Best Car Insurance Companies for 2020
Getting your car insured is always going to be a good idea. Why? While careful and responsible driving goes without saying, we drive on roads that can, at times, be unsafe and having car insurance coverage is going to save you a lot of trouble, and a lot of money!
Searching for the best car insurance options can be draining, and you probably don’t have time to plow through endless pages of information. Don’t worry – because I’ve done the research for you, and then compiled a list of 10 best car insurance companies.
The top-rated companies below were selected based on customer reviews, J.D. Power’s Insurance Shopping Study, and my personal experience to an extent.
Best Car Insurance Companies
Here are the top 10 auto insurance companies for 2020:
Allstate is an excellent option – and it’s one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S.
The company offers a long list of discounts on insurance premiums (like Safe Driving, Good Driver, Multiple Policy, etc.) – more discounts than the other 12 major national companies.
Their app makes it easy to submit claims info – all you need to do is snap up a few pictures and send. You can also chat with them directly from the app about your policy or other general questions.
Unlike some of the other online-only insurers, however, Allstate also has agents available, for those times you need personalized service or just don’t want to deal with technology.
I will note that Allstate isn’t the best choice if your credit score is poor or if you have a bad driving record. For those drivers, Amica or Geico will offer more competitive rates.
- Nifty mobile app.
- Personalized insurance guidance.
- Discounts and bonuses.
- Not great if you have a poor credit score.
- Not great if you have a bad record.
LEARN MORE: Read our full Allstate Car Insurance review
I’ve talked about Metromile before – a pay per mile insurance which offers a low base rate with just a few pennies per mile.
Metromile is an excellent auto insurance company for those who only drive occasionally. They are also ahead of their competitors in terms of tech solutions.
- Great for occasional city drivers. If you drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year – you could save hundreds of dollars on car insurance.
- Tech-savvy solutions. Metromile’s mobile app allows you to check your mileage as well as many other cool things like finding your parked car, getting street sweeping alerts to avoid parking tickets, collecting and accessing data on your speed, distance and gas spend, and giving you updates on your car health. Pretty handy!
- Limited availability. Metromile is only available in Arizona, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington
- Not as competitive for frequent drivers. You are unlikely to save much if you drive more than 10,000 miles per year.
LEARN MORE: Read our full Metromile review
Are you a tech lover? Then Geico may be just the insurer for you.
Their app has more than 1.9 million reviews in Apple’s App Store alone, and averages a 4.8-star rating. This is by far more than any other insurer, and pretty much guarantees that you’ll have an easy time managing your policy from your pocket, since the company’s digital experience is so well-tested.
In addition to the convenience of their digital offering, Geico also offers competitive prices and quick service.
- Superior app. The Geico app receives a lot of praise. The app makes it super easy to reach an agent, get a quote, manage your insurance, and make payments.
- Plenty of discounts. There are plenty of discounts to choose from – from multi-vehicle to equipment. And, if you’re in the military or federal employment, you could get additional offers.
- Digital-only experience. With Geico, you’ll get a smooth and quick digital experience – but if you’re looking to deal with an agent in person who will be there to solve all your insurance problems, Geico won’t really offer you that.
- Not great for drivers who have had an at-fault accident within five years. If that’s you, you may want to look elsewhere. Geico provides higher quotes for higher-risk drivers than other insurers.
LEARN MORE: Read our full GEICO Insurance Review
4. Erie Insurance
Erie Insurance is an excellent choice. It ranks high in customer satisfaction, price, policy offerings – and generally makes customers happy!
Interestingly, they were also the company that completely busted the myth that Millennials are not interested in cars: in 2018, their research showed that 85% of Millennials who don’t have a car are planning to get one.
- Customer satisfaction. Erie Insurance ranks high in customer satisfaction – and knowing that other customers are satisfied is reassuring.
- Fewer customer complaints. Customers of Erie Insurance don’t seem to run into trouble as much. In 2018, it had fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators.
- Locked auto insurance rate. Nobody likes increasing premiums. With Erie, it won’t change unless you add or remove cars or drivers.
- Limited availability. Erie Insurance only operates in 12 states – Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and some parts of the District of Columbia. If you don’t live within these states, tough luck (and a shame).
- No smartphone app. Sadly, there’s no smartphone app. For me personally, knowing that I can sort my insurance out on an app is very important – but that may not be the case for everyone. On the other hand, – the website is pretty handy.
5. Amica Mutual Insurance
According to J.D. Power’s Insurance Shopping Study 2019, Amica ranks high in all aspects – including website and policy offerings. It may not be among the largest insurers of the nation, but it is definitely mighty in terms of customer satisfaction!
- Customer Satisfaction. It consistently ranks high in terms of customer satisfaction.
- Amica offers some great discounts, such as loyalty, claim-free driving, and E-discounts (e.g., when you pay your bills electronically).
- Attractive built-in perks. Free lock replacement if you lose your keys (happens, right?), free repair of an airbag if it explodes, and more.
- There are no repair facility restrictions. You can use any shop for repairs.
- A variety of coverage options. Amica has one of the most extensive selections of driver and vehicle coverages – many of which aren’t offered by other companies.
- No online quotes. You can start entering your details for a quote online, but with Amica, you will have to get on the phone to get an official quote in the end.
- Expensive for the first year. Because Amica is a mutual company, the first year can be costly.
- The app doesn’t have a very high rating. They could probably up their game with their app a bit.
LEARN MORE: Read our full Amica Mutual Insurance Review.
6. Clearcover Insurance
Clearcover may not appear in the list of major car insurers – but this innovative company does challenge auto insurance giants!
- Uses AI to keep costs down. They offer some great prices – all thanks to artificial intelligence which they use to market their car insurance.
- Quick insurance progress. They understand that time is precious – and you can really get insured in minutes, over the app.
- Great online-only experience. If you’re looking for smoothe online-only experience, Clearcover is excellent for that.
- Limited availability. Clearcover is only available to drivers in California.
- Online only. Again, that could be a con for someone who is looking to meet with an agent to discuss the most suitable options for them. The experience is mostly online.
- New company. This could be a con to some people because new often is associated with “lack of expertise.” However, even though Clearcover was only founded in 2016, they are definitely challenging the old-school ways of buying car insurance by offering quick and affordable quotes.
- Only sells car insurance. Unlike many other auto insurers which also sell different types of insurance, Clearcover doesn’t. This means you won’t be able to bundle up your policies together, which may sometimes be a convenient way to get a discount.
Like cutting-edge apps? Esurance may be a car insurer worth considering then.
- User-friendly website. Esurance is known for its user-friendly website.
- Cutting-edge apps. Esurance has apps like DriveSense which allow drivers in 37 states to track driving behavior (e.g., speed time of day you drive, and hard braking). And – if you’re a good driver – you get rewarded with policy discounts.
- Allows you to manage your own policies. Like being in control? Esurance sounds like the right company for you.
- Widely available. What’s great about Esurance is that it’s available in 43 states, which makes things easy.
- Pay Per Mile program. This program is available in Oregon only, but it does make things cheaper if you don’t drive very much.
- No in-person customer service. Again, if you’re looking for an agent you can meet and discuss your options – you won’t really find that with Esurance.
- Higher rates. Esurance rates are higher than average, which means your pockets may be emptier than usual. It does offer an excellent user experience – but that comes at a price.
LEARN MORE: Read our full Esurance review
If you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, NJM may be an excellent option to think about.
It receives great ratings when it comes to customer satisfaction and value.
- Competitive prices. NJM offers affordable premiums.
- High customer satisfaction. Generally, NJM receives great reviews from its users (especially when it comes to claims processing and coverage).
- Great for young drivers. NJM offer cheaper sample premiums for young drivers and single males.
- Cheapest for drivers with poor credit. The premiums offered to those with poor credit are more affordable than the ones provided by Geico.
- Great for those with one at-fault crash. If that’s you, NJM may also be one of the best companies to insure with. They won’t charge you more than they charge good drivers.
- Excellent claims experience. NJM was the first company to receive J.D. Power’s Claims Certification. The certification recognizes brands that provide exceptional claims experience – so you know you’d receive outstanding service in that area!
- NJM insurance is only available to employees of specific organizations.
- Limited to certain areas. NJM is also available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
9. 21st Century Insurance
21st Century Insurance is a smaller company, which doesn’t offer many perks with its policies.
Now, that could also be a good thing – because that may keep the costs down. Although that’s not the case with every profile.
- Versatile app. The app may not be very slick – but it does have the features you’d expect. You can view your policy documents, pay your bills, view insurance IDs, and file claims. What more could you want? Oh, and the app allows you to call roadside assistance when in trouble.
- Good rates for those with poor credit. On average, 21st Century Insurance offers cheaper deals than many other insurers to those with credit scores of less than 580.
- Limited availability. 21st Century only offers policies to drivers in California (and Hawaii).
- No online claims. If you want to file a claim, you’ll have to ring a phone number and actually speak to a person. I know – how old-school.
10. Mercury Insurance
Last but not least, Mercury Insurance is known for its affordable auto insurance rates, which may be great for those who prioritize getting a low price.
That said, based on the reviews I’ve read, customer service may not be the best – and submitting a claim could be a long and tricky process.
- Affordable rates for young drivers. Mercury Insurance offers some of the most affordable auto insurance rates for young drivers.
- Mechanical Protection Plan. Mercury Insurance also offers mechanical protection, which includes things like 24-hour roadside assistance, rental car assistance, and others.
- Spotty customer service. Let’s just say that Mercury Insurance doesn’t offer the best customer service in the market.
- Basic coverage options and discounts. Mercury Insurance offers only a small number of coverage options. I guess that’s the price you pay for lower rates.
- Bad rep. Yes, they offer low prices – but if you search for reviews of Mercury Insurance online, you’re bound to come across some pretty insulting reviews. Whether you decide to use them for the lower price is entirely up to you – but be aware that it doesn’t have the best reputation.
Other Car Insurance Companies Reviewed
While these companies did not meet our top 10 list criteria, they are still providers of car insurance that are worth your time to review:
- Root Insurance Review
- Farmers Insurance Review
- Nationwide Insurance Review
- State Farm Insurance Review
- The General Insurance Review
- Travelers Insurance Review
- USAA Insurance Review
Compare Auto Insurance Companies by State
State laws, population size, claim frequency and more can cause car insurance rates to vary by state.
Michigan, for example, is consistently listed among the most expensive states for car insurance, with premiums that are more than 60% higher than the national average.
Much like the cost, the reputation and service provided by a car insurance company vary by region.
In fact, the differences can be so volatile that J.D. Power releases region-specific car insurance recommendations in addition to their nationwide ratings.
According to them, the highest-ranked companies by state/region in 2019 (the 2020 study won’t be released until about mid-year) were:
- California: Esurance
- Central: Shelter
- Florida: Allstate
- Mid-Atlantic: Erie Insurance
- New England: Amica Mutual
- New York: New York Central Mutual
- North Central: Westfield
- Northwest: PEMCO Insurance
- Southeast: Farm Bureau Insurance—Tennessee
- Southwest: The Hartford
- Texas: Texas Farm Bureau
Explore companies based on where you live using the map below:
Understand Car Insurance Coverage Options
While having your state’s minimums will keep you legal, it likely won’t be enough to protect you financially in case of an actual accident.
But how much car insurance do you actually need? Where’s the sweet spot between protecting yourself but not overpaying?
In order to answer that, you first need to understand the jargon, so that you can then intelligently create a policy with the right amount and types of coverage.
- Liability insurance: This is mandatory in all states. It covers the other driver’s expenses if you cause the accident. The two types of liability insurance are:
- Bodily injury liability: Pays for the injuries of the other driver, passengers, and pedestrians.
- Property damage liability: Pays for the repairs to another person’s car or property.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): Similar to bodily injury liability, except that personal injury protection covers your medical expenses, regardless of who caused the accident.
- Collision insurance: Like the contrast between personal injury protection (protects you) and bodily injury liability (protects others), collision insurance covers the repair or replacement of your vehicle in case of an accident with another vehicle or object.
- Comprehensive insurance: Covers repair or replacement of your vehicle for anything that’s not a collision. For example, weather, fire or theft.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance: Protects you in case of an accident with an at-fault driver who is either uninsured or doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover your expenses.
- Gap insurance: Covers any remaining balance between what you owe on your car and what it’s worth, in cases of total loss or theft. In other words, standard insurance will only cover up to the market value of your car. If you owe more than that, the difference will be on you unless you have gap insurance.
- Rental car coverage: Covers the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop.
- Pet injury coverage: Covers veterinary bills in case your pet is injured in an accident.
- New car replacement: Will pay to replace a totaled car with one of a similar make and model, instead of only covering up to the actual cash value for your depreciated vehicle.
Pro Tip: Do you drive a car you do not own frequently? You may need to look into non-owner car insurance to make sure you have the coverage you need.
Millennials are Overpaying for Auto Insurance
According to Business Wire, Millennials pay up to 44% more on car insurance premiums than other age groups. Wow!
Cheap car insurance is available, but avoiding higher premiums isn’t always something you can do.
Fortunately, I have some helpful tips to minimize your costs.
But remember: it’s not just about price. You want value (solid discounts, meaningful perks), highly rated customer service, quick claims response and processing, an easy digital experience (who wants to have to call their insurance company to get simple tasks done??), and competitive rates.
5 Tips to Save BIG on Car Insurance
It’s not all about price when choosing a policy, but even so, you don’t want to overpay. Here are some helpful tips to keep your costs down:
- Shop around. That’s an obvious tip – but worth repeating!
- Compare prices BEFORE you purchase a car. As insurance premium costs vary by vehicle, make sure you know which types of cars to shop for to keep these costs to a minimum.
- Take advantage of affinity or employer discounts. Some employers belong to organizations that may help you get better car insurance offers for a lower cost – so it’s worth checking with your employer.
- Keep insurance in one place. Many companies offer great deals for bundling multiple policy types – such as renters, auto, and homeowners. Some offer discounts for having more than one policy with an insurer – so check to see whether that’s available.
- Maintain a solid credit score. That’s also a given. Maintaining a good credit score is important no matter what – but insurers often use credit-based insurance score which determines the rates they will offer. In other words, the better your credit score, the lower the costs.
Pick The Best Company for Your Needs
When it comes to car insurance, there is no single “best company”.
Coverage costs vary greatly depending on your location, driving habits and history, demographics, and many other factors.
Here’s what you need to do to make sure you are with the best company:
- Shop around. Happy with your insurer now? Great! But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around every year or two. In fact, there’s a little trick many insurers use, called price optimization. That essentially means insurers may set rates based on how much they think a customer is happy to pay. How do they know that? That’s where it gets pretty scary – they know that from your social media posts, credit scores, and even shopping habits. But what you can do is to shop for new policies every couple of years online. They will most likely see this online activity – and that will keep them on their toes.
- Decide what’s important. Is it keeping the costs to a minimum? Is it the types of coverage offered – or perhaps that the company has an easy-to-use app because you don’t have time (or the desire) to be working with them over the phone? Consider these factors before you look because they can help you quickly rule out options that aren’t suitable for your needs.
Find The Best Deals on Auto Insurance Today
To sum up – there are plenty of companies that offer excellent car insurance options, but they all excel at different things.
Some may provide stellar customer service – while others may offer low-cost options. Some are great for those who drive a lot – while others may be more suitable for those who only drive occasionally.
While the price is important – look around for other factors, too, once you’ve decided what matters to you.