10 Best Car Insurance of 2018
Reviews and ratings on the nation's leading Auto Insurance providers. Get coverage, premium and discount information from our list of top Car Insurance companies.
Car insurance covers you for the costs associated with auto accidents or theft. This can include repairing damage to your car and the medical costs incurred in the event of bodily injury. If you should be at fault in an accident, it will also cover damage and medical costs to other parties. Car insurance offers financial protection should your car be stolen or vandalized. Coverage typically includes events that don't involve another party, i.e. collision with a stationary object like a tree or telephone pole.
Although there are a few exceptions, generally speaking, every driver on the road needs car insurance. Before mandatory car insurance, drivers faced potentially catastrophic costs to other parties in the event they were at fault in an accident. Considering that the average driver will experience three to four accidents over their driving lifetime, and the average bodily injury claim hovers around $15,500, going without car insurance is simply not an option. The only possible exceptions to the rule are if you are garaging your car for a long period, or you use another driver's vehicle who has guest drivers sufficiently covered.
When choosing a car insurance carrier, you must first ascertain your specific state's minimum requirements. All 50 states in the US have different levels of required coverage. Beyond the minimum coverage, it is up to you to decide how much risk you want to take on given your financial situation and driving history. A good rule of thumb for coverage is 50/100/25, that means $50,000 bodily injury liability, $100,000 for all people injured in accident, and $25,000 property damage liability. Since it is so easy to compare companies these days online, we recommend getting quotes for your requested coverage level from as many providers as possible. Keep in mind some companies offer discounts for such things as a good driving record and bundling auto insurance with other insurance lines, but you often need to research these options and bring them up yourself.
When making such a large financial commitment as buying car insurance coverage, you need to make sure the carrier you are dealing with well positioned to honor its responsibilities for the life of your policy. Evaluating a company's reputation can be done in several ways. Independent rating agencies like S&P and AM Best grade many providers in terms of their financial strength, claims paying ability, and creditworthiness. Prospective customers can also consult the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's (NAIC) complaint reports.
Top 10 Companies
- Progressive Insurance - #1 Rated Website
- Trusted by Over 18,000,000 drivers
- Competitive rates, tons of discounts (safe driver, pay-in-full, multi-car, multi-policy, quoting online & more)
- Name your price Tool®
- Bundle auto & property to save 5%
- Snapshot® is a program that personalizes your rate based on how YOU drive.
- Loan/lease payoff coverage, roadside assistance & strong financial ratings
- Average QuoteWizard user saves $65 a month
- Millions Served Since 2006
- No Personal Information Required for Quotes
- Get Low Rates from Top Companies
- Over 43,000 local insurance agents
- Fast Reliable Service, Guaranteed Repairs & Great Customer Service
- Competitive rates - Web Discount worth up to 15%
- Includes Roadside assistance
- Good Discounts (Multi Car, Good Student, Good Driver, Etc)
- Strong financial ratings & reputation
- Strong financial ratings
- Good variety of discount options
- Large number of local agents
- Classic cars, motorcycle, and recreation vehicle insurance
- Great coverage options
- 24/7 claims reporting
- Roadside assistance
- See How Much You Could Save with GEICO
- Save up to $500 or more on car insurance
- Discounts are available for over 850+ organizations & alumni associations
- Obtain your quote online today - It's fast, easy & free!
- Very competitive premiums
- Manage your policy online with Esurance mobile
- Excellent customer support services
- Create a more personalized car insurance that meets your needs
- Flexible payment options
- Accident forgiveness
- 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
- Over $1 Billion Covered
- Insures Vintage and Luxury Automobiles, including Specialty Vehicles
- Partners with Best Insurance Carriers
- Rental Reimbursement and Rental Loss of Use Fees of up to $10,000
- Overnight Breakdown Expenses Reimbursement
- Only Offers Auto Insurance Bundled with Other Coverage
- Agreed Value Option Will Always be Approved
- 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
- Adjustable limits and deductibles
- Large network of local agents
- Roadside services
- Wide list of discount options
- Strong financial ratings
- Rental reimbursement
- Available nationwide
How We Compare Car Insurance
Coverage & Benefits30%
Car insurance coverage requirements differ by state. Therefore, the first step in choosing your plan is determining the specific coverage needed for where you live. Once you've met the minimum legal requirements, you can increase your limits and options in order to obtain more protection. Bear in mind that beyond the broad coverage types offered by most insurance companies, there are additional features that aren't 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.
Liability Insurance: Liability insurance pays for injuries and property damage to the other party if you were the cause of the accident. It does not cover your own injuries or property. Most states have a legally required minimum amount of liability insurance. However, if you can afford it, it’s generally a good idea to have liability that is well above the minimum, in order to ensure sufficient coverage.
Collision: Property damage liability does not cover your vehicle in any way. Collision coverage is needed to defray the costs of any damage to your vehicle in the case of an accident. Keep in mind that collision coverage doesn’t cover all damage, so read your policy to see what falls under its terms.
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 the specifically listed peril will be covered, so make sure you know what’s included with the policy before signing a contract.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Also known as “no-fault coverage,” this type of coverage is only available in no-fault states, which means that in the event of an accident, blame isn't placed on either driver. PIP generally covers your medical expenses until your benefit limits are exhausted. At that point, your health insurance would have to kick in and cover the rest.
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. It is sometimes referred to as MedPay.
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.
One additional 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, umbrella protection kicks in once your liability limits are exhausted. This is more of a “peace of mind” add-on that ensures maximum and thorough protection for both you and your vehicle.
Many companies also have accident forgiveness, which means that your premium would not be affected in the event of a car accident. Restrictions apply, so be sure to thoroughly read the fine print. Other common add-ons include rental car coverage, new car replacement, better car replacement, mechanical breakdown coverage, and interior car coverage. Again, these add-ons are never required, but they do allow you to customize your insurance policy to meet all of your needs.
Rental Reimbursement: Covers the cost of car rental while the policyholder's vehicle is being repaired as a result of a covered accident.
Towing & Labor Cost: Covers the cost of towing and roadside assistance for policyholders.
Sound System Coverage: Protects policyholders 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 incident.
Vet Bills: Covers the cost of care for pets that are injured in a covered accident.
The benefit limits of these different types of coverage are determined by a combination of state law and the cash value of your vehicle. If any damages exceed your benefit limits, you are responsible for paying those expenses. Each state has different requirements. For instance, some impose insurance limits of 25/50/10. This means that the policy pays up to $25,000 for a single person’s injuries in an accident you cause, $50,000 for bodily injury for all occupants' injuries, and up to $10,000 for damage to the other driver’s property. That would be the minimum coverage, and the ceiling is then dependent on the value of your vehicle.
Pricing and Discounts35%
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. This is because insurance companies have access to an enormous amount of data. They use this to figure out which individuals are more or less likely to file a claim. Many factors will be out of your control, while others you can address to either improve or worsen your rate. 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 to better understand some of the ways in which insurance companies determine your rate.
- Location: Location has a major impact on your insurance rates. State laws vary significantly, and this can affect minimum coverage and benefit limits. You’ll 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: Women generally 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 and over 65 years old pay higher rates than individuals who fall somewhere within that age range. Keep in mind that marital status also affects your rate. Married couples generally 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 a reckless driving charge. Additionally, though you can’t rewrite the past, attempting to be a safer driver moving forward can have a positive effect on your premiums.
- Credit Score: 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 likely factor into your premiums.
- Deductible: The deductible is the amount that you’re responsible for paying before the insurance company begins to pay for any repair costs. For instance, if your car requires $5,000 in repairs and your deductible is $500, the insurer would pay $4,500. If, however, your car only requires $450 in repairs, you would be responsible for all of it. Deductibles typically apply to the collision and comprehensive coverage within your policy.
When choosing a plan, you are usually responsible for setting the deductible amount, so keep in mind that lower deductibles mean 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.
Another thing to consider, and an easy way to save, is to ask 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 need (within your state's minimum coverage requirements). Car insurance is highly personalized, so 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 to do some thorough comparison shopping.
Multiple Vehicle: Discount for covering multiple vehicles under a single policy.
Safe Driver: Policyholders receive a discount for having a clean recent driving history.
Anti-Theft: Discount for having theft protection devices on their vehicle.
Low Milage: Those who drive very little can receive a discount.
Vehicle Safety: Policyholders receive a discount if their car is equipped with air bags, anti-lock braking systems, and other safety features.
Homeowner: Discount for those who own their home.
Student: Enrolled students with qualifying grades receive a discount.
Seniors: Policyholders over the age of 55 receive a discount, usually for completing some type of driver safety course.
Bundled Policy: Those who have multiple types of insurance with the provider (homeowners, travel, etc) receive a discount.
Hybrid/Electric Vehicle: Discount applies to policies covering electric or hybrid vehicles.
Group Savings: Policyholders receive a discount if they belong to one of several specified groups, such as unions.
Newly Married: Those who are recently married will receive a discount.
Full/Automatic Payment: Discount for paying the premium in full, or setting up automatic/recurring payments.
Green/Paperless: Some companies have discounts for choosing electronic payments.
Hybrid Cars: Environmentally-conscious companies offer discounted rates for hybrid cars.
You car insurance company's financial strength is important because it provides a good measure for determining whether they'll be able to meet their obligations on your policy. A company’s financial ratings not only reflect their resources and history, but are also a testament to their sound business policies. There are a number of industry-trusted sources that offer independent reviews or ratings for insurance companies, including A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's, both of whom offer a financial rating and an issuer strength rating.
Some of the factors that these rating companies take into account include the type of company (whether they underwrite their own policies, function as subsidiaries to other underwriters, or are simply a marketplace that offers quotes from various entities). The company's marketshare is also an important element to consider, especially as it relates to their time in business.
We classify life insurance providers into three categories. Underwriters are insurance companies that underwrite their own policies. Subsidiaries, or partners, are companies either owned by an underwriter, or who have partnered with a single underwriter for all of their policies. A marketplace is a company that offers consumers quotes across multiple underwriters.
Marketshare and premium information was compiled from the 2016 National Association of Insurance Commissioners Market Share Report.
Stellar customer service is incredibly important when it comes to car insurance, as claims filing is universally acknowledged to be a complicated and frustrating process. Car insurance is a major expense for many people, so their insurance company should be committed to flexibility and positive consumer experiences. In order to independently evaluate customer experience, we looked at several factors. Firstly we considered the 2016 National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) data on complaint ratios. The NAIC not only compiles complaints by company, but also assigns them a score in relation to the rest of the car insurance industry. We also looked at a given company's BBB rating and complaints, and Trustpilot score.
Submitting claims can be made immeasurably harder or easier depending on how a company structures their customer service. Many, if not all, insurance websites have a dedicated customer service page, making it easy to compare and contrast their various services; as well as 24/7 claim reporting, which essentially means that they are always available when you need them. You can always file a claim by phone, but the most popular option nowadays is to file via an online portal. These portals also allow you to purchase additional coverage if you need it, and quickly get in touch with a customer service representative through 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.
NAICS Complaint Ratio 2016
This is a ratio of the number of complaints a company received as compared with the total premiums it's written in a calendar year. The median complaint ratio across all companies is 1. A score below 1 means that the company received fewer than average complaints. A score above 1 means the company received a higher number of complaints than average.
The Better Business Bureau is an American non-profit organization founded in 1912 with the aim of "advancing marketplace trust," in their own words. To that end, they score and accredit companies according to performance inline with BBB standards, addressing customer concerns, and general integrity. We took into consideration a company's BBB grade, and their number of positive, negative, and neutral reviews.
Trust Pilot Rating
TrustPilot is a consumer review-based website that allows users to rate and evaluate businesses, providing real-life feedback of their experience with a company.
Customer Questions & Answers
How Much Auto Insurance Do I Need?
In all states except New Hampshire, Virginia, and Mississippi, you need to carry at least the minimum coverages prescribed the laws of that state. These requirements vary widely. Furthermore, different states require different types of coverage. Some require personal injury protection coverage. Some require un- and underinsured motorist coverage. Check insurers operating in your state to see what the minimum coverage and coverage types are. And consider, too, that the minimum coverage may not be at all sufficient to protect you and your family.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?
The cost of car insurance varies tremendously by state, by driver, by vehicle, by coverage, and by insurer. Studies which attempt to derive an average cost also vary in their methodology and results. One 2017 study pegged the average annual American auto insurance costs at $1,318. The same study found that the lowest average annual costs were found in Maine at $864 while the highest were in Michigan at $2,394.
Who Is Covered by My Auto Insurance Policy?
Automobile insurance covers the people listed on the policy. This generally includes all members of your household who are of driving age and who are named as insured persons. It’s also possible – and a good idea - to list people who occasionally use your car, but who are not household members. Beyond the named insureds, the answer is less clear-cut and varies by policy and by state law. Coverages such as personal injury protection and medical payments insurance apply to all people who are in your car at the time of an accident. If you loan your car to someone who is then in an accident, then often your insurer will cover damages, injuries, and liabilities caused by the driver. But beware: the general rule that car insurance follows the vehicle and not the driver has many exceptions.
Does My Car Insurance Cover Me When I Drive Someone Else's Car?
Car insurance generally follows the car, not the driver. So if you drive someone else's car with his or her permission, you will be covered by the owner's insurance, unless you are listed as an excluded driver on the policy. Conversely, if you lend your car to a non-excluded driver (meaning anyone you did not specifically exclude on your policy) who gets into an accident, your car insurance will cover the claims. There are situations, however, when some insurance benefits maintained by a person who borrows another person's car may be accessed in the event of an accident. In this case, the car owner's policy is primary and pays first, while the car driver's policy is secondary. Further, since car insurance generally covers vehicles, not drivers, you should make sure that every car you own is separately listed on your auto insurance policy. Carrying insurance on just one of your vehicles does not mean that you are insured to drive the other vehicles you own.
Will My Car Insurance Policy Cover Me out of the Country?
Very few, if any, American automobile insurance policies cover the policyholder when he or she is driving in a country outside of the US or Canada. Some policies will cover damage to your car when it is driven in Mexico within 25 or 50 miles of the border, but still will not provide liability coverage. Some American insurers offer overseas policies through foreign affiliates to members of the military, government employees, and expatriates, but these policies much be purchased specially.
Does Car Insurance Pay for Rental Cars?
If you own and insure your own vehicle, your policy’s general liability and comprehensive coverages will usually apply when you rent a car. Your medical payments and personal injury protection coverages, in most cases, will also follow you. However, note that your own coverage limits still apply regardless of the value of the rental car you are driving. If you pay to insure an old Ford Escort but get into an accident while driving a rented new Mercedes-Benz, your insurer will pay up to the value of the Escort, not the value of the rental car.
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