The 9 Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021
The best car insurance companies balance their rates with the amount of coverage they offer. This means that their customers will save money if they shop the competition, and that they are covered when they need to make a claim. They’ll also work with you to figure out how much car insurance you need and explain your policy to you.
When you need to file a claim, the best auto insurance companies walk you through the process, keep you informed, and work with you to resolve any issues you have. These auto insurers will help you understand how car insurance works and make you feel like you’ve gotten the best value for your money when you insure your vehicle. The best insurers will also offer you auto insurance discounts for things like having multiple policies, such as car and homeowner’s insurance, or a good driving record. Finally, they should offer great customer service, keep their customers updated on the status of their claims, and make sure the customer is satisfied with the way the claim is resolved.
The 9 Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021
USAA is the best car insurance company we found. In our survey, USAA customers said they were very satisfied with USAA's customer service. They also loved the company's easy process for filing a claim, as well as the frequent updates on the status of claims.
In fact, the only negative we could find for this company is its limited availability. USAA only offers its services to veterans, members of the military, and their immediate families, so many consumers won't qualify for insurance from our top-ranked insurance company.
Coming in second in our ranking of the best car insurance companies is State Farm. This insurer makes it easy to file a claim, according to most survey respondents, many of whom plan to renew their policy. State Farm is also the best auto insurance company if you do not have a military affiliation.
State Farm earned slightly lower marks when we asked if customers were satisfied with the company's status updates during the claims process. Drivers insured through State Farm reported that overall the company is a good value.
Geico is the third-best car insurance company, and even a caveman can see why. Consumers said Geico makes it easy to file a claim, and they plan on renewing their policies. Most also reported they would recommend this insurer. Still, some were less satisfied by the value they get from Geico.
Farmers ranks in fourth place among the nation's largest car insurance companies. Consumers gave this insurer decent auto insurance ratings for satisfaction with the claims process, customer service, and value. However, Farmers' scores dropped a bit lower when we asked if drivers would recommend the company to friends or family.
Up next is American Family, which sits in the middle of the pack as the fifth-best insurer on our list. Most customers were pleased with the way American Family resolved their claims, with only a few companies earning a better rating in this category.
For most of the remaining questions that we asked drivers insured through American Family, this company had only middling scores. This insurer earned the lowest score of all the companies when we asked if people would recommend it to friends. Only two-thirds of respondents said they were likely or very likely to do so.
Flo, Progressive’s perky pitchwoman, might be No. 1 in the heart of advertisers, but Progressive is the No. 6 insurance company on our list. This insurer earned its highest scores for the ease of filing a claim and the company's customer service. When it comes to value, many rival companies earned higher satisfaction ratings from their customers. A higher percentage of Progressive's customers planned to not renew than any other company.
Nationwide is the seventh-best car insurance company, according to our consumer survey. This insurance provider generally earned low scores across the board, as many respondents weren't satisfied with Nationwide's status updates during the claims process or with how their claims were resolved. Nationwide earned especially low marks for value.
Allstate tries to keep most of its customers in good hands, since the majority of respondents said they were satisfied with how easy it was to file a claim. They also appreciated the level of customer service they received. Despite hitting some high notes, Allstate lost some ground when we asked if customers would recommend it to others: only two out of three Allstate customers said they would. Some also indicated that Allstate’s rates are not competitive, and that they were less likely to renew.
The lowest spot in our ranking of the best car insurance companies is held by Travelers. As you might expect from the last-place insurer, Travelers customers did not report high satisfaction across a number of questions in our survey. Drivers who filed claims with Travelers were not pleased with the way the company resolved claims, and many don't think Travelers offers a good value.
Interestingly, Travelers earned a decent score when we asked if people would recommend it to friends or family, but it earned a low score when we asked if they themselves would renew their policies.
Why You Need the Best Auto Insurance
If you have to make a car insurance claim, it's usually a miserable experience. Your vehicle is likely damaged, or maybe you damaged someone else's car or property. In some cases, you, your passengers, or the occupants of the other vehicle could be injured. No one ever wants to go through it, but it can be made a bit easier by avoiding bad car insurance companies and finding one that will take care of you after an accident.
With car insurance, many things can go wrong and leave a bad impression of your insurer. Bad auto insurers often have expensive premiums compared to their rivals, or if they do offer low rates, the amount of coverage they offer you for your dollar is lower than it should be. Some bad insurance companies may have customer service agents who may not satisfactorily communicate with you about the claims process or help you understand your coverage options.
If your insurance provider isn’t as good as they could be, they might force you to use their approved repair shop that could be far across town, forcing you to make an inconvenient trip or even wait weeks for an apartment to get your car, truck, or SUV fixed. Still other auto insurance companies don’t have a comprehensive network of adjusters, so you have to wait longer for your claim to be processed so you can get the repairs you need.
In a worst-case scenario, a car insurance company may not have the financial resources to pay claims, leaving its customers high and dry.
How to Choose the Best Car Insurance Company
In a perfect world, you wouldn't need to have auto insurance, because collisions wouldn't happen. Unfortunately, the odds of you making it through life and never having at least a fender bender or worse are low. In rare cases, you could have a much worse collision that causes lots of damage to your vehicle or serious injuries to you or your passengers. For both scenarios, you want to make sure you have the best auto insurance company you can find to aid you through a trying time.
While all car insurance companies offer a similar product, they differ in how they deliver it. Some car insurance companies are basically self-service, allowing you to shop for and choose a policy completely online.
Others use local agents who can meet with you and talk you through the process of buying a policy and personally handle any claims you have. Some companies use a mix of the two. Make sure you find a company that has the type of service you want.
Cost is another major consideration you’ll have when choosing the car insurance company that’s best for you. After all, you need insurance you can afford. While you should compare rates from several companies, make sure you’re comparing rates for your situation. Insurance companies can charge drastically different rates depending on a person’s age, gender, driving record, credit history, ZIP code, the number of miles they drive per year, the value of their car, and other factors.
It makes no sense to compare rates for a 16-year-old male from one company with the rates for a 60-year-old female from another, especially if you’re neither a 16-year-old male nor a 60-year-old woman.
It’ll take some time to gather quotes to compare rates, but rates can vary by several hundred or even a few thousand dollars per year from company to company. The time you spend can pay off in the end. When comparing rates, make sure you consider any car insurance discounts you may qualify for.
Once you've selected a few companies with the kind of service you want at rates you can afford, read our reviews of each company. They’ll give you plenty of information on what real customers say about each insurer, so you can find the one that’s right for you.
How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?
How much car insurance you need depends on how much coverage you are legally obligated to get, as well as how much coverage you need for your situation. Each state has certain legal requirements for car insurance, and not meeting them can result in negative consequences. Check out our car insurance state guides to see the legal car insurance minimums in your state.
How We Did This Comparison
At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Best Car Insurance Rankings.
We surveyed 2,732 consumers who filed a car insurance claim in the last five years, asking questions about their car insurance company. These questions covered satisfaction with the ease of filing a claim, customer service, claim status communication, claim resolution, and overall value. We also asked whether they’d recommend the company and if they planned to renew their policy. We used their responses to build our Best Car Insurance Companies ranking.
Our Study Rates
To get comparative insurance rates for this study, U.S. News also worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state. Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000.
Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. To get the state-wide study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 24, 35 and 60 who drive 15,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.