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Best Car Insurance Companies for 2024

Updated
Christy Bieber
By: Christy Bieber

Our Insurance Expert

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

When it comes to finding the best car insurance company, drivers need comprehensive protection at an affordable price. And with so many auto insurance companies to choose from, finding the best car insurance coverage can take time.

The Ascent can help. We've researched car insurance companies, compared prices from insurers nationwide, reviewed customer experiences, and performed in-depth research into dozens of different insurers. With a focus on price, claims handling, and customer service, we've chosen the best types of insurance for drivers in different circumstances.

Drivers from all walks of life -- from typical motorists to high-risk drivers, teens to veterans -- can find recommendations for the best car insurance companies to meet their needs.

Award Icon 2024 Award Winner

State Farm

Logo for State Farm
Best for bundling coverageState Farm
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

State Farm offers multiple opportunities for discounts, including for bundling coverage. But the best savings comes from the different programs it offers for young drivers including Steer Clear as well as a good student discount. With comprehensive coverage options and low premiums, parents and teens can rest assured they're protected in case of an accident.

Pros

  • Young adult drivers can save up to 15% on coverage
  • Discounts for good grades can provide another 25% savings for young drivers
  • High customer satisfaction rankings
  • Nationwide agent network
  • Access to array of insurances under one roof

Cons

  • A low credit score can increase premiums
  • Agent quality within its network can be inconsistent

Stand-Out Coverage Options

  • Steer Clear program offers discounts for policyholders under the age of 25
  • Optional car rental and travel expense coverage pays not just for a rental vehicle but also travel expenses to the driver's home or destination if an accident happens 50 or more miles home
  • Rideshare insurance is available

Average Annual Cost

The following rates represent the average cost across the nation for these various rating categories with State Farm:

  • Clean driving record - $2,427
  • Drivers with at least 1 accident/speeding ticket - $2,821
  • Young Drivers (18 Years old) - $5,692
  • Seniors - $2,167

Auto-Owners

Logo for Auto-Owners
Best for bundling policiesAuto-Owners
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Auto-Owners insurance offers more coverage than its name implies, but it does shine for its auto coverage, among other policy types including homeowners or renters insurance, life insurance, and business insurance. People can buy all the insurance they need from one company while earning generous premium discounts for bundled coverage. Additional discounts for those who pay in full annually or who make at least 36 months of on-time premium payments can provide even more savings for the budget-conscious buyer.

Pros

  • Bundled coverage discounts
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Roadside assistance coverage available in the U.S. and Canada

Cons

  • Policies are only available in 26 states
  • Policy must be purchased through an independent agent

Stand-Out Coverage Options

  • Gap insurance to pay off a remaining loan or lease balance if the car is totaled
  • Additional expense coverage, which pays for rental cars, food, lodging, and other incidental expenses in case of an accident far from home
  • Personal Automobile Plus package which groups 10 popular additional coverage options including cellphone replacement, lock rekeying, and more

Average Annual Cost

The following rates represent the average cost across the nation for these various rating categories with Auto-Owners Insurance:

  • Clean driving record - $2,623
  • Drivers with at least 1 accident/speeding ticket - $3,759
  • Young Drivers (18 Years old) - $5,891
  • Seniors - $2,376

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Geico

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Best for price-conscious consumersGeico
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Geico is one of the most affordable insurers available, and it offers comprehensive auto insurance coverage options at premiums that beat out most competitors. Geico promises to save people 15% or more on car insurance, and assessments of policy premiums shows it lives up to its promise. Insurance is available in all 50 states, and there are additional discounts for military members, good students, federal employees, seniors, and others who belong to certain groups or organizations.

Pros

  • Nationwide coverage
  • Affordable premiums
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Efficient claims handling process
  • Great online application and account management experience

Cons

  • Limited insurance coverage beyond auto insurance
  • Fewer local agents than competitors

Stand-Out Coverage Options

  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance, which provides coverage for repairs and is available for new or leased vehicles that are less than 15 months old and have less than 15,000 miles
  • Auto Repair Xpress® program can get motorists back on the road faster after an accident as they'll get priority repairs and streamlined claims processing
  • Rideshare insurance is available

Average Annual Cost

The following rates represent the average cost across the nation for these various rating categories with Geico Insurance:

  • Clean driving record - $1,506
  • Drivers with at least 1 accident/speeding ticket - $2,221
  • Young Drivers (18 Years old) - $4,537
  • Seniors - $1,393

Farm Bureau

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Best for claims handlingFarm Bureau
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

With a claims satisfaction rate of more than 90%, Farm Bureau has proven it'll be there if something goes wrong. Farm Bureau also shines with affordable premiums and multiple ways to save, including by signing up for Driveology and earning reduced premiums by letting the insurer collect data about the motorist's driving habits. With top-notch claims handling service and replacement cost coverage for newer vehicles, policyholders have the confidence of knowing their claims will be handled swiftly and efficiently with minimal out-of-pocket losses if a crash occurs.

Pros

  • One of the highest claims satisfaction rates of any insurer
  • High overall customer satisfaction
  • Offers an array of discounts (multi-driver and savings for good students)

Cons

Stand-Out Coverage Options

  • Replacement cost coverage, which is available when a vehicle is either four or five model years old or newer (depending on the state)

Average Annual Cost

The following rates represent the average cost across the nation for these various rating categories with Farm Bureau Insurance:

  • Clean driving record - $2,412
  • Drivers with at least 1 accident/speeding ticket - $3,212
  • Young Drivers (18 Years old) - $4,417
  • Seniors - $2,076

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USAA

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Best for military members and their familiesUSAA
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

USAA offers military members and their families some of the best auto insurance coverage available. Premiums are lower than most competitors, there are plentiful coverage options, and many opportunities to save further with premium discounts. Free accident forgiveness coverage after five years also means premiums won't go up if a crash happens. USAA is open only to military members, veterans, and their families. For those who qualify, it's likely their best bet for car insurance.

Pros

  • Premiums are cheaper than with most competitors
  • High customer satisfaction ratings
  • Policy discounts (for good students, for housing a car on a military base, and more)

Cons

  • No coverage available outside of current and former military members, and their families

Stand-Out Coverage Options

  • Free accident forgiveness after five years
  • Rideshare insurance is available

Average Annual Cost

The following rates represent the average cost across the nation for these various rating categories with USAA Insurance:

  • Clean driving record - $1,656
  • Drivers with at least 1 accident/speeding ticket - $2,171
  • Young Drivers (18 Years old) - $4,348
  • Seniors - $1,564



Shop around. Each insurer has a different pricing algorithm, and the insurer that offers the lowest price for one person might not be the insurer that offers the lowest price for someone else.

Benjamin Shiller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Economics at Brandeis University

Best cheap car insurance

The average driver between the ages of 30 to 45 pays $1,638 a year for auto insurance. That's a significant annual expense. Fortunately, some insurers are more price-conscious than others.

The cheapest car insurance for each individual driver's situation will vary. For example, some insurers may offer the lowest priced policies for those who have been in accidents but may not provide very competitive premiums for teen drivers. Other insurers may be the cheapest for those with a perfect driving history, but may be very costly for motorists with classic cars.

Because of regional price variation as well as the fact insurers price policies differently for motorists in different situations, the only way to get the lowest-price auto insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple different insurers.

Still, some auto companies are known for generally providing lower-priced policies so they may be a good place to start when getting quotes if affordable coverage is important. Here are The Ascent's picks for the best cheap car insurance.

Click here to learn more about our selections for most inexpensive car insurance.
Remember, though, price is just one consideration. It is equally as important to make sure an insurance company offers the types of coverage necessary and has a good reputation.

Drivers should also avoid reducing premiums by skipping out on optional coverage such as collision coverage. While this may make premiums lower, it could cause financial disaster if major losses end up not being covered due to a driver not having the right types of insurance.

Best car insurance for veterans

Many auto insurance companies offer reduced prices on auto insurance for current and former military members and their families.

Insurers do this for many reasons, including an assessment that service members will present a lower risk or a desire to give back to those who have served their country. In fact, there are some insurers (such as USAA) that only provide coverage to military members because they exist to provide affordable financial products to this population.

While veterans should shop around for insurance like everyone else, it is always a good idea to focus on insurers that offer them special discounts or exclusive coverage options first. The Ascent's picks for the best car insurance for military members include:

Best car insurance for teens

Teen drivers are a very high-risk and expensive population to insure. Statistically, they are more likely to become involved in accidents due to a lack of driving experience as well as an increased tendency to engage in riskier behaviors behind the wheel. As a result, insurers generally charge much more when a teen driver is on an auto insurance policy.

Still, some insurers do not charge as high a premium as others for younger motorists.

The Ascent's picks for the best car insurance for teens include:

It is typically much cheaper for a teen to be added to a parent's policy than to purchase an independent policy of their own. Indeed, many insurers will not offer standalone coverage to teen drivers.

Young motorists can also reduce premium costs by taking advantage of good student discounts or completing a driver's education course.

What is car insurance?

Car insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects against financial loss. Auto insurance pays the bills if the policyholder causes an accident. Depending what kind of coverage a person buys, it also helps pay for repairs or replacement of their own vehicle.

Here are some of the costs car insurance can cover:

  • Repairing or replacing the vehicle after a fire, theft, or other disaster
  • Medical bills if the driver is hurt in an accident
  • Lost wages if injuries from an accident stop the driver from working
  • Losses another motorist causes if they are uninsured or underinsured
  • Damage to other people's property the policyholder causes with their vehicle
  • Injuries others experience if the policyholder causes a crash
  • Rental car expenses if the vehicle is in the shop for repairs
  • Emergency roadside assistance

Motorists don't have to buy all of these types of car insurance coverage. But they should buy the best car insurance coverage to protect against losses they can't afford to pay for out of pocket.

How to Get Car Insurance

Drivers should follow certain steps to get car insurance in order to protect their assets, comply with state laws, and get the best coverage at the most affordable price. Here are the steps to getting a policy.

1. Gather the required information

Auto insurance companies require certain information in order to provide an auto insurance quote or apply for a policy. This includes:

  • Details about the vehicle(s) to be insured including the make, model, year, and safety features
  • Details about the driver(s) to be insured including the driving record and ages of all individuals in the policyholder's household who may drive the vehicle
  • Details about where the vehicle will be kept
  • Information about how often the vehicle will be driven

The easiest way to obtain accurate information about insuring a car is to provide the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN number). This way, the insurer can determine many of the details automatically rather than motorists having to investigate exactly how many airbags their car has or whether it has a theft deterrent system and what kind.

2. Determine how much coverage is needed

The next step is to determine how much coverage is needed. Drivers must decide:

  • What kinds of insurance they want.
  • How much their policy limits should be
  • What their deductible should be
  • What add-on coverage or riders they want

Drivers must ensure they have at least the minimum required liability coverage that is mandated by their state. Usually, this includes:

  • Personal injury liability or bodily injury liability: This pays for injury caused to others
  • Property damage liability: This pays for property damage caused to others

Some states also require:

  • Personal injury protection: This pays for injuries for the policyholder and other household members in case of minor accidents regardless of who caused the collision
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: This pays for a policyholder's losses caused by another driver without enough insurance

There are also certain types of coverage that may be required by lenders or lessors but that are not typically required by law and that would be optional for those without a car loan or lease. These include the following:

  • Collision coverage: This pays for damages a policyholder sustains in a collision they cause or in a single-car collision not caused by another motorist
  • Comprehensive coverage: This pays for non-crash-related collisions such as damage from theft or falling objects
  • Medical payments coverage: This pays for medical bills a policyholder or passengers incur in a covered accident
  • Gap insurance: This pays the difference between the market value of a vehicle, which is what insurance pays when a car is totaled in a covered loss, and the amount that is still owed on a car loan. Many lenders and lease providers require this type of coverage

Drivers should ensure their policy limits are high enough to protect their assets. This means they should often buy more than the state minimum insurance coverage, since accidents can cause serious and costly damage. It is worth transferring the risk of these devastating losses to an insurer since few people can afford to replace a car out of pocket or to cover the cost of damaging injuries they cause to others in a crash.

Consumers buying auto insurance should also make certain their deductible is affordable as they must pay this amount out of pocket if a covered loss occurs.

3. Obtain multiple insurance quotes

Premium prices and coverage options vary from one insurer to another. Drivers should obtain quotes from multiple different insurance companies to get the best coverage at the best price.

Motorists can get auto insurance quotes themselves online. They can also work with an independent insurance agent who will compare offerings from multiple insurers to help them find the best rates. When drivers are getting quotes on their own, they should be as specific as possible in terms of vehicle type, coverage needs, and driver history to obtain accurate quotes.

Drivers should also check what discounts they may qualify for with different insurers. Discounts may be available for safe driving, working for a certain employer, good grades, bundling coverage or buying multiple policies, and for a host of other reasons.

After getting at least three to four quotes, drivers can compare pricing and terms to find the best coverage.

4. Read reviews and customer rankings

While price is important, it is not the only factor that matters when buying insurance. No one wants to have problems making a claim or experience poor customer service after an auto accident.

Drivers should check J.D. Power Rankings when shopping for insurance to see how different companies fare in terms of customer satisfaction and claims handling. Motorists shopping for coverage should also read online reviews, check for Better Business Bureau Accreditation, and review the complaint database operated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to see how many complaints a particular insurer has received.

5. Apply for an auto insurance policy

After comparing quotes and reading reviews, it is time to officially apply for a policy. This will mean providing more detailed information including a driver's license number, VIN number, and Social Security number.

Many insurers allow online applications and it is often possible to obtain approval and proof of insurance immediately.

Drivers must make sure they have insurance before picking up a vehicle from a dealer or from a private seller, as it is unlawful to drive an uninsured car. Drivers should also take care to avoid a gap in insurance coverage when shopping for a new policy, as this can also be unlawful and can cause higher insurance rates in the future.

How can I find the best price on car insurance?

To find the best car insurance rates, drivers will need to get personalized quotes from different insurers. That's because prices can vary dramatically depending on an individual motorist's circumstances.

Drivers should get multiple auto insurance quotes from at least three to five different insurers, and more if possible. There are many online websites that make it easy to get multiple quotes at once, which simplifies this process.

The fastest way to compare multiple quotes is to provide a vehicle identification number (VIN) so the car insurance company can automatically obtain important details about the vehicle.

Motorists should also be sure to look for discounts, including for safe driving or vehicle safety equipment, as well as for good grades for teens or membership in certain organizations.

Typical Average Annual Car Insurance Rates

Below are the typical average annual rates of several of the larger auto insurance companies from across the country. These rates are based upon the average driver profile with a clean driving record.

As you can see the rates will vary greatly between companies so it is always recommended to obtain several car insurance quotes before making a final purchase decision.

Company Average Annual Rate
Allstate $2,757
Chubb $3.013
Erie $1,815
Farmers $2,271
Geico $1,501
Nationwide $1,964
Progressive $2,091
State Farm $2,427
Travelers $1,953
*Data obtained from Quadrant average annual rate data. Your quote may vary.

Types of car insurance

There are many different types of car insurance drivers should consider purchasing. Here are some coverage types.

Liability coverage

Liability insurance covers losses that the policyholder causes other people to experience. For example, if a policyholder caused a crash, injuring a victim and damaging the victim's vehicle, the policyholder's liability coverage would pay for the victim's injuries and damages.

Liability coverage can be divided into two subtypes:

  • Bodily injury liability: This pays for physical injury that a motorist causes others to experience. For example, if a driver hurt someone in a collision, their bodily injury liability would pay for that person's medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
  • Property damage liability: This pays for damage that a covered motorist causes to other people's property. If a policyholder hits a vehicle or drives their car into someone's house, their property damage liability coverage would pay to repair or replace the vehicle or make repairs to the house.

The majority of states require liability insurance coverage, both to pay for bodily injury and property damage. Under California auto insurance requirements, for example, a motorist must have:

  • $15,000 in injury liability coverage per person
  • $30,000 in injury liability coverage per accident
  • $5,000 in property damage liability coverage

Many people should buy more than the minimum required insurance if they want the best car insurance. If drivers don't and they cause an accident, they could be held personally liable. If a motorist gets into a collision and causes a death, they could be sued for millions of dollars. Having just $15,000 in coverage would do little to protect their assets.

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage

Personal injury protection, or PIP, pays for the policyholder's medical bills and lost wages in cases of minor accidents, regardless of who is at fault for the crash.

A total of 15 states require PIP. These are called "no-fault states." People who live in no-fault states must use their own insurance to pay for losses after minor accidents. That's true even if another driver were to blame. In PIP states, drivers generally cannot pursue a claim against another driver or file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident unless they have sustained serious, costly injuries. The specific rules for when a driver can sue after a crash vary by state, but often permanent impairment or other very severe injuries are required.

For example, a policyholder who sustained $5,000 in medical bills and incurred lost wages after a fender bender due to minor injuries would be able to obtain coverage for their medical bills and partial lost wages through a PIP claim. But a policyholder who was left paralyzed and who incurred millions in damages as a result of a collision caused by another driver might still be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault motorist even in a no-fault state.

New York is an example of a no-fault state. It requires drivers to buy at least $50,000 in PIP coverage when purchasing New York auto insurance.

There are also three "choice" no-fault states. There, motorists can opt to buy PIP coverage or choose a different policy often called a "full-tort policy." A full-tort policy always allows someone to sue other drivers, even after minor collisions.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

This type of coverage pays for losses another driver should cover but can't because they don't have any or enough insurance.

Without uninsured or underinsured coverage, a person who was involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist or with a driver who had no insurance could be forced to pay for medical bills and vehicle repairs out of pocket. With uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, the policyholder's own insurer stands in for the at-fault driver who had too little or no insurance.

Say a policyholder sustained $10,000 of damage in a hit-and-run or with a driver who had no insurance. The policyholder's uninsured motorist coverage would cover up to $10,000 of losses the hit-and-run driver or uninsured driver should have paid for. Or if a driver sustained $50,000 in injury damage caused by a driver who had only $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, the driver's underinsured motorist coverage would pay for the uncompensated losses up to policy limits.

A few states require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. For example, in Connecticut, drivers must have $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in insured motorist coverage.

Collision insurance

Collision insurance is not required by state law, although some lenders and leasing companies require it. Even when it is not required, motorists typically should purchase collision coverage. Remember, liability insurance won't pay for anything that happens to the policyholder's own car, even with the best policy. So a policyholder could buy collision insurance to make certain they can afford to repair or replace their vehicle in the event of a crash.

Without collision insurance, a policyholder who lost control of their vehicle and crashed into a tree on an icy road would have no auto insurance coverage for the damage. They would have to pay for repairs out of their own pocket or even buy an entirely new vehicle out of their own pocket if their car was totaled in the wreck. With the average cost of a new vehicle coming in at over $48,000, this would be a substantial financial burden for most motorists.

Policyholders must choose a deductible for their comprehensive coverage. This is the amount they would pay out of pocket if they cause a crash that damages or destroys their vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive coverage is also not required by state law, although lenders and lessors may require it. Most drivers will find they need it even if it is not mandatory. It pays for any losses to a vehicle that don't result from a car crash. For example, comprehensive coverage pays for windshield damage or to repair or replace a vehicle after a tree falls on it.

Comprehensive insurance is also called "other than collision coverage. Some of the different kinds of losses that this type of policy may pay for include:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Natural disasters such as a tornado or hailstorm
  • Falling objects
  • Animal damage
  • Riots or civil disturbances

Policyholders must choose a deductible for their comprehensive coverage. This is the amount they would pay for a covered claim.

Medical payments

Medical coverage helps pay for medical expenses for a covered driver and for passengers in the event of an accident. This type of coverage is also called medical expenses coverage or med pay and it is optional.

Some of the things medical payments coverage may pay for include the following:

  • Health insurance deductibles
  • Health insurance copays
  • Doctor or hospital visits
  • Ambulance services
  • Emergency services
  • Surgeries
  • X-rays and other diagnostic testing
  • Prosthetics
  • Professional nursing services

Gap insurance

Often, drivers owe more on their vehicle loan than the car is worth. This is a problem if a vehicle is totaled after a motor vehicle accident. The insurer would generally pay only up to the depreciated value of the car, which is what the car's market value was at the time of the covered incident. This may not be enough to pay off the remaining auto loan balance in full.

Drivers who have leased their vehicle or who have an auto loan should purchase gap insurance so they do not end up being forced to pay off the remaining balance of a car loan out of pocket when their car is declared a total loss and their insurance cuts them a check for its current value.

Many lenders and leasing companies require gap insurance, but it is an important purchase to protect assets even when not mandated.

Getting car insurance discounts

Most insurers offer car insurance discounts that can help reduce the cost of auto insurance. Commonly available discounts include:

  • Accident-free driver discounts: These are available to drivers who have gone a certain length of time without becoming involved in a collision.
  • Discounts for driver monitoring: Motorists who agree to download an app that tracks their driving habits may be able to save.
  • Defensive driving discounts: Completing a state-approved defensive driving discount can help motorists save.
  • Driver education discounts: Young motorists who complete driver's education can save money.
  • Driver behavior discounts: Drivers who have a clean driving history can save money, as can motorists who don't go many miles per year.
  • Good student discount: Young motorists who get good grades may be able to save. These discounts usually require at least a B average.
  • Distant student discount: This provides savings on a family's insurance policy when teen drivers are away at school.
  • Bundled coverage discount: Motorists who buy multiple types of insurance policies, such as auto and homeowners insurance, will usually qualify for discounted premiums.
  • Multi-car discounts: This savings is available for people who insure several cars with the same insurance company.
  • Continuous coverage: Drivers who maintain their insurance year after year may find they can save on premiums.
  • New-car discounts: These are available to motorists with a late model vehicle (usually one that is less than two or three years old).
  • Vehicle safety feature discounts: Airbags, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, and other safety features can also result in low premiums.
  • Driver affiliation discounts: Savings are available from many insurers for motorists who are in the military, who work for certain employers, or who are members of certain groups.
  • Pay-in-full discounts: It's often possible to save on insurance by paying premiums one time per year, rather than taking advantage of the option to pay quarterly or monthly.
  • Online-only discounts: Many insurers reduce costs for drivers who purchase their policy online and manage their accounts on the internet.
  • Paperless statement discounts: Drivers who sign up for paperless statements may reduce car insurance costs.

How are car insurance rates calculated?

The best car insurance companies calculate rates based on the risk of an accident. Factors that insurers consider include:

  • Which drivers are on the policy: If a motorist is buying a family policy, insurers will consider the driving record of everyone in the household.
  • Driving record: Insurers consider accident history and risk of speeding tickets.
  • Number of miles driven: A car that is driven more frequently is more likely to become involved in a crash.
  • Type of car: Vehicles more prone to accidents or theft will be more expensive to insure.
  • Vehicle safety features: If a car has features that reduce the risk of theft or the chances of a crash or serious injury, this will result in lower premiums.
  • Credit score: Drivers who have a stronger credit history will often pay less for insurance.

Car Insurance Average Rates by State

State Average Annual Rate
Alaska $1,897
Alabama $2,907
Arkansas $2,739
Arizona $3,218
California $2,754
Colorado $3,220
Connecticut $3,028
Washington D.C. $3,187
Delaware $3,759
Florida $3,766
Georgia $3,099
Hawaii $1,619
Iowa $2,286
Idaho $2,010
Illinois $2,498
Indiana $2,065
Kansas $3,246
Kentucky $4,200
Louisiana $4,280
Massachusetts $2,315
Maryland $3,308
Maine $2,201
Michigan $5,766
Minnesota $2,909
Missouri $3,225
Mississippi $2,792
Montana $2,754
North Carolina $2,511
North Dakota $2,503
Nebraska $2,913
New Hampshire $2,943
New Jersey $4,316
New Mexico $2,438
Nevada $3,250
New York $4,200
Ohio $2,238
Oklahoma $3,109
Oregon $2,421
Pennsylvania $2,532
Rhode Island $3,494
South Carolina $3,133
South Dakota $3,217
Tennessee $2,348
Texas $2,926
Utah $2,788
Virginia $2,808
Vermont $2,379
Washington $1,803
Wisconsin $2,346
West Virginia $3,075
Wyoming $2,393
Average annual rates across 9 standard demographic profiles compiled by The Ascent using Quadrant rate data.


What to do if you can't get car insurance

Motorists must not drive without their state's required minimum insurance. Doing so could lead to criminal penalties as well as devastating financial loss if an accident occurs.

Fortunately, there are coverage options for drivers who can't buy car insurance from traditional insurers. These include:

  • State-assigned risk pools: States provide an option of last resort for drivers who can't get conventional insurance coverage. They can join the state's assigned risk pool and will be assigned to an insurance carrier that works with the state. This may also have other names, such as a Joint Underwriting Association or shared market.
  • High-risk insurers: High-risk car insurance could be the best option for motorists turned down by conventional companies. These insurers specifically work with drivers who other insurers won't cover. While they typically charge high premiums, they can often provide more coverage than a state's assigned risk pool would.

Car insurance agents can help drivers to enter the assigned risk pool or to find high-risk insurers.

A recap of the best car insurance companies

The Picks
Offer Best For Next Steps
Graphic of State Farm
State Farm
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Great For: Best for bundling coverage
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Auto-Owners
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Great For: Best for bundling policies
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Geico
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Great For: Best for price-conscious consumers
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Farm Bureau
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Great For: Best for claims handling
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USAA
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Great For: Best for military members and their families

Ask the experts

Robert P. Hartwig, Ph.D.

Robert P. Hartwig, Ph.D.

Director of The Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina

How can shoppers feel more confident when selecting an auto insurance provider?

It’s never been easier to ensure you’re getting a good price on auto insurance. Drivers can get dozens of quotes online in minutes, either through one of many online portals or directly through insurer websites and apps. A call to an agent can also generate one or more quotes within minutes. But as with any important purchase, price isn’t everything. Here are several suggestions to help you get the best insurance for your money:

  • Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations based on their own claims experience. At the end of the day, an insurer’s reputation is made (or lost) on the quality of its claims operation.
  • Check state insurance department websites, many of which publish complaint data by insurers.
  • Make sure your insurer is rock solid financially. You can do this by searching for an insurer’s A.M. Best ranking. A.M. Best is an organization that evaluates the financial strength of insurers (and hence their ability to pay future claims). Most insurers publish their rating on their website. Look for companies with a rating of A- or higher.

What additional coverage(s) would you recommend that shoppers pay for?

Even though not required (unless you have a loan or lease on your vehicle), you should consider carrying collision and comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is less than eight or nine years old. Most people should also carry bodily injury liability insurance coverage with limits of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Most states require minimum liability limits of just $25,000 per person. If you’re sued as the result of your involvement in an accident, costs could add up quickly, driving you into bankruptcy unless you have adequate coverage.

What tips would you offer for someone looking to lower their car insurance rate?

  • Shop around. It’s never been easier or faster for drivers to get quotes from competing insurers -- and prices for similar coverage can vary widely.
  • Consider carrying a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can lower your auto insurance costs by 10% or so.
  • Improve your credit score. Because people with better credit file materially fewer claims, improving your credit score can lead to a material reduction in your premium.
  • Pay your premium in full upon policy inception and renewal. You’ll pay more if you pay on a monthly or quarterly basis. And by paying in full, you’ll avoid any rate increases that might occur during the year.
PV Viswanath, Ph.D.

PV Viswanath, Ph.D.

Graduate Program Chair of the Lubin School of Business at Pace University

How can shoppers feel more confident when selecting an auto insurance provider?

  • Look at the reviews online -- in particular, as to how quick the insurance company is in reimbursements in the occurrence of a covered event, i.e. an automobile accident.
  • Look at how long the insurance company has been in business; the longer the better.

What additional coverage(s) would you recommend that shoppers pay for?

  • Before buying coverage, think about whether you are a good driver; if you believe you are, then you can opt for a higher deductible. Think also about your liquidity; if you don’t usually have excess cash on hand, you may be better off paying higher premiums on a predictable schedule rather than being on the hook for an unexpected high deductible.
  • If you’re able to, it’s a good idea to buy coverage for your own expenses/losses in case of an accident and not only third-party coverage. This is particularly important if you depend upon your automobile for earning your living.

What tips would you offer for someone looking to lower their car insurance rate?

  • Drive carefully, and control your impulses to speed, to overtake cars -- anything that might lead to accidents. This won’t be easy -- you will need to decide that getting somewhere quickly is not important. Make rules for yourself as to when you will overtake/speed etcetera and keep to those rules. Once you reduce your insurance claims, you can get a lower rate from your current insurance company or you can switch to a new one. At this point, you can increase your deductible as well.
  • You can buy high-deductible coverage and/or minimum coverage in any case; this will reduce your premiums. But keep in mind that this may open you up to unexpected cash outflows, especially if you’re not a careful driver.

Benjamin Shiller, Ph.D.

Benjamin Shiller, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Economics at Brandeis University

How can shoppers feel more confident when selecting an auto insurance provider?

Shop around. Each insurer has a different pricing algorithm, and the insurer that offers the lowest price for one person might not be the insurer that offers the lowest price for someone else. Furthermore, it isn't necessarily obvious that the insurer with the lowest price is the best choice. Quality matters, too (e.g., customer service, insurer ratings/solvency). Consider looking up A.M. Best insurance ratings in the process.

What additional coverage(s) would you recommend that shoppers pay for?

Many people are worried about the size of the deductible, assuming smaller is better. However, insurance is intended to prevent someone from incurring a devastating expense that leaves them with poor finances in the long term. For example, if someone only has $100,000 of coverage, but then is sued and is forced to pay $500,000, they still owe $400,000 after the insurance payout. If choosing between higher coverage and a lower deductible, I always recommend higher (and broader) coverage. For those with more significant assets or high expected future earnings, umbrella insurance should be strongly considered.

What tips would you offer for someone looking to lower their car insurance rate?

The best way to lower your insurance rate is to opt for one of the programs that monitors drivers (e.g., Progressive's Snapshot). If you drive safer while monitored, your insurance premiums are reduced. These programs have the added benefit that they save lives.

Additionally, consider the insurance cost when buying a new vehicle. A quick Google search can reveal which vehicles are in general cheapest to insure. Finally, opt for a higher deductible.

Deanne Butchey, Ph.D.

Deanne Butchey, Ph.D.

Teaching Professor in the Department of Finance at Florida International University

How can shoppers feel more confident when selecting an auto insurance provider?

Shoppers need to ensure the reputation of the auto insurance provider is pristine. Specifically, they need to investigate the following:

  • An excellent A+ Rating by AM Best
  • Efficiency in resolving claims
  • Efficiency in resolving issues related to underinsured motorists
  • 24/7 customer support, preferably with a live agent, but good artificial intelligence coverage may be a good start
  • Convenient local offices for inspection of claims purposes
  • Offers customers the option of using their preferred collision centers
  • Guarantees the repairs for the life of ownership if the customer uses recommended collision centers.

What additional coverage(s) would you recommend that shoppers pay for?

It is important to review deductible coverages to ensure the ability to receive adequate compensation depending on your personal circumstances. You can offset the risk you are comfortable assuming to obtain a lower premium. For example, if you are able to borrow a car while your car is being repaired, avoid rental car coverage.

What tips would you offer for someone looking to lower their car insurance rate?

It is important to:

  • Take advantage of multi-line discounts by bundling different coverages -- for example car, house, and life insurance
  • Utilize current options offered by some companies that track your driving habits to offer safe driver discounts and those offered to college graduates, etc.
  • Shop around at renewal times, as companies offer lower rates to attract new customers.

Aniruddha Pangarkar, Ph.D.

Aniruddha Pangarkar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marketing at The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

How can shoppers feel more confident when selecting an auto insurance provider?

Whether you are a first-time shopper looking at getting a car insurance policy for your new car or you are someone who is looking at switching to a new company, one of the most critical things before you embark on the process of contacting insurance companies is to first do your own research. By this, I refer to gathering information about each driver on the policy (their name, address, license numbers, date of birth, etc.), information about the car (make, model, VIN number, anticipated annual mileage, etc.), and driving history record (tickets, accidents, etc.). Once you collect this information, it is important to look at some of the auto insurance companies you have in mind online and compare them. In particular, shoppers should look at their coverage needs liability, which is required by most states, full coverage/comprehensive insurance (important and required if your car is financed), uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, personal injury protection insurance, etc. Each individual's situation is different so it is important to evaluate what kind of coverage you need. The next step is to call up auto insurance companies, either captives (working for a single insurance company, for example State Farm), or an independent insurance agent who might represent several companies, or look up third-party comparison websites for insurance policies.

Lastly, if you feel you need to also renew/get renters' insurance, then many companies can give you a bundled option that can save a lot of money. In short, shoppers need to be smart in doing their research, get quotes, and ask relevant questions before finalizing their auto insurance company, which would make them feel more confident of making the right decision.

What additional coverage(s) would you recommend that shoppers pay for?

  • Liability insurance is mandated by most states
  • Collision insurance covers you regardless of fault
  • Comprehensive/full coverage insurance covers you in case of damage to cars caused by unforeseen calamities or "acts of God" -- events such as hail or a fallen tree resulting from severe weather conditions, or your car hitting an animal, etc.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is important if the other person you are involved with in an accident does not have auto insurance or their liability coverage is too low
  • Medical payments coverage and personal injury protection insurance in case your insurance does not already cover medical expenses and death

Shoppers should consider that if the individual has taken a car loan, then they may be required by law to take liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. Taking liability-only car insurance is quite risky. However, it could work well in certain cases for an individual who has economic constraints wishing to save money, provided they do not have any loan on the car, or if the value of the car being insured is very low (such as if the insurance cost is higher than the value of the car. For example, if the car's market value is $1,200 but an annual full insurance coverage policy for such a car is costing $1,350).

Full coverage car insurance charges will vary for each customer depending on their credit history and driving and accident history. Therefore, each individual's situation is unique. If you are a new driver or teenage driver or even someone who is risk-averse, then it is better to take comprehensive, collision, and uninsured/underinsured, along with medical payments coverage and personal injury protection, in addition to the liability insurance that most states mandate. This will give you peace of mind. If an individual is financially constrained or willing to take the risk, then they might prefer only liability insurance coverage.

What tips would you offer for someone looking to lower their car insurance rate?

It is important for all shoppers to be smart and discerning. For example, if you are a teenage driver, then certain insurance providers offer good discounts for taking driver education programs or public safe-driving courses, which can alleviate higher insurance normally charged. A teenager with good grades can qualify for a discount from the insurance company. Many insurance companies provide drivers with a device that can be installed in their cars to rate driving tendencies, along with tracking daily mileage, hard braking, rapid acceleration, etc., which can lower insurance rates. There are other ways consumers can lower their insurance rate, such as increasing your deductible (which can result in a lower monthly payment), special discounts for serving in the military, teacher/educator discounts, reducing coverage on older cars, bundling of services (auto and renters' insurance/homeowners insurance from the same company), maintaining a good credit record, getting a low-annual-mileage discount, loyalty discount, discount on multiple vehicles, and accident-free record discount, etc. Lastly, it is important to also be on the lookout for cheaper car insurance policies at all times because the auto insurance industry is very competitive. Therefore, many companies will be pleased to get your business and looking at developing a long-term relationship with new customers.

FAQs

  • According to J.D. Power, the highest-ranking auto insurers and scores by 11 geographic regions are:

    • California: Wawanesa (879)
    • Central: Shelter (866)
    • Florida: The Hartford (860)
    • Mid-Atlantic: Erie Insurance (867)
    • New England: Amica Mutual (862)
    • New York: New York Central Mutual (834)
    • North Central: Erie Insurance (876)
    • Northwest: The Hartford (842)
    • Southeast: Farm Bureau Insurance - Tennessee (876)
    • Southwest: State Farm (848)
    • Texas: Texas Farm Bureau (873)
  • With close to 6,000 car insurance companies in the U.S., it can be daunting to find the best car insurance company. It is important to first determine your car insurance needs. Then you should shop around and compare quotes from different car insurance companies. Instead of only looking at the cost, you should look at the value and benefits you get. Other factors to consider are customer service, mobile app experience, and reputation of the company. You should also consider third-party ratings and NAIC auto insurance ratings.

  • The best car insurance companies offer extensive coverage options with affordable rates, are financially stable with a great reputation, and have top-notch customer service. They also have a high rating in customer satisfaction and an easy-to-use claims process that is quick and efficient. Many drivers also look for a robust mobile app experience. It is important to find the best car insurance company that fits your unique needs and offers personalized customer service.

  • According to The Ascent’s expert analysis, here are the best car insurance companies for 2022:

    • State Farm: Best for bundling coverage
    • Auto-Owners: Best for bundling policies
    • Geico: Best for price-conscious consumers
    • Farm Bureau: Best for claims handling
    • USAA: Best for military members and their families
  • Car insurance is required in almost all states. Drivers must purchase a mandatory minimum and maintain a certain level of insurance based on their states’ laws. Some states don’t require car insurance if drivers are able to show evidence of financial responsibility, such as a surety bond, cash deposit with the state, or a certificate of self insurance.

  • Bumper-to-bumper car insurance is a type of comprehensive auto insurance policy where vehicle parts are covered without the insurer reducing the amount it pays due to depreciation. Unfortunately, this type of coverage is typically not available in the U.S.

    Bumper-to-bumper warranties, however, are available from auto manufacturers when a new car is purchased. A bumper-to-bumper warranty pays for anything that goes wrong with a new vehicle, excluding issues caused by routine wear and tear, for a set number of months or miles after a new car is purchased. This is not insurance, but is instead a warranty provided by the car maker.

  • There is no one auto insurer that is the cheapest in America.

    That's because insurance premium costs vary by state, as well as based on individual driver factors, such as marital status, age, driving history, and vehicle type. Some insurers, for example, may charge less for teen drivers but much more than other competitors for elderly motorists.

    Some insurers that generally offer competitive premiums include Geico, Nationwide, State Farm, USAA, and Erie. However, drivers will want to obtain insurance quotes from at least three to four different insurance companies to find the cheapest rates for their personal situation.

  • There is no single top-rated insurance company in the United States. Customer satisfaction ratings for insurers vary by location and there are many different ways to rate insurers, including based on price, customer satisfaction, and claims handling.

    For example, J.D. Power rankings show State Farm is the top rated auto insurer in terms of customer satisfaction in Florida, while Geico received top marks in New England. But this is just one ranking system and one survey.

    To find the best insurance company for their individual needs, customers should check J.D. Power Rankings, Better Business Bureau grades, complaint databases from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and online reviews. By doing their research, drivers can find the best insurer for their location and unique situation.

Auto Insurance Ratings Methodology

The data found on this page is a combination of publicly available quote data obtained directly from the carrier as well as insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from the top ten (10) to fifteen (15) carrier markets, within each state, based on annual written premium and should be used for comparative purposes only -- your own quotes may be different.

The base vehicle used for benchmarking purposes is a 2019 Honda Civic averaging 14k miles driven per year.

The base driver persona is a 35 year old single male with a clean driving record that uses their vehicle for personal commuting with coverage limits set to the following: (unless otherwise noted)

  • Coverage: $50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident /$25,000 property damage
  • Deductible: Comprehensive with $500 deductible / Collision with $500 deductible
  • Other: No uninsured or underinsured coverage

Insurance products are then rated on a scale of one to five stars, primarily focusing on:

Pricing

With so many options for insurance across the board these days, it's easiest, and quite effective, to first look at the bottom line. Do single out competitive prices across insurance categories it's important to focus on:

  • Deductibles
  • Terms
  • Coverage
  • The fine print
Discounts

Insurance provides coverage for unexpected financial burdens and piece of mind. But it's important to check your policies and see how you can lower your premium. Insurance companies offer discounts for all sorts of things now from safe driving to good grades to automatic bill pay. Pay attention to:

  • Discounts offered
  • Variety of discounts
  • Discount qualifications
Perks/Benefits

The benefits of insurance these days have gone far beyond just what your policy covers. Most companies and policies come with perks -- some of which may be completely unrelated to your insurance policy. Take a look at:

  • Non-pricing related perks offered
  • Benefits unrelated to your coverage
  • Perks that stand out in the industry
  • Will you actually use the benefit?
Customer Service/Claims Process

Policy research and coverage options are great, but how is the process when you have to actually use your insurance policy? The best coverage doesn't hold much value if it's a hassle to get paid out. Pay special attention to:

  • How hard it is to file a claim
  • If your provider has a history of resisting payouts
  • The customer satisfaction scores for your provider

Our Insurance Expert