We identified the auto Best Car Insurance Company with the cheapest rates, but, as with anything, you want to be sure you are getting high-quality service from your insurance company. Reliable car insurance companies are critical in ensuring a smooth customer-insurer relationship. There are a few factors we deemed most important to evaluate a company on which affect policy holders’ satisfaction, such as, the average shopping experience, customer service, ability to resolve complaints, and quote filing process.
The Best Overall Car Insurance Company: Erie
Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won’t see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver amongst others.
The biggest downside to Erie is that it is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. As well, Erie still relies strongly on its agent network; which isn’t always a bad thing. A strong agent network is usually key to ensuring a smooth claims process. If you want to quickly buy car insurance without speaking to anyone though, Erie may not be the company for you. While you can start the process online, you ultimately will have to speak with an agent to finalize your quote. Erie will be ideal for any customers within its market, who do not mind putting in some extra effort to get quality and cheap auto insurance.
Best Large Car Insurance Company: State Farm
Of the biggest auto insurers in the U.S. – State Farm, GEI CO, Allstate, Progressive, and Farmers – State Farm ranks as the greatest overall. State Farm was rated 4/5 stars by customers and policyholders in a JD Power survey on the companies shopping experience. State Farm is best known for its large agent network; they boast over 18,000 across the nation. It shouldn’t be surprising then that State Farm gets 5/5 stars for how its agents interact with customers. As well, State Farm is great when it comes to offering discounts. If you go with State Farm you will have up to 15 discounts to be eligible for which can equal hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
While State Farm’s shopping experience is well-reviewed, customers did not feel as strongly about its claims handling the process. The company scored about the same as the other four large companies but was still mediocre. A large national company may be expected to not be very efficient because of the various departments involved in handling individual claims. If you want the assurances guaranteed to you by a large, “legacy” carrier, then State Farm is the best to go with.
Best Auto Insurance Company after an Accident: Progressive
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEI CO, and American Family.
Other pros of Progressive include it being an online company. You can get a quote directly from the Progressive website without having to speak to an agent. Cons of Progressive involve its customer service. Customers in the J.D. Power survey only gave mediocre remarks for Progressive for its buying experience and claims handling process. It isn’t the worst, but Progressive is far from the best in the field. Because of this, Progressive might be the best insurer ideally for customers prioritizing low rates, especially after an accident, and do not mind a bit more cumbersome claims handling process.
Best Car Insurance Company for Military Members: USA
If you are or were in the military, or if your parents, parent-in-law, or spouse was in the military you are eligible for USA auto insurance, and they may just be the best company for you. USA scores 5/5 stars for both shopping experience and claims handling process in the J.D. Power study. They do particularly well on how you can report your claims to the company. You should also be highly satisfied with their final settlement claims. For more information, read here.
Best Car Insurance for Low-Mileage Drivers: Metromile
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver’s premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles (12,070.08 km) or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.
Best Auto Insurance for Handling Claims: The Hartford
Also known as AARP, The Hartford was the recipient of the 2016 J.D. Power study for car insurance companies ability to handle claims. The Hartford scored 5/5 stars for nearly every step of the claims process; from notifying them, to the repair process, and the final settlement. Those who think a smooth claims process is the most important factor for car insurance, The Hartford should be considered.
Best Company for the Shopping Experience: Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual tied Erie insurance for this category, but since we already called Erie the best overall company, we’ll describe how Liberty Mutual is well-known for a strong shopping experience. Customers of Liberty Mutual report in the study they were particularly satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by Liberty Mutual, as well as their relationship with Liberty Mutual agents. If Erie is not located in your state, Liberty Mutual can be a good alternative if you can get a competitive rate.
The Best Car Insurance Coverage for You
To determine how much auto insurance is best for you comes down to understanding your current economic circumstances and how the different types of coverage work together. If you own a car, buying car insurance is inevitable, so you must be getting the right amount for the right price. The following table gives a quick summary of what types of insurance you should have.
As to how much coverage you should have will depend on your economic situation. High net worth individuals should get high liability limits, as in those well above the minimum mandated by the state. They should have limits that equal their net worth. To read more in-depth about how much coverage you need, you should read on here.
Methodology: How We Got Our Info
We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S. for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30-year-old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.