The best car insurance companies have a few things in common: They have straightforward shopping experiences, take good care of policyholders after a crash and treat their customers with respect and courtesy. That means only insurers with high customer satisfaction scores and relatively few complaints to insurance commissioners make it to the top of our list of the best auto insurance companies.
If you’ve ever compared car insurance rates, you know how many options are available. Depending on a variety of individual rating factors, certain companies will price your insurance differently. You could end up paying more by choosing the wrong company or failing to compare enough companies. We've outlined the factors that go into your car insurance premiums, as well as some tips for how to find the best possible rates. Let’s get started.
Car insurance rates vary greatly depending on age. Your risk profile as a driver will change throughout your life, so you may be eligible for discounts at some points in your life while other times you may see your car insurance premium increase. This is why you want to keep shopping for car insurance throughout your life so you ensure the best value.
Though Safeco’s app boasts a high 4.7 rating with over 5,000 ratings in the Apple App Store and an average 4.1 rating in Google Play, the reviews tell a different story. The most common complaint is that the app simply redirects you to the Safeco website, which is poorly formatted for mobile use. Many reviews also report that the app routinely crashes, which frustrated customers enough that they deleted the app and used their computers to access the Safeco website. The company has responded to say that it is actively working on improving functionality and adding offline features, but in the meantime, it’s likely that using the app is a frustrating experience.
Location-specific discounts are different for every company, but most will list at least one or two universal discounts that apply regardless of location. Farmers doesn’t list any of these; this means that you may or may not qualify for discounts, depending on your location. To find out if you’re eligible for any, contact a Farmers agent in your area.
Progressive has a few notable features worth highlighting — chief among them is their Snapshot safe driving program. Snapshot is a discount program that uses a telematics device, which is a $5 word that essentially means transmission. Via a plug-in device or Progressive's mobile app, drivers can elect to track their driving and have the information transmitted back to Progressive to analyze. You will be rewarded with policy discounts for safe driving habits, like staying within the speed limit, maintaining low mileage, avoiding late-night trips, hard breaks and phone usage. Progressive advertises an average discount of $145 for those who complete the program, which typically takes around six months.
Each insurance company evaluates personal factors in its own way, and they keep their methods as hidden as possible. So we can’t tell you which company puts high value in your occupation or emphasizes a clean driving history more than others. But to help you get going, we can show you a car insurance rate comparison for the same hypothetical driver and car, using average rates from across the country.
The best companies will also have several supplemental coverage options, or endorsements, that you can add to your homeowners policy. Endorsements can vary, as some provide higher coverage limits for certain types of personal property like jewelry or fine furs; or they can provide supplemental coverage for risks — like water backups, floods, or earthquakes — not covered by home insurance.
It’s important to note that every company considers credit very differently, and even among insurers this factor fluctuates by state. For example, NerdWallet’s 2019 car insurance rate analysis indicates that while State Farm charges higher rates for poor credit in many states, it doesn’t seem to do so in Maine. Similar variations are true for many other companies as well.
Allstate is more reasonable in terms of pricing, and it came out cheapest for drivers under age 25 in our quotes. Consumer Reports readers rated it just a hair lower than State Farm in overall satisfaction, but Allstate pulled ahead in J.D. Power ratings with a superior score in agent interaction. There’s no denying that Allstate is popular in Texas, with the second-most market share of any company at roughly 11.7%. It’s also one of the only companies to offer “gap” insurance for new cars, something that State Farm is missing. And if your Allstate quote is lower than those from its competitors, it could mean the difference in whether you can afford comprehensive and/or UM/UIM coverage, two especially valuable add-ons in Texas.
Your auto insurance rate depends on who you are as a driver, as well as your age, your credit, your vehicle, and your location. How insurance companies weigh these attributes is reflected in your premium. For example, having a limited driving history or a poor credit score can raise your rates dramatically. Our analysis of major rating factors shows how premiums shift from company to company.
Cash in on major life changes. Certain life events could translate to cheaper car insurance, so shop for quotes whenever something major changes in your life. For instance, many companies offer a lower rate for married couples or domestic partners. Or perhaps you moved to a suburb with lower accident and crime rates. If your risk for accidents goes down, your rates just might, too.