Family life insurance quotes. 10 Best Car Insurance Providers 2019 - Find the Right Policy For You

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Our Top Picks: Car Insurance Reviews

We've written about car insurance for a few years now, but this time around, our research into the best car insurance coverages and providers took us down a very different road.

The market is changing, and we're finding more and more companies are adopting new risk management approaches that integrate the latest technological advances to predict and price risk with greater accuracy.

This guide will focus on the essential elements to look for in a good car insurance provider, and then other tech-forward considerations you might not have thought about but should be aware of.

Based on our 220+ hours of research, we found our top-rated car insurance companies have five critical factors in common: good financial stability, high claims satisfaction and customer experience ratings, accessible prices and a full range of discounts, and automation features to simplify their processes.

As we were researching Progressive’s car insurance options, we noticed the company offers good discount options for "high-risk drivers,” including savings opportunities for teens and good students, along with small and large accident forgiveness.

When testing Progressive’s quote process, we assumed a persona with both at-fault driving accidents and traffic violations (speeding, in our case).

Quotes in Three Minutes

One detail that stood out to us about Progressive is their fast quote process. It only took us three minutes to fill out the required data fields and answer questions about ourselves, our driving habits, and our assets (whether or not we own a home).

For testing purposes, we assumed a consumer profile between the ages of 35 and 40, with a single at-fault driving accident on record.

Progressive provided quotes for three different coverage plans in under three minutes.

We received three separate coverage options with varying prices in approximately three minutes: Value, Choice, and Recommended (pictured above).

The main difference between these plans—aside from the premium—was the deductible amounts. The Value plan comes with a deductible of $1,000, while both Choice and Recommended have a deductible of $500.

The Recommended plan included coverage for substitute transportation and roadside assistance, which neither of the first two plans covered.

Value Coverage from Progressive

Helpful Features

Progressive offers helpful features like “Coverage Checker” and the “Name Your Price” tool, which help consumers compare coverage options and customize their policies.

The Coverage Checker tool lets you know if you're paying too much or too little for coverage, so you're sure you have the best car insurance for your needs. The Name Your Price tool, on the other hand, matches you with the best coverage options closest to your ideal budget.

Since all of Progressive's policy information is online, they're also able to offer instant coverage. Consumers just have to log in to the company’s website and print their ID cards or download the company’s app.

Apart from the three standard coverage options mentioned above, the company also offers gap insurance, rideshare coverage, and a program that charges personalized rates based on actual driving habits: the famous SnapShot by Progressive.

Discounts & Coverages

Liberty Mutual offers an impressive range of discounts for drivers, their habits, their vehicles, and their policies. The company extends about 17 different opportunities to save, which is quite a high number when compared to other companies we’ve reviewed. The more discounts you qualify for, the lower your premium, and there is no restriction on how many of these can be applied to your policy if you’re eligible.

As for coverage options, Liberty Mutual offers standard policies such as bodily injury liability, property damage, and medical payments. Add-on protection can be purchased separately, including better car replacement, towing and labor, and rental car coverage.

The company also offers some great deals for teachers, including vandalism loss protection for vehicles vandalized on school property or during a school events (with no deductible), personal property coverage for lost or stolen teaching materials, and collision coverage for vehicles damaged in a collision while driving it on school business, again without a deductible.

Telematics Options

Besides their comprehensive list of discounts and good coverage options, the company also offers two usage-based insurance programs: ByMile and RigthTrack, which is also marketed as a discount. If you haven’t yet read our Helpful Information section, usage-based insurance or telematics refers to driving technologies that allow insurance companies to price their policies according to their customers’ driving habits as opposed to other, more subjective, underwriting criteria.

Liberty Mutual’s ByMile program is one such telematics option. It charges a base rate for customers who sign up, plus a per-mile rate based on the distance the participant drives the previous month. According to the company, no other driving events besides mileage affect the cost of premiums for those who enroll in the program.

The program works through a device installed in the participant’s vehicle, which tracks the miles they drive and designs a customized premium for them. Those who participate can download the ByMile app and see their mileage date and premium estimates through their smartphones.

According to Liberty Mutual, the fewer miles you drive the lower your premium will be, but that doesn’t mean you should limit your driving. In fact, they stop charging after 150 miles per day.

Their other usage-based insurance option is RightTrack, which takes into account actual driving habits on top of mileage. Like ByMile, this option also includes a device that’s installed in your vehicle (behind your rearview mirror), but this one tracks specific driving behavior like braking, acceleration, and driving at night for a 90-day review period.

Users can also monitor their driving and receive tips and recommendations via the program’s mobile app. RightTrack participants will receive a discount upon signing up and another at the end of their review period after returning the telematics device. This last discount will be valid for the life of the policy and applied to their account automatically.

Financial Reputation

As the third-largest property and casualty insurer in the nation, Liberty Mutual enjoys some of the strongest financial ratings in the market. They’ve received an A (Excellent) from A.M. Best, an A2 (Good) from Moody’s, and an A (Strong) from Standard & Poor’s.

Although financial strength ratings may not be a relevant factor for the average consumer, it’s always good to know you can trust your insurance company to meet its financial obligations, especially if you’re putting your property in their hands. According to all major credit rating agencies, Liberty Mutual is a reliable choice when it comes to meeting policyholder obligations.

Customer Service

As for customer service, Liberty Mutual has some room for improvement. According to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, Liberty Mutual is either “about average” or “among the rest” with regard to customer satisfaction in each of the 11 regions surveyed.

The company also has one of the highest complaint index scores in the market, according to statistics published by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). While the national median complaint index is 1.15 for companies of a similar size, Liberty Mutual’s complaint index stands at 6.28 with a total of 146 complaints regarding private passenger auto insurance in 2018.

A high complaint index may indicate customer dissatisfaction with the company’s products or services. It could also indicate poor communication or response times on the part of the company. This isn’t always the case, however, so we advise consumers to do their homework and read online consumer reviews to make a better-informed decision before opting to do business with any particular insurer.

As always, we highly encourage everyone to read the terms of their policy thoroughly and to remember that the nature of insurance is such that if a company paid out every claim, they would go out of business very quickly. Still, insurance is a necessary and highly beneficial product, especially if you understand what you’re purchasing and your responsibilities as a policyholder.

QuoteWizard is the largest independent insurance-lead company in the US. That means the company uses the general information you input into their quote tool to match you with insurance agents looking for consumers like you.

The company claims they can help consumers save up to 40% on auto insurance by allowing them to search for cheaper rates within their large list of partner companies.

QuoteWizard states they can match you with 30 different carriers, so you can find the right policy at the right price. We tested out their quote application tool and got two matches in about two minutes.

One major drawback, however, is that although the company shows you your best possible matches (which for us were Geico and Progressive) it doesn't provide actual rate quotes.

We opted for Geico and ended up having to provide many of the same personal details on the company's website.

QuoteWizard didn't provide a quote and we had to rewrite our information on Geico's site

Most online customer complaints against QuoteWizard seem to revolve around this factor. Consumers fill out their information and expect to see actual rate quotes, but instead receive calls from agents and no online quotes.

This isn’t technically a bad thing: having the right agent to guide you through the claims process and answer all of your questions can be highly beneficial, but it's important that consumers know exactly what they’re signing up for.

Personal Information

Although QuoteWizard requires applicants to provide some personal information, we noticed they don’t ask for many details other leading insurance companies do. For example, the company does not request your social security, driver's license number, or vehicle identification number.

The company asks about 13 questions before you can get matched with their insurance partners. Required personally identifiable details include your zip code, vehicle year, make, and model, other vehicles you own, whether you’ve had insurance in the past 30 days, and your name, age, gender, marital status, credit score range, homeowner or renter status, driving habits, and physical address.

These short questions speed up the quote process significantly, but it also means your coverage results will be less specific to your needs and that you'll be matched with more companies or agents.

Researching & Comparing Companies

Although we didn’t get the side-by-side rate comparison we expected after completing the quote application, we did find a lot of information on leading insurance companies on QuoteWizard's site.

Consumers can click on a company name and see a compilation of information including financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings, J.D. Power rankings, and data specific to that company from auto insurance industry studies.

This could be particularly beneficial for consumers who are trying to decide between two or three insurance companies and want to compare ratings, complaints, and claims satisfaction statistics.

Not only does Esurance offer a broad selection of policy, driver, and vehicle discounts—eighteen to be exact—but they do a great job of explaining the different discount categories and how each one could benefit their policyholders.

Consumers can immediately get 5% off their premium by starting a quote online or 5% by switching from another insurer. For the most part, the company’s other policy discounts are pretty standard (multi-policy, claim-free, etc.) but one discount that stands out is their Pac-12 discount, which applies to drivers who attend or are alums of one of the Pac-12 schools shown below.

Esurance’s driver discounts include defensive driver, good driver, student driver, and DriveSense, their telematics-related discount). DriveSense lets drivers save on their insurance by monitoring their driving habits and automatically applies a discount just for enrolling.

One noteworthy detail about the DriveSense is that it’s free for anyone to use, meaning you don’t have to be an Esurance customer to try it out and test your safe driving skills. You do, however, need to be a customer to get the discount for enrolling in the program.

DriveSense is available in the states pictured below:

App & Photo Claims

One way Esurance is helping speed up the claims process for their customers is by letting drivers submit photo claims. Policyholders can use the company’s mobile app to upload pictures of minor damages to their vehicle and receive an expedited payment for covered claims, skipping the appraisal process.

Once drivers have submitted the proper documentation and pictures, a claims representative from Esurance will reach out to them within a business day to provide an estimate for repairs or schedule a vehicle inspection in the event of major damages.

RepairView

Another noteworthy feature is the company’s RepairView, which lets drivers monitor the progress of their vehicle's repairs while at the shop. Customers just need to log in on the company’s website or download the Esurance mobile app.

Although drivers can take their cars to any shop for repairs, those who use an Esurance-approved shop will have guaranteed repairs for as long as they own the vehicle. According to the company, all Esurance-approved shops are equipped with the necessary technology to support RepairView.

Esurance also lets consumers video chat with an appraiser for instant estimates, which can result in same-day payments.

If you or a member of your direct family are active or former military service members, you might want to consider auto insurance through USAA. Even though the company only caters to military personnel and qualifying family members, they have a reputation in the auto insurance industry for having superior financial strength and high claims satisfaction ratings.

USAA’s necessary information to check if a driver is eligible

The company’s website provides tools for managing your policy, requesting roadside assistance, and tracking your claims requests. USAA seems to place great importance on their online services, claiming to have won the top spot for “online experience” four years in a row on Temkin’s Customer Service Ratings, but more on this later.

USAA grants military members and their families access to competitive rates and discounts that might not available to the general public through other insurance companies.

Discounts & Savings

USAA members have access to competitive rates, a stored-vehicle discount of up to 60% when you store an insured car, rewards for safe driving, multiple-vehicle discounts, and accident forgiveness, among other features.

Other stand-out discount products include an annual mileage discount, a family discount of up to 10% for drivers whose parents had a policy with USAA, a length of membership savings, a military installation discount of up to 15% for storing your vehicle on base, a safe driver discount, a defensive driving discount, Driver Training (for those younger than 21), a good student discount, and saving for bundling policies (up to 10% off homeowners or renters when you add auto).

Customer Service & Support

USAA uses Temkin’s Customer Service Ratings as a measure of success and quality. According to Temkins, they asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate their recent interactions with 295 companies across 20 industries in order to create their rating chart.

USAA has earned the highest score for customer service with Temkin for five consecutive years and the highest spot for online experience four years in a row.

However, at we rely on other authoritative sources when looking into financial ratings and claims satisfaction. That being said, we compared these results with J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and found that USAA also takes either the first or second spot across all categories.

USAA’s ratings across every factor on J.D. Power’s Claims Satisfaction Study

The company got second place in “Overall Satisfaction” as well as every other category except “Repair Process,” for which they ranked better than the number one company.

Health insurance companies

Finally, USAA provides a helpful online experience. Their webpage includes many educational resources, including an “Auto Learning” section that includes guides like “CAR BUYING 101,” which covers subjects ranging from finding to insuring a car.

Buying car insurance for the first time can be intimidating, so something we really like about Allstate is its straightforward approach to car insurance quotes and coverages.

The company offers a wealth of educational materials and helpful resources on their webpage, including articles like “What You Should Know About Your First Auto Insurance Policy,” which includes a video-guide explaining coverages, a car insurance payment calculator, and a car insurance quiz, among others.

Allstate's quote process is very straightforward, but we do have to point out that it took us longer to obtain a quote with them than with the other companies we reviewed. In fact, we were still filling out our personal details at the four-minute mark.

Unfortunately, we didn't receive an online quote on the company's website but were given an agent's contact information as well as an auto quote reference number.

If you’re set on a 100% online, agent-less experience, be aware that—depending on your personal details and coverage needs—Allstate might require you to speak with an agent to obtain a rate quote.

On the plus side, the company has agents in all 50 states and works with over 3,500 repair shops through their Good Hands Repair Network. Repairs for covered claims carried out in these facilities have guaranteed workmanship for as long as the policyholder owns the vehicle.

The Drivewise Program & Teen Drivers

Drivewise is Allstate’s telematics feature. Using the Drivewise app, policyholders have the chance to lower their insurance costs through safe driving habits. The app provides the driver with personalized feedback on things like driving speed and braking (avoiding hard stops).

Consumers can get up to 10% cash back for signing up and up to 25% cash back every six months for safe driving. They can also receive Allstate Rewards points for completing driving challenges. Though the Drivewise program is open to drivers of all ages, it’s one of the ways Allstate is trying to appeal to younger drivers and their parents.

Since young motorists have less experience on the road, insurance companies often view them as higher-risk drivers and charge them higher premiums. Telematics programs such as Drivewise offer these customers a way to lower their premiums without compromising on coverage.

Allstate's mobile app also has additional features, including real-time alerts of unsafe driving behaviors, a parking reminder that shows you where you parked your car and when it’s time to feed the meter, and quick access to roadside assistance.

Claims Process Satisfaction

Another feature we liked about Allstate is that they offer a Claims Satisfaction Guarantee in most states, meaning that if you’re unhappy with how a claim was handled, Allstate can issue up to a six-month credit on your car insurance premium.

This feature comes free with all standard policies in eligible states.

The company simplifies the claims process for consumers by offering a 24/7 claims center and online policy management tools. Allstate policyholders can file and track claims online, by phone, through the company's mobile app, or in person with one of their agents.

In the course of our research, we found Travelers to have some of the best financial strength ratings in the industry.

A rarity, the company received superior ratings from all four major independent credit rating agencies: AM Best, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch. But what does this mean for you?

Simply put, strong financial ratings can translate into reliable claims payments. The more financially stable a company is, the higher the likelihood of them paying your claims into the future.

We also found that Travelers had one of the lowest complaint ratios in the business, well below the national average, another rarity for one of the top 10 insurance companies in the US.

An Online Quote Process with Extras

Traveler’s smart online quote process sends applicants alerts on optional coverages they might be interested in as well as an invitation to sign up for their IntelliDrive™ program.

It took us about three minutes to get two coverage options through their website. We used the persona of a 35-year-old single female living in Ohio who drove a 2015 Toyota Camry (one of the most common cars in the US) paid in full, driven for 14,000 miles per year, and had one speeding ticket from 2016.

Based on state regulations and the fact that our persona didn't have a car loan, Travelers alerted us to the fact that comprehensive and collision coverages were optional for us and asking whether we were interested in them.

The online quote process allowed us to change coverages and deductibles but didn't allow us to choose any discounts. Additionally, the quotes were really estimates as opposed to final quotes and we were instructed to call a company representative to obtain one. On the plus side, we didn't have to provide a social security or driver’s license number.

We were also offered the chance to enroll in the company's IntelliDrive™ program, which uses a smartphone app to track your driving for 90 days after receiving an estimate. By signing up for the program, you can save up to 20% on your first-term premium and at renewal time.

IntelliDrive is available in the following states: AZ, AL, CO, CT, DC, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI. Discounts, savings and ratings vary by state.

Discounts

Travelers offers 12 supplemental coverages, including GAP, accident forgiveness, new car replacement, ride sharing, rental coverage, roadside assistance, and umbrella coverage.

They also offer their own Affinity Program discount that offers savings to employees of participating companies, credit unions, or association members.

Metromile is a pay-as-you-go car insurance company offering a low monthly base rate and literally pennies for additional miles driven each month. In fact, their preferred consumer profile is city dwellers who drive under 10,000 miles per year.

If you don’t drive your car in a month, you'll only be charged the base rate. The company doesn’t have a mileage cap, yet they do recommend policyholders stay under 10,000 miles per year in order to get the best rates.

To track your mileage, Metromile sends you a wireless device that you plug into your car’s onboard diagnostic port (OBD-ll). The device also monitors your vehicle’s condition and location via GPS.

Overall, Metromile seems like a good option for anyone who drives less than 10,000 miles per year, including seniors, millennials, and urban dwellers.

What We Liked About Metromile

Low Rates & Smart Pricing: the company charges pennies per mile and offers fixed prices for a six-month period, that means your rates won’t change regardless of how many miles you drive.

Optional Coverages: they offer roadside assistance, pet injury protection, rental reimbursement, and no-deductible glass repair coverages.

Customer Preferences: there’s an app but you don’t have to use it; the company leaves that decision to you.

Why They Didn’t Make Our Cut

Coverage Area & Transferability: as of the date of this review, Metromile is only licensed in 8 states, including California, Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. As with Root, we're concerned about policy transferability for those who move outside the company's coverage area.

No Ridesharing Coverage: since policies are based on the miles driven by the insured, Metromile can’t offer ridesharing insurance at the moment.

Although several other companies offer rideshare insurance, State Farm stands out from the competition by extending this coverage in most states and offering continuous coverage for drivers who haven't yet picked up a rider but are logged into their rideshare app.

Since this feature works as an extension of the driver's personal auto policy, they're covered even when they're not using the rideshare app.

It’s important to note that all coverages from your personal auto policy are extended except for “liability to others” once you’ve matched with a rider and while transporting them to their destination. That means you wouldn't be covered in the event you harm another person or their property in that interim.

The company's rideshare insurance option is available in 46 US states and the District of Columbia.

Customer Support

State Farm is the leading car insurance company in the US, with 17.05% of the market share. They offer a wide range of insurance products, 24-hour customer support, and agents in every state.

Customers can find support through the company’s webpage, by phone or email, or in person at one of their many locations.

State Farm also has a helpful “Pocket Agent” app that lets consumers access their insurance cards and policy information, get quotes, and track claims on their phones.

Discounts & The Steer Clear Driver Program

State Farm offers a wide variety of discounts for safe drivers, returning customers, students, and those insuring multiple vehicles or bundling their policies with other plans like homeowners, renters, condo or life insurance.

During our research, what really stood out for us about State Farm was their Steer Clear Driver Program, which offers discounts for drivers under 25 years of age (younger drivers are usually considered high-risk).

In order to qualify for this discount program, drivers must have a valid driver’s license, no at-fault accidents or moving violations during the past three years, and must successfully complete all the program requirements, which includes course training, driving practice, mentoring, and obtaining a program certification.

State Farm's Steer Clear aims to help young motorists practice safe driving. Parents can also monitor and guide the driver’s progress.

In addition to Steer Clear, State Farm has been offering the "Drive Safe & Save" program for drivers over 25 years of age. This program calculates a discount based on your actual driving using a mobile app and a company-provided Bluetooth device. The initial discount for signing up is 5%, but the final percentage can be anywhere between 5% and 30%.

Amica offers some free services that most leading insurance companies do not. For example, every Amica policy comes with free lock replacement for lost keys, free repair for damaged auto glass, free repair of a deployed airbag, no depreciation for the total loss of a new vehicle, lost wage reimbursement if you have to appear in court, and $1,000 for bail bonds.

It’s worth pointing out that the free repair for damaged auto glass only works if a replacement isn't necessary, and that the “no depreciation for a complete loss of your new vehicle” perk is not available in all states and must be within the first year of ownership.

Amica’s coverage options are pretty standard unless you add features from their premier coverage. However, their additional free perks might just be what some consumers are looking for.

Customer Service

Amica was found to be "among the best" insurance companies in auto claims servicing according to J.D. Power's 2018 US Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. It has also ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Auto Insurers in the New England Region" for six consecutive years.

Another great detail about Amica is that it provides customer support through features like “Amica Advisor,” which serves as an auto insurance guide for those unsure about their coverage needs. The company also provides a similar guide to help customers understand the ins and outs of the claims process.

After answering a few questions during the initial quote process, we received Amica’s coverage recommendations.

Our car insurance recommendations from Amica

Amica’s customers can update their profiles, make payments, print ID cards, electronically sign documents, report and track claims, and upload and view claim documents online. Amica also provides customer service via email, phone, and in person.

Amica doesn’t have any repair facility restrictions, and also offers an optional Auto Repair Assistance program, which they claim provides consumers with qualified repair shops, rapid repairs, roadside assistance, and a lifetime guarantee.

Discounts

Amica offers a total of 18 policy, vehicle, and driver discounts. The company claims consumers can save up to 25% when they insure two or more vehicles with them and up to 15% if they combine auto insurance with home, condo, renters, life or other insurance products.

Some of their discounts are very easy to obtain, like their AutoPay and the E-discount options, which you can obtain by signing up for automatic payments and opting to receive your policy information and bills in electronic format.

Some distinctive discounts offered include a forward-collision warning (for vehicles with collision avoidance systems), adaptive headlights, electronic stability, and passive restraint discounts.

Amica’s discounts for high-risk drivers (specifically teens and students) are also worth mentioning. They offer a “Driver training” discount for young drivers, a student away at school discount, and a good student discount for students between the ages of 15 and 25.

Nationwide offers all standard coverages as well as other options not all carriers provide, including rental reimbursement, property protection, sound system insurance, roadside assistance, and a specialty policy called the Classic Car Insurance for antique automobiles and modern classics.

What really sets Nationwide apart, however, is the additional features they offer along with their standard coverages, like gap insurance, a vanishing deductible, yearly insurance assessments, and accident forgiveness.

Free Yearly Insurance Assessments

Life changes constantly, and as it does, so do your coverage needs. You may have had the perfect coverage a year ago, but that policy might not be ideal for your current situation. For this reason, we find Nationwide’s “On Your Side Review” to be a standout feature.

On Your Side Review lets customers schedule a free insurance assessment once a year or whenever they have a big life event, such as purchasing a new home, getting married, or having a child. These yearly assessments are a helpful way to make sure your policy is up to date and meets all of your coverage needs.

This yearly assessment is meant to help consumers determine whether they fully understand their policy and benefits, if their current coverage protects everything they need covered, and whether or not they're making the most of the discounts and benefits available to them.

Vanishing Deductible Feature

Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible feature compensates safe driving. Depending on what your deductible is, you could end up paying $0/month (vanishing). Each year of safe driving translates to $100 off your deductible, up to $500.

If your deductible was $400, after three years of safe driving with this feature, you’d earn a $300 credit, meaning that if you had an accident, you’d just pay $100 toward your deductible.

If you were to be in an accident, your deductible wouldn’t go back to being $400, it would reset back to $100 off. This means that even if you are in an accident, you’re still saving $100 on your deductible.

The Zebra is an online marketplace that provides real-time auto insurance quotes with side-by-side comparisons. Consumers have the option to purchase the policy online through The Zebra or through their selected insurance provider.

Something we really liked about The Zebra is that it provides an impressive amount of educational resources, encouraging customers to try to understand what kind of coverage—and how much of it—they need before making a decision.

But what really stands out about this company is the ease and speed of the quote process and the number of quotes provided for comparison.

The Zebra automatically ask discounts you may qualify for

Their quote tool also automatically adds all of the discounts you could qualify for based on your personal information.

Life insurance term insurance

It took us less than 3 minutes to enter our details, see our possible discounts, and receive about 20 different quote options sorted by coverage level and price.

Multiple Insurance Companies & Coverage Options

The Zebra has more than 200 insurance partners across the US with a combined offering of over 1,800 car insurance products. Some of their top insurers include 21st Century, AIG, Allied, Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, State Farm, Travelers, and MetLife, among many others.

The Zebra gave us 20 different options in under 3 minutes

Working with multiple leading car insurance companies means that The Zebra can most likely provide any type of coverage product a consumer might need. It also means consumers can compare a broader range of discounts than they would if they obtained quotes from only a few companies.

Educational Content & Tools

As we mentioned above, The Zebra’s website provides a ton of educational content. On their “insurance 101” section, the company offers thorough guides, graphics, and presentations with car insurance research data, tips, and explanations.

We particularly liked the first report on this section, “The State of Insurance,” which they created after researching rates from more than 400 insurance companies over the last 8 years, across all 34,000 US zip codes.

The presentation also includes tips on how to save on car insurance and how getting a traffic ticket might affect your insurance rates.

Lastly, we liked that The Zebra lets consumers choose how they want to look for car insurance: by state, zip code, vehicle, price, etc.

Selecting any of these options leads you to another page where you can narrow down your options even further using different filters. For example, we picked "Best Insurance by State" and used Nebraska as our state of residence.

We were then taken to a page with information regarding driving habits and statistics in Nebraska, a list of best cheap car insurance options in the state, another one with the best insurance companies in Nebraska based on JD Power’s Rankings, and information regarding the required level of coverage for the area, among many others.

More insight into our methodology

Because of the changing landscape in the auto insurance industry, we took a fresh approach in our research on car insurance companies.

After 400+ hours of online research using more than 18 vetting criteria, we determined the following factors were the most important when looking for a car insurance company in today’s market:

We also found that the car insurance companies we vetted all carry the same types of standard coverages, including liability, collision, and comprehensive. So, we chose to highlight the supplemental coverages that help consumers customize their policies.

The three standard coverage types are:

Liability:only covers damages or injuries to others or their property in the event of an accident you caused. There are two types: bodily injury protection and property damage. Most states set minimum liability car insurance coverage requirements.

Collision: covers the repair or replacement of your vehicle if it is damaged. Lenders require you carry collision and comprehensive insurance but these optional coverages are not mandated by the states. If your car is paid off, collision coverage is optional.

Comprehensive: covers theft or any damage to your vehicle that's not a result of a collision, including damage or loss caused by natural disasters, falling objects, vandalism, fire, or a public disturbance or riot.

Your premiums will vary based on the types of coverage you choose and the deductibles (collision and comprehensive) and maximum coverage limits you set. Costs also vary based by insurer, vehicle type, and personal driver details like your age, gender, credit score, and driving history.

Remember there isn’t one best car insurance company and coverage that works for everyone, and choosing the best insurance company and policy is really based on your needs and lifestyle.

State Requirements

Auto insurance is regulated at the state level, including the types of state-mandated coverages and associated minimum limits. Often times, you will see your coverage including your state’s minimum requirements represented in the following format: 100/300/50.

Here is a further breakdown of what that means:

100 = $100,000 per person, bodily injury

300 = $300,000 per accident, bodily injury

50 = $50,000 per accident, property damage

Note:some states also mandate a minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured driver coverage.

The bottom line is your state’s car insurance mandated limits will impact your premiums. For instance, Michigan has some of the highest premiums in the country. Unlike other no-fault states, Michigan’s PIP guarantees unlimited lifetime medical benefits to anyone injured in a vehicle accident. The result? Car insurance premiums in the state are higher.

Get familiar with your state’s insurance requirements here or chat with your insurance company bot or live agent to get more information.

If you’re thinking about saving money by only purchasing your state’s mandated liability limits, we highly recommend you think about this decision carefully. There are other ways you can save on car insurance without taking the risk of being underinsured.

Let’s now review the five factors we used to identify the leading car insurance companies in the industry.

Supplemental Coverage

The types of supplemental coverage a company offers can really make it stand out. Because we're each different in how, when, and what we drive, supplemental car insurance coverage allows us to customize our policies to get exactly what we need.

For instance, let’s say you’re a single woman who lives in the city, walks to work and mostly drives a newer car to run errands on the weekends or to get out of the city on Sunday afternoons. You have great credit, no accidents, and a master’s degree. You’ve owned your car for years but still owe a little on your car loan.

Now, let’s say you are a married man who owns two older cars outright. Your wife is a part-time Uber driver, and you have two teenagers who drive both of your cars to school and to see their friends. You live in the suburbs, have good credit, but unfortunately, you have a couple of speeding tickets on your record.

Really different scenarios and ones where the right supplemental coverage can really provide the best protection of car insurance for you and your family.

Let’s take a look at the different types of supplemental coverages. Keep in mind the types of supplemental coverage offered will vary by insurance company and state.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: twenty states and the District of Columbia require you to carry this type of coverage while in other states it's optional. The national average of uninsured/underinsured drivers is 13% and is higher in some states including Florida where it is estimated that more than 27% of drivers are uninsured/underinsured.

Who Needs It: everyone should consider this coverage due to the percentage of uninsured/underinsured drivers out there.

Medical Payments:also referred to as MedPay, this coverage can pay for your and/or your passenger’s medical, surgical, dental, ambulatory, and chiropractic care as well as hospitalization, x-rays, nursing services, prosthetics, and even funeral services, depending on what your insurance company offers under this coverage.

Who Needs It: if you don't have top-of-the-line health insurance with a low or no deductible that covers auto accidents, you may benefit by adding MedPay to your policy. We recommend this coverage if you spend a lot of time on the road or commuting for work.

Personal injury protection or PIP:may offer the same coverage as MedPay as well as physical, occupational, psychiatric, and rehabilitation therapies, any lost wages, and a small death benefit, depending on what your insurance company offers. PIP is mandated by some states but isn’t as universally available as MedPay.

Who Needs It:if you don’t have great health insurance coverage, PIP can close the gap on your healthcare coverage due to an accident you caused.

Guaranteed Auto Protection (Gap):most auto insurance companies reimburse you for the actual cash value of your vehicle in the event of a total loss. Actual cash value equals the market value minus the depreciation amount. This coverage option allows you to purchase more insurance to cover the gap between the cash value of your car and the balance of your car loan.

Who Needs It: by 2017, more than 108 million out of a total of 212 million licensed drivers in the US had an auto loan - that’s more than half of all licensed drivers. For those of you who owe more on your car loan than what you are covered for under your car insurance, this option will get you covered.

Rental Reimbursement: provides reimbursement for a car rental while your vehicle is being serviced as a result of a covered claim.

Who Needs It: if you are a one-car household, commute to work, live in a rural community, or you are a single mom.

Towing and Roadside Assistance: some companies include this coverage in their basic policies but most offer it as optional coverage. Generally, they partner with a network of tow service providers, and they may arrange the service for you. It’s great coverage in the event of a breakdown late at night or when driving in a less familiar area. It can cover towing, battery, lockout, or flat tire services, and fuel delivery.

Who Needs It: this is a smart option if you are a senior, long-distance commuter, single mom, shift worker, the owner of an older vehicle, or anyone who wants peace of mind.

Collector or Classic Car Owner: often less expensive than traditional car insurance, collector car owners tend to drive their classic cars less and care for them more, this option sets a guaranteed value that is agreed upon between you and your insurance company, and is based on the type of collector car you want to insure. The vehicle must be in good condition. Be prepared to substantiate the vehicle’s value and agree to no driving mileage restrictions in your contract.

Who Needs It: a collector who has a vehicle that's worth more than the actual cash value of the car.

Rideshare Insurance: provides gap coverage between your personal and your rideshare company’s commercial insurance, if you drive for Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company. It covers the different periods of time before, during, and after ridesharing. Adding this option will increase your premium for about $90/month.

Who Needs It:anyone contracted with a rideshare company who uses their own vehicle to provide the service.

Telematics: through vehicular technologies, insurance companies can now monitor your driving habits via an installed device or your smartphone that tracks how you break, your speed, how you turn, and where you drive.

Who Needs It:teen drivers. In an ongoing national study, researchers are monitoring driver behavior in teens. So far, the results have found an overall 35% reduction in phone distraction, 20% reduction in hard braking and fast driving, all within the first 30 days of the study. This is a great way for good drivers to save money on premiums.

Pay-As-You-Go:also known as “usage-based” insurance, policyholders pay an adjusted monthly rate based on the number of miles driven instead of a flat premium rate. This is done by installing a telematics device in your car, provided by your insurer or pre-installed in newer vehicles, or via a smartphone app that does the same. You can save more than 54% of your annual premium by applying this type of insurance to your policy. This coverage is not available in every state or offered by all insurance companies.

Who Needs It:this option is great for good drivers, low-mileage drivers, seniors, students, urban dwellers, or anyone who drives under 30 miles a day.

We visited hundreds of auto insurance company websites to find which ones have your back.

How financially solvent a company is (how many assets it has) demonstrates their financial stability. In other words, they have strong financial backing to stay in the game for years to come, which means, they can pay your claims today as well as in the future.

This factor is important to understand due to the challenges facing insurance companies today, including rate increases in most states due to distracted drivers, inclement weather, and the fact that there are more people on the road now than ever before.

We used the rating of three of the most respected and independent rating agencies in the US, including AM Best, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s.

We also used NAIC’s 2018 direct premiums written as a guideline to how many claims an insurance company wrote within a year, indicating its financial stability in the market.

We all want the best price for car insurance coverage. In the course of our research, we also found that understanding all the discounts available can help you get the best price on car insurance.

For this reason, we determined that the number and type of discounts available from an insurance company is one of the most important factors to look for when shopping for auto insurance.

Pricing

Because car insurance is regulated at the state level, and because each state sets its own minimum liability requirements for car insurance, pricing can vary greatly between states as well as by insurance providers.

Getting the best rate can be one of the most important factors when choosing an insurance company. We get it because we’re in the same boat: we have auto insurance too. Currently, the average cost of car insurance in the US, based on a 2017 study, is $935.80 per year.

Most insurers still use traditional eligibility criteria to set prices based on risk factors, including your demographics, credit history, vehicle to be insured, and how and where you drive.

Some companies are starting to apply broader eligibility requirements such as accepting lower credit scores, however, most apply the traditional risk factors to set prices.

Pricing is calculated by determining your base rate (based on your demographics and credit score) plus any added surcharges to protect against risk based on your driving history (speeding tickets or other traffic violation or claims), and lastly, insurers apply discounts which mediate risk for them but can also save you money on premiums.

In other words, base rate + surcharges - discounts = premium price.

Based on our research, we identified the following auto insurance discounts by category, eligibility, and how much you can typically save per discount:

Unfortunately, 16 to 18-year-olds (and up to 21 years of age) pay some of the highest premiums out there. This is due to the predictive risk pricing model used by insurers, which is based on the driving habits of individuals in the age pool. You’ll pay higher premiums even if you’re a safe driver. As you can see there are some great discounts available for student drivers.

Student Drivers

Look into a pay-as-you-go insurance and telematics coverages to track how well you're driving and save more money while improving your driving habits.

Seniors

As a senior, you can save big if you've maintained a good driving record and have paid your premiums on time. States mandate discounts on car insurance for individuals 65 years of age or older with each state setting its own standards. But there are more ways for you to save with discounts, including being a loyal customer, bundling policies, and having a good driving record.

If you drive less than 15,000 miles per year, we recommend you look into a pay-as-you-go insurance plan. If you’re a good driver, think about adding a telematics plan to your policy. This can help your insurer monitor your driving habits and can substantially decrease your premiums.

We identified claims satisfaction as one of the biggest factors to consider when shopping for car insurance. Why?

Life quotes life insurance

We also looked at the simplification in claims processing by leading insurers that are making it easier for you to file and track a claim using the following convenient methods:

Accessibility in the form of 24/7 claims processing

Tools like mobile or online apps or over-the-phone claims processing

A guaranteed or general time frame for claim processing is provided

A streamlined process using the latest technological innovations

Helpful Hint: what has more impact on your premiums? It may not be the type of claim you file but how many claims you file in a year.

When you need them the most is when you expect the best treatment from your insurer. Great customer service is a lifesaver when we’re talking about car insurance, especially when you file a claim. You want an expert who will guide you through the claims process and get you roadside assistance immediately if you are vehicle is broken down or damaged.

But how did we measure customer experience with car insurance companies?

We looked at a car insurance company’s complaint index compared to the national average, both determined by the NAIC’s Complaint Ratio Trend Report. This is public data so you can look up any insurance company when you are shopping for insurance.

We reviewed online consumer reviews posted on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site, looking for patterns in a company’s behavior, such as: did they respond and address each consumer complaint on their site.

We read thousands of reviews, both negative and positive, to determine patterns in a company’s customer experience.

Through our research, we found the insurers with the best customer service ratings offered 24/7 support and multiple ways consumers can reach a company representative or online bot.

These factors are a strong indicator of a company's customer service standards and its overall consideration for their clients.

With advanced technologies and the use of big data, more car insurance companies are working to simplify and offer a faster and more accurate online quote, application, and claims processes.

They’re also using telematics to monitor your driving habits, your vehicle’s condition, and its location. Some companies offer on-demand, usage-based or pay-as-you-go coverages, through the use of telematics technology.

We looked at the following areas in automation, something we know that more consumers want from their auto insurance companies:

Accurate and fast online quotes based on automated predictive analysis and big data

A fast and automated online application process using a broader set of eligibility requirements in combination with big data

Mobile apps and smartphones for account management and claims processing

Faster or automated claims processing with estimated times for claims payments

Telematics to track driver behavior, miles driven, a vehicle’s condition or location in case of theft of roadside assistance, among others

Some consumers are not comfortable with going with telematics due to privacy issues including data security breaches. It is a real concern. If you are considering a telematics-based program but are not fully comfortable with your insurer collecting data on how, when, and where you drive, we encourage you to ask an insurance company on how they will protect your privacy rights.

Most companies we chose in our top 10 offer some or many of the automation features described above.

Helpful information about Car Insurance

The insurance industry has seen big changes since the financial crisis of 2008. With the introduction of insurtech companies that integrate insurance and technology, the traditional car insurance business model is quickly adapting to keep pace with consumer behavior and demands.

In fact, Accenture's 2017 Global Distribution & Marketing Study reveals 51% of the 33,000 surveyed policyholders purchased insurance online and 42% would be willing to take computer-generated advice to purchase insurance.

And that's exactly what both traditional and insurtech companies are now aiming to deliver, a better more simplified customer experience that integrates the latest technological advances. To this end, most insurers in the current market are adopting telematics, also known as black box insurance.

Telematics is an insurance program that tracks a user's driving behavior through either a mobile app (smartphone technology) or a black box installed in the vehicle.

This technology is the integration of telecommunications and informatics, allowing companies to reward safe driving and reduce recklessness on the road, track mileage for usage-based car insurance, locate stolen vehicles, and reach policyholders in need of roadside assistance.

This is very different from the risk management approach traditionally used by insurers. Most insurance companies classify people into different risk classes according to their likelihood of being affected by "adverse circumstances" like a collision or vehicle theft.

Insurers then use prediction models and “ imperfect information ” from statistical and historical data to sort people with similar characteristics into different risk classes and charge them accordingly. Each insurance company has its particular actuarial formulas to assess risk.

Generally speaking, most insurers perceive certain drivers as posing a higher risk for collisions or traffic violations. Young drivers, for example, will likely be placed in a higher-risk insurance class than drivers with more experience on the road.

The problem with this approach is that some individuals, like young drivers, will pay more for insurance because they've been classified into a particular risk category, regardless of their actual driving habits.

Insurtech companies are doing things a little differently, though. For starters, they're using predictive analytics and data from mobile apps and other devices to determine and price risk with greater accuracy. They've also placed more emphasis on their online customer experience and simplified the quote, application, and claims processes.

More accurate quotes based on real data along with simplified or automated processes is great news for consumers, but the industry still has big challenges to address, including:

Safeguarding consumer privacy in the world of big data and security breaches

Managing more claims due to inclement weather like hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, etc.

Dealing with more distracted drivers and their effect on policyholder rates and coverages

These are ongoing concerns we paid close attention to throughout our research into the industry.

We've also concluded that, in combination with more traditional factors, automation as an umbrella category can be a great way to determine whether insurers use fair pricing models that benefits consumers and offer convenience through streamlined processes.

Factors that Affect Car Insurance Premiums

We've already gone over the traditional risk management approach vs. technology-based pricing. However, the industry has only recently started expanding the applications of "big data" to the insurance market.

For the most part, the biggest players in the insurance industry still price premiums based on risk categories. Depending on the company and insurance program you choose, your premiums might be based on your risk group, which in turn will be influenced by a number of personal and external factors.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), there's a long list of factors that influence your auto insurance rate on a personal level as well as on a state, city or county level.

You see, your premiums will vary depending on your details as a driver as well as other external conditions like traffic, accident, and vehicle theft rates in your area. Let’s go over these in detail.

Personal Factors

On a personal level, auto insurance rates are influenced by things like your age, gender, marital status, driving experience (years driving) and record, claims history, credit history, and previous coverage.

Some of these things may make more sense than others. Your years of driving experience and driving record, for example, make a direct statement about your habits as a motorist and could give your insurer a good idea of how much risk they would take on by insuring you.

Other factors, such as your marital status, are much less intuitive but can also say a lot about your driving habits. Married drivers are believed to be more financially stable and are more likely to purchase bundled policies or multiple policies, which merit discounts.

The vehicle you drive also affects your auto insurance premiums. Your vehicle make, model, and year influence how safe it is to drive and the likelihood of catastrophic damage to it due to a collision.

External Factors

External factors such as your area and state of residence will also affect what you pay for car insurance. Each state has different auto insurance requirements, and densely populated areas such as city centers may have higher vehicle theft rates, which can significantly increase premiums.

When there are more drivers on the road the likelihood of a collision or accident also increases, and higher risks always translate into higher rates. This also holds true for those who live in areas prone to floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

A Point About Marketplaces

In the course of our research, we also reviewed car insurance marketplaces that help consumers find the best coverages and policies based on demographics and location.

These companies don't actually offer car insurance themselves but instead offer the service of identifying or comparing the best auto insurance company for you. Additionally, some of them offer extensive educational resources on their websites.

What’s Trending Now

Beyond automation and simplification, other significant trends we found include:

More People on the Road:the economy is better so that translates to more people driving on our roads and highways, including more distracted or under-the-influence drivers.

Where Are the Truck Drivers:by the end of the year, it is estimated there will be a 50,000 truck driver shortage, which means more inexperienced truck drivers will be on the roads.

Bad Weather Isn’t Good: some states that are located (partially or in full) in natural- disaster-prone areas have seen an increase of 80% in premiums over the last couple of years.

Distracted Driving:distracted driving has become one of the primary reasons for accidents, in general, and the cause of death among teens in car accidents. In 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed by distracted drivers.

Marijuana & Driving:studies from multiple states including Washington, Colorado, and Oregon found that accident frequency did increase after marijuana was legalized in their respective states.

Repair Costs Are Going Up:technological advances in vehicle safety systems, such as anti-theft systems, cameras and sensors, have increased repair costs due to special training required by mechanics and the time it takes to repair the problem.

What’s Coming Down the Road?

Autonomous driving is not a thing of the future, it’s already here. For instance, newer luxury vehicles already have the capabilities of parking themselves, staying in lanes and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles. Therefore, the car industry is somewhere between Levels 1 and 2, per the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tesla is currently testing level 3 vehicles, and other companies such as Google and Apple are testing Level 4 cars. Industry experts are not in agreement with when fully autonomous vehicles will become available with estimates ranging from two years to decades.

So how does car insurance work with self-driving vehicles? Product details are still being evaluated but telematics is already on the scene and changing how car insurance works by tracking drivers’ behavior and miles driven.

Disclaimer: Our content is free because we may earn a commission when you click or make a purchase using our site. We're showing you personalized results ordered by which company wants to insure consumers like you. Some insurance companies place a higher value on specific ages, locations, or other factors, which means those companies appear higher in this list. Learn more.

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The following companies are our partners in Car Insurance: State Farm, Compare Car Insurance, Insurify, QuoteWizard, Auto Insurance Green, and Gabi.

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For example, when company ranking is subjective (meaning two companies are very close) our advertising partners may be ranked higher. If you have any specific questions while considering which product or service you may buy, feel free to reach out to us anytime.

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