurers with relatively low complaint volumes.
Auto Insurance FAQs
You have questions about car insurance and car insurance companies. We have answers.
Do You Really Need Auto Insurance?
Yes, you really do need auto insurance. While approximately 13% of U.S. drivers go without auto insurance, doing so is the very definition of tempting fate. If you’re involved in a serious car accident that results in significant property damage or injury, you could be on the hook for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
Besides, carrying adequate auto insurance coverage is the law. Penalties for driving without insurance vary widely by state, but they’re often stiff. They can include hefty fines — up to $2,000 or more, depending on the state — and reinstatement fees, temporary license or registration suspension (or both), and prison time, even for a first offense.
How Much Should Car Insurance Cost?
As with any type of insurance, auto insurance premiums vary widely by issuer and geography. The laws in your state can have an outsize impact on your car insurance costs, with premiums in states with no-fault laws generally coming in higher.
Auto insurance policy pricing is also subject to change based on factors like:
- The make and model of your vehicle
- The replacement cost of your vehicle, which might be different from its market value
- How much you drive, as measured by the number of miles driven per year
- Where you park your car at night — garaged vehicles tend to cost less to insure than vehicles parked on the street
- Your ZIP code — unfortunately, auto insurance premiums tend to be higher in neighborhoods with higher property crime rates
- Your coverage levels (coverage limits) for essential coverages like bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage
- Your deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage, if you’ve chosen these coverage options
- Whether you add non-mandatory coverage options or features such as a driving habits tracker, which can significantly reduce your premiums but which you may consider an invasion of your privacy
- Whether you have more than one insurance policy with your auto insurer — bundle discounts are increasingly common these days
What Exactly Is No-Fault Auto Insurance?
No-fault auto insurance covers certain costs arising out of car accidents that result in personal injury. Sometimes referred to as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, no-fault insurance reimburses covered medical expenses and lost income due to injury up to predetermined coverage limits.
No-fault auto insurance is mandatory in about 20 states and may be subject to minimum coverage requirements. As the name implies, it provides coverage regardless of who is found to be at fault for the accident.
How Can You Save Money on Car Insurance?
First, consider how each of the factors outlined above affects your auto insurance premiums. Seemingly small changes to your policy can add up to big savings if you’re thoughtful about it.
- Raising your collision and comprehensive deductibles
- Removing collision and comprehensive coverage altogether if you own your vehicle outright (otherwise, your lender might object)
- Installing a driving habits tracker in your vehicle
- Bundling your auto insurance with other forms of coverage, such as homeowners’ or renters’ insurance
- Driving less (and making sure your insurance company knows it)
How to Choose the Best Car Insurance Company
It should now be clear that high-quality auto insurance coverage at affordable rates is not difficult to find, even for those without perfect driving records. But that doesn’t mean drivers shouldn’t be discerning about their choice of auto insurer.
To weed out companies that don’t make the cut, limit your search to insurers with the following characteristics:
- Adequate financial stability, as measured by leading third-party evaluator AM Best
- High claims satisfaction ratings per J.D. Power, the gold standard in driver customer satisfaction metrics
- Aboveboard business practices, as measured by complaints lodged with state insurance commissioners and reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Additionally, consider the more subjective factors discussed above: available policy discounts, ease of filing a claim and getting paid, customer loyalty perks, and more.
Car insurance is a hefty but necessary expense. It’s worth taking the time to choose the best fit for your needs.