USAA is the best car insurance company for 2021, but you need to have a military affiliation to get it. If you can’t get USAA, the second-best car insurance company is State Farm.
The 9 Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021
The Best Car Insurance You Can Get: USAA
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.
Runner-up: State Farm
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.
Third Place: Geico
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.
Fourth Place: Nationwide
Nationwide is the fourth-best car insurance company, according to our consumer survey. This insurance provider generally earned good scores across the board, though some respondents weren’t satisfied with Nationwide’s status updates during the claims process or with how their claims were resolved.
Fifth Place: Farmers
Farmers ranks in fifth 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.
Sixth Place: American Family
Up next is American Family, which sits near the middle of the pack as the sixth-best insurer on our list. Though American Family landed at the bottom when it came to customers’ satisfaction with how their claims were resolved, American Family enjoys good loyalty from its customers. This company ranked near the top of the list in terms of customers who said they were likely to renew their policies and likely to recommend to friends and family.
Seventh Place: Progressive
Flo, Progressive’s perky pitchwoman, might be No. 1 in the heart of advertisers, but Progressive is the No. 7 insurance company on our list. This insurer earned its highest scores for the ease of filing a claim and the company’s customer service, although it still trailed behind most competitors in these areas. When it comes to value, many rival companies earned higher satisfaction ratings from their customers. A higher percentage of Progressive’s customers planned not to renew than any other company.
Eighth Place: Travelers
The second-lowest spot in our ranking of the best car insurance companies is held by Travelers. As you might expect from a low-ranked 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.
Ninth Place: Allstate
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. However, Allstate trailed most competitors in most areas we measured. Many survey respondents indicated that Allstate’s rates are not competitive, and that they were less likely to renew their policies compared to customers of rival insurance companies.
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.
Beyond how much car insurance your state requires, you’ll want to look at various coverage types to see if you need them. Our analysis of the cheapest car insurance companies can also help you secure a low rate.
Liability insurance is required in nearly every state. If you cause an accident, your liability insurance will pay for any damages or injuries you cause.
Collision car insurance covers damage to your car if it collides with another car. If you lease your car or have a loan on it, your financing company will require this type of coverage. As your car ages or you pay it off, you can drop it. However, that means that if your car is damaged in a collision with another vehicle, you’ll have to pay for all repairs on your own.
Comprehensive coverage will protect you and your car in cases where it collides with something other than another vehicle. This could include an animal or a tree, or if it’s damaged by vandalism, theft, or natural disaster. Again, if you lease your car or have an outstanding loan on it, this type of coverage will be required, but if you pay your car off, or it becomes worth less money than it would cost to repair, you can decline this coverage.
Gap insurance is insurance that may be required if you lease or finance a car. Gap insurance covers the difference between what your car is worth and what you owe on your auto loan should your car be a total loss in an incident.
For example, let’s say you have a car loan with a balance of $20,000, but your car is only worth $15,000. If it’s totaled in an accident, your insurance will only pay out $15,000 and you will owe $5,000 to settle your loan. If you have gap insurance, that policy will pay the $5,000 to settle your loan balance.
Personal injury or bodily injury protection, which is often a part of full coverage car insurance, covers medical costs for you, your passengers, or other people injured in an accident. This type of coverage is required by most states, but keep in mind that the legal requirement may be too low for real world application.
As medical costs soar, a policy that only pays out $30,000 is not likely to be enough, and you will be responsible for any difference between what your policy pays and what the actual medical costs are. It’s tempting to skimp on this coverage, but that can be a costly mistake.
Non-owner car insurance is just what it sounds like. It’s insurance that covers the driver instead of the car. That is, if you don’t own a car, but frequently drive a friend’s car, rental cars, work cars, or use a car-sharing service, non-owner insurance covers your liability in the event of an accident. It can cover your liability for medical costs and property damage.
In some states, non-owner car insurance can also help you regain your license after it’s been suspended. It can also lower car insurance rates if you buy a car later since there won’t be an uninsured period on your record.
How We Did This Comparison
At Emhost, 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 4,806 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.