Finding affordable, high-quality auto insurance can be quite a challenge. All insurers advertise bargain prices and reliable customer service on their websites, and it’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
We at PolicyAdvice decided to make the search for the best car insurance much easier. To achieve that, we reviewed more than 50 major US insurers and ranked them based on their performance in crucial departments. These included customer service, online tools, financial strength, and the number of discounts and optional coverages they provide.
Moreover, we made a helpful list of tips and tricks that’ll reduce your premium by as much as 50%, no matter which car insurance company you choose. Finally, we explained and clarified the often intricate insurance jargon to help you customize your policy to match your needs.
So if you are looking to kick-start your search for the finest auto insurance available, you came to the right place.
Our Evaluation Method
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We examined each company’s history and reputation, current market share, and recent activities. Furthermore, we determined how organized and polished the company’s website and mobile app are.
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We know that affordability is essential for many customers. That’s why we compared car insurance quotes from all the insurers we tested and assigned considerable weight to their prices.
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In addition to low rates, customer satisfaction is the second most important factor in ranking auto insurers. That’s why we studied various ratings from independent agencies, such as J.D. Power, the NAIC, and the Better Business Bureau. We also checked customer reviews on websites like Yelp.
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It’s hard to say a particular company provides good car insurance if it scores poorly in the financial strength department. That’s why we took the ratings from A. M. Best and other leading rating sites into consideration when delivering our final verdict.
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We know that different customers have different needs and that there’s no one size fits all policy. That’s why we verified how many discounts and optional coverages each company offers.
The List of Best Auto Insurance Companies in 2020
- Amica Mutual – The Best Overall
- Erie – The Best for Customer Service
- Progressive – The Cheapest
- The Hartford Insurance – The Best for Senior Drivers
- USAA – The Best for the Military
- State Farm – The Best for Discounts and Optional Coverages
- Liberty Mutual – The Best for Online Tools
- MetLife – The Best to Get Through an Employer
- Allstate – The Best for Special Features
Amica Mutual Auto Insurance — The Best Overall
Amica is a no-frills insurer that gets all the basics right, and that’s why it tops our list of car insurance companies.
For starters, its customer service ratings are outstanding. Amica’s NAIC ratio is 0.46, which implies that the company receives 54% fewer complaints than an average enterprise of its size. Additionally, Amica achieved the full five stars in J.D. Power’s 2019 claims satisfaction study and four out of five stars in the shopping department.
Besides treating customers fairly, in our state-wide comparisons, Amica was, more often than not, among the most affordable options available. If you want an absolute bargain deal, perhaps Progressive tops Amica. However, it scores considerably weaker in customer service.
Additionally, getting an auto insurance quote and modifying coverages on Amica’s website is quite easy, even if there are sleeker solutions around. The company also offers a variety of optional coverages and 18 discounts total, the highest number among all US insurers.
And if you want to make a few extra bucks with your car insurance, you should check Amica’s dividend policies. They’re more expensive in the beginning, but they can return as much as 20% of your premium in the form of dividend payments in the long run.
Last but not least, Amica’s financial strength rating from A. M. Best is “A+,” or “Superior,” the second-highest rating possible. That indicates a solid ability to cover customers’ claims.
Overall, Amica excels where it matters the most, and that’s why it takes the award of PolicyAdvice’s best car insurance company.
The Best Options for Customer Service
1. Erie Auto Insurance
Erie is another outstanding company that would have toppled Amica if it wasn’t available only in 12 states and Washington DC.
It achieved superb results in J.D. Power’s rankings in both the claims handling satisfaction and insurance shopping categories. Furthermore, Erie’s NAIC ratio is 0.64, indicating the company gets 36% fewer complaints than the median value for its size. Even on the Better Business Bureau’s website, Erie achieves an excellent “A+” rating.
On top of that, Erie is among the cheapest car insurance options available. In our state-wide studies, it would often compete with Progressive and GEICO for the title of the most affordable insurer.
Additionally, Erie offers a substantial number of discounts and optional coverages, although the bigger companies best it.
Its financial strength also inspires confidence. Erie’s A. M. Best rating is “A+” or “Superior.”
The only notable downside of this insurer is that it does not offer a mobile app. However, Erie’s website provides all the necessary functionalities, meaning tech-savvy customers won’t feel left out.
In the end, this combination of reasonable car insurance rates and reliable customer service is hard to find, and that’s why we fully endorse Erie insurance.
2. Auto-Owners Insurance
Like Erie, Auto-Owners offers an excellent combination of affordable policies and dependable customer service, and it was another strong contender for first place overall. However, we couldn’t declare it the number-one winner because Auto-Owners does not offer car insurance quotes online. For us, the ability to check prices and customize policies online is essential when comparing different companies and finding the one for you. Instead, the company sells its products in 26 US states through independent agents only.
Nonetheless, if you can live with this, chances are you’ll be quite happy dealing with Auto-Owners. In J.D. Power’s shopping satisfaction rankings, Auto-Owners took fourth place overall. Additionally, Auto-Owners scored well in J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction study, and its NAIC ratio is 0.53, considerably better than the competition.
Furthermore, Auto-Owners’ A.M. Best rating is the highest possible: “A++.” This demonstrates the company’s rock-solid ability to pay its customers’ claims.
Finally, when it comes to discounts and optional coverages, Auto-Owners ranks in the middle of the pack. While it covers all the basics, the best auto insurance companies offer even more.
Overall, we would advise checking Auto-Owners despite its lack of online quotes due to its outstanding financial strength, reliable customer service, and reasonable prices.
3. Ameriprise Auto Insurance
Unlike the previous three companies, Ameriprise is not a clear-cut leader in customer service. Its NAIC ratio is 1.32, which is considerably higher than the average for a company of its size. Nonetheless, Ameriprise achieved outstanding results in J.D. Power’s regional rankings in California, where it writes the majority of its policies.
Since we trust J.D. Power’s rankings, we decided to place Ameriprise among the top car insurance companies in customer service.
When it comes to prices, Ameriprise ranks among the more affordable insurers, though it isn’t as cheap as the top dogs, Progressive and GEICO.
The company also offers a decent number of discounts and optional coverages and some unique benefits. For example, if you buy its insurance through Costco, you’ll become eligible for additional rebates and perks, such as free roadside assistance.
You can add Ameriprise’s financial strength to the list of its advantages. The Ameriprise’s A. M. Best rating is “A+,” or “Excellent.” While not as good as GEICO, State Farm, or Auto-Owners, the regular customer has no reason for concern.
The only notable downside of Ameriprise is that it offers its products in only 32 states. However, if it’s available in your region, we would advise checking Ameriprise when you compare car insurance quotes.
4. Farmers Auto Insurance
While not the outright champion in customer service, Farmers still belongs in the upper echelon. The company scored well in J.D. Power’s 2019 claims satisfaction and shopping studies. Furthermore, its NAIC ratio is 0.75, indicating that the company gets 25% fewer complaints than average.
Sprinkle that excellent result with generally affordable car insurance, and you’ve got a company that’ll appeal to many customers.
Additionally, Farmers offers a solid number of discounts and optional coverages, not to mention its excellent Farmers Rewards Visa program. If you buy Farmers’ products using this card, you’ll earn points that you can later redeem for gift cards, travel vouchers, or selected merchandise.
Finally, Famers scores well in the financial strength department too. The company’s A. M. Best rating is “A,” or “Excellent,” the third best possible. Add in its jocular commercials with J.K. Simmons and the Sesame Street characters, and we would surely agree that Farmers is worth checking out.
The Cheapest Options
1. Progressive Auto Insurance
If you want the absolute best prices, Progressive should be your top pick. Based on our car insurance comparison, it was the cheapest option in almost every state. Regional insurers or Erie or GEICO only occasionally beat it.
Additionally, Progressive specializes in high-risk drivers, meaning it won’t overcharge that demographic the way so many companies do.
However, you’ll have to make a small compromise if you opt for Progressive. Its customer service ratings in J.D. Power’s claims and shopping satisfaction studies are three out of five stars.
Progressive’s NAIC ratio inspires slightly more confidence. It’s 0.75, which means that the company receives 25% fewer complaints compared to an average company of its size. However, if superior customer service is your cup of tea, there are better car insurance companies out there.
Progressive’s A. M. Best rating is also a strong “A+.” This indicates that there are no reasons for concern that the company will look for loopholes when the time to pay a claim comes.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of Progressive, besides its dirt-cheap policies, is that it brings all the bells and whistles of a major insurer. This includes a top-notch website and mobile app, plus a variety of discounts and optional coverages. Progressive’s website even offers a convenient Name Your Price® tool. You just list how much you’d like to pay, and the program will compose a policy for you.
When looking for the best auto insurance, keep in mind that no insurer is perfect. While Progressive may not be the champion of customer service, its low rates provide a mighty compensation.
2. GEICO Auto Insurance
You probably heard the company’s slogan, “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Based on our research, this claim is true in almost every US state, meaning GEICO really does offer cheap car insurance quotes.
It’s the company’s market strategy that enables GEICO to offer such competitive prices. Instead of contracting a vast network of agents, GEICO sells its products primarily online and employs agents only when necessary.
Given GEICO’s business model, it’s not surprising that its online tools are as good as it gets. The company’s website is intuitive, and the quote tool will help you find the right coverage in no time. Furthermore, GEICO’s mobile app is neatly organized and highly rated on Google Play and in the App Store.
Besides some of the best car insurance rates and online tools available, GEICO can be also proud of its financial strength. The company’s A. M. Best rating is “A++,” the highest possible. Furthermore, GEICO is one of the principal subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, which took fourth place in the 2019 US Fortune 500 list.
On top of that, GEICO offers a variety of discounts (15 total) and some exciting optional coverages. However, there’s one notable exception: GEICO does not provide GAP insurance.
Additionally, like every big car insurance company, GEICO scores only average in the customer service department. The company gets three stars in J.D. Power’s studies in both shopping and claims handling satisfaction. However, GEICO does rank a bit higher in this department than Progressive, which is its main competitor.
Overall, we like what GEICO has to offer, and we would put it near the top of our shortlist.
3. Travelers Auto Insurance
Travelers is another insurer that’ll appeal to many customers. For starters, while not in the league of Progressive and GEICO, its car insurance prices are still below average.
Additionally, the company offers the leading benefits for new car owners. Its Premier New Car replacement guarantees that your vehicle will be replaced with a new one that’s the same make and model if it gets totaled in the first five years of ownership. The majority of the competition provides this coverage for only one to three years.
Furthermore, Travelers offers a 10% discount to new car owners, on top of its already affordable rates. And if your new car is electric or a hybrid, you can save even more.
Even if you didn’t purchase a vehicle recently, the company’s 17 total discounts will help you obtain cheap car insurance. Travelers also has a vast network of highly skilled agents who will help you get the most out of your policy. Nonetheless, we should note that the company doesn’t offer as many optional coverages as some competitors.
Furthermore, its customer service scores are average, but such is the case for any affordable insurer besides Erie and Amica.
Finally, Travelers’ A. M. Best rating is “A++,” the highest rating possible. This puts it in the same bracket as major players like GEICO and State Farm in terms of financial strength.
Overall, Travelers is a terrific choice for new car owners, and it’s a quote-worthy company for all other customers.
4. Mercury Auto Insurance
Mercury completes our list of companies with the best auto insurance rates. However, unlike previous entries on this list, we cannot fully recommend this insurer.
That’s because its customer service is substandard. Mercury received only two stars in J.D. Power’s claims processing satisfaction survey on a national level, coming second from the bottom. On top of that, Mercury ranked below average in the California region, where the company writes most of its policies. While these results are improvement compared to 2018, Mercury is still far behind the competition in this department.
There are some additional, albeit minor, drawbacks of selecting Mercury. To begin with, the company doesn’t offer as many optional coverages and discounts as the best insurance companies. Additionally, if you want to bundle policies, Mercury’s homeowner’s packages can be on the expensive side.
However, it’s not all so bleak for this Californian insurer. Mercury’s A. M. Best rating is “A+,” the second-best result.
Furthermore, the company provides Mercury Mechanical Protection, which can come in quite handy. It’s essentially an extended warranty for new vehicle owners. And it’s much cheaper than what most manufacturers offer.
Nonetheless, we recommend waiting for Mercury to improve its customer service ratings. Cheap? Yes. Cheerful? Not quite.
The Best for Senior Drivers
The Hartford Auto Insurance
The Hartford is an auto insurance company for AARP members only. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a senior citizen to obtain an AARP membership card. And it may we worth it since The Hartford is one of the best-rated car insurance options in the US.
For starters, its premiums are quite reasonable, although not in the league of the most affordable companies such as GEICO.
Furthermore, The Hartford’s A. M. Best rating is “A+” or “Superior,” the second highest possible. This result means that an average driver can count on the company having funds to cover claims.
Another positive of The Hartford is its excellent variety of optional coverages and a decent number of discounts. You’ll even enjoy the various benefits that the AARP membership offers. These are geared toward senior customers and include discounts at pharmacies, home care agencies, and restaurants, as well as travel and hotel vouchers.
In the customer service department, The Hartford car insurance gets ratings that are average or slightly below the average. The company collected three stars in J.D. Power’s national rankings in claims handling and shopping satisfaction. However, The Hartford’s NAIC ratio is higher than average for a company of its size.
Additionally, The Hardford charges high cancelation fees, based on the insight of some auto insurance reviews.
Of course, no insurer is without some flaws. Still, affordable prices and the AARP membership benefits make The Hartford worth a shot.
The Best for Military
USAA Car Insurance
USAA has it all. Affordable policies, outstanding customer service, a variety of discounts and optional coverages, polished online tools, and even the highest possible financial strength. On top of that, the company offers financial services, and it’s available nationwide.
So you might be wondering why it’s not the best auto insurance company on our list. The answer lies in its availability. Only former and current US military members and their close families have access to USAA’s products. However, if you qualify, USAA should be near the top of your shortlist.
The Best for Discounts and Optional Coverages
1. State Farm Car Insurance
State Farm is the biggest insurer in the US by market share, but are its products as good as they are popular? The answer is mostly yes.
To start with the company’s website, it’s as polished and neatly organized as they come. You can use it for all the basics, like getting a quote or exploring discounts and optional coverages. You can even rely on State Farm to deliver banking and investment services. Combining all services under one roof can reduce the overall price substantially.
Speaking of prices, we should say that, if you’re looking for the best car insurance rates, State Farm is probably not for you. The company was usually among the more expensive options in our research. However, that’s mitigated by a significant number of discounts, usually about 14, but the actual number depends on the state.
Additionally, State Farm’s financial strength is the highest possible — its A. M. Best rating is “A++” or “Superior.” You can even count on State Farm to deliver some less common features, like coverage for classic cars.
When it comes to insurance company ratings in customer service, State Farm usually gets average results. For instance, in J.D. Power’s rankings, it scores three stars in shopping and claims handling satisfaction. Nonetheless, this plagues all large insurance companies.
Overall, State Farm may not be the best, but with its wide range of products, it’ll appeal to many.
2. AAA Auto Insurance
The AAA Auto Club was founded in 1902, and it’s one of the oldest insurance providers in the US. AAA has many entities that operate separately in different states while maintaining a close collaboration.
To buy AAA’s insurance, you need a club membership, but an online quote is available without it. The benefits of its membership alone put AAA among some notably good car insurance companies. These include free roadside assistance, discounts at many restaurants and hotels, and travel discounts, among others. Various membership plans are available, with prices starting at $56 a year.
When it comes to prices, AAA ranks as slightly more affordable than average. It’s a similar story with AAA’s customer service. It scored three out of five stars in J.D. Power’s claims and shopping satisfaction studies. However, its NAIC ratio is only 0.55. That’s far better than the average company of its size and superior to many prominent US insurers (the lower the score, the better)
You can add an intuitive website and mobile app to the list of AAA’s benefits. You can use them to get free car insurance quotes, download proof of insurance, or make a payment.
Nonetheless, AAA has a few downsides. The financial strength and optional coverages vary depending on the exact location of the club. Furthermore, if you want to bundle insurance policies, you should know that AAA’s homeowners’ policies tend to be expensive.
This makes AAA a mixed bag. Nevertheless, if you like the benefits that a AAA membership offers, it’s definitely worth a shot.
3. Nationwide Auto Insurance
Nationwide is among the auto insurance companies that offer an impressive number of discounts. The total number is 17, but the exact amount varies by state. Overall, only Amica and American Family offer one discount more.
Perhaps the most interesting are Nationwide’s family discounts. If multiple family members are covered with Nationwide, they’ll all share the discounts. This is an excellent way to lower the premium for young and inexperienced drivers.
Besides significant premium reductions, Nationwide has a few other aces up its sleeve. For starters, the company’s online tools are slick and user-friendly. Additionally, Nationwide offers excellent options for safe drivers and new car owners. Finally, Nationwide’s A. M. Best rating is “A+,” the second-highest possible. This confirms Nationwide has a firm ability to cover your claims expenses.
However, while the company offers various discounts, the cheapest auto insurance won’t be found here. Based on our quote comparisons, Nationwide’s policies are priced slightly above the average.
Furthermore, Nationwide scored a mediocre three out of five stars in J.D. Power’s claims handling satisfaction. The company performed even worse in a similar shopping satisfaction ranking, where it took last place with only two stars.
That’s why we won’t give a universal recommendation to Nationwide, but if you can profit significantly from its discounts, it’s worth a shot.
4. American Family Auto Insurance
American Family is among the companies with the highest number of discounts in the US. In our overall rankings, based on the number of premium reductions available, it was tied for the first spot with Amica.
Furthermore, American Family ranks as one of the best car insurance options for older and safer drivers.
You can add better than average customer service to the list of the company’s positives. While American Family isn’t as good as Erie or Auto-Owners, it still scored four stars in J.D. Power’s shopping satisfaction rankings. On the regional level, it usually achieves three or four stars, which is still better than most.
In other departments, American Family’s scores are mixed. It’s A. M. Best rating, which signifies financial strength, is “A.” While this score is still encouraging, the best car insurance companies, such as Auto-Owners or GEICO, achieve the maximum “A++.” Likewise, the company’s app and website, while useful, aren’t as good as those of the major players such as GEICO or Progressive.
However, the biggest downside of American Family is its high-priced policies. In our quote comparisons, the company was considerably more expensive than the average.
All in all, American Family is not the best insurer around, but if you can qualify for several discounts, its solid customer service makes it worth a shot.
The Best to Get Through an Employer
MetLife Auto Insurance
MetLife is among the top insurance companies that specialize in providing coverage through an associated employer. If you can obtain it this way, you’ll be eligible for a premium reduction that can be as high as 50%.
But you’ll probably need that discount since MetLife’s rates are among the highest. Nonetheless, safe drivers and newer car owners will get more competitive prices.
When it comes to other departments, the number of discounts and optional coverages is average, and so are the website and mobile app. It gets an “A+” (the second best) in financial strength with A. M. Best. However, for customer service, the insurance company has ratings that are noticeably weaker in all regions besides New York.
That’s why this company isn’t there among the market leaders, but it may still be an excellent find for some.
The Best for Online Tools
Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance
If you’re a customer who prefers to pay bills and manage your insurance policy from the convenience of your home, Liberty Mutual demands your attention. While most companies offer online car insurance tools, Liberty Mutual’s are among the slickest around.
On top of that, the company offers multiple discounts and some optional coverages, including rare finds such as better car replacement.
Liberty Mutual also has stable financial operations, which its A. M. Best rating of “A,” or “Excellent,” confirms.
However, the company typically gets lower than average customer service scores. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a cheap car insurance quote, you’ll be better off with a company like GEICO, Erie, or Farmers.
That’s why we would advise even tech-savvy customers to check a few more insurers before settling with Liberty Mutual.
The Best for Special Features
Allstate Auto Insurance
Are you looking for an insurer that really stands out from the competition? Then Allstate might be the one for you. Its Claim Satisfaction Guarantee warrants that you’ll get fully reimbursed if you’re unsatisfied with how your claim was handled. And the best news is that this feature comes free with each Allstate policy.
Besides this outstanding feature, there are other reasons to consider Allstate. To begin with, it’s among the top auto insurance companies in the US in terms of market share. This means that Allstate’s website and mobile app are excellent, as well as the company’s financial strength (an “A+” A. M. Best rating)
Furthermore, Allstate offers a decent number of discounts, optional coverages, and some intriguing awards for safe drivers. Finally, you can count on the company’s vast network of agents to help you find the perfect coverage.
However, besides these clear advantages, Allstate falters where it matters the most. The company receives mediocre customer service ratings, and its prices are above average.
Nonetheless, the Claim Satisfaction Guarantee somewhat compensates for the weaker customer satisfaction scores, and that’s why we still consider Allstate a good car insurance option. And if you’re a younger customer, check Esurance, Allstate’s daughter company. It offers terrific online tools.
How Does Car Insurance Work?
An auto insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance provider. You agree to pay your premium regularly, and the insurer agrees to pay for any covered injuries and damages up to the limits you selected.
Every policy has a duration period. During that time, your insurer will provide the coverage, and you’ll pay the premium. If you fail to make a payment on time, your policy will lapse. If you get in an accident before or after the duration of the policy, you won’t be covered.
Furthermore, there are many coverages you can add to your policy. The most basic option is liability, while full coverage provides the most extensive protection.
How to Buy the Best Auto Insurance (A Guide)
Buying Through an Agent
If you choose to purchase car insurance traditionally, by calling an agent or visiting an agent’s office, there are a couple of things you should know.
This is a type of agent that works for a single, usually huge, insurer. This means they can only sell you insurance from the company they represent. Nonetheless, if you fancy a particular insurer, they can be a great help. That’s because they know the product through and through, and it will be easy for them to create a custom-tailored policy.
Independent agents, or “brokers,” can provide products from multiple insurance companies. They work as affiliates, and they don’t directly represent any of the companies they offer. They’re optimal if you want to compare car insurance quotes and get the best price. They can quickly make multiple offers and guide you in choosing the best one.
Beware of Overselling
Since insurance agents work for commission, they may often offer you more than you actually need to buff up their percentages. Thus, make sure that you’re only buying protection plans that you’ll need.
For us, buying car insurance online is a no brainer. When you use online quoting tools, you won’t need to wonder, how much is your car insurance going to be, and which discounts can you qualify for? Furthermore, you can conveniently customize your policy by adding and removing coverages and changing the limits.
And the best news is that the entire process typically takes only 15 minutes. This implies that you can compare eight different insurers within two hours. Nonetheless, policies often have to be finalized through an agent, meaning they’ll take over once you decide which quote to pick.
Ways to Save on Car Insurance
Compare Multiple Quotes
This can be done either by using a car insurance estimator or getting multiple online quotes on the websites of different insurers.
You should do this because numerous factors influence the final price of your auto insurance. First, there’s your risk profile, which includes data such as your age, driving experience, how annual much your mileage compares to the national average, previous violations, and the model of your car.
Second, insurance companies frequently employ various market strategies. For example, State Farm is now among the priciest options, but it also has the highest market share. However, if the company suddenly started to lose customers, it might slash its rates to maintain its market dominance.
When you’re making your shortlist of quote-worthy companies, you should know a little bit about their customer service and financial strength, among other things.
That’s where reading the best auto insurance reviews can help. For instance, in our ratings, you’ll find how each insurer scores in every parameter relevant to all types of customers. Furthermore, you’ll find an overview of all the discounts and optional coverages each insurance provider offers.
Check the Discounts
The easiest way to qualify for affordable auto insurance is by taking full advantage of the discounts. First, note which discounts you might qualify for. Then, check the leading car insurance comparisons online and see which insurer offers the highest number of discounts you may be eligible for.
Finally, when getting a quote, make sure to select all the discounts you qualify for. Online, that’s just a couple of clicks. However, if you’re getting a quote by phone, remind the agent about these premium reductions.
Oftentimes, it’s worth taking proactive measures to cut expenses even further. For a senior driver, that may mean passing a defensive driving test, while for a student, that’s maintaining good grades.
Basic Types of Car Insurance Coverages
Liability insurance is compulsory in almost every US state. It reimburses the damage you’ve inflicted on others. It has two separate limits. The first one is bodily injury, which covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and similar outlays. This limit has a maximum payout per person and per accident. The second one is property damage. It pays for the repairs of a vehicle you hit. Additionally, it covers damaged personal belongings like a watch, smartphone, or tablet, or stationary objects like fences and mailboxes.
While every policy has to carry minimum liability coverage, we think it’s optimal to add more coverages and higher liability limits. Despite being mandatory, liability is one of the most expensive insurance coverages.
If you’re involved in a car crash, collision insurance will help you get your vehicle repaired or replaced regardless of fault. It always carries a deductible, and it provides payments up to the actual cash value of your car. That’s the price of a used vehicle that’s the same make and model year as yours.
Collision also covers you if you hit a stationary object, you crash into something like a tree, or your car rolls over. After liability, this is the second most expensive car insurance coverage.
This coverage is a natural extension of collision. Comprehensive insurance reimburses any damage to your car that didn’t come from an automobile accident. The most common causes of such damage are natural disasters, fire, theft, vandalism, and collision with an animal.
As with collision, the payment goes up to the actual cash value of the vehicle. However, you can choose to have this coverage without a deductible. Given how inexpensive it is, that may be a prudent decision. Unless your loan or lease requires it, collision and comprehensive are not mandatory.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In most states, if the accident is the other driver’s, their liability should cover your expenses. But what if their limits are too low, or they don’t have insurance at all? That’s where uninsured motorist coverage can help. Depending on the state, you’ll be reimbursed for injury expenses, property damage, or both.
This coverage is relatively inexpensive. That’s why no insurer will let you choose uninsured motorist limits higher than your liability coverage. They don’t want you to get the minimum liability and stack it on your uninsured motorist insurance.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is mandatory in most US states.
Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection
These two coverages pay your medical expenses no matter who was at fault. Personal injury protection (PIP) is mandatory in some states, optional in others, and unavailable in the majority. MedPay, on the other hand, is almost always an optional coverage. These coverages exclude one another, meaning you can’t have them both on your policy.
The chief difference between MedPay and PIP insurance is that the former includes expenses besides medical treatment, such as childcare, lost wages, and similar outlays. Furthermore, you can buy MedPay without any coinsurance or deductible.
In certain situations, even your regular insurance may come to the rescue. Nonetheless, read the small print carefully. Some health insurance policies carry an exclusion endorsement for car-accident-related payments.
What Is Full Coverage?
There’s no predominant definition of full coverage car insurance. Rather, it refers to a mixture of regular car insurance coverages that provide extensive protection. Standard full coverage would include all the protection plans listed above, with limits higher than the minimum.
Furthermore, it would have low deductibles and also include some optional coverages, such as roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.
Classic Car Insurance
If you have a well-preserved vintage car, a custom-built hot rod, or even a high-end supercar such as the Bugatti Chiron, you’ll need specialized insurance. That’s because such cars are different from regular ones in two respects.
First, they are not driven on the road as often as standard vehicles. Second, an exotic or classic car’s value typically increases as it gets older, especially if it’s cared for, or only a small number was produced. That’s because the rarity of such models increases over time.
That’s why the process of insuring these vehicles is different. Typically, they’ll be covered for a guaranteed agreed value, calculated by an appraiser. Furthermore, you’ll specify the intended use and storage of the vehicle in detail.
Some of the top-rated auto insurance companies for classic cars are American Modern, Safeco, and Hagerty.
Are Add-on Coverages Worth It?
This really depends on your priorities and your budget. Here’s a short overview of the most common optional coverages and when it makes sense to get them:
This is inexpensive coverage that’s worth adding to even an average policy. It includes services such as towing, battery jump-starts, tire replacement, and locksmith assistance. Often, it costs between $10 and $20 a year.
Rental Car Reimbursement
This is another affordable coverage option that every car owner should consider. It typically costs about $50 per year. For that sum, you’ll have the expenses of a rental car covered while yours is being repaired or replaced.
New Car Replacement
If you wreck your car within the first 1–3 years of ownership, your insurance company will provide a new one that’s the same make and model. We would advise you to compare car insurance rates to find the best deal on the market since this coverage can be quite expensive.
A lease agreement frequently mandates this coverage. GAP insurance repays the difference between the amount that’s left on your car loan and the actual cash value of your totaled car. For instance, if you have $25,000 left on your loan, and you total a vehicle that’s valued $21,750, your GAP insurance payout would equal $3,250 minus your deductible.
Unlike the previous two, we wouldn’t recommend this coverage to a wide range of customers. In fact, often those who need it will have to get it anyways based on most lease agreement requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who offers the best auto insurance?
Based on our overall rankings, Amica, Erie, and Auto-Owners offer the perfect combination of reasonable prices, high-quality customer service, and a variety of discounts and optional coverages.
However, insurance quotes are based on multiple parameters, meaning it’s likely you won’t get the same prices we did. Furthermore, your needs may be different from those of our sample driver. That’s why we urge you to compare at least five different insurers before spending your hard-earned money.
Who has the cheapest car insurance?
Out of all the companies we tested, Progressive, Erie, GEICO, Farmers, and Mercury typically came in as the most affordable. Progressive and GEICO are two major insurers that get average results in customer service, but they bring all the bells and whistles of an established company, so they’re worth a shot.
Erie offers outstanding customer service and bargain prices, and it’s definitely worth a shot wherever it’s available. Finally, Mercury’s customer service ratings are just too flawed to recommend this company wholeheartedly.
Is Progressive a good company?
The answer is mostly yes. Progressive offers a variety of discounts and optional coverages, and the cheapest auto insurance available. Still, the company gets mediocre scores in customer service, which may push some customers away.
When is a good time to shop for car insurance?
The best time to start shopping for car insurance is after a life-changing event, such as graduating or getting married, or after a violation comes off your record. You should also check prices after adding a teen driver onto a policy. Furthermore, we would advise exploring the market a few months before your renewal. That’s because many insurers use price optimization to adjust their prices.
What are the top 10 auto insurance companies?
Based on our extensive research—which includes prices, financial strength, discounts, and optional coverages, as well as customer service ratings—we ranked these insurers as the ten best:
- Amica Mutual
- The Hartford
The best time to start shopping for car insurance is after a life-changing event, such as graduating or getting married, or after a violation comes off your record. You should also check prices after adding a teen driver onto a policy. Furthermore, we would advise exploring the market a few months before your renewal. That’s because many insurers use price optimization to adjust their prices.
What are the worst insurance companies?
Insurance prices and your overall satisfaction depend significantly on your particular needs. That’s why there’s no such thing as an insurance company that’s bad for everybody.
Nonetheless, we would put The Hanover and Mercury insurance in the lower tier among the better insurance companies.
Is GEICO good insurance?
The overall answer is yes. GEICO has excellent financial strength, it offers many discounts and optional coverages, and its policies are usually below the average car insurance cost. Nonetheless, the company gets average scores in customer service, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
Is Progressive or GEICO better?
Both companies offer excellent prices, average customer service, many discounts and optional coverages, and first-rate online tools. However, GEICO has slightly better financial strength, while Progressive is usually a bit cheaper. Furthermore, GEICO doesn’t offer GAP insurance.
Thus, while both companies are a strong choice, we think you should decide based on your priorities.
How much does car insurance cost per month?
Based on our recent research, the average premium in the US is about $140. However, your results will vary based on the coverages and limits you choose, as well as your risk profile. Nonetheless, by comparing quotes and shopping from the best car insurance companies, you can save a lot.