Choosing car insurance can be a pain. Not only are there plenty of car insurance companies, you also have to sort through different types of coverage and amounts – from liability to comprehensive.
But if you drive, car insurance is essential (in every state but New Hampshire.) And while companies that boast cost savings in their ads may be appealing, you need to know that the company has your back if you are in an accident. Fortunately, with a little research shopping for the right policy can be smooth and manageable.
How much you pay for car insurance can vary greatly by factors including where you live, what car you drive, and even your credit score. To help you find the right insurance company and cover for you, we researched policies from 25 leading insurers.
We looked at everything from their premiums to how customers rated their claims processes to identify the seven best car insurance companies.
Why we chose it: One of the nation’s largest auto insurers based on written premiums, Progressive stands out for its optional coverages, additional benefits, discounts and customer support options. To see also : Michigan has dropped to the fourth most expensive state for auto insurance, a new report shows. Notable features beyond the usual liability, collision and comprehensive insurance policies include:
At $127 a month, Progressive’s premiums were in line with the national average reported by The Zebra, which analyzed nearly 400 insurance companies. Plus, Progressive has several discounts that could make your premiums more affordable. Discounts available include safe driving, good student, home owners, multi-policy and pay-in-full discounts.
The discounts vary in value. For example, the multi-policy discount can take 5% off your premiums, while a good student discount will help you save up to 10%.
Caveats: Progressive is a well-known company and the number of complaints submitted by customers about the company to state regulators is in line with the industry standard. However, Progressive has a less positive reputation for how it handles insurance claims.
In the 2022 JD Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, Progressive has a below average score. And in the Crash Network’s Insurer Report Card—a survey that asks body shops about their experiences with insurers’ claims handling policies—Progressive received a “C” rating, well below average. That is not uncommon for large companies; The Crash Network reported that the 10 largest auto insurers all had a “C+” rating or worse. But customers should be aware that smaller insurers tend to score higher when it comes to repair and claims processing timelines.
Best Customer Service
Why we chose it: Amica was the clear winner for its customer service. It was the highest rated company in the JD Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, beating out 20 other companies. To see also : Cheapest Chicago Car Insurance: Affordable Rates (2022). In the Crash Network’s Insurer Report Card, it was the fifth best company out of 75 national insurers in claims processing. He also received fewer complaints than usual with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
It has several different customer support options including 24/7 phone support for auto claims, live chat and extended sales and customer service hours to respond to questions.
Finally, Amica Mutual has a dividend policy option. With a dividend policy, Amica Mutual will pay dividends – up to 20% of the annual premium – to policyholders, an unusual benefit for a car insurance company.
Caveats: Coverage options available at Amica Mutual vary by state, and it does not issue policies for Hawaii residents. If you live in the Aloha State and are looking for an auto insurer with excellent customer service, other options include Farmers and State Farm.
Its policies can also be more expensive than others. According to The Zebra, his average monthly premium was $144 per month, or $1,728 per year — nearly $200 per year higher than the national average for all insurers.
Best for Discounts
Why we chose it: State Farm is the nation’s leading auto insurer based on direct premiums written. To see also : Florida car insurance among the most expensive in the United States. It also has over 19,000 agents nationwide, making it a good choice for those who want personal assistance.
State Farm has significant discount programs that may make your premiums more affordable.
With its Safe Driving and Savings Programme, you can save up to 30% on your premiums, a higher discount than other companies offer for similar programmes. And while good student discounts typically reduce your premiums by 10%, State Farm’s program can reduce your premiums by as much as 25%, making it a valuable option if you have young drivers in your household.
If you are an existing State Farm customer, the savings can be more substantial. Like many insurers, State Farm offers multi-policy discounts. However, other insurers typically provide multi-policy discounts for those with homeowners or renters insurance policies. With State Farm, the criteria is broader. Individuals with condo insurance or life insurance are also eligible for discounts when they bundle their policies with auto coverage. State Farm recently reported that customers save an average of $1,127 a year on auto and home insurance with its discounts.
Caveats: Like other major insurance companies, State Farm has a relatively low rating in the Crash Network’s Insurer Report Card. The level of customer support you receive depends largely on the quality of your agent, so your experience may vary based on the agents in your area.
Unlike other insurers, State Farm does not offer gap insurance. If you want cover for the difference between what you owe on your car and the current value, you may want to buy an independent gap policy from the dealer or lender when you buy your car .
Best for Best SR-22 Coverage/High-Risk Coverage:
Why we chose it: If you’ve had driving offenses in the past, including driving under the influence, or DUI, convictions, uninsured driving citations or too many at-fault accidents, it can be difficult to qualify for car insurance from many major insurers. Some companies will not work with those drivers at all.
And if you have incidents on your driving record, you may need an SR-22 form. It is a state-mandated form issued by an insurance company to prove that you meet the state’s insurance requirements.
The General is a company that specializes in non-standard coverage, meaning it writes policies for high-risk drivers. It will provide instant proof of coverage, and will guide you through each step of the SR-22 filing process.
Caveats: Compared to standard auto insurance policies, policies issued by The General tend to be much more expensive. WalletHub, another company that tracks insurance costs, reported that a full coverage policy will cost over $3,000 — more than double the average cost for other companies.
The General is not available nationwide. It only operates in 47 states, so residents of Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey will have to find coverage elsewhere. Other leading providers of non-standard coverage include Infinity and SafeAuto.
Why we chose it: While Allstate is a popular insurance company for all drivers—it’s the fourth-largest insurer based on direct premiums written—it’s especially useful for drivers who work for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.
When you drive for ride sharing services, there are often gaps in your coverage. The ride-sharing platform, also known as a transportation network company, or TNC, can provide insurance, but it only insures you while there is a passenger in your vehicle. TNC insurance does not cover you when you are waiting for a customer or when you are on the way to their location. And personal auto policies typically exclude coverage for rideshare drivers waiting for or driving customers, so if you’re in an accident, you may have to pay all the resulting costs yourself.
With Allstate’s Ride for Hire coverage, you can supplement your personal insurance policy and TNC coverage with ride-sharing coverage.
Some other insurers offer a ride sharing service, including Progressive. But Allstate stands out because it also provides a deductible gap for damage to your vehicle up to $2,500—a much higher limit than other companies offer.
The deductible gap for rideshare drivers comes into play if you are in an accident and there is a gap between your personal auto insurance deductible and the TNC policy deductible. For example, if your collision deductible is $500, and the TNC policy deductible is $2,000, Allstate Ride for Hire insurance can cover the $1,500 difference.
Caveats: Allstate received a low score from the Crash Network, ranking 66 out of 75 insurers. And its standard insurance is more expensive than competitors’ rates. His premiums averaged $201 per month, well above the average of $127 per month for all insurers.
Best for Military Service Members
Why We Chose It: USAA’s premiums are lower than the national average. In fact, the insurer said members saved an average of $725 when they switched to USA coverage from another company. USAA also receives a high rating in claims satisfaction from J.D. Power.
Eligible USAA members can take advantage of several significant discount programs, including:
USAA members can also get discounts on other vehicle-related services, such as tires or maintenance, through USAA partners.
Caveats: While USAA can be a cost-effective option, it’s not for everyone. You can only buy car insurance through USAA if you are an eligible member. Membership is limited to current members of the armed forces, veterans, pre-commissioned officers and spouses and children of those groups.
Best for Electric Vehicles
Why we chose it: Cover for electric vehicles is generally much more expensive than insurance for traditional vehicles, so looking for the best rates is key if you have an electric or hybrid car.
While the other companies on our list offer electric vehicle coverage, Nationwide stands out because of its competitive rates and discounts. Across eight types of electric and hybrid vehicles — including the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf — Nationwide had the lowest average rates, consistently beating major rivals like Allstate and Progressive. Nationwide even has coverage options for scooters.
Nationwide has several discount programs, including defensive driving and safe driver discounts. But owners of electric or hybrid vehicles may find Nationwide’s SmartMiles program particularly useful. It provides the same coverage as a typical nationwide policy, but your rate depends on how much you drive; Nationwide is one of the few major insurers with a pay-per-mile option, and other pay-per-mile companies are licensed in fewer states.
A study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that EV owners drive half as many miles as other drivers, so usage-based insurance could yield significant savings.
Caveats: Although Nationwide is a well-known company, it has a lower than average claims satisfaction rating from JD Power, and it also has a lower rating from the Crash Network.
And while EV owners may find the SmartMiles program attractive, it’s not yet available everywhere. Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Carolina or New York. That may change in the future, but for drivers in those states, that restriction can be frustrating.
Other companies to consider
Although Geico is known for the ever-present gecko in its advertising, Geico was a contender as a top insurer because of its low rates, especially for state minimum coverage. However, Geico was not included as one of our picks because the Crash Network gave Geico the lowest rating out of the 10 largest insurance companies.
Metromile is a relatively young and small company. However, it leads the charge in pay-per-mile insurance. According to the company, drivers save an average of 47% compared to what they were paying for their previous insurance policy.
Metromile didn’t make the cut as a top choice because it’s only available in a few states. You can only get Metromile coverage if you live in Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Washington.
Liberty Mutual is a popular insurance company. In terms of direct premiums written, it is the sixth largest company in the country. But Liberty Mutual has a less-than-stellar reputation for the way it handles claims. The Crash Network ranked Liberty Mutual 65 out of 75 insurers based on surveys of collision repair professionals, and the company also had a below-average score on the J.D. claims satisfaction study. Power.
Things to Know About Car Insurance
Before you start shopping for car insurance, make sure you understand the basics of the coverages available, typical costs and the factors that can affect your insurance premiums.
Types of Coverage
There are several types of coverage, but the most commonly used coverages are:
In every state except New Hampshire, insurance is required for all drivers. However, states usually only require liability insurance, which does not cover your car or property in an accident. And the minimum coverage from the state may not be enough to properly cover you.
In general, experts recommend 100/300/100 in liability coverage: at least $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability and $100,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage. And drivers will often need full insurance – which includes comprehensive and collision – to adequately insure their vehicles and personal property too.
How much does car insurance cost?
According to The Zebra, the average cost of an insurance policy that included liability, collision and comprehensive coverage was $1,529 per year, or about $127 per month.
Drivers who chose basic state liability insurance paid an average of just $539 a year, or about $45 a month.
Zebra’s cost analysis used data from nearly 400 insurance companies across the country.
Factors That Affect Rates
Your car insurance premiums can vary based on the following factors:
How we picked
We selected the Buy Side of WSJ’s Best Auto Insurance Companies based on available coverages, optional benefits, premiums as reported by The Zebra, discount programs and customer service ratings. We also considered scores published by the Crash Network Insurer Report Card, a ranking of how insurers measure up during the post-claim repair process as reported by over 1,100 automotive collision repair professionals.
We analyzed 25 leading auto insurers, using the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s list of the top 25 auto insurance companies per dollar amount of direct premiums written. Policies and coverage options were current as of November 13, 2022.