The best car insurance companies for 2021
Car insurance is legally required in almost every state. But regardless of the laws, car insurance is important for every driver to have. Car insurance covers your financial and legal responsibility if you cause an accident. In some states, insurance pays for your own losses, like medical bills and vehicle damages.
You might be tempted to buy a policy from the first provider you come across, but choosing the right car insurance company for your needs involves careful research and comparison. Providers vary significantly based on factors like premium price, the type of coverage offered and customer service.
Our editorial team reviewed the largest car insurance carriers to choose the best car insurance companies of 2021. These providers were evaluated based on market share, average rate, coverage options, discounts, financial strength, third-party ratings and customer satisfaction scores.
The best car insurance companies
The market offers a seemingly endless number of car insurance companies, so we have narrowed down the list. Auto insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Factors such as age, credit rating and budget help determine the best insurance provider for each individual.
|Car insurance company||Bankrate rating||Average annual premium for minimum coverage||Average annual premium for full coverage|
We looked closely at these insurance providers and scored them based on ratings across the board. Certain insurance companies, like State Farm, were rated highly by multiple research companies. Our rankings account for the average ratings of these companies by multiple sources.
Best for customer service: Allstate
In the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Study, Allstate ranked among the top auto insurance providers in most U.S. regions and earned the top spot in the Florida region. It also scored above average in J.D. Power’s Claims Satisfaction Study. In addition, Allstate has superior financial strength, with an A+ rating from AM Best.
Allstate is known for dependable customer service, good coverage options, generous discounts and online tools. The insurance provider is also great for drivers who prefer face-to-face interaction, with agencies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., where customers can go in person to file a claim or purchase additional coverages.
- Availability everywhere with many local offices
- Discounts for teen drivers
- Mobile app and online tools
- Coverage is available only in six months terms
- Claims satisfaction rating is slightly lower than average
- Rates are slightly higher than average
Allstate is a great insurance provider for any driver. However, this provider is best for drivers who care about good customer service and efficient claims handling. Allstate is also a great option for drivers who often move around since it has agents in every state.
- Allstate Drivewise program, which helps safe drivers save up to 40% on their car insurance.
- Early discount If you sign a policy with Allstate at least one week before the policy becomes effective
- New car discount if the car is a current model year or one year prior and they are the first owner.
Best overall: Amica Mutual
Amica Mutual has a long history of providing great coverage and customer service. The provider ranked #1 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study in New England and as a top provider in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. Amica is one of the only insurance providers that offers dividend policies, where drivers can recoup up to 20% of their premium at the end of the year.
In addition to standard auto coverages, like personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, Amica also offers great add-ons like roadside assistance and glass coverage. The company’s Platinum Choice Auto package features a
bundle of endorsements, including accident forgiveness, no-deductible full glass coverage and identity fraud monitoring.
- Dividend policies are available
- No-cost lock replacement for lost keys
- Top provider ranks from J.D. Power, including #1 for overall customer satisfaction in New England
Amica is best for drivers who care about good coverage and great customer service and are willing to pay a premium for it. The provider’s policies are not the cheapest, but it ranks highly in nearly every other category.
- Defensive driver discount program offered through SafetyServe
- Legacy discount available for people under 30 whose parents have had an Amica auto policy for at least five years.
- Loyalty discount if you have been insured with Amica for at least two years
Learn more about Amica Mutual.
Best for young drivers: Erie Insurance
Erie auto insurance offers great benefits, especially for young drivers. All Erie policies include roadside assistance, rental car coverage and up to $350 for personal items damaged in an auto accident. Standard full coverage policies also pay up to $500 for pet injuries and up to $75 for locksmith services. Parents with unmarried children under 21 can save up to 20% by adding them to their existing auto policy.
In J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study, Erie ranks above average in the North Central region. The company also ranks above average in J.D. Power’s Claims Satisfaction Study.
- Good rates for young drivers
- High ranking in J.D. Power’s insurance studies
- Standard policies include roadside assistance and rental car coverage
Erie Insurance is a good option for young or newly licensed drivers. It is one of the few car insurance companies that offers a discount for drivers under 21 who live with their parents.
- Erie Rate Lock program guarantees that you will pay the same rate until you make a change to your policy.
- Diminishing deductible program lowers your deductible by $100 for every consecutive claims-free year, up to $500.
- First accident forgiveness after three years
Learn more about Erie Insurance.
Best for comprehensive coverage: Farmers
Farmers Insurance offers all the standard auto insurance coverages, including collision, comprehensive, liability, medical payments and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages. Farmers’ optional coverages stand out, including customized equipment, new car replacement, original equipment manufacturer and spare parts coverage.
Farmers claims satisfaction is just above average in J.D. Power’s 2020 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, while overall customer satisfaction is slightly below average according to J.D. Power’s 2020 Auto Insurance Study.
- Easy claims process
- Good Reliability
- Hybrid/alternative fuel discounts
- Customer satisfaction ratings are slightly lower than average
- No loyalty discounts
- Rates are slightly higher than average
Farmers stands out for offering comprehensive coverage options for drivers. If you’re looking for a wide range of coverages and ways to customize your policy, we recommend checking out Farmers.
Best cheap car insurance: Geico
In our studies of cheap car insurance companies, Geico consistently offers the lowest rates for many drivers. Geico earned the top AM Best financial rating of A++ and it has the second highest market share, 13.8%, in the United States, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). The company earns average ratings in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and was rated the best car insurance company in three regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
Geico offers basic car insurance coverage, with few options for customization. However, the company offers a variety of discounts, which can help drivers get a cheaper rate. Geico has discounts for federal employees, military members, seniors, students, bundling policies and having a car with certain safety features.
- Affordable rates
- Automobile equipment discounts
- Highly rated mobile app
- Few optional coverages
- Limited local agents
- No replacement cost coverage option
Geico car insurance is for the driver who is shopping for a low rate. It is also a good option for drivers who want a minimal amount of coverage without fancy or expensive extras.
- Active military service members can save up to 15%.
- Federal employees qualify for the Eagle discount of up to 12% off the total premium.
- Military service members on emergency deployment can get a discount of up to 25% on their car insurance.
Best for those with poor credit: Nationwide
Nationwide auto insurance rates are lower than average for people with poor credit. The insurance provider offers a full range of standard coverages and great optional coverages, including accident forgiveness and a vanishing deductible program.
Nationwide’s highly rated mobile app allows users to file a claim, pay their bill and contact roadside assistance from their smartphone. Conscientious drivers can enroll in Nationwide’s user-based SmartRide program to save up to 40% for maintaining safe driving habits.
Nationwide was ranked #2 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Survey, but it ranked below average for overall customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2020 Auto Insurance Study.
- Lower rates for drivers with bad credit
- On Your Side Review annual insurance assessment
- SmartRide usage-based discount program
- Below average overall customer satisfaction scores
- Higher rates for teens
- No military or senior discount
Nationwide’s affordable rates make it an attractive option for drivers with poor credit. Nationwide is also a suitable provider for drivers who want customizable coverage options and discounts, plus access to good online tools.
- Accident-free discount
- Affinity member discount
- Good student discount
Best coverage options: Progressive
Progressive is our top pick for drivers who want the best coverage options. The company’s Name Your Price tool makes it easy to see policy options within a certain price range. High-risk drivers can redeem their driving record with Progressive’s usage-based Snapshot program. Using a mobile app, Snapshot monitors driving habits and rewards drivers with discounts when they drive safely.
Overall, Progressive ranked slightly below average in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, however, the company received above average ratings in multiple regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
- Custom equipment and parts coverage
- Gap insurance
- Online rate comparison tool
- Below-average claims satisfaction
- Expensive rates compared to other providers
Progressive is best suited to drivers who care about comprehensive coverage options and customizing their policy through numerous discounts and add-on policy options.
- Drivers who stayed with their previous auto insurance provider for an extended amount of time without coverage lapses qualify for a discount when they switch to Progressive
- The Name Your Price tool shows policy options within a certain price range.
- The Progressive Snapshot program can save safe drivers an average of $145 a year
Best if you want a local agent: State Farm
State Farm offers a comprehensive lineup of auto, health, life and property insurance policies, plus banking and investment products. It is best known for providing local, dedicated agents across the country. Drivers can expect a robust range of coverage options and the ability to bundle with almost any other type of insurance needed.
State Farm earned high ratings in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and ranked as the best car insurance provider in New York and the Mid-Atlantic regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
- Available nationwide with numerous local agencies
- High claims satisfaction rating
- Wide range of discounts and options
State Farm is one of the best car insurance companies for drivers who prefer to work with an agent rather than manage their policy online. The company’s 19,000 agents nationwide make it easy to find an agent almost anywhere.
- Drivers who enroll in State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save program can save up to 30% on their insurance.
- Drivers who are insured by State Farm for at least three years and have been accident-free can earn a discount.
- Young drivers who enroll in the Steer Clear program qualify for a discount of up to 15% on their car insurance premium.
Best for drivers 50 and over: The Hartford
The Hartford offers one-stop shopping for active seniors, providing insurance for ATVs, boats, classic cars, golf carts, RVs and snowmobiles. Available in all states and Washington, D.C., the insurance provider offers a full line of auto coverages through a unique partnership with AARP.
The Hartford’s Advantage Plus auto plan comes packed with benefits, including hybrid vehicle discounts, accident forgiveness, emergency expense coverage and a disappearing collision deductible if no claim is filed. Additionally, The Hartford is one of the top-rated providers in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
- ATV, boat, classic car and RV coverages
- Excellent customer service and claims satisfaction
- Great fo
r seniors who are AARP members
The Hartford is likely the best option for drivers who are AARP members. Additionally, this provider is a great option for drivers who are looking for comprehensive coverage options, good discounts and highly-rated customer service.
- AARP members
- Airbag or anti-theft system savings installation
- Multi-vehicle and multi-policy savings
Learn more about The Hartford.
Best for military families and veterans: USAA
Active duty military members, veterans and qualified family members will not find a better auto insurance company than USAA. The provider tailors its car insurance coverage to military members’ needs, with reduced rates for low annual mileage and up to a 60% discount for vehicles stored during deployment.
USAA has exceptional ratings and is consistently ranked as one of the country’s best insurance companies. In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, USAA receives top scores. It is also one of the more comprehensive carriers. For qualified members, USAA also offers discounts on things like shopping and travel, plus a full portfolio of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, investment products and retirement accounts.
- Excellent customer service and claims satisfaction ratings
- Good online and mobile tools
- Nationwide availability
- Limited to military families and veterans
- Must be a member to receive a quote
Naturally, USAA is best for drivers who qualify for its service-either active military members, immediate family members or veterans. USAA is also a good choice for drivers who want top-notch customer service and a personalized customer experience.
- Drivers whose parents had a USAA car insurance policy can save up to 10% on their policy.
- Military members who garage their vehicle on base can save up to 15% on comprehensive coverage.
- Drivers who do not use their car frequently can qualify for savings with the Annual Mileage discount.
Things to consider when looking for the best car insurance company for you
Avoid mistakes and get the most affordable car insurance rate by following these tips:
- Read auto insurance carrier reviews and ask friends and family members to recommend companies and agents.
- Check with your state’s insurance department to ensure the companies you are interested in are licensed.
- Request quotes from several companies and carefully compare the results. Pay attention to details like deductibles, payment options, discounts and included and excluded services.
- Ask insurance agents about details of the coverage. Will a history of speeding tickets affect your premium? Does the company consider credit history to determine rates? Will the coverage protect all drivers in your household? Does the policy cover rental cars when you travel?
- Shop around periodically to make sure you are still getting the best coverage for your needs.
Once you’ve found a provider you like, always pay your premium on time. Otherwise, your coverage could lapse and you may not be able to choose that provider again and be subject to legal consequences. Some insurers offer direct withdrawal from your checking account, which can help safeguard against lost coverage.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company?
Choosing car insurance is a subjective process. When shopping for car insurance, look for a financially strong company capable of providing the best coverage, service and value in your price range.
Do car insurance companies offer military discounts?
Some car insurance companies offer military discounts and some do not. USAA caters exclusively to military personnel and their families, offering great car insurance rates and a host of financial products and services.
Which company offers the lowest auto insurance premiums for teenagers and young adults?
Geico and USAA offer some of the lowest premium rates for young drivers among major insurance carriers.
Who offers the cheapest auto insurance?
Car insurance premiums are determined by several factors, including age, location, driving experience and history, along with a number of other determinants. These are currently some of the cheaper car insurance companies.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and 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
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.
Bankrate’s ratings are calculated using weighted averages of scores on several important qualities of auto insurance carriers, including price, customer satisfaction, financial strength and more. We considered ratings from the following during this process:
- J.D. Power: We used J.D. Power & Associates to gauge customer satisfaction. This source rates providers based on how customers rated their overall satisfaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, interaction and claims.
- AM Best: AM Best is an independent organization that rates an insurance provider’s financial strength and ability to pay claims.
- Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports is another organization that rates providers and how well they can assist customers.
- S&P Global: This organization also analyzes how easily a provider can meet its financia
l commitments. It is usually a tool for investors to evaluate a company’s credit rating.
- Fitch Ratings: Fitch’s ratings also evaluate a company’s credit rating.
- Moody’s: Moody’s also evaluates a company’s credit rating.
These ratings are intended to help you easily compare auto insurance providers. We will continue to update them as we review more carriers and additional third-party information is made available.