At Huntley Wealth, and all over InsuranceBlogByChris, we have a common refrain: choosing the best insurance coverage and getting the best premium for it are the two of the best financial decisions you can make.
But you can’t have one without the other. A super-low premium with inadequate coverage can not only cancel your savings when something bad happens, it can leave you far worse off than you were before. And great coverage that you’re paying too much for is no good either!
That’s why we always recommend a policy from the auto insurance industry “top ten.”
But how do you choose which car insurance company is best?
This question has no straight answer. The reality is that the “best car insurance provider” entirely depends on your specific needs.
Nonetheless, pricing and policy options are just some of the elements to consider in the process of selecting auto insurance; it’s not just about comparing quotes from different websites.
There are many other issues to take into account, some of them not as easy to find or understand.
An insurer’s customer service standards, its claims processing, and its financial stability are very influential in determining whether or not they’re a right fit for you.
To help you better understand what goes into choosing the right insurance provider for your vehicle, we’ve researched 12 auto insurance companies and analyzed them based on the factors listed above.
Here’s a summary of our findings.
Car Insurance Company Ratings & Reviews
In the same way, customers have particular preferences or requirements, insurance companies offer different benefits and advantages.
Just because a company has been in business for decades doesn’t mean they can provide adequate coverage for your particular situation.
Yes, a well-established insurer has a longer history of customer service information available, but that doesn’t mean they’re the correct choice for you.
The same goes for financial ratings: understanding an insurer’s ability to meet their obligations and pay back policyholder’s claims is vital, but it’s not the only factor to look at when determining what company suits you best.
That is why we stress the importance of knowing what you’re looking for and what your needs are. Only then can in-depth research help you make a decision.
The abundance of choices before you can be very overwhelming and confusing, to the point that you may not know which car insurance to pick, much less how.
In addition to the information we’ve gathered for you in this article and other articles on this website, the in-depth research you do should focus on aspects such as financial strength ratings, online customer reviews, and industry studies regarding claims and overall customer satisfaction.
Understanding Car Insurance Company Reviews
Our evaluation process for the following car insurance companies is based on three fundamental elements:
- Service offering refers to the products and coverages that a company provides (e.g., policy options and discounts).
- Financial stability is measured by looking at available ratings from the top four credit agencies (A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s). These agencies evaluate and grade an insurer’s financial strength and their ability to meet policyholder obligations. Each of these four credit evaluators grade insurers on different scales, using letters, numbers, and symbols to denote creditworthiness.
- For customer satisfaction, we look at results from J.D. Power’s customer studies for claims processing and overall satisfaction, and the 2017 National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Complaint Ratio.
- J.D. Power is an information services company that, among other things, conducts customer satisfaction surveys regarding the auto insurance industry. We will focus on 2017’s U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study where they rank 25 companies in their claims process, and in 2018’s Auto Insurance Study where they rank companies across 11 geographical regions. The ranking scale runs from 1 (lowest possible grade) through 5 (highest).
- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) uses data supplied by state insurance departments to assemble a Complaint Ratio: the number of complaints the company has received as compared with the total number of premiums they underwrote that year for private passenger auto insurance.
The median complaint ratio across the market should be 1.
A score above 1 means more than the average number of complaints was filed against the company that calendar year.
By examining these factors, we get a clearer picture of each company’s strengths and areas for improvement.
You’ll also be able to use this information to springboard into further research on the subject and, eventually, into choosing an auto insurance provider.
Best Auto Insurance Providers Based On Reviews And Ratings
Founded in 1936 and based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, GEICO is currently the second-largest private passenger insurer in the country. Even though they’re famous for their talking lizard mascot, GEICO insures over 27 million vehicles on the road, meaning they’re not just some cute cartoon character company.
Its policy options cover the basics (liability, comprehensive, collision, medical payments, and uninsured motorists), as well as extra coverages for emergency road service, rental reimbursement, and mechanical breakdown insurance. It offers an online quote process and 24/7 customer assistance.
Additionally, GEICO offers substantial discounts, especially if you are a member of the U.S. armed forces or a federal employee.
According to the NAIC, GEICO’s complaint ratio for 2017 was calculated at 0.56, well below the national median of 1.00, which means the company received fewer customer complaints relative to their size.
It received a “Better Than Most” 4 out of 5 rating on all seven factors of J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction study (Overall, First Notice of Loss (FNOL), Claim Servicing, Estimation Process, Repair Process, Rental Experience, and Settlement).
It also fared well in 2018’s Auto Insurance Study, positioned among the leaders in most of the 11 regional categories and the highest ranked of our reviewed companies in the Central region.
GEICO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the third-largest public company and largest financial services company in the world. As such, GEICO maintains sterling financial backing, reflected in their high marks from the rating agencies: A.M. Best: A++ (Superior), Moody’s: Aa3, Fitch: AA-, and Standard & Poor’s: AA+.
The Progressive Corporation was founded in 1937 and is presently the third largest auto insurance provider in the U.S. with over $20 billion in premiums written. Headquartered in Ohio, the company also offers insurance policies for a wide variety of vehicles including motorcycles, boats, RVs, and snowmobiles.
Their policy options include all industry-standard coverages like liability, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist, among many others. It also offers gap coverage, coverage for ridesharing drivers, and for custom parts and equipment.
A unique feature of Progressive’s collision coverage is that it includes pet injury insurance to cover your pet’s vet bills if they’re injured as a result of an accident.
Progressive stands out for the wide variety of discounts available to their customers, encompassing everything from teen driver to automatic payment. You can also save money by participating in their Snapshot feature, a usage-based (pay as you drive) program, or the Name Your Price tool, where you can literally name what you wish to pay.
Regarding customer satisfaction, the NAIC Complaint Ratio for Progressive is 1.32, somewhat higher than the national median, but not significantly so. In both of J.D. Power’s surveys (claims satisfaction and auto insurance study) the company rates an overall 3 out of 5, an “About average” rank.
Progressive is highly rated by all the four major credit agencies due to their longevity as one of the largest insurers in the country and their strong financial presence. They’re rated as A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, A2 by Moody’s, A+ by Fitch, and A by Standard & Poor’s.
State Farm is far and away the nation’s largest auto insurer, with more than $40 billion premiums written in 2017. The Illinois-based company has been in business since the early 1920’s, with a long track record of success in vehicle, life, home, and property insurance.
State Farm offers all the policy options a major insurer should provide, even though the extra coverage offerings are minimal (mainly for ridesharing services and roadside assistance).
However, their discounts are plentiful, particularly rewarding safe drivers and safe vehicles. Its website is also a good resource with valuable information about car insurance policies and tips for selecting the right kind of coverage for you.
State Farm scored a 3 out of 5 rating in J.D. Power’s auto claim satisfaction survey and ranked among the highest car insurers in the New England, North Central, Texas, and Southwest regions in the auto insurance survey of 2018. Their 1.00 NAIC Complaint Ratio is precisely the national median.
The company’s ratings have been withdrawn from both Fitch and Moody’s for reasons unrelated to State Farm’s business practices, but they were affirmed with high grades and a stable outlook before the removal. A.M. Best (AA+, Superior) and Standard & Poor’s (AA) rate them very highly.
Headquartered in Illinois, The Allstate Corporation was founded in 1931 as part of Sears, Roebuck and Company. It is now one of the largest insurance companies in North America, providing coverage for over 16 million households.
Allstate’s extensive coverage options include all essential types like liability, collision, and others. It also features sound system insurance, a personal umbrella policy that covers your liability above the underlying limits, and classic car insurance for collectors and drivers of vintage autos.
Their money-saving benefits are nothing to sneeze at, either. Vehicle, payment, and driver discounts, along with add-ons such as accident forgiveness and their Safe Driving Bonus service, provide additional relief for your wallet.
With a 1.04 NAIC Complaint Ratio, Allstate is right in line with the national average. Their ranking in J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction survey is “About Average.” However, they score 4 out of 5, “Better than Most,” for the Texas, New England, and Florida regions in the auto insurance study.
As the fourth largest car insurance company in the U.S., Allstate holds a strong financial reputation, receiving high grades from A.M. Best (A+, Superior), Moody’s (A3), Fitch (A-), and Standard & Poor’s (AA-).
Founded in 1999, Esurance is one of the earliest car insurers to provide their services entirely online. Esurance now operates as a subsidiary in the Allstate family of companies, having been acquired by them in 2011. The company is currently available in 43 states where they insure over 5 million vehicles.
Their product offerings include all essential coverages (liability, vehicle protection, and medical payments) and additional options like rental car insurance and gap coverage.
The company offers a good variety of policy, vehicle, and driver discounts, including the Online Shopper and Switch & Save discounts.
Esurance’s 1.64 NAIC Complaint Ratio is a bit higher than the national median, though not substantially so. Their J.D. Power claims satisfaction ranking is an average 3 out of 5, the same as their ranking for two out of the three available regions in 2018’s auto insurance study.
Though only rated by A.M. Best, with an A+ (Superior) grade, Esurance greatly benefits from its parent company’s considerable financial strength as a stable insurer capable of meeting its financial obligations.
For additional information, you can read our Progressive vs. Esurance Comparison.
Operating in over 18 countries across the globe, Liberty Mutual is a property and casualty insurer offering an ample array of insurance products and services ranging from automobile and homeowners to commercial and surety. The company was founded in 1912 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts.
Besides the common and necessary coverage options, Liberty Mutual offers excellent add-on coverages such as Lifetime Repair Guarantee, New Car Replacement, Better Car Replacement, and Rental Car Reimbursement, which provide further security in the event you’re involved in an accident.
Discounts are also plentiful. Customers save by bundling auto and home policies, based on their payment methods, having a hybrid vehicle, or if you’re newly married, to name a few.
Liberty Mutual has a 5.64 NAIC Complaint Ratio, substantially above the national median. It received a 2 out of 5 rating (“The Rest”) in the 2017 J.D. Power claims satisfaction survey. Nonetheless, they received a 3 out 5 rating in five regions (California, New England, New York, Northwest, and Southwest) of 2018’s Auto Insurance Study.
As part of one of the largest insurers in the United States, Liberty Mutual has solid financial strength ratings from all four major credit agencies (A.M. Best: A excellent, Moody’s: A2, Fitch: BBB+, and Standard & Poor’s: A), confirming the company’s capacity to fulfill their financial obligations.
To learn more about the company, check out our Liberty Mutual Company Review.
A new entry in the car insurance industry, Metromile is a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2011 that specializes in usage-based insurance. By installing a small device in your car, Metromile counts the miles driven and determines your total monthly bill based on that information plus an established low base rate.
Currently available in select states (Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington), Metromile’s policy offerings include: Bodily Injury Liability (BI), Property Damage Liability (PD), Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Comprehensive, Collision, as well as a few extra coverage options.
The Metromile app, paired with the pay-per-mile device, provides valuable diagnostic information and trip data about your auto, helping you save on premiums by implementing small changes in your driving habits.
Although they do not offer many discounts, Metromile does have a multi-vehicle discount that can be applied to your policy in the event you want to add another vehicle.
Metromile has a decent 1.40 NAIC Complaint Ratio, minimally above the median. It was not featured in J.D. Power’s 2017 claims satisfaction surveys or 2018’s auto insurance study.
Since it’s a newcomer in the auto insurance industry, the company is still not rated by any of the four major rating agencies. Metromile underwrites their own policies and is transitioning older policies from the National General Insurance Group.
Established in 1963 and specializing in auto insurance, The General Automobile Insurance Services, Inc. is a licensed insurer that is a subsidiary of PGC Holdings Corp. The company was acquired by American Family Insurance in 2012 but still maintains its separate brand as The General.
The company’s focus is insuring customers with less-than-stellar driving records, those who’ve had interruptions in coverage, or those with credit problems.
The General’s coverage options include the basics: Liability, Medical Payments, Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist, Comprehensive, and Collision. Their online quoting process is quick and straightforward; you can get a quote in 2 minutes or less.
The General’s NAIC Complaint Ratio of 2.11 is a bit higher than the national median of 1.00. J.D. Power does not rank The General in the studies we’re analyzing, but they do rank their parent company, American Family, with a 3 out 5 grade in their auto claims satisfaction study.
Although not credited by Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s, The General maintains an A (Excellent) grade from A.M. Best. Additionally, Fitch rates American Family as an A+ company.
Although more commonly associated with life insurance (and their blimps), MetLife is a global provider of insurance and financial services. Based in New York, the company has been in business for more than 150 years.
MetLife offers all the essential auto insurance coverages and considerable extras. New car replacement, Major parts replacement, Glass repairs, Roadside assistance, and Lease/Loan gap coverage are some of the additional policy options provided.
Available discounts might not be as substantial as other insurance providers, but MetLife rewards safe drivers and good students by applying discounts on their premiums.
MetLife has NAIC Complaint Ratio of 0.71 which is noticeably under the national median, an indication of effective customer service.
While the company only managed a 3 out of 5 rating in J.D. Power’s 2017 claims satisfaction survey, they did rank as the highest rated company in the Florida (5 out of 5) and New York (4 out of 5) regions in 2018’s auto insurance study.
MetLife is one of the most reputable insurance companies in the world due to their size and history. Because of this, they have exceptional ratings from A.M. Best (A, Excellent), Moody’s (A3), Fitch (A), and Standard & Poor’s (A-).
Formerly called the American Association of Retired Persons, the AARP is a non-profit organization and interest group advocating for the rights of retirees in the United States. Their auto insurance program is provided by The Hartford, a Connecticut-based investment and insurance company that’s been in business since 1810.
AARP’s policy offerings are industry-standard and don’t offer much in the way of extra coverage, though they do offer additional coverage for rental car expenses, towing, and glass insurance.
The discounts offered are also typical for reputable auto insurers like The Hartford and include savings for driver training and education, policy bundling, payment options, and safe vehicles.
The Hartford rates as a “Better Than Most” company with a 4 out of 5 score in J.D. Power’s 2017 auto claims satisfaction survey. In 2018’s Auto Insurance Study, The Hartford is the highest rated of our featured companies in the Southwest (5 out of 5), Northwest (4 out of 5), and California (4 out of 5) regions.
The Hartford is not graded by either A.M. Best or Fitch, but they have good financial strength ratings from Moody’s (Baa1) and Standard & Poor’s (BBB+).
Founded in 1922 in San Antonio, Texas, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a financial and insurance services group that offers their products exclusively to current or former United States military service members and their families.
USAA provides all essential coverages for your auto insurance needs: Comprehensive and collision coverage for your vehicle, liability (BI and PD), Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Uninsured/Underinsured motorists, and extra coverages for Roadside Assistance, Rental Reimbursement, and Accident Forgiveness.
Additionally, USAA offers a wide variety of savings and discounts based on your driving (safe driver, drive training, and defensive driving), vehicle (new vehicle, multi-vehicle, and annual mileage), and membership (family discount, length of membership, no payment plans).
Needless to say, USAA is undoubtedly an attractive option for service members and their families since they provide discounts for vehicle storage (due to deployment) and for garaging a vehicle on base.
With a 0.96 NAIC Complaint Ratio, USAA is right below the national median. The company also excels in their J.D. Power rankings. In the 2017 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, they receive a 5 out of 5 rating (“Among the Best”). For 2018’s Auto Insurance Study, USAA receives the highest possible rating (5 out of 5) in all eleven regions.
Rating agencies regard USAA’s financial strength highly. A.M. Best gives an A++ (Superior) grade, Moody’s an Aaa, and Standard & Poor’s an A++.
For more information regarding the best car insurance for veterans, read our article on the subject.
Headquartered in New York City, The Travelers Companies is an insurance company that provides commercial and personal insurance services in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Brazil. Their environmental, social, and governance practices are an integral part of their corporate citizenship goals.
The company’s policy options feature every basic coverage you’d expect, plus additional coverage like loan/lease gap insurance, rental, roadside assistance, new car replacement, accident forgiveness, and insurance for drivers of ride-sharing services.
Travelers does offer a significant number of discounts, ensuring that most customers will find a way to save money on their policies:
- Multi-policy, multi-car, and home ownership discounts for customers looking to bundle policies.
- Safe driver, good student, and driver training discounts rewarding responsible policyholders.
- EFT, paid in full, good payer, and early quote discounts depending on payment methods
Its NAIC Complaint Ratio of 0.00 is precisely the national median. In J.D. Power’s Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, they score an average rating of 3 out of 5.
Travelers is a large, multinational insurance company that’s been in business in one form or another since the mid-1800’s. Therefore it has a strong financial reputation and holds solid credit ratings from all four major agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Moody’s (A2), Fitch (A+), Standard & Poor’s (A).
Summing It Up
Though far from a definitive guide for determining the best auto insurance option available, we hope the information provided serves as a jumping-off point for further research on your part.
Remember, applying for quotes and comparing rates is the best way to reach an informed decision regarding your particular needs and it could potentially save you big bucks.
*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that “timely” information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.