The best car insurance companies based on cost, coverage and service

Car insurance is a necessary expense for most Americans, since driving without it is illegal and public transportation options are limited outside of major U.S. cities. Insuring a vehicle can be costly, especially if you’re a new driver or insuring a luxury car, but it can save you tens of thousands of dollars in case of damage or theft.

The ideal car insurance company combines good coverage with reasonable rates and excellent customer service. Although cost matters when shopping for car insurance, it shouldn’t be the only factor. You’ll want to choose a company with a high customer satisfaction rating. That way, the process is smooth and hassle-free when you need to file a claim. At the same time, a good car insurance company will offer plenty of discounts to incentivize good customers. 

So what’s the best car insurance company? That depends on a variety of factors. Below, Select breaks down the top car insurance companies into five main categories. (See our methodology for more information on how we chose the best car insurance companies.)

Best car insurance companies

Best overall

Geico Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Geico coverage and services are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and there are 16 different types of discounts available. In addition to the standard coverage options, Geico offers various optional add-ons, such as emergency roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance.

Pros

  • Lowest average rates
  • Inclusive coverage options, including high-risk drivers
  • Available nationwide

Cons

  • High premiums for high-risk drivers 
  • Fewer branches for in-person services

Geico is the best car insurance company for affordable coverage, offering the lowest average premiums for both minimum and full coverage. It also enjoys a relatively high J.D. Power score for customer satisfaction, an A++ ranking from AM Best and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Finally, Geico has a wide range of insurance products, including homeowners insurance and renters insurance, that make it easy to bundle and save on coverage.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage: $365

Average annual premium for maximum coverage: $1,297

Best for wide coverage

Nationwide Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Nationwide offers near-nationwide availability and personalized services, such as On Your Side® Review, a free annual insurance evaluation to ensure you are adequately protected and are taking advantage of any discounts available to you.

Pros

  • Available in 47 states and the District of Columbia
  • Lowest average premiums for full coverage

Cons

  • High average premium for minimum coverage

Nationwide offers one of the widest car insurance networks, with coverage available in 47 states and the District of Columbia (all states except Alaska, Louisiana and Massachusetts). This is an important distinction because multiple companies competing for your business equals lower premiums. 

When it comes to coverage, Nationwide offers some of the lowest average car insurance rates for maximum coverage and some of the highest for minimum coverage. If you can bundle your insurance products and save on overall coverage, Nationwide could be a solid choice for you. 

Average annual premium for minimum coverage: $549

Average annual premium for maximum coverage: $1,383

Best for customer satisfaction

State Farm Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    State farm is one of the largest auto insurers based on market share and has an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction. It offers 13 discounts, including ones for safe driving and young drivers.

Pros

  • High customer satisfaction
  • Largest car insurance company in the U.S.
  • Accident forgiveness for good drivers

Cons

  • High NAIC complaint index score 
  • Doesn’t offer gap insurance

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), State Farm is the largest auto insurance company in the U.S., based on market share. It enjoys the highest average J.D. Power score of the companies on this list, making it best-in-class for customer satisfaction.

State Farm’s full-coverage premiums are some of the lowest around, while minimum coverage rates are squarely in the middle. State Farm enjoys an A++ rating from AM Best, indicating superior financial health. Beyond auto insurance, State Farm offers a wide range of other insurance products, so be sure to bundle whatever you can into your quote. You may be able to save money on the total cost of your policy. 

Average annual premium for minimum coverage: $456

Average annual premium for maximum coverage: $1,397

Best for discounts

Farmers Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Farmers sells car insurance in every state except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia and offers a whopping 22 discounts.

Pros

  • Offers 22 types of discounts
  • Below-average NAIC complaints
  • Ability to bundle coverage with other products

Cons

  • Not all discounts are available in every state
  • Average premium for maximum coverage is higher than the national average

Every car insurance company offers various discounts to incentivize safe drivers, good students and customers insuring multiple vehicles. The more discounts that are offered, the higher your potential savings. Farmers Insurance offers 22 discounts on car insurance, which is the most of any company.

You can save money by enrolling in paperless billing, bundling other insurance products, paying premiums on time and other activities. Regardless of which company you insure your vehicle with, you should familiarize yourself with the various available discounts. With Farmers, you’ll have more options than with other companies. 

Average annual premium for minimum coverage: $550

Average annual premium for maximum coverage: $1,524

Best for military members and veterans

USAA Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    USAA’s auto insurance is available in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and some international locations. In addition to low rates and coverage options for unique circumstances, such as for active-duty members, customers have access to an intuitive mobile app.

Pros

  • Lowest average premium for minimum coverage 
  • Highest customer satisfaction ranking
  • Superior discounts for military members

Cons

  • Only available to military members, veterans and their immediate family members

USAA stands out for enjoying high rankings on multiple factors. For starters, it offers the lowest average premiums. Equally important is customer satisfaction as no one wants to deal with a difficult customer service experience when filing a claim. Luckily, USAA enjoys the highest J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores, so you know you’re “in good hands.” 

The only catch? It’s not available to everyone — only military members, veterans and their immediate family members are eligible for a USAA car insurance policy.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage: $354

Average annual premium for maximum coverage: $1,209

FAQs

How does car insurance work?

Car insurance covers damage, theft and bodily injury in case of an accident. You pay a monthly (or bi-annual) premium based on the coverage and policy type needed. In case of an accident, you can file a claim and your insurance company will pay out damages based on various criteria. Filing claims can sometimes lead to higher premiums, so you’ll want to do so cautiously. Car insurance companies offer lower premiums to drivers with clean records, as they’re less likely to file damage claims. 

What are the different types of car insurance coverage?

Car insurance has five main types of car insurance coverage you can incorporate into your policy. Each one offers varying degrees of protection in case of a loss. At a minimum, you will need liability coverage, which protects against damage and bodily injury. Depending on the level of protection you’re looking for, you might want to add additional coverage to your policy. Here’s a look at some of those options:

  • Liability coverage: Basic coverage that is mandatory in most states. There are two types of liability coverage, protecting a policyholder against personal injuries (bodily injury liability) and property damage (property damage liability).
  • Collision coverage: Covers repairs stemming from a collision with an object rather than another vehicle. 
  • Comprehensive coverage: Protects your vehicle in case of damage caused by non-vehicular collision. Covered events include theft, weather-related damage and vandalism. 
  • Personal injury protection: Pays your medical expenses and lost income from an accident. 
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: Covers your vehicle against hit-and-run accidents.

How can I find the best price on car insurance?

Can you get a refund on car insurance?

Car insurance is generally paid on either a monthly or bi-annual basis. If you’ve already paid your premium for the policy period and want to cancel it, you’ll generally get a partial refund for the unused portion.

Do car insurance companies check your credit?

How do car insurance companies pay out claims?

In case of an accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company by calling the claims department. Major insurance companies have mobile apps that allow you to file a claim quickly and upload all the necessary documents in one place. 

Car insurance companies pay out claims after investigating and reviewing all related documents. Be sure to consult your policy for any limitations regarding your coverage. 

Bottom line

Car insurance is an inevitable, costly expense for most Americans, and many companies compete for your business. Understanding how premiums are priced and requesting multiple quotes can save money while ensuring your vehicle is protected against damage and loss. Factor in customer satisfaction ratings and you’ll increase your odds of being a happy customer if you ever have to file a claim.

Our methodology

To determine the best car insurance companies, Select analyzed dozens of U.S. insurance companies that come with policies to suit an array of needs.

When narrowing down and ranking the best car insurance companies, we focused on average cost, coverage, availability, ease of use and customer satisfaction using data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, AM Best, J.D. Power rankings and car insurance premium data from Bankrate.com.

The average annual premium data is based on a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record and good credit. The driver insures a 2020 Toyota Camry, commutes five days a week and drives 12,000 miles annually, with the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations by best for covering high-value items, best overall, best for wide coverage, best for customer satisfaction, best for discounts and best for military members and veterans.

Note that the premiums and policy structures advertised for car insurance companies are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the company’s policies.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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