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Finding the best car insurance coverage can be frustrating. Every insurer claims to have the lowest price and superior customer service, but they can’t all be the best. To help you get a clear understanding of the car insurance market, we rated more than 30 popular car insurance companies in the following categories:

  • Industry standing
  • Availability
  • Customer service
  • Costs and discounts
  • Coverage
  • Technology

This review takes a closer look at the 12 providers that came out on top, and this list may shift as we review new providers and company details change.

There is no one best car insurance provider for every driver, which is why we recommend getting quotes from several companies. Along with the company you choose, your rate is affected by factors such as your age, vehicle make and model, and driving history, so it’s important to compare quotes to ensure you get the best car insurance coverage and price.

 
 

In this article:

The 12 Best Car Insurance Companies Of 2021

Out of the over 30 car insurance providers that we reviewed, these are the 12 that came out at the top of our list of the best car insurance companies of 2021:

Best Car Insurance of 2021 Superlative Motor1 Rating Average Annual Cost Estimate
#1 USAA Car Insurance Best for Military 5.0 $1,013
#2 Geico Car Insurance Best Overall 4.5 $1,352
#3 State Farm Auto Insurance Best for Students 4.5 $1,339
#4 Progressive Car Insurance Best for High-Risk Drivers 4.5 $1,397
#5 AAA Car Insurance Best for AAA Members 4.0 N/A

#6 Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance

Best for Teens 4.0 N/A

#7 Allstate Auto Insurance

Best Local Service 4.0 $2,430
#8 The Hartford Auto Insurance Best for AARP Members 4.0 $2,166
#9 Nationwide Car Insurance Best for Seniors 4.0 $1,533
#10 Farmers Auto Insurance   4.0 $2,032
#11 Travelers Auto Insurance   4.0 $1,617
#12 Root Auto Insurance Best Usage-Based Insurance 4.0 N/A
 

 


 

Finding The Best Car Insurance

There are a couple ways to shop for car insurance depending on your preferences. Most companies allow you to request quotes and sign up for a policy entirely online. This is a good option for those who feel they already understand what coverage they want, and is the fastest way to purchase car insurance.

If you’re unsure about what coverage to purchase, you may want to work with an insurance agent or an insurance broker. An insurance agent may represent a single company, whereas an insurance broker sells policies from multiple companies. In both cases, the agent is incentivized to sell you more coverage. However, you can end up with a lower premium by working through an agent who knows which providers offer relevant discounts or the cheapest policy for your specific needs and vehicle.

But what to look for in an insurer? Cost is an important factor, but also consider claims service and coverage options. For example if your vehicle has aftermarket equipment installed, you’ll want to pick an insurer that will cover your upgraded vehicle.

 


 

How Much Car Insurance Do You Need?

In nearly every state (the exceptions are Virginia and New Hampshire), you are required to carry, at minimum, the following types of car insurance coverage:

  • Property damage (PD) liability coverage: This pays for damages to other vehicles and property after an accident that you cause. PD coverage does not pay for damages to your vehicle.
  • Personal injury (PI) liability coverage: This pays for medical expenses for injured persons after an accident that you cause. PI coverage does not pay for the cost of your medical expenses.

Each state sets its own laws and limits. In some states, you may also be required to have:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This pays for damages to your vehicle and medical expenses after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): This pays for your medical expenses and other costs related to personal injury after an accident, such as lost wages.
  • Medical payments coverage: This is a less comprehensive version of PIP that pays for medical expenses if you are injured in an accident.

You can check your state laws to learn exactly what coverage you’ll need, but most insurance companies—including all the recommendations on this list—will not sell you a policy that doesn’t meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements.

While not required by law, if you finance or lease a vehicle, your lender may require you to purchase:

  • Comprehensive coverage: This pays for damages to your vehicle that are the result of theft, weather, collision with an animal, or other damage your vehicle may incur while parked.
  • Collision coverage: This pays for damages to your vehicle after an at-fault collision or accident.

Even if you are not required by a lender to maintain comprehensive and collision coverage, these policies are worth it for most drivers. However, the value of this coverage depends on your car. Comprehensive and collision policies typically pay up to the actual cash value (ACV) of the insured vehicle. As your car ages, ACV decreases, as does the value of comprehensive and collision policies.

Best Car Insurance Coverage

In our opinion, the best car insurance coverage is to get full coverage with limits of at least 100/300/100. This gives you plenty of room in case you experience a serious accident. The collision and comprehensive coverage will also take care of your car if you cause an accident.

 


 

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?

While each company calculates the price of its policies differently, here are a few basic factors to take into consideration:

  • Driving record: This is one of the most significant factors in the price of your car insurance. Speeding tickets, DUIs, and reckless driving all raise rates. Depending on the state, your rates can go up for the next three to seven years because of a conviction.
  • Credit score: Generally, a higher score correlates to lower rates, and individuals with lower credit scores often report high auto insurance rates.
  • Years of experience driving: Newer drivers are charged higher rates, while drivers with lots of experience get a break on rates. This is because younger drivers are less experienced and are at higher risk of getting into auto accidents.
  • Where you live: If you live in a densely populated area with many expensive claims, your insurance will cost more even if you’re a good driver with a perfect history.
  • Age: Younger drivers pay more, especially teen drivers, as they have less experience. Teens can pay two or three times what a person in their 40s would pay.
  • Mileage: Lower annual mileage can mean lower premiums from many insurance companies.
  • Previous insurance coverage: Companies like to see that you’ve had continuous coverage throughout your driving career. Gaps in coverage can increase your rates.
  • Claims history: Claims filed within the last few years can also increase your rates.
  • Gender of young drivers: Younger men are more likely to receive higher rates, but costs even out after drivers age beyond their teens.
  • Type of car: Insurance companies will charge you more if you have a luxury or sports car since those cost more to fix. Family-oriented SUVs are a safer choice.

The cost of insurance also depends on what coverage you buy. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases data on the average cost of insurance nationwide. Its latest findings report the average car insurance cost in 2018 was $1056.55 per year. 

Here are the average annual costs broken down by types of insurance, according to the NAIC:

Types of Coverage Average Annual Cost
Liability coverage

$644.11 per year

Collision coverage

$377.62 per year

Comprehensive coverage

$167.91 per year

Our quote estimate research paints a similar picture. The table below shows estimated premium costs for several major insurers for a 35-year-old married driver with a good driving history and credit score. If you’re younger, have poor credit, or have a recent accident or DUI on your record, expect your own rates to be higher.

Car Insurance Provider Average Annual Cost Estimate
USAA $1,013
Erie Insurance $1,113
Auto-Owners $1,229
State Farm

$1,339

Geico

$1,352

Progressive

$1,397

Nationwide

$1,533

Travelers

$1,617

Farmers

$2,032

The Hartford

$2,166

Allstate

$2,430

 


 

Finding Cheap Car Insurance Coverage

While there are many factors that affect the price of your car insurance policy, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you are getting the cheapest car insurance.

  1. Compare car insurance quotes: When you’re determining how to get cheap car insurance, you should get auto insurance quotes from a number of providers and compare your own quotes to ensure you’re paying the best price for your coverage.
  2. Adjust your coverage limits: You can reduce your monthly premium by changing the coverage you have and getting rid of coverage you may not need. You may be tempted to add on optional coverage, but sticking to liability auto insurance can greatly lower your rates.
  3. Consider a higher deductible: Like adjusting your coverage amounts, changing your car insurance deductible can impact your monthly insurance premiums and help you save money. If you increase your out-of-pocket deductible from $500 to $1,000, you can see a lower monthly payment.
  4. Look for discounts: Your car insurance costs can be drastically reduced when you are eligible for multiple discounts, which vary by state and insurance provider. Common offerings are student discounts and savings for safety features. 
  5. Consider the cost of coverage before you buy a car: Before you purchase a car, it’s important to know that some cars are more expensive to insure than others. This is crucial to keep in mind, especially if you’ve been eyeing that luxury sports car. The cost to insure will depend on the year the car was made, its make and model, the cost to repair it, and the likelihood of theft and vandalism.
  6. Look into usage-based car insurance: Another option for how to get cheaper car insurance is to consider trying a usage-based discount. If you drive fewer miles than the carrier’s limit, you can get a deduction for your insurance rate. This can be beneficial if you drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year.
  7. Don't forget about local and regional companies: While big car insurance companies promise you low rates, you can often still find cheaper car insurance prices when you choose a local or regional provider. Finding out how to get cheaper car insurance is often as simple as researching more providers.
  8. Pay your bills on time: An often overlooked step on how to get cheap car insurance is the credit score. Having good credit is a crucial factor that determines your car insurance premium in most states. To reap these benefits, pay your bills on time and reduce your debts. Pay down credit cards and car payments to keep your credit balances low.
  9. Improve your driving habits: One of the best ways to get affordable rates on car insurance is to keep a clean driving record. Safe drivers prove to auto insurance companies they are not at high risk for getting into accidents. This means they will usually be cheaper to insure.
  10. Shop around every six months: Once you choose a car insurance policy, don’t lock yourself in. You have tons of insurance options, even after you commit to a provider. Car insurance rates change often so that companies can stay competitive and get new customers. It can be a great idea to review your policy every time it renews, whether that is every six months or every year.

When you are searching for how to get cheap car insurance, keep your options open. Compare three or more insurance providers to get a more accurate, and sometimes lower, premium. For more details, check out our full article on how to get cheap car insurance.

 


 

More About The Best Car Insurance Companies

We’ve written comprehensive reviews about each of the car insurance companies that we recommend in this list, but you can read a broad description of why we like our top five choices below.

USAA Insurance logo

#1 USAA: Best Car Insurance For Military Families

We rated USAA the highest among car insurance providers, although it’s not available to everyone. USAA policies are only available to military members and their families. To qualify, you must be a member of the armed services or must have a parent, grandparent, or spouse with a USAA membership.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A++

Cost: USAA tends to offer the lowest rates overall, and that’s what makes it one of the best auto insurance companies on the market. Additionally, USAA has great car insurance discounts for veterans.

Coverage: On top of the standard options for car insurance, which we will be diving into below, USAA offers:

  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance adds coverage for emergency towing, lockout services, gas delivery, and spare tire installation.
  • Rental reimbursement: This option pays toward a rental car after you file a covered insurance claim.
  • Accident forgiveness: In some states, USAA members can purchase accident forgiveness insurance that protects their rates after one accident.
  • Other insurance products: USAA offers numerous insurance products, including USAA motorcycle insurance as well as rideshare, boat, renters, homeowners, collectible, flood, vision, pet, and life insurance.

Customer Service: USAA was not eligible for ranking in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM. However, the insurer was included in the study and scored highest for customer satisfaction in every region surveyed.

USAA Pros USAA Cons
Affordable rates and numerous discounts

Only available for military members and their families

Good option for military members and young drivers

 

Superior financial ratings from AM Best

 

Nationwide availability  

To learn more about this car insurance provider, check out our full review of USAA insurance.

 


 

Geico Insurance logo

#2 Geico: Best Overall Car Insurance

For the majority of drivers, there’s Geico auto insurance. The company offers some of the most competitive prices on the market, and it’s one of the best auto insurance options available nationwide.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A++

Average Geico car insurance cost: Typical rates from Geico are between $1,000 and $1,600 per year. We've found Geico is cheaper than the state average in most states. If you can’t get USAA, you’ll probably find the best car insurance rates from Geico.

Coverage: In addition to standard car insurance, GEICO offers:

  • Roadside assistance: Through Geico’s Emergency Road Service, drivers can request roadside assistance right in an app. It includes coverage for towing, jump starts, flat tire changes, and lockout services.
  • Rental reimbursement: This option helps pay rental car costs when your car is being repaired after a claim. Enterprise Rent-A-Car bills Geico directly under this arrangement.
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI): MBI is similar to an extended car warranty, except you pay for it with your auto insurance policy. This program covers repairs for all mechanical parts, though it doesn’t cover maintenance or regular wear and tear. MBI is available for vehicles under 15 months old or with fewer than 15,000 miles, and it can be renewed annually up to 7 years or 100,000 miles.
  • Other insurance products: Geico offers many kinds of insurance, including boat, rideshare, condo, mobile home, landlord, professional liability, overseas, and jewelry insurance.

Customer Service: Geico has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored well in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. It ranked highly in California, New England, and the Central region.

Geico Pros Geico Cons
A+ rating from the BBB and A++ financial strength rating from AM Best

Average quote experience

Many choices for coverage

 

High level of customer satisfaction

 

Available in 50 states  

To learn more about this car insurance provider, check out our full Geico review.

 


 

State Farm Insurance logo

#3 State Farm: Best Car Insurance For Students

State Farm is the largest car insurer in the U.S., with a market share of 17 percent according to the NAIC, and it currently services over 83 million policies.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A

Cost: State Farm rates are competitive and can be especially low for those who can take advantage of the insurer's special discount programs:

  • Drive Safe & Save™: This is State Farm’s usage-based insurance app. If you score high enough, you can get up to a 30 percent discount on your premium. The app tracks things such as cornering, hard braking, acceleration, and phone use while driving. It can only give you a discount – it can’t raise your rates for bad driving.
  • Steer Clear: This is an educational app available for drivers under the age of 25. Drivers complete in-app courses, log progress with a mentor, complete driving hours, and receive a certification. All that translates into a discount, which is why we think State Farm is the best auto insurance option for students.

Coverage: With State Farm, you can get standard auto insurance policies as well as the following additional coverages:

  • Roadside assistance: With this option, State Farm will cover up to one hour of labor at the breakdown site, fluid delivery, spare tire installation, jump starts, towing, and lockout services.
  • Car rental expense: This option pays for a rental car while your car is in the shop for a covered repair. You can choose the limits of this policy.
  • Travel expense: State Farm will pay up to $500 for food, lodging, and travel if you get into a car accident more than 50 miles from home. This option also includes a trip to retrieve your vehicle.
  • Rental deductible: State Farm will pay up to $500 toward your deductible if you get into an auto accident while driving a rental car.
  • Other insurance products: Other coverage through State Farm includes rideshare, boat, home, life, rental property, and health insurance.

Customer Service: State Farm has an A rating from the BBB, though its customer reviews on the BBB and Trustpilot are below average. In the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, State Farm ranked first in Florida, New York, and the Northwest region.

State Farm Pros State Farm Cons
Comprehensive coverage offerings

Reported errors with autopay

Extensive selection of discounts

Not available for new customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island

Easy online quotes process

Mixed customer reviews

A+ rating from the BBB  

State Farm Accident Forgiveness

You can qualify for State Farm's accident forgiveness program if you have had insurance with State Farm for over nine years and have not filed a claim during that time. This is one of the longest qualification periods for accident forgiveness in the market.

To learn more about this car insurance provider, check out our review of State Farm auto insurance.

 


 

Progressive Insurance logo

#4 Progressive: Best Car Insurance For High-Risk Drivers

In fourth place in our best car insurance comparison is Progressive. This company has been around since 1937 and has introduced many insurance firsts over the years. For example, Progressive was the first to allow people to purchase insurance plans online in the 1990s. Progressive wrote over $31 billion in premiums in 2019, according to the NAIC.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+

Cost: According to Progressive’s website, customers generally pay between $1,500 and $2,000 per year for auto insurance, which is quite a bit higher than Geico’s estimate. Progressive has a few notable money-saving features:

  • Deductible savings bank: Save $50 toward your next deductible for each six-month period without a claim.
  • Snapshot: Get a discount for being a good driver through Snapshot – but be careful, because poor driving can increase your rate.
  • Bundling: Save by adding another type of insurance to your plan with Progressive, such as home, renters, or condo insurance.

Also, Progressive tends to be a little more affordable than Geico for drivers who have a DUI/DWI on record. This is why we think it offers the best high-risk auto insurance.

Coverage: In addition to standard coverage options, Progressive offers the following insurance products:

  • Roadside assistance: This adds on coverage for towing, lockout services, fuel delivery, and spare tire installation.
  • Loan/lease payoff: With this option, Progressive will pay an additional 25 percent of your car’s value toward its outstanding lease amount if collision compensation isn’t enough after a total loss.
  • Rental reimbursement: This option grants $30 to $50 per day for a rental while your car is in the shop after a covered claim.
  • Custom parts and equipment value: This covers aftermarket parts on your car, such as a sound system, and pays for repairs in the event of a car accident.
  • Other insurance products: Progressive offers numerous insurance options, including Progressive motorcycle insurance as well as ATV, classic car, golf cart, homeowners, ID theft, travel, rideshare, and umbrella insurance.

Customer Service: In the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, Progressive scored well in California, New England, the North Central region, the Southwest region, and Texas. The provider has an A+ rating from the BBB, though it does not generally rank as high for customer satisfaction as USAA or GEICO.

Progressive Pros Progressive Cons
One of the top auto insurers in the United States

Average claims process

A+ financial strength rating from AM Best

Mixed customer service reviews

Great choice for high-risk drivers

 

Several money-saving features  

To learn more about this car insurance provider, check out our review of Progressive car insurance.

 


 

AAA Insurance logo

#5 AAA: Best Car Insurance For AAA Members

AAA is another great option in our roundup of the best car insurance providers for 2021. With roots that go back to 1902, the company has provided a number of auto products over the decades. Most people today recognize AAA as a leader in roadside assistance, but the company can also give drivers a great car insurance experience.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+

Cost: To get AAA car insurance, you need to be a roadside assistance member. While becoming one is affordable – plans can cost between $50 and $100 per year – you might have to double up on roadside coverage if you already have a provider for that. Once you are a member, insurance costs can vary by region but tend to be competitive with other insurers.

Coverage: In addition to standard car insurance, AAA offers the following car insurance coverage options:

  • Roadside assistance: All AAA auto insurance policyholders are required to carry AAA roadside assistance coverage, which is extensive. Higher membership levels include ID theft monitoring, home locksmiths, a tow up to 200 miles, and trip interruption benefits.
  • Enhanced total loss replacement: With this coverage, AAA will pay for a new car replacement if your car is totaled.
  • Loan/lease gap: Gap insurance covers the difference between your outstanding loan and the amount that your collision coverage provides after a total loss.
  • Enhanced exterior repair: This option ensures that only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts will be used in repairing the exterior of your car.
  • Other insurance products: AAA offers a number of insurance options, including AAA motorcycle insurance as well as life, home, renters, boat, flood, and RV insurance.

Note: AAA auto insurance is made up of multiple companies across the United States, so options can differ between territories.

Customer ServiceAAA car insurance is really made up of a number of companies. CSAA Insurance Group, the Auto Club Group, and Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group are a few of the larger organizations that are part of the AAA auto insurance umbrella. Even though there are separate organizations, they all operate to a high standard. However, this means service can vary by region.

In AAA insurance reviews, many customers appreciate that they can work with insurance agents over the phone instead of through an app or via email. While AAA auto insurance might not be available in some zip codes, it can be one of the best auto insurance choices if it’s available to you. We found the cost of premiums to be middle-of-the-road and better for people with good driving records.

AAA Pros AAA Cons
Full coverage insurance option for AAA members

Different coverage options, quotes/claims processes, and customer service across states

Relatively inexpensive to become an AAA member

Requires AAA roadside assistance membership

Option to bundle your car insurance with home or life insurance to save money

 

Strong financial rating from AM Best  

To learn more about this car insurance provider, check out our review of AAA car insurance.

 

 


 

Final Thoughts On The Best Car Insurance

Although one provider might stand out to you now, we encourage you to get auto insurance quotes from several companies so you can find the best auto insurance for you.

The only way to know how much you will pay for car insurance is to get a quote. This is because pricing varies depending on your location, vehicle, and more.

 

 


 

FAQ About Car Insurance

Which auto insurance has the best rates?

We think USAA is the best auto insurance company when looking at price, if you can get it (you must be a military member or their family). If not, Geico offers the best car insurance rates in respect to coverage.

Who has the cheapest auto insurance?

Based on our research, the cheapest auto insurance is provided by USAA. Runners-up include Erie Insurance, Root Insurance, Geico, and State Farm.

Why do I need car insurance?

State laws require insurance (except in New Hampshire and Virginia). Otherwise, you’d have to pay for damages in accidents you cause. Auto loans can also require more insurance coverage on your car.

Who is the best insurance company for home and auto?

This may come as no surprise, but we also think USAA is the best company for bundling home and auto insurance. With USAA, you can get up to a 10 percent discount when you bundle. If you can’t get USAA, both Farmers and State Farm offer 10 percent discounts for bundling home and auto, while Progressive offers a 5 percent discount.

Which is the best car insurance after a DUI?

After doing our homework, we think Progressive is the best car insurance provider for people who have a DUI/DWI on record. While some companies can double or even triple your rates, Progressive increases rates by about 30 to 50 percent on average.

Do you need insurance to drive a car?

Yes, you do need insurance to drive a car. Almost every state has state-mandated minimum requirements for car insurance that must be met to drive legally. The only states where car insurance is not mandatory are New Hampshire and Virginia. Minimum coverage usually includes property damage liability, bodily injury liability, or personal injury protection depending on location.

Insurance companies rate drivers as standard, preferred, or what?

Car insurance companies rate drivers as standard, preferred, or high-risk. Preferred drivers have spotless records, and companies want to insure more of them. On the other hand, high-risk drivers present a financial liability, and companies will charge them more. 

What is the best car insurance for new drivers?

We rate Liberty Mutual as the best car insurance for new drivers because it offers good discounts for teens and students. 

What is cheaper insurance than Progressive?

According to our rate estimates, Erie, USAA, Geico, and State Farm tend to be cheaper than Progressive. However, these estimates are based on average costs, and you may find other cheaper providers than Progressive.

 


 

Methodology

In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.

 

Read our other insurance articles