Car insurance is financial coverage of your car in the form of liability, property, and medical protection. Theft and damage due to accident fall under property coverage. As with most automotive coverage, car insurance is mandated throughout the United States. In each state, however, the minimum requirements can vary widely. Typically, uninsured motorist and liability coverage is mandatory.

When choosing a car insurance plan, work to ensure that the policy covers one’s specific requirements. Premiums may differ based on levels of coverage selected, but many plans will offer a combination of vehicle and personal coverage. While most companies will offer liability, personal injury protection, collision, and uninsured motorist, there are further add-ons available meant to promote greater peace of mind. These may include comprehensive coverage, umbrella coverage, mechanical breakdown, rental car coverage, and interior coverage.  

Additionally, premiums will fluctuate depending on the person insured. One’s geographic location, gender, age, vehicle type, credit score, and driving history all play significant role in the final calculation.

Make sure to ask yourself these questions prior to selecting a policy: What is the process for submitting a claim? Are there any policy discounts available? Is 24/7 roadside assistance, as well as emergency service offered? Does the deductible and monthly premium ratio best fit one’s needs?


Top 6 Companies

#1
Our Partner
9.8 / 10
  • 12 month rate guarantee
  • New/ better car replacement coverage
  • Specialty vehicles (motorcycle, classic car, off-road, recreational vehicle)
  • Good financial ratings
  • Good list of available discounts
  • 24/7 reporting
#2
Our Partner
9.2 / 10
  • See How Much You Could Save with GEICO
  • You could save up to $500 or more on car insurance
  • Discounts are available for over 850+ organizations & alumni associations
  • Quote Online Today - It's Fast Easy & Free!
#3
Our Partner
9.1 / 10
  • Compare up to 60 insurance brands online
  • A+ BBB Accredited & 4.5/5 eKomi rating
  • Auto Insurance comparison available in every continental state
  • Customization tool to tune coverage levels
  • Easy checkout: buy online, over the phone or through local agent
  • Millions of customers served
#4
Our Partner
7.7 / 10
  • Personalized recommendations based on customer preferences
  • Talk to a personal insurance agent online
  • Find and compare car insurance quotes for free
  • Quick price and coverage calculator
  • Real and accurate quotes
  • Wide network of car insurance
#5
Our Partner
7.3 / 10
  • Good list of discount items
  • Rental car coverage
  • Gap Insurance
  • No mechanical breakdown coverage
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
#6
Our Partner
7.1 / 10
  • Competitive premiums
  • Strong financial ratings
  • Rate protection
  • 24/7 claim reporting
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Towing and labor
  • Good discounts
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How We Compare Car Insurance

Coverage & Benefits

30%

There are many types of car insurance coverage. Certain coverages are required by state law, so determining what’s required in your state is the first step to choosing your plan. After you’ve met the minimum legal requirement, then you can increase your coverage limits for greater reimbursement potential. Let’s take a look at the different coverage options available and go into greater detail about each.

  • Liability Insurance: Liability insurance pays for injuries and property damage of the other party if you were the cause of the accident. It does not cover your own injuries or property. Most states have a minimum requirement for the amount of liability insurance drivers need. However, if you can afford it, it’s generally a good idea to have liability that is above the minimum to ensure sufficient coverage.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Also known as “no-fault coverage”, this type of coverage is only available in no-fault states, meaning blame is not placed on either driver in particular during an accident. PIP pays for your injuries without regard to fault, and generally pays your medical expenses until your benefits limits are exhausted. At that point, any health insurance you have would kick in to cover the rest.
  • Collision: Property damage liability does not cover your vehicle in any way. For accident damages to your vehicle to be covered, collision coverage is needed. With this coverage, your vehicle is insured for any physical damage that your car sustains when it hits or is hit by another vehicle, as well as when you hit another object. Keep in mind that collision coverage doesn’t cover all damage, so read your policy to see what falls under the terms of coverage.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver and you don’t have PIP or collision coverage, you would have to pay your own medical and repair bills out of pocket. This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes into play, because it covers those expenses in the event that the other party has insufficient or no insurance. This type of coverage is also required in many states.
  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance covers damages and losses from incidents other than a collision. Normally this includes coverage from theft, vandalism, glass damage (broken windshield, side mirror, etc.), damage sustained from an animal or falling object, fire, and more. Only covered perils listed in your policy will be paid for, so make sure you know what’s in the policy before signing a contract. 

The benefits limits of all these coverage types are determined by a combination of state law and the cash value of your vehicle. If any damages exceed your benefit limits, you would be responsible for paying those expenses beyond the cap. All states have different requirements, but as an example your state may impose insurance limits of 25/50/10. This means the policy would pay up to $25,000 for a single person’s injuries in an accident you cause, $50,000 for bodily injury for all occupant’s injuries, and up to $10,000 for damage to the other driver’s property. That would be the minimum coverage, and the ceiling is dependent upon the value of your vehicle.

Additional Add-ons

Beyond the broad coverage types listed above, there are additional add-ons for insurance policies that are not required by law, but can be a good choice for some consumers. Every insurance company has different add-ons available, but some of them are common across the board. One option is called personal umbrella coverage. Umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of personal liability protection. In the event of a severe accident with damages in excess of your base liability coverage, the umbrella protection kicks in after your liability limits are exhausted. This is more of a “peace of mind” add-on that ensures maximum and thorough protection on you and your vehicle.

Many companies also have accident forgiveness, which means your premium would not be affected in the event you’re in a car accident. Restrictions apply, so be sure to read the fine print on this coverage. Other common add-ons include rental car coverage, new car replacement (if your car is totaled, your insurance will pay for a replacement), better car replacement (similar to the former, but you can get a car that’s better than your previous one), mechanical breakdown coverage, and interior car coverage. Again, these add-ons are never required, but they allow you to customize your insurance policy to meet all of your needs.

 

Basic Coverage

Bodily Injury Liability protects policy holders from medical costs, loss of income due to injury, and funeral expenses resulting from covered accidents.

Property Damage Liability protects policy holders from the cost of repairing damages to another driver's car after a covered accident.

Collision covers the cost of damages to the policy holders car in the case of a collision with a structure, tree, or another car.

Comprehensive protects policy holders from the costs of damages caused by something other than a collision, including fire, theft, or weather related damages.

Personal Injury covers medical costs, funeral expenses, loss of pay, and other expenses resulting from injury of policy holders injured in a covered accident; sometimes referred to as PIP (personal injury protection).

Medical Payments similar to personal injury protection in that it covers medical costs resulting from a covered accident, but does not cover other related expenses; sometimes referred to as MedPay.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist protects policy holders from expenses in the case of an accident with a driver who has little or no insurance.

Additional Coverage

Rental Reimbursement covers the cost of car rental while the policy holder's vehicle is being repaired as a result of a covered accident.

Towing & Labor Cost covers the cost of towing and road-side assistance for policy holders.

Sound System Coverage protects policy holders from expenses resulting from theft or damage to installed sound systems.

Glass covers the cost of repairing damage to car window during theft or weather related damage.

Vet Bills covers the cost of care for pets that are injured in a covered accident.


Pricing

25%

In 2012, the average annual cost to insure a car in the United States was $815 a year. If you already have car insurance that number may seem outrageous, either because you pay way more or way less than $815 every year. That’s because insurance companies have access to an enormous amount of data they use to figure out which individuals are more or less likely to file a claim. Some factors are mostly out of your control, while others can be changed to affect whether your rate improves or worsens. If you’ve yet to receive any quotes, or you’re interested in knowing about the different variables that can affect your car insurance premiums, read on for a sampling of factors that insurance companies use to determine your rate.

  • Location: Location has a major impact on your insurance rates. State laws vary across the board, and these laws affect minimum coverage as well as benefit limits. You’ll also pay more if you live in a densely populated area, or somewhere prone to natural disasters. If you live in the city but park your car in a secure structure, you will pay less in premiums than somebody who parks on the street.
  • Gender: In general, women pay less for car insurance. Statistics show that men drive more often, and are more likely to be in an accident or receive a DUI.
  • Age:  Drivers under 25 years old and over 65 years old pay higher rates than individuals who fall somewhere in between that age range. Keep in mind that marital status also affects your rate. Married couples pay less than single individuals.
  • Type of Vehicle: Simply put, the faster your car can go, the more you’ll pay for insurance. An expensive high-performance sports car is going to cost WAY more to insure than a sensible family car.
  • Driving History: This is the big one, and probably the most obvious factor affecting your car insurance rates. As you accumulate tickets and violations, your rates will climb. The severity of the infractions on your record is also important, because a speeding ticket(s) will increase your rate a lot less than a DUI or reckless driving charge. You can’t rewrite the past, but attempting to be a safer driver moving forward can have a positive effect on your premiums.
  • Credit Score: Yep, even your credit score affects how much you pay. Insurance companies cite data that shows the higher your credit score, the less likely you are to file a claim. Some states have actually banned this practice, but unless you live in California, Hawaii or Massachusetts, your credit will factor into your premiums.
  • The other expense involved in car insurance is your deductible. The deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying before the insurance company kicks in for the cost of repairs. If your car requires $5,000 in repairs and your deductible is $500, the insurer would pay $4,500. If your car only requires $450 in repairs, you would be responsible for all of it. Deductibles typically apply to the collision and comprehensive coverages within your policy.

When choosing a plan, you are usually responsible for setting the deductible amount, so keep in mind lower deductibles means higher premiums, and vice-versa. Think about what you could realistically afford in the event of an accident, and not just how much you want to pay in premiums. Having a low premium is nice in the sense that your car insurance costs less on a month-to-month basis, but if paying your entire deductible would cripple you financially (let’s say your deductible is $1,000 and you have no money in savings), that could hurt you way more in the long run. Try to strike the right balance between the two.

The list goes on and on. An easy way to save is to inquire about discounts. Many companies offer student discounts, multiple vehicle discounts, good driver discounts, and more. Obviously the type and amount of coverage you purchase will also change your premiums, but you control how much or how little you have (besides state minimum coverage requirements). Car insurance is highly personalized, and therefore you won’t really know how much you’ll pay until you get quotes from a bunch of insurance companies. The best way to save on car insurance is simple comparison shopping. Our Top 10 companies are a great place to start!

 

Discounts

Multiple Vehicle policy holders receive a discount for covering multiple vehicles under a single policy.

Safe Driver policy holders receive a discount for having a clean recent driving history.

Anti-Theft policy holders receive a discount for having or installing theft protection devices on their vehicle.

Low Milage policy holders who drive very little receive a discount.

Vehicle Safety policy holders receive a discount if their car is equipped with air bags, anti-lock braking systems, and other safety features.

Homeowner policy holders who own their home receive a discount.

Student policy holders who are students with qualifying grades will receive a discount.

Senior policy holders over the age of 55 will receive a discount, usually for completing some type of driver safety course.

Bundled Policy policy holders who have multiple types of insurance with this provder (homeowners, travel, etc) will receive a discount.

Additional Discounts

Hybrid / Electric Vehicle discount applies to policies covering electric or hybrid vehicles.

Group Savings policy holders receive a discount if they belong to one of several specified groups, such as unions.

Newly Married policy holders who are recently married will receive a discount.

Full/Automatic Payment receives a discount for paying the premium in full, or setting up automatic/recurring payments.


Discounts

20%

After determining how much your car insurance policy is going to cost you, why not make the deal sweeter by asking what are the different discount options available?

  • Multi-policy discounts - more than 1 insurance policy with the company
  • Group discounts - member or employee of participating companies or associations
  • Preferred payment discounts - automatic payment options or paying in full
  • New customer - Change or add a vehicle to your policy
  • Vehicle safety discounts – airbags, anti-lock brakes and other vehicle safety features
  • Multi-vehicle discounts – additional discounts for enrolling more than one vehicle
  • Good student discounts – age restrictions apply

Financial Strength

15%

We take into a look into a company’s current financial rating by using scores from industry-trusted sources.  A company’s financial ratings do not only reflect their resources but also a testament to sound business policies.

  • A.M Best Financial Rating
  • A.M. Best Issuer Rating
  • S&P Financial Strength
  • S&P Issuer Strength

Company Type

We classify life insurance providers into three categories. Underwriters are insurance companies that underwrite its own policies. Subsidiaries, or partners, are companies either owned by an underwriter, or who have partnered with a single underwriter for all of its policies. A marketplace is a company that offers consumers quotes across multiple underwriters.


Customer Experience

10%

Stellar customer service is incredibly important when it comes to car insurance. Anyone who has ever filed a claim can tell you that it is sometimes (okay, always) a painful process. Car insurance is a major expense for many people, so your insurance company should be committed to flexibility and positive consumer experiences. There’s usually a dedicated customer service page on most insurance websites, making it easy to compare and contrast the various services that agencies offer.

Most of our Top 10 car insurance providers offer 24/7 claim reporting, which means they are always available when you need them. How you submit claims is made easier or harder by customer service as well. You can always file a claim by phone, but the most popular option nowadays is to file using an online portal. You can file a claim, view open claims, and refer to previous claims all with the touch of a button. These portals also allow you to purchase additional coverage if you need it, and you can quickly get in touch with a customer service representative using their mail client or live chat support. Almost everyone offers instant online quotes as well, which makes shopping around simple.

There are other customer service perks to consider, such as roadside assistance, towing/repairs, local insurance agents, and much more. Research all of these factors so you can find an insurance agency that is going to meet all of your needs. If you need to have it, you might as well make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.

NAICS Complaint Ratio 2016

This is a ratio of the number of complaints a company received to the its total premiums written in a calendar year. The median complaint ratio across all companies is 1. A score below 1 means the company received fewer than average complaints. A score above 1 means the company received a higher number of complaints than average.

NAICS Total Complaints 2016

The total number of complaints the company received in the calendar year.

JD Power Overall Satisfaction Score

The score is based on customer ratings of the overall insurance claims experience with this company

First Notice of Loss

The score is based on customer ratings of the initial claims reporting process of this company

Service Interaction

The score is based on customer ratings of how well the company's agent or representative handled their claim

Appraisal

The score is based on customer ratings of the appraisal process of this company

Repair Process

The score is based on customer ratings of the repair process of this company

Rental Car Experience

The score is based on customer ratings of the process to acquire a rental car after a claim with this company

Settlement

The score is based on customer ratings of how fair this company's agent or representative was in the claim settlement



Customer Questions & Answers

Does car insurance pay for rental cars?

There's no answer yet.

Will my car insurance policy cover me out of the country?

There's no answer yet.

Does my car insurance cover me when I drive someone else's car?

Car insurance follows the car, not the driver. Meaning you will need car insurance for every car you own. Additionally, this also means that if you lend your car to a non-excluded driver (meaning anyone you did not specifically exclude on your policy), and they get into an accident, your car insurance will take primary coverage status (even if the driver is insured with another policy).

Who is covered by my auto insurance policy?

There's no answer yet.

How much does car insurance cost?

There's no answer yet.

How much auto insurance do I need?

Unless you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, your state will require you to have car insurance. Each state has different requirements for insurance coverage, and most car insurance providers will be able to help you pick a plan that will meet the state’s requirements,