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Auto insurance reviews
Best Car Insurance Companies
Updated on 02/28/2018
Different auto insurance companies cater to different demographics, which is what makes shopping for auto insurance such a personalized experience. Consumers should buy more than just the state minimum coverage to ensure they are fully covered in the event of a major collision.
Some things to consider when shopping for auto insurance are relevant discounts, exclusions, coverage limits, optional coverage and the claims process. *The ConsumerAffairs insurance program is powered by InsuraMatch.
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Progressive has been providing consumers with auto insurance since 1937 and is known for its insurance rate comparison tool. This company offers several types of auto insurance, and focuses only on this type of insurance.
When people think of GEICO, they think of their mascot. However, it’s also an insurance company that offers comprehensive insurance at relatively low prices. GEICO offers a variety of insurance in addition to auto insurance.
State Farm is the biggest auto insurer in the U.S. and is a top 50 Fortune 500 company. It was founded in 1922 by a farmer, and for nearly a century has tried to bring a sense of neighborliness into the insurance business.
Liberty Mutual is one of the oldest insurers in the U.S. Today, it is the third largest publicly held U.S. insurance company. They offer a variety of comprehensive insurance packages, including auto and homeowners insurance.
The Automobile Club Association, or AAA, is one of the best-known insurance providers in the U.S. It offers a roadside assistance program as well as a variety of insurance plans and policies for drivers and vehicle owners.
AllState became a publicly held insurance company in 1993, though it’s been around since the 1930s. It is dedicated to hiring women and minorities in addition to providing appropriate insurance for people from all walks of life.
USAA offers insurance to veterans and current military personnel. It has been in business since 1922 and strives to give military personnel and families coverage to meet their special needs, including auto insurance coverage.
The General specializes in providing insurance coverage for high risk drivers, including those who need an SR-22 following a DUI. It is a subsidiary of PCG Holdings, which has been underwriting insurance for 50 years.
Esurance is an online auto insurance company that is backed by AllState. It provides consumers with tools for claim resolution as well as the ability to sign up for, renew or change insurance policies through the Internet.
Travelers Insurance has been in business for over 150 years. In 2009, it founded a political advocacy group to get the fairest coverage laws for American drivers in addition to its auto insurance options for various drivers.
Important questions to ask about auto insurance
The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
- Read the policy: Carefully examine your auto insurance policy to understand exactly what is covered, and work with your agent and insurance company to make the right adjustments to suit your unique situation.
- Limits: Pay attention to the limits and deductibles set by the insurance policy. In some cases, there will be a maximum payout, which may not be as high as you’re looking for. Or in others, the deductible could be higher than you’re willing to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim.
Are there exclusions?
- Other drivers don’t have insurance: If you get into a collision with an uninsured driver, you’ll have to pay for repairs out of your own pocket and sue for damages unless you have the proper auto insurance policy.
- Car theft: Basic insurance policies don’t always cover car theft.
- Damage from natural accidents: Some insurers don’t cover collisions with animals, tornados, earthquakes, damage from falling objects, etc., unless you specifically pay for these coverages.
Mechanics and replacement parts
- Can you choose a service provider?: Choosing your own mechanic is the best-case scenario, but they aren’t always covered by insurance policies. Check the fine print of the policy to see if the insurer has control over which service providers and parts are used for repairs.
- Are service providers reputable?: If the insurer has the authority to pick your mechanic, investigate them. Look for service reviews online from past claims and from former policyholders.
- What if the replacement part breaks?: Find out how the insurer handles faulty repairs and how quickly they will take care of it.
The cost of auto insurance is a big factor in most people’s decision about which policy to choose. If you want to find cheap car insurance with a lower premium, you’ll have to pay a higher deductible to get your car fixed if you get in an accident and need repairs.
- Premium: The premium is the monthly, semi-annual or yearly price that you pay for your insurance plan.
- Deductible: Deductibles are the amount of money you are required to pay for a claim before your insurance company starts to pay out. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium tends to be.
- Coverage factors: Depending on much coverage you opt for (i.e., the limits), the cost of your insurance will vary. Your past driving record, credit rating, distance you drive and even drivers’ education will all affect how much your policy costs.
- Collision coverage: Collision coverage pays for the expenses to repair your car after you’ve been in an accident, whether you’re at fault or not. If you drive an older car that isn’t worth much money, it may not be worth it to pay for collision insurance.
- Comprehensive coverage: This covers things that could happen to your car not related to an accident that might not be covered by standard insurance, such as weather damage, running into an animal or other factors. It’s a good idea to opt for comprehensive coverage if you can afford it, but it can get costly and might not be worth it if you drive an old or inexpensive car.
- Uninsured motorist protection: This protects drivers in the event that they get into an accident with a person who isn’t insured but is to blame for the accident or in a hit-and-run. It will cover damages to the car and injury in the event that another driver is unable to pay out.
Insurance company ratings
- Reviews and complaints: Check the reviews and ratings on an insurance company before purchasing a policy. Be aware of any complaints that have been filed.
- Handling claims: How long does it take for the company to handle a claim? Do you have to pay out of pocket first or do they cover the expenses immediately?
Types of auto insurance coverage options
Liability insurance covers you if you’re in an accident deemed to be your fault. It will cover repairs to damaged property, as well as medical bills resulting from injury to the other driver and his or her passengers. Most states require at least a minimum amount of liability insurance, but it’s a good idea to purchase extra protection if you can afford it.
If you are involved in an accident, collision coverage will pay for the repairs to your car whether or not you’re at fault. If your car is damaged beyond repair, good collision coverage will pay for the value of your car.
Personal injury protection
Personal injury protection is imperative for all drivers. Medical bills following an accident can be devastating, and good personal injury coverage will cover medical expenses for you and your passengers, as well as missed work expenses.
Uninsured motorist protection
About one in six drivers is uninsured, even though it is illegal to be in most states. Uninsured motorist protection offers payment when you are in a collision with another driver who is at fault and does not have insurance or after a hit-and-run. It is usually relatively inexpensive to add uninsured motorist protection to a car insurance policy.
Auto insurance for different types of drivers
Drivers who own a car
Auto Insurance is required by law for drivers in most states. Drivers who own a car and drive it often should definitely have auto insurance to cover the risk of damages to their car and personal injury and the liability of harm to other people and property. Otherwise, repairs and medical costs, particularly when you’re liable for an accident, can be very expensive.
Drivers who occasionally drive cars not their own
If you don’t own a car but occasionally drive rental cars or cars that belong to other people, you should still have auto insurance. The car owner’s insurance typically doesn’t cover other drivers unless that is stipulated in the policy.
Car owners who have other people drive their car
Expert reviews about car insurance companies
AAA is officially a federation of motor clubs that offers auto insurance to drivers across America. The company now has more than 54 million members, and it operates out of its corporate headquarters in both Heathrow, FL, and Washington, D.C.
Esurance is an auto insurance company owned by its larger parent company, Allstate. The company is among the first established online insurance companies and offers 17 physical office locations around the country.
Founded in 1926, GEICO is one of America’s oldest and largest full-service insurance companies. Today, the company operates their business out of the corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C, and they have insured more than 22 million vehicles to date.
Permanent General Auto Insurance is a licensed insurance agency that offers insurance in many states. They have been in business for over 50 years and have been recognized by A.M. Best for their financial stability.
Grundy has been serving customers in the auto insurance industry since 1947. The company specializes in insuring collectible automobiles but offers coverage for regular-use automobiles as well. They are most famous for inventing Agreed Value Insurance, which is now used by many collectible car insurance companies.
State Farm is one of America’s largest and most popular full-service insurance companies. The company was founded in 1922 by retired farmer George Jacob Mecherle, and it has since grown to become the No. 41 ranked company on the Fortune 500 list of the largest companies.
J.C. Taylor is an antique and specialty automobile insurance company founded in the mid-1950s. J.C. Taylor is one of the largest providers for this type of insurance and is known nationally for their support for the hobby in local and national clubs.
Founded by former U.S. Army officers, USAA Auto Insurance is dedicated to providing affordable insurance and financial services to active duty, retired, and honorably discharged military personnel and their eligible family members.
Founded in 1882, Chubb started as a marine underwriting business. From there, they have expanded greatly, insuring everything from homes to collectable cars. Now, the company has customers from 28 different countries around the globe.
Hagerty is a classic vehicle insurance company that was founded in 1984 and headquartered in Traverse City, MI. The company started as a small family owned business that insured boats; now they protect over 10,000 boats, 700,000 vehicles and 25,000 motorcycles.
Allied Insurance, founded in 1929, has expanded over the years to include home, car and unique insurance offerings, this includes recreational vehicles. A subdivision of the Nationwide Insurance company, Allied Insurance has a wide variety of insurance services that consumers can take advantage of for their personal or business use.
Auto Owners Insurance is a regional insurance company that offers life, home, auto and business insurance to individual customers and corporations. They focus on providing local, in-person availability that creates a personal relationship with their customers.
Founded in 1925, Erie Auto Insurance has more than 90 years of experience customizing policies for the modern driver. They currently serve more than 4 million customers with policies in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
Grange Auto Insurance is an independent company offering personalized, localized service through a network of qualified agents with generations of experience at their disposal. They compare coverage from a variety of resources to find the perfect match for new clients.
New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group provides coverage for business and personal purposes. The company customizes policies for homeowners, drivers and commercial business owners to ensure they receive superior service and reliable coverage in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Plymouth Rock Auto Insurance is an insurance provider that serves drivers in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Policyholders can report claims 24 hours a day, and Plymouth Rock Auto Insurance’s sales center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. EST.
SAFECO Auto Insurance is a Liberty Mutual Company that provides a broad range of insurance products for vehicle and property owners. While the company has a national presence, it also employs local agents who provide services in specific states.
Shelter Insurance is one of the largest regional auto insurance providers in America. Shelter’s auto insurance is available in both commercial and consumer policies, and they offer a variety of discounts if you qualify. Shelter operates in over 18 states with more than 1,300 licensed agents.
The day all parents dread is finally upon you; your teenage child is old enough to drive. But before they pop in a mix-tape (those are still a thing, right?) and step on the gas, they need to learn the rules of the road. ConsumerAffairs asked dozens of driving schools across the country for advice to make the process more enjoyable and educational for you and your student driver.
As parents, there are many ways we enjoy spending time with our children. Spending dozens, if not hundreds, of hours sitting white-knuckled in the passenger seat while your student driver practices merging onto a major highway isn’t even on the list. Trust us, we understand.
But according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, newly licensed drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes in their first six months than more experienced drivers. The takeaway? Experience counts. The Center for Disease Control suggests that increased education programs and parental involvement in instruction are associated with reductions of as many as 40% of fatal and injury crashes among 16-year-olds.
2. And, make sure part of that experience is in bad conditions
Most people (and even some dogs), are pretty excellent drivers with nothing but sunshine and open roads. Inclement weather causes more than 1.5 million reported traffic accidents per year, resulting in 673,000 injuries and 7,400 fatalities.
“Before they take their driver’s test, make sure your student drivers have experience in all different types of weather and non-weather conditions,” says Monica Savioz of Edward Savioz DTS Inc. “That includes everything from heavy traffic to rain, ice, snow and extreme heat.”
3. Get them professional instruction
Although we’re sure that you’re probably an excellent driver (you would never speed or cut someone off, would you?), and an even better parent, how are you as a teacher? Many driving school instructors have been teaching student drivers for decades, and we all know teenagers are more likely to listen to literally anyone else than take instruction from their parents.
“Take a six hour behind-the-wheel course,” says Dave Urbanek of Urbanek’s Driving School. “The skills provided for young drivers will, hopefully, stay with them all of their lives. We still have former students that we come across that say they are always using tidbits of their driver’s education in their everyday driving experiences.”
4. Teach by doing
We don’t have to tell you that teens are impressionable; first Rihanna and Ellie Goulding, now every teenage girl has half of her head shaved. While you can’t control which fashion trends they embrace, you can influence the way they drive.
“Teens are very likely to pick up the habits of their parents,” says J.C. Fawcett of the Defensive Driving School. “A parent should think about. Do I cuss at other drivers while driving? Do I speed? Do I tailgate? The training that comes from students observing their parents is very powerful. If a parent attempts to change their habits only when their teen is learning to drive, it’s probably 10 years too late.”
5. Relax and enjoy the moment
Teaching someone to drive can be a stressful experience for both student and teacher. When your life flashes in front of you every few minutes, it can be hard to keep your cool. But even though all of your instincts may tell you to raise your voice and grab the wheel, try to relax.
“Many companies offer discounts for good grades and for completion of an approved driver’s education or defensive driving course,” continued Doreen Haughton-James of 123 Drive! Driving Academy. “Some also have their own discount programs. State Farm, for example, has a program called ‘Steer Clear’ where students receive discounts for logging driving hours and completing a program.”
Start your engines!
Watching your teenage driver get behind the wheel for the first time can be nerve-wracking. But with the proper instruction and lots of practice, they’ll be able to safely navigate the road for decades to come.
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