The Best Car Insurance Companies for 2021
Car insurance is always a good idea. Careful and responsible driving goes without saying, but we drive on roads that can be unsafe and not all drivers exhibit calm caution like you do.
After a wreck, car insurance coverage can save you a lot of trouble — and a lot of money! Plus state laws require liability coverage and lien holders often require comprehensive and collision coverage.
But searching for the best auto insurance can drain your time and energy. You probably don’t have all week to plow through endless pages of information.
So I’ve done some research for you and have compiled a list of best car insurance companies.
10 Best Car Insurance Companies
After reviewing over two dozen top-rated companies, I selected the ten below based on customer reviews, A.M. Best’s financial stability ratings, J.D. Power’s Insurance Shopping Study, and my personal experience to an extent. I also consulted the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for some details.
You’ve heard of a lot of these companies but others may not be as familiar. Not every company sells full coverage in every state; I’ve indicated limited availability when it applies.
Here are 10 companies that stand out as the best car insurance providers in 2021:
- 🏆 Progressive
- Erie Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
*USAA would have made our top list if not for its exclusive membership criteria.
Progressive is another big name that performs well for auto owners across the nation. This company’s Snapshot tool lets you share your actual driving data with underwriters. This could save you money if you’re a good driver.
Progressive gets fewer complaints than average, the NAIC says. And the company has lots of discounts available. Pet owners like Progressive because this insurer could even reimburse you for your pet’s injuries after a wreck.
- Discounts: Lots of possibilities ranging from good grades to going paperless.
- Online access: Progressive has solid online tools for claims and policy management.
- Diminishing deductible program: Going accident-free month after month can lower your deductible for comprehensive and collision coverage.
- Good for new cars: Progressive will pay 25 percent above your newer car’s value if it’s totaled to fill in the gap.
- Not all features available everywhere: Not all coverages will be available everywhere. Rideshare insurance, for example, varies from place to place.
- Complaint ratio a touch high: The NAIC shows slightly more complaints than you’d expect based on Progressive’s size.
- Read our full Progressive Insurance Review.
Allstate is an excellent option – and it’s one of the largest insurance companies in the United States.
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.
Allstate’s app makes the auto claims process simple. Just snap up a few pictures and send them in. You can also chat with customer service reps directly from the app about your policy or other general questions.
Allstate also has insurance agents available in almost every town across America for shoppers who 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 could offer more competitive rates.
- Sharp mobile app.
- Personalized insurance guidance.
- Discounts and bonuses.
- Not great if you have a poor credit score.
- Not great if you have a bad driving record.
- Read our full Allstate Car Insurance Review.
3. Erie Insurance
Erie Insurance is an excellent choice — if you live in one of the 12 states with auto coverage. Erie ranks high in customer satisfaction, price, and policy offerings. The NAIC reports Erie’s customers are generally happy with the company’s auto insurance products.
Erie helped bust the myth that Millennials are not interested in cars: in 2018, their research showed that 85 percent of Millennials who don’t have a car are planning to get one.
- 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, according to the NAIC.
- Locked auto insurance rate. Nobody likes increasing premiums. With Erie, your rates won’t change unless you change cars, drivers, or coverage levels.
- 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.
- No app. Erie has a sleek website but you can’t manage your account or file a claim from an app — a problem for a lot of drivers. Erie does have a telematics app to track your driving habits and possibly lower your monthly premiums.
4. Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual’s ads say you can save money by customizing your car insurance coverage and paying for only what you need.
In reality, you should do this with any insurer you choose — at least within the limits of your state’s laws and your lender’s coverage requirements.
But this strategy works particularly well with Liberty Mutual because this insurer has so many options and so many discounts. You’ll have a lot of opportunities for customizing.
- Modern apps and site
- Lots of coverage options
- Lots of discounts available
- A rating from A.M. Best
- Claims process can be cumbersome
- Customer service below average
- Read our full Liberty Mutual Insurance Review.
5. State Farm
People who like meeting with insurance agents to discuss their coverage options often pick State Farm because this insurer has so many local offices nationwide.
State Farm has great programs for younger drivers which include driver training courses to lower rates. But people with poor credit may pay higher premiums.
Customer service can be fantastic or it can be pedestrian — it’ll depend on the performance of your local agent.
- Competitive rates: Because of its size, State Farm can compete with anybody’s best rates for auto insurance.
- Nice mix of old and new: State Farm is an in-person company but it has also embraced 21st century technology online.
- Proactive for young drivers: Drivers under 25 can access some helpful educational tools for lowering premiums through State Farm’s Steer Clear program.
- Service varies: Your local agent will be key to your claims satisfaction. You may want to meet your agent before signing up.
- Repair quality questions: Some policyholders have complained about State Farm’s reluctance to pay for authentic parts; may not be a great option for European cars.
- Read our full State Farm Insurance Review.
6. Amica Mutual Insurance
According to J.D. Power’s Insurance Shopping Study in 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!
J.D. Power asks customers who have filed claims about their experience, and Amica’s customers were happiest — that’s saying something since you normally file claims after a wreck or a theft.
- Customer Satisfaction. It consistently ranks high even for claims satisfaction.
- Amica offers some great discounts, such as loyalty, claims-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. Amica’s developers could up their game with their app a bit.
- Read our full Amica Mutual Insurance Review.
Are you a tech lover? Then GEICO may be just the insurer for you.
GEICO’s app has more than 1.9 million reviews in Apple’s App Store alone, and averages a 4.8-star rating. This is better than any other insurer so you shouldn’t have trouble managing your policy from your pocket.
What’s the secret to the app? Simplicity and transparency.
In addition to the convenience of its digital tools, GEICO also offers competitive prices and quick service.
- Superior app. The GEICO app gets 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 a military member or a federal employee, you could get additional offers. (GEICO got its start in 1937 by serving government employees.)
- 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 always be able to offer you that. This insurer is growing a network of local agents but it has a ways to go.
- 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.
- Read our full Geico Insurance Review.
You may need to visit an independent insurance agent to buy Travelers Insurance’s auto coverage. It’d be worth the extra step, though, because Travelers is one of the best auto insurance companies in the nation.
Travelers’ accident forgiveness program and its expansive policies for brand new cars make it a great choice. The company has also added telematic-based underwriting which could save you up to 20 percent based on your driving habits.
- Low complaint ratio: For such a large company Travelers gets a small number of customer complaints.
- Lots of coverage options: Travelers specializes in auto coverage (and homeowners coverage) so its policy options often lead the industry.
- Accident forgiveness: Travelers has two accident forgiveness programs — one for wrecks and one for tickets.
- Repair Reputation: D. Power reports that Travelers customers aren’t always happy with repair timelines.
- Policy Access: Buying through an independent agent creates extra work for some policyholders. Plus, online access to your policy can vary from state to state.
- Read our full Travelers Insurance Review.
If you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, NJM may be an excellent option to think about.
This company 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 its claims process and coverage).
- Great for young drivers. NJM offer cheaper sample premiums for young drivers and single males. (Teen drivers almost always require higher premiums.)
- 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. The company shouldn’t charge you more than it charges other drivers. (NJM can do this because both its states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, are no-fault states.)
- Excellent claims experience. NJM was the first company to receive J.D. Power’s Claims Certification. The certification recognizes brands that provide exceptional claims satisfaction – so you should get outstanding service in that area!
- Limited to certain areas and shoppers. NJM is available only in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and available only through an employer. If you live in one of these states and your employer offers this benefit, check it out.
10. Auto-Owners Insurance
Independent agents in 26 states sell Auto-Owners insurance coverage. This is quality coverage, rated A++ by A.M. Best year after year.
I’d list this coverage higher except for the hoops you have to jump through to buy a policy. You’d need to find an independent agent who’s authorized to sell the coverage.
If you already work with an independent insurance agent — which I can personally recommend — ask about Auto-Owners. It’s the real deal.
- Stability and Size: Auto-Owners was insuring cars before many roads were paved.
- Discounts and add-ons: You’ll find the usual assortment of ways to save on your insurance policy.
- Lack of availability: Only 26 states have this kind of coverage, and it’s available only through an independent agent.
USAA would’ve made our list, as it is well-regarded in the insurance industry as a top car insurance provider; however, we opted not to include them due to their exclusivity.
Military members on active duty, veterans, and their families can join USAA, an association that provides financial services, including auto insurance.
In fact, USAA got its start as an auto insurer about a century ago in Texas.
- Lots of financial products: Military families can use USAA for banking and all sorts of insurance.
- Great customer care: You’ll see some complaints online, but overall USAA’s customer care ranks high with NAIC and J.D. Power.
- Limited availability: Only military families can join.
- Read our full USAA Insurance Review.
Other Car Insurance Companies Reviewed
While these companies did not meet our list of best car insurance companies criteria, they are still providers of car insurance that may be worth your time to review depending on your location:
- 21st Century
- American Family
- Direct Auto
- Root Insurance
- Safe Auto
- The General
- The Hanover
Compare Auto Insurance Companies by State
State laws, population size, and claim frequency 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 percent higher than the national average.
Much like the cost, the reputation and service provided by a car insurance company also 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 (and the 40,000+ survey respondents), the highest-ranked companies by state/region for 2020 were:
- California: Wawanesa
- Central: Auto-Owners Insurance
- Florida: Allstate
- Mid-Atlantic: State Farm
- New England: Amica Mutual
- New York: State Farm
- North Central: GEICO
- Northwest: GEICO
- Southeast: Farm Bureau Insurance—Tennessee
- Southwest: American Family and GEICO
- Texas: Texas Farm Bureau
- See where your state falls in our car insurance cost by state, ranked.
Understand Car Insurance Coverage Options
While having your state’s minimum requirements will keep you legally insured, this strategy 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 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 at-fault wreck.
- 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 or another special coverage that fills the gap.
- 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 a wreck.
- 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 (similar to gap insurance).
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 percent 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, and 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! An insurer could be running a promotion in your area that would make a huge price difference.
- 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. Sometimes even life insurance coverage can be bundled in. Some companies 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.
- Discover more ways to save on auto insurance and find offers in your area.
Pick The Best Company for Your Needs
When it comes to car insurance, there is no single “best car insurance 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 choose 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. This means insurers 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 to you. Do you prioritize low costs? Coverage options? Apps or a sleek website? Consider these factors before you look because they can help you rule out options that aren’t suitable for your needs.
Find The Best Deals on Auto Insurance Today
Plenty of companies 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.
Abe all else, make sure you’re protecting yourself from the financial strain a wreck could cause.