With the cost of car insurance continuing to rise, it’s essential to compare shops to find an auto insurance company that suits your needs and budget. We analyzed insurers to find the best car insurance companies based on rates, coverage options, complaints, and claims processes.
The Best Car Insurance Companies
- American Family: Best for Low Level of Complaints
- Auto-Owners: Best Cost for Drivers Who Have Caused an Accident
- Nationwide: Good for Usage-based or Mileage-based Insurance
- USAA: Best for Military Members & Veterans
- Geico: Best Overall Car Insurance Rates
- Travelers: Best Price for Gap Insurance
- Westfield: Best Family Discounts
- Erie: Best Grade from Collision Repair Professionals
- Progressive: Best Price for Drivers With a DUI
- State Farm: Best Renewal Discount
What Is Car Insurance?
Car insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that provides you with specific coverage in exchange for your premium payments. Your car insurance policy is the contract that outlines what you can make claims for.
The best car insurance policies cover your liability (meaning damage and injuries you cause to others), damage to your own vehicle, and car accident injuries to you and your passengers.
If you fail to pay your car insurance bill, coverage lapses and any claims you make can be denied.
What Is the Best Car Insurance Company?
Our analysis finds that American Family, Auto-Owners, Nationwide and USAA are the best car insurance companies overall, with 5 stars in our ratings. USAA auto insurance is available only to military members, veterans and their immediate family members.
The best car insurance companies for you will depend on your driving record, state and other individual factors. Shopping around to compare car insurance quotes will reveal the companies that can give you the best price for your situation.
Best for Low Car Insurance Rates: Geico
Geico comes in with the lowest rates nationwide that are available to the general public when we look at average rates across a variety of driving records and driver ages. (USAA is cheaper but membership is limited to car owners with a military connection.)
Drivers who have poor credit should compare quotes from Geico because of its competitive rates. Getting quotes is worthwhile if you have poor credit because many auto insurance companies charge much higher rates based solely on poor credit
Best for Low Complaints: American Family and Travelers
Complaints against a company are a reflection of customer service. Most complaints about car insurance companies revolve around problems with claims. American Family and Travelers have very low levels of auto insurance complaints, based on verified complaints made to state insurance departments around the country.
Best for Collision Repair: Erie
Erie receives the highest grade from collision repair professionals among the companies we analyzed, with a B+. Collision repair professionals get an inside look at which insurers try to cut corners and which ones have the smoothest claims processes.
Best for Drivers With a Speeding Ticket: Geico and Westfield
Drivers who have gotten a speeding ticket can expect it to affect rates for three to five years, depending on your insurance company and state. Geico and Westfield have the lowest rates for these drivers, among companies open to the general public. Westfield is a regional insurer that sells auto insurance in 10 states, mainly in the Midwest.
USAA also has low rates for military members and veterans who have speeding tickets on their records.
Best for Drivers Who Caused an Accident: Auto-Owners
A “chargeable” accident can stay on your record and affect your car insurance rates for three to five years, depending on your state laws and/or car insurance company. Auto-Owners has the best average rates for drivers stuck in this spot, based on the companies we analyzed.
The severity of the accident, meaning the dollar cost of property damage and/or injuries, can affect the amount of your surcharge. Ask your auto insurance agent how long the surcharge will affect your car insurance rates.
Best for Drivers With a DUI: Progressive
You can’t avoid higher rates after a DUI, but Progressive offers the most competitive pricing for drivers in this situation, based on nationwide averages among the companies we analyzed.
Car insurance companies will usually pull your motor vehicle report when you’re getting a new quote or when your policy is coming up for renewal. This is their chance to adjust rates based on your recent history of problems, and a DUI conviction will be a costly insurance problem.
Best for Military Members: USAA
With its consistently good rates and variety of coverage options, USAA remains the best car insurance option for military members year after year. While the level of complaints about USAA auto insurance has been rising over the past couple of years, its current complaint level is about average for the industry.