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Best car insurance companies of 2019
How to compare the best car insurance for you
Best car insurance picks
- Cheapest rates
- Discounts up to 40%
- Policyholder owned
- Award-winning support
- Flexible payment schedule
- Special benefits for military
List of the best car insurance companies
We combined the results of over 88,085 surveyed auto insurance consumers from Consumer Reports and the J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction survey to rank the best car insurance providers in 2019. Compare the best car insurance companies and the top factors to help you decide which provider is best for you.
|Company||Finder rating||Best for||Learn more|
|1. USAA*||Best perks and rates for military members and their family|
|2. Amica||Best personalized customer experience|
|3. Auto-Owners||Best rates and discounts for safe drivers|
|4. Erie||Best local coverage and agent support|
|5. AAA*||Best towing & roadside coverage|
|6. The Hartford||Best for senior drivers and AARP members|
|7. Geico||Best cheap car insurance and discounts|
Case study: Adrienne’s experience with USAA
Head of Publishing
I’ve been a USAA member for more than 10 years, having held renters, personal property and auto insurance policies. USAA representatives are always friendly and available with little or no wait times when I call, though customer service is not open late.
I brought my policy to a friend who runs a local insurance agency to see if I could get a better deal. He told me, “Don’t bother — I won’t be able to get you this coverage for a better price.”
I’ve gotten two mortgage preapprovals through USAA, but didn’t end up using them because the rates weren’t as low as going through a broker.
At least as far as insurance goes, I fall into their tagline: It’s safe to say that I’ll be a USAA member for life.
Best car insurance rates
Looking for the best rates? Compare sample quotes for California drivers and see how much you could save by looking for better car insurance deals.
|Company||Average annual rate||Learn more|
|21st Century||$1,701||Read review|
|State Farm||$2,474||Read review|
|The Hartford||$2,529||Read review|
|Liberty Mutual||$2,611||Read review|
|Average||$1,910||Compare all reviews|
Your monthly premium doesn’t tell the whole story about your car insurance.
Car insurance companies may not differ much in the coverage they provide, but can be worlds away on the quality of their service. While both you and the company hope to never make a claim, if you are in an accident, you want to be sure they pay your claim.
- Decide which factors matter most to you. Does your provider charge extra for monthly payments or paperless bills? How easy is it to contact customer service? What’s the process like for making a car insurance claim? These are important questions to ask to make sure you’ve chosen the right provider.
- Research companies that meet your criteria. Narrow down your list by comparing how a company treats customers and claims when researching car insurance companies.
- Get quotes. Go online to get quotes from your top picks. The more info you fill out, the more accurate your quote will be. You can also call a broker to help you get multiple quotes.
- Ask for discounts. Use your competing quotes to get the best rate. Make sure you ask for any discounts you could qualify for to get the lowest rate.
What’s the best kind of car insurance policy?
Liability insurance policies come with expensive little add-ons depending on the provider, making them difficult to compare on price alone. However, if you decide on full coverage, there are additional options to consider. The best policy for you is something that has all the extras you need, and nothing you don’t.
Liability only for cheap cars.
Liability, personal property and bodily injury coverage will all pay for any damage you cause after an accident. You need to meet your state’s minimum liability requirements, but most drivers should consider higher limits to protect the entire value of their car.
Full coverage for newer cars and frequent drivers.
This policy type includes collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage protects you in a car accident, and comprehensive covers you for everything else. This type of policy is ideal for newer vehicles, drivers with long commutes, and anyone else who can’t pay out of pocket after an accident.
Roadside assistance for older cars.
Many insurers offer free towing and roadside coverage if you have collision and comprehensive coverage. Others offer it as an add-on for a few extra dollars a month.
Mileage-based for low mileage drivers.
If you don’t drive much, consider a policy that lets you save by only paying for the miles you drive.
Gap insurance for loan/leased car.
If your car is stolen or totaled, your insurer will pay off any remaining lease or loan balance so you aren’t stuck making payments on a car that can’t be driven anymore. Without this coverage, there would be a gap between what the insurance company pays you and what you owe your bank or dealership, and that can be a financially-crippling burden.
How do I find a company with the best customer service?
In car insurance, customer service means a lot more than just a smile as you fill out the paperwork. It means being able to depend on your insurer in the event of a claim, and knowing that the next time you speak to them, you might be having a very bad day. It can help to stay focused on the more important factors.
- Response times: How can you contact the insurer, no matter where or when? This includes how long it takes the customer service team to pick up the phone when you call, how quickly you can expect a response to online or email inquiries and how long it usually takes the insurer to assess and pay claims. It can be a good idea to avoid insurers that aren’t available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week all year around.
- Claims options: If you needed to make a claim right now, what would you do? If you have a preference for online claims or want to be able to use an app, it can be a good idea to look for insurers that offer these options. If you think you’ll do it over the phone or in person, consider what exactly is involved.
- Communication: Does the insurer stay in touch throughout the claims process? This can be an important difference when you’re making a claim, as you don’t want to be chasing them down for updates. Let them keep you in the loop instead.
- Policy flexibility: How can you adjust your policy? Flexibility encompasses not only the options available to you, but also the ease with which you can take advantage of them and the responsiveness of your insurer.
- Partnered service quality: What’s the quality of the insurer’s service partners? Free roadside assistance might not be much use if it’s not available in your area, while towing, vehicle storage, glass and windshield replacement and other repairs will all typically involve the use of partnered service providers. It can be a good idea to compare the quality of these, and look for relevant reviews.
What’s the best car insurance if I don’t drive much?
If you only use your car occasionally, pay as you drive is an option offered by some car insurers that rewards drivers with lower premiums if they travel less than the average 10,000 miles a year. If you aren’t sure or you think you might be close, here are some ways to cut down on your driving time:
- Carpool several times a week
- Catch the train or bus to work
- Plan your errands for one trip per day instead of taking lots of little trips
- Take the most direct route to your destination
What’s the best car insurance for younger drivers under 25?
If you’re a young driver (under 25), you’ll face higher insurance costs, but there are still some things you can do to reduce your premiums.
- Choosing a car that’s cheaper to insure.
- Taking a defensive driving course
- Having a consistently safe driving record.
- Being a nominated driver on your parents’ insurance.
- Increasing your deductible to an amount that’s high but affordable.
If you’ve had an accident and made a claim, your premiums have likely increased, but you can try to mitigate the damage.
- Do you really have to make a claim? You might want to get quotes from mechanics before calling the insurance company. If it can be fixed for less than the deductible, you probably want to hold off on making a claim. Even if making a claim saves you money in the short term, it might be worth holding off to avoid raising premiums later on.
- You might have to adjust your coverage. If you’ve had an accident and your new premiums are breaking the bank, there are a few quick ways to potentially bump the price down. Raising your deductible, reducing your limits or dropping extras can lower the price while letting you keep essential coverage.
- Maximize discounts. Your safe driver or no-claims bonus is gone, but there are still plenty of other options. Look for multi-policy discounts from your other insurers, membership discounts or defensive driving and road safety training courses.
Finding the best car insurance is unique for every driver. Compare each quote and company based on the value you’re getting for the cost. What you value may be different from other drivers, from good customer service to coverage levels that protect you and your family from any road disaster.
Start your search by comparing car insurance options to find the right policy for you.
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