Allstate vs. Geico vs. Progressive vs. State Farm: Which is the Best Insurance Company for You?

Insurance

Allstate, Geico, Progressive, and State Farm are four of the largest insurance companies in the U.S.  Their policies cover the things you care about such as your vehicle, home, life, and everything in between.  Taking the time to sit down and figure out who is the best fit for your personal situation is difficult but it is something anybody managing their own finances must do.

Want to compare rate estimates from the top auto insurance companies? Check out NerdWallet’s auto insurance comparison tool.

Most people stay with the same company for long periods of time so saving a few bucks or getting an extra benefit can add up greatly over time.  Rates can vary wildly even within the same company so it’s important to know what you’re buying.  Below are some of the things each company has to offer as well as other key information to help inform yourself to make better insurance decisions.  When in doubt, take a few minutes to get a free quote.  The savings could be substantial.

1. Allstate    

Allstate is the largest publicly held personal lines property and casualty insurer in the U.S.  At year end of 2012 the company had $126.9 billion in total assets and Forbes listed them at number 92 for largest companies in America.  Their insurance policies include auto, home, life, motorcycle, renters, supplemental health, boat, as well as 11 others.  Their online features include instant quotes, reporting claims, and articles with helpful tips for their customers.  One of the best things about Allstate is that they have local offices nationwide.  If you have a question or concern you are able to meet with a person face to face.  They also specialize and are arguably the best in their well known accident forgiveness program for drivers involved in a mishap.  This prevents your rates from skyrocketing right after something goes wrong.

Allstate has built a dedicated and loyal customer base by consistently providing strong customer service.  A.M. Best has also given the company an A+ rating in its Best Insurance Reports.  One of the few drawbacks of Allstate is that its rates are on the higher end of the spectrum.

One-sentence summary:  Allstate is a great option for drivers that want great customer service and a respected reputation, and are willing to pay a little extra for these features.

How much will Allstate cost you?  Take a minute to get a free personalized quote.

Allstate Popular Discounts

*Some percentages unavailable

Safe Driver – 45%

Easy Pay*

Early Signing – 10%

Anti Theft Devices – 10%

Good Student – 20%

Anti Lock Brakes – 10%

Retired – 10%

Passive Restraint – 30%

Multiple Policy – 10%

Transfer – 10%

Auto Life*

Safety Course – 5%

 

2. Geico

The smallest company out of the four, the Government Employees Insurance Company better known as Geico, is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and generated revenue of $15.4 billion in 2011 with 26,000 employees.  Their insurance policies currently include auto, motorcycle, ATV, RV, boat/PWC, homeowners, renters, and 12 others.  The company currently has more than 9 million auto policy holders covering more than 15 million vehicles all over the country.  A.M. Best also gave the company a rating of A++ with assets valued at over $28 billion.  Their website includes instant quotes, policy management, and the ability to report a claim online.

Geico is a company that truly does value customer service.  Overall they are ranked year after year among the highest in customer satisfaction.  Geico does not have any physical insurance agents you can go and talk to because they are what is known as a direct insurance writer.  They provide insurance through the company rather than local agents.  Some people see that as a negative because they prefer a more face to face meeting when doing business.  However, these saved expenses the company gets from not having agents are passed along to their customers in the form of discounts and lower overall rates.

Another positive aspect is that even though Geico is a solid, well known company, it is possible for almost anyone to get coverage with them.  People with a not so perfect driving record will more than likely be able to get coverage from the company making them one of the best in this regard.  Geico’s pricing and customer service also routinely get praised for being better than the industry standard as well as the incredible flexibility of their policies.  This quality management, the financial backing of Berkshire Hathaway, and their catchy ads everyone gets stuck in their head virtually ensures that Geico will be around for some time to come.  One particular aspect of the company, Geico’s auto insurance, is looked at closely below along with popular discounts that they offer customers.

One-sentence summary:  Geico is an inexpensive online discount broker, backed by a well-respected financial institution, and has a reputation for having the highest customer satisfaction.

How much will Geico cost you?  Take a minute to get a free personalized quote

Geico Popular Discounts

*Some percentages unavailable

Air Bag – 25% to 40%

Good Student*

Anti Lock Brakes – 5%

Emergency Deployment – 25%

Anti Theft – 25%

Military – 15%

Daytime Running Lights – 3%

Partner Organization – 8%

Good Driver – 26%

Multi Car – 25%

Seat Belt Use – 15%

Multi Policy*

Defensive Driving*

Driver’s Education*

 

3. Progressive

Progressive posted a revenue of $17.1 billion in 2012 with 25,900 employees.  Their insurance policies include auto, homeowners, motorcycle, boat/PWC, renters, condo, and 15 others.  The company site includes a very easy to use menu that takes you anywhere on the site for quick answers to any insurance question as well as tools to compare rates between leading insurance companies.

Progressive is one of the best companies for introducing new ideas to the insurance industry.  They popularized concepts such as installment plans for insurance premiums, pay as you drive insurance, and drive in claims service.  One major selling point the company advertises is an interesting discount that they offer called the snapshot.  It is a small device that you can voluntarily install on your vehicle that records your driving habits for 30 days.  During this time it determines what time of day you drive, miles driven, and how often you are you are hitting “hard breaks.”  These are all factors that have a great effect on your likelihood of having an accident.  You can receive up to a 30% discount if you meet all the requirements for being a safe driver.  A.M. Best has also given the company a rating of A+ for its financial strength.  Another policy the company provides is if you are involved with a fender-bender in your car, you can drop it off at one of Progressive’s Claims Centers, have the car repaired, and then pick it up when everything is done.  You don’t have to deal with any of the paper work normally involved because the company will do it for you.

One of the major drawbacks about the company is that it is not accredited by the BBB (Better Business Bureau).  This is not a requirement of businesses but it does give consumers more transparency when looking at companies.  Another common complaint with the company is its customer service.  Progressive continually ranks below other insurance companies when it come to this field.  Their prices are also routinely higher than the competition.  Overall the company has been an innovator in the past but that doesn’t mean much to the average consumer when they are paying higher rates for low quality service.  One aspect of the company, Progressive’s auto insurance, is looked at closely below along with popular discounts that they offer customers.

One-sentence summary:  For great drivers willing to let the company track you, you could get up to a 30% discount, but otherwise prices are high and customer satisfaction is low (no Better Business Bureau accreditation).

How much will Progressive cost you?  Take a minute to get a free personalized quote.

Progressive Popular Discounts

*Some percentages unavailable

E-Sign – 10%

Original Owner*

Homeowners*

Safety Course*

Multi Car*

Responsible Driver*

Snapshot – 30%

Idle Assisted Steering*

Pay in Full – 10%

Claims Free Renewal*

LoJack*

Prompt Payer*

 

4. State Farm

State Farm is the largest company by far out of these four, nearly double the size of second place Allstate.  With 65,000 employees and over $64.3 billion in revenue in 2011, State Farm is no lightweight.  The company is the leading U.S. personal lines property/casualty insurer as well as the number one provider of auto insurance in the country.  The company almost always takes the top spots every year in the insurance industry and is also ranked 44th in the 2013 Fortune 500.  Their insurance policies include auto, homeowners, renters, condo, business, life, as well as 9 others.  Their website offers free quotes, the ability to make a claim online, agent contact tools, and many other helpful insurance articles.

State Farm has been around for more than 90 years now and has the experience to prove it.  A.M. Best gave the company an A++ rating and the company has also received numerous awards for diversity in the workplace.  However State Farm has been criticized in recent years for some of its business practices.  The company tends to pull out from an area when the local government begins to regulate the insurance companies operating there.  State Farm left Texas and New Jersey when it became apparent that rates would become regulated.  They have also stopped issuing homeowners insurance in Florida when new regulations were announced.  This is of course is a serious problem when you are a policy holder and live in one of these areas.

Even with these negatives the company has a loyal group of customers that continue to give them good ratings.  State Farm is consistently ranked among the highest in the insurance industry for their customer service, policy offerings, and reasonable prices.  Someone looking for good rates and a company honestly dedicated to most of their customers should consider State Farm.

One-sentence summary:  Largest insurance company in the country has a reputation for competitive rates and great customer service.

How much will State Farm cost you?  Take a minute to get a free personalized quote.

State Farm Popular Discounts

*Some percentages unavailable

Good Student – 25%

Safe & Save – 5%

Multiple Automobile – 20%

Home Security Devices*

Multiple Line – 17%

Utilities Ratings*

Good Driving – 10%

Roofing Materials*

Steer Clear Safety Course – 15%

Fire Sprinklers*

Defensive Driving – 5%

In Drive – 50%

Final Thoughts

The best thing you can do when buying insurance is to stay vigilant and informed.  Saving money and finding a policy that fits your life is what it’s all about.  Different companies have different strategies and corporate culture which all affect how well they work for you.  Finding the right one is essential to insuring the people and things you love when that unfortunate day comes when the unexpected happens.  Knowing that you have a trustworthy company to back you up just gives you one less thing to worry about while you get everything back together.  Stay smart and stay insured.

Insurance Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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