Ease of filing claims, customer service, discounts for such habits as being a good driver or student — these are some of the criteria we look at when choosing the best auto insurance companies on our radar.
The standout was Amica Mutual Group, with its perfect SimpleScore of 5 out of 5, but the others that made our list have their own impressive story to tell, such as State Farm for teen driving and USAA for cost. Bottom line? You’re bound to find an insurance provider you love from our list.
[Related: What’s the Average Cost of Car Insurance In the U.S.?]
The 10 best car insurance companies of 2021
Using our SimpleScore as well as data from J.D. Power, Consumer Reports and others, we’ve identified the best car insurance companies of 2021.
- Amica Mutual: Great overall car insurance
- American Family: Great car insurance for diminishing deductible
- Geico: Great car insurance for customer support
- Liberty Mutual: Great car insurance for coverage options
- State Farm: Great car insurance for teen driving
- Nationwide: Great car insurance for safe driving
- Farmers: Great car insurance for state-specific discounts
- USAA: Great car insurance for cost
- Allstate: Great car insurance for accessibility
- Progressive: Great car insurance for maximizing savings
|Rank||Company||SimpleScore||Why this insurance company is great|
|1||Amica Mutual Group||5.0||Great overall car insurance|
|2||American Family||4.8||Great car insurance for diminishing deductible|
|3||Geico||4.8||Great car insurance for customer support|
|4||Liberty Mutual||4.8||Great car insurance for coverage options|
|5||State Farm||4.6||Great car insurance for teen driving|
|6||Nationwide||4.5||Great car insurance for safe driving|
|7||Farmers||4.4||Great car insurance for state-specific discounts|
|8||USAA||4.4||Great car insurance for cost|
|9||Allstate||4.4||Great car insurance for accessibility|
|10||Progressive||4.2||Great car insurance for maximizing savings|
Why trust us in finding the best car insurance?
Our research methodology
We’ve created the SimpleScore™ to help you objectively compare products and services here at The Simple Dollar.
Our editorial team:
- Identifies five factors to compare across each brand
- Determines the rating criteria for each factor
- Calculates an average of those five factor scores to get one SimpleScore™
We break down each of these five factors and their rating criteria for our review of the best auto insurance companies of 2021.
Why do some brands have different SimpleScores™ on different pages?
Some brands like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase have different SimpleScores™ because they offer more than one financial solution — like auto loans, home loans, personal loans and banking.
The Simple Dollar also looks at external studies from authoritative sources such as Consumer Reports, the Insurance Information Institute, AM Best and J.D. Power for inspiration.
[Related: The Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies of 2021]
We follow a rigorous editorial policy designed to keep our writers and editors independent. We do receive compensation from companies in this tool. We recommend getting quotes from a few partners to get the best deal when shopping for car insurance. Here’s more information on how we make money.
How we make money
The Simple Dollar is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. The Simple Dollar is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. The Simple Dollar does not include all companies or all available products.
Best car insurance companies reviewed
Great overall car insurance company – Amica
Amica Mutual is great overall for auto insurance, gaining our notice in customer service, accessibility, discounts and coverage options.
In addition to top marks from our own SimpleScore, Amica Mutual got the attention of Consumer Reports for claims, service and policy review. There was a bit of a markdown for satisfaction in price of premiums, but the rating was still solid when compared to competitors.
This provider offers your standard fare of auto coverage, including comprehensive, collision and uninsured motorist, then offers extra features that you might not find elsewhere, such as free airbag repair.
Customers can get a free quote online and customize coverage options to meet their driving and coverage needs. Amica also makes it easy to report and track claims online and hassle-free. You can get a number of discounts for big savings on your policy, too. You’ll save when you’re accident-free for at least three years and when you take a driver safety class.
Great car insurance for diminishing deductible – American Family
A great insurance company for diminishing deductible, American Family rewards you for safe driving by crediting your deductible $100 each year ($50 with a six-month policy term) up to your policy maximum.
4.8 / 5.0
American Family 4.8
With 18 discounts offered, this insurance provider has some unusual ways to save, such as discounts for young volunteers and for having a parent who is an American Family customer.
American Family’s SimpleScore is practically perfect, with top marks for accessibility and support. You can choose how you want to get help from using the online chat to talking to an agent.
While this insurance company didn’t make the top 10 with J.D. Power for claims satisfaction in 2020, it did rank in the top 20, with a score of 862 out of a possible 1,000. You’ll experience ease in filing a claim, with the ability to file by app, by phone or online.
Great car insurance for customer service – GEICO
Geico is great for customer service, with its handy virtual assistant, access to insurance agents and more.
Geico caters to the tech-savvy consumer, which is great for those who don’t want to speak to an agent or listen to the never-ending elevator music while you’re on hold. With the ability to personalize your alerts and access all of your important information, Geico Mobile makes things easy.
Geico’s range of coverage includes the standard fare — collision, comprehensive and liability insurance. Unlike many other companies, rideshare insurance for Lyft and Uber drivers is also available.
Geico does offer mechanical breakdown coverage, though it’s only for new cars less than 15 months old with less than 15,000 miles. While it’s not applicable to all people, if you fall into this category, you’ll be able to renew mechanical breakdown coverage for up to seven years or 100,000 miles.
Great car insurance for coverage options – Liberty Mutual
We found that Liberty Mutual offers great coverage options just by sheer volume — we counted 18. There’s even coverage for teachers while on school grounds and for driving to Mexico.
4.8 / 5.0
Liberty Mutual 4.8
In addition to top-notch coverage options, Liberty Mutual offers among the most in discounts. In addition to alternative energy discounts and a good student discount, this provider rewards you for military service and even has an early shopper discount that rewards you for getting a quote and signing up before your current policy expires.
This insurance company came in 14th among auto insurance providers in J.D. Power’s 2020 claims satisfaction study, with a 867 out of a possible score of 1,000. Liberty Mutual’s app allows you to file and track claims from your phone, or the company promises a 5- to 10-minute process when filing online.
Liberty Mutual did not fare well with satisfaction in price of premiums, according to Consumer Reports, although they came off quite well in satisfaction in the handling of claims.
Great auto insurance for teen driving – State Farm
State Farm is great for teen driving. In addition to the ubiquitous good student discount, this auto insurance provider offers two programs that encourage safe driving habits.
4.6 / 5.0
State Farm 4.6
State Farm is the largest U.S. auto insurance provider by direct premiums, holding 16% of the market in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute. We know the size of a company shouldn’t be all we look at, but there are times when it comes in handy.
When it comes to support and accessibility, this provider gets full marks. Count on finding an agent when you need to — access to 19,000 independent contractor agents shows the power of working with a large company.
But if you don’t have time for a phone call, the State Farm mobile app allows you to contact a representative or send a picture of the damage. A user-friendly app is something we often take for granted, but not all companies have this luxury.
Great car insurance for safe driving – Nationwide
Nationwide is great for safe driving. In addition to possible eligibility for a lower rate if you have at least five years of safe driving, benefit from the proprietary SmartRide® program and get 10% for signing up.
4.4 / 5.0
In business since 1926, this insurance provider serves all 50 states and is among the leading companies in the industry. In fact, Nationwide ranked eighth in 2019 in the nation for auto insurance by direct premiums written, according to the Insurance Information Institute, with 2.5% of the market share.
While Nationwide received strong marks for claims-related service from Consumer Reports, it didn’t fare so well with only a 1 out of 5 for premium prices. Interestingly, Bankrate found that Nationwide was one of the highest for average full coverage premium, at $1,485 a year.
We liked Nationwide for its coverage options and discounts — in fact, Nationwide’s number of coverage options was one of the highest of the companies we reviewed, with 15.
Great car insurance for state-specific discounts – Farmers
Even with strong nationwide discount options, Farmers is great for state-specific discounts as well. In some states, you can get discounts for having daytime running lights, VIN etchings, and in California only, alternative fuel.
Farmers is among the absolute top for coverage options with the insurance providers we track, with 19, including customized equipment like aftermarket infotainment systems and drivers for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber.
Farmers had an eye-popping $2,000 average in full coverage premium, according to Bankrate. That was only outdone by one other auto insurance company that Bankrate tracked, MetLife at $2,123. The same is true with minimum coverage average, which was $808 for Farmers, making it No. 2 after MetLife at $821. (Bankrate used Quadrant Information Services in February 2021 to pull these numbers.)
This insurance provider’s customers report strong satisfaction in claims processing, Consumer Reports found, something that can give you peace of mind when choosing insurance.
Great car insurance for cost – USAA
USAA is great for cost among auto insurance providers, and for good reason. Bankrate reports that USAA’s average minimum coverage premium is one of the lowest among the providers we follow, at $384; its full coverage premium average is actually the lowest of the ones Bankrate tracks, at $1,225.
USAA fares well on our SimpleScore as well. Count on excellence in customer service and discounts. However, this provider isn’t available to everyone. Only active service members, veterans and their families are eligible for a car insurance policy through USAA.
Given there are such strict restrictions, you should expect the quote process to take longer and be more involved than other competitors. However, that’s a small price to pay for its exemplary service and established reputation.
Great car insurance for accessibility – Allstate
Allstate is great for accessibility, meaning we appreciate the ease in filing claims and transparency of information, such as coverage options and discounts.
Allstate makes up more than 9% of the market share in private passenger auto insurance in direct premiums written, according to the Insurance Information Institute, making it fourth of the top 10 auto insurance providers in the U.S.
But it’s the customer support, customer satisfaction and accessibility such as the user-friendly apps that got our attention, including the proprietary QuickTrip® app that helps you find the best routes and gives you daily maintenance reminders.
Consumer Report respondents didn’t care for the pricing of premiums — the company received 1 out of 5 for that item. However, Allstate fared better with satisfaction in handling of claims, with a 4 out of 5.
Great car insurance for maximizing savings – Progressive
Progressive is great because it maximizes savings for customers, with not only the usual discounts such as for paying in full and being a safe driver, but also for owning your home and having continuous insurance.
4.2 / 5.0
Unique to Progressive, the Snapshot tool bases your rate on your driving habits — like how often you drive, if you slam on the brake or if you used your phone while driving. You’ll get an automatic discount for using the Snapshot app.
This insurance provider’s insurance coverages are full of surprises, such as free pet injury coverage that pays veterinary bills if your pets are injured in an auto accident. And in addition to the standard fare like liability, collision and comprehensive, gap insurance from Progressive covers 125% of the cost of the car if it’s totaled while you’re still making payments.
Compare 2021 car insurance rates
Make sure when comparing car insurance quotes from different companies you are looking at the same policy type and coverage level. Cheaper quotes could just be a policy with less coverage.
How does the auto industry work?
There are projected to be almost 290 million registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, according to Hedges & Company, up from about 287 million in 2020. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated there were 6.7 million vehicular accidents in 2018, the most recent available data. That’s a lot of cars and a lot of repairs to keep up with. That’s where insurance comes in.
Auto insurance helps cover car repairs and personal costs when life happens. Whether it’s an accident or pothole, your coverage can help you cover these costs after your deductible. The less your car’s value is, the less you’re likely to pay in premiums — though it will depend heavily on your coverage, state, age and other factors.
What’s factored into auto policies and rates?
Your auto policy and the premium will depend on a few factors. It will also determine whether or not an insurer is a good fit for your car coverage needs. Most policies depend on the following:
Depending on these and other factors, you could pay more or less in car insurance. Think about buying a brand new, high-end car when you turn 21 years old. You’re likely to pay more for the car’s year, make and model. You may also pay more as a young driver with a less established driving record. You’re also likely to pay more if you live in California than your friends in South Carolina are paying. Keep in mind that your policy and premium are unique to your needs, driving record and other personal factors.
What’s happening in the car insurance industry today?
At the start of the pandemic, some insurers offered drivers a reimbursement on their monthly payment to help economically. Policyholders were driving less due to COVID-19 nationwide lockdowns. Allstate offered their drivers a 15% Shelter in Place payback on their premiums for April, May and June. Other providers offered credits toward premiums instead. Since that point, drivers have been on the road less often. If you’re working remotely but still need auto insurance, it may be the perfect time to look into low-mileage auto insurance for extra savings or switch carriers for extra savings. You’ll only pay for the miles you drive, and you’ll still have all the coverage you need.
Guide to finding the best car insurance for you
There’s a lot to know about the car and insurance industries to fully understand how auto insurance works, but we don’t want to bore you with a long history lesson. Here’s what you need to know to help make a well-informed decision about your car insurance.
What makes the best auto insurance companies?
The best auto insurance companies give policyholders flexibility, affordability and simplicity from beginning to end. Whether it’s getting a free quote, paying a monthly premium or filing a claim, today’s top picks are giving customers what they need when they need it most.
Start by looking at a provider’s coverage options. You’ll want an insurer with a number of policies and coverage options to meet your needs. Ask your agent what types of car insurance they offer and if any add-ons are available, including rental car coverage and Roadside Assistance. Many insurers will offer a few options including collision, personal injury and gap coverage.
Switching insurance providers isn’t all about rates. Service matters just as much, if not more. After all, you’ll be working closely with an agent to handle your policy, claims and any other concerns. Take a look at your company’s BBB rating or J.D. Power rating to see what other customers think, and to weigh any pros and cons. You can also give your agent a call for a first-hand customer service experience to ask about claims, coverage, rates and more.
Your auto insurance shouldn’t break the bank. Shop around for the most affordable rates by speaking with agents and getting free quotes online. Be careful when aiming for the lowest rates, though. Cheaper coverage doesn’t always mean it’s the best. You may pay a low monthly price, but the policy could lack the coverage options you need. Make a list of necessary coverages and find the most affordable rate for your needs.
Once you’ve found a premium you’re comfortable with, give the agent a call to get more information on discounts and other ways to lower the cost. You may save money on your rate by bundling home insurance, driving safely or taking a driver’s safety course.
Can’t get the best car insurance due to your driving history or you’re unable to pay the monthly bill? We have resources for you.
Consider these factors when shopping for car insurance
Check your state requirements: not every state is the same
In nearly all states, drivers are required by law to carry some form of car insurance or proof of financial responsibility. Every state has requirements for the level of insurance and the minimum amount of coverage each driver must have. Use the Insurance Information Institute’s guide to determine the insurance requirements for your state.
After you’ve found what’s the minimum amount of insurance required for your state, you should know if you live in a no-fault or fault state. If you live in a no-fault state, regardless of if an accident is your fault, collision damages and medical expenses will be covered by your insurance company.
We’ve researched state requirements and the best carriers across all 50 states:
What is an at-fault state?
There are two kinds of state laws when it comes to auto insurance:
- No-fault state — This means that drivers file claims with their own insurer for injuries. No-fault state drivers are typically required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to ensure that you have the adequate coverage to pay for your medical expenses from an accident.
- At-fault state — Also known as a tort state, this means that the person responsible for the accident pays for the damages associated with that accident, including the other driver’s expenses.
Choose the right amount of coverage for you: Full coverage vs minimum
Full coverage annual rates are significantly higher than minimum coverage rates. But an inclusive car insurance policy isn’t something you should opt out of just to save money— especially if there’s a collision. Full coverage typically includes coverage to help pay for damages to your car, while the state minimum, also known as liability insurance, will help cover damages you cause to other people and their car while driving.
Even though a cheaper monthly premium might seem attractive, having more than the imposed state minimum will ensure that you’ll pay less out-of-pocket in case there’s an accident.
For example, in a major car accident, an individual’s medical expenses could exceed $15,000, yet that’s the minimum liability limit in some states.
While different states will require different types of coverage, the most basic auto insurance policies include bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Some states also require personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist coverage. Collision and comprehensive coverage are not required by state laws, but if your car is financed or leased, your lender will likely require it. There are additional coverage options as well, which typically cover things like pet injuries or new car replacement costs, among other expenses. Some examples of common coverage include:
Understand your deductible and how it affects your premium
A few coverage options will have a deductible –– the amount of money you will be responsible for in the event of a covered loss. Collision and comprehensive coverage will have a deductible, and in some states that offer uninsured motorist property damage, a deductible may apply for this coverage as well.
Deductibles are often $250-$1,000. Generally speaking, the lower the deductible is, the higher your premium.
How to save money on car insurance
Now that we’ve laid out the most important aspects that you should know about car insurance, here are some tips on how to save money on your car insurance policy.
1. Compare car insurance quotes
Risk isn’t the only factor that car insurance companies use to calculate your rate. Many insurers also use “price optimization,” meaning they set rates based on how much customers are willing to pay.
Large insurance companies analyze an enormous amount of customers’ personal data, such as social media posts, credit scores and even your online shopping habits. Then, they run the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around or just renew your existing policy each year. Shopping around every year or two may help you find cheaper car insurance options. For most car insurance companies, getting a quote is an easy, online process that you can do in minutes. You’ll just need to provide information like your address, vehicle information and driving history.
[ For You: Understanding Auto Insurance Quotes ]
2. Raise your deductible
A higher deductible usually means a lower monthly cost. It may be a better budget option but know that if you get into an accident, you’ll be responsible to pay a larger amount of the damages. Evaluate your risk tolerance and consider talking to an agent about your options.
3. Raise your credit score
A good credit score saves you money on just about every monthly service or bill and car insurance is no exception. If you focus on improving your credit score first, you could save hundreds and thousands of dollars on your annual premium. Look for ways to improve your credit score ahead of shopping.
4. Ask for discounts
If you want a policy with a lot of additional coverage, the end price can feel a little overwhelming. Capitalizing on the discounts providers offer is one way to ease that financial burden. When you’re shopping around, look for discounts that tailor to your needs. Here are some of the common discounts offered by most providers:
- Defensive driving discount
- Good driver discount
- Low mileage discount
- Safe driver discount
- Multi-driver or multi-policy discount
- Student discount
5. Bundle your insurance
Do you pay separate companies or have separate policies for your renters, home or motorcycle insurance? Renter + auto discounts and home + auto discounts are common. Ask your insurance provider if there is a chance you could be saving money each month by bundling separate insurance.
Car insurance FAQs
I don’t own the car. Can I still be protected with car insurance?
Non-owner car insurance policies protect you if you are in an accident that damages someone else’s car while driving it. It’s often cheaper than a regular car insurance policy and many of the best car insurance carriers offer this type of coverage.
How much should I be paying for car insurance?
The amount you pay for car insurance depends on the coverage you choose, where you live and other demographic data. We found that the average cost of car insurance for a full coverage policy is about $130 per month, while a policy that just requires the state minimum coverage is under $100.
Should I consider local car insurance instead of national companies?
Regional providers often outshine nationwide options because they have fewer customers, allowing them to dedicate more time to each policyholder. So if customer service and the availability of representatives is important to you, a regional option may be best for you.
However, because regional insurance providers have fewer customers, they also tend to have more expensive premiums and fewer discounts.
Is my rental car covered by my insurance?
Your car insurance coverage may extend to a rental car within the U.S., although you may want to consult with your insurance company or review your policy before renting a car. If you’re planning to rent a car overseas, your credit card may provide coverage. If not, you may want to consider buying additional insurance from the rental agency.
What happens to my car insurance when I get into an accident?
After an accident, regardless of if you are at fault, you may want to file a claim with your car insurance company. During the claims process, the insurance company can determine liability and assist you with getting your car fixed. Afterwards, you can still keep your current car insurance.
However, your car insurance monthly premium will likely go up after an accident. The amount depends on the type of claim or driving incident.
Do I really need car insurance?
In most states, car insurance is required by law. Not having coverage can result in license suspension and fines. But even if your state doesn’t require car insurance, you could be left with hefty car repair fees and medical bills to cover if you’re found at fault in an accident.
Too long, didn’t read?
When it comes to auto insurance companies, the best ones are the most versatile in coverage options and services. But the best car insurance company for you is the one that offers a policy you can tailor to your needs. Coverage types and levels, discounts and customer satisfaction are factors that will help determine which company is the right choice for you.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the car insurance companies we recommend. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.
If you’ve been denied coverage by private insurance companies due to past driving incidents, there are state assistance programs that can provide proper coverage and keep you safe from high bills or driving illegally. A handful of states have government-sponsored programs to help low-income families afford cheap full coverage car insurance. Hawaii, California, Maryland and New Jersey offer government-sponsored car insurance for low-income individuals.
Usage-based car insurance (UBI) is determined based on your driving behaviors and miles driven. Powered by vehicle installed devices, plug-in devices, or even mobile apps, this type of insurance allows the carrier to monitor your driving habits and best align your premium with your actions while behind the wheel. Carriers such as Progressive and Allstate offer these programs.
If you are considered high risk to insure, it might be helpful to hire an independent insurance agent to find the best deal for you across multiple companies.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are struggling to pay monthly bills. You are not alone. There are some companies offering support, delayed payments and discounts to help.
Don’t give up! There are multiple ways to get car insurance if private companies are offering high rates or don’t have a policy available.