Allstate, Geico, Progressive or State Farm: Which One Is Best for You?

Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm are four of the largest insurance companies in the United States. Their policies can cover the loss of your most important assets, including your car, your home and your possessions. Life insurance policies offered by these companies can help your loved ones financially in the event of your death.

All four companies have been in business for decades, enjoy top financial strength ratings and are well-respected in the industry. NerdWallet has done some digging to help you compare these insurers for factors that matter to your decision, whether you are looking for the best car insurance, home insurance, life insurance or some other coverage.

Allstate

In addition to auto insurance, Allstate sells home and renters insurance, commercial insurance and retirement and investment products. Allstate’s products are sold through its own agents nationwide.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s full review of Allstate.

Although Allstate’s customer satisfaction ratings for auto insurance claims, price and customer service put it in the middle of the pack, the company got high marks in a recent J.D. Power survey for customer satisfaction among life insurance companies.

Allstate’s Drivewise program offers an opportunity for good drivers with low mileage to save money. The usage-based insurance program sets your price based on mileage, speed, time-of-day driving and braking.

The Allstate Mobile app offers several convenient features for car insurance customers: You can view your insurance card, submit a claim, get roadside help and even find your parked vehicle.

Allstate: Pros and cons

Pros
Cons
  • One-stop shopping for a variety of insurance products.

  • Personal service from local agents.

  • Allstate’s Rewards program offers merchandise, gift cards and more for good drivers.

  • Solid customer service ratings for life insurance.

  • Not known for competitive pricing.

  • Average customer satisfaction for auto insurance claims.

Allstate: The bottom line

Allstate’s agents can provide a helping hand when you want to understand your insurance and options, and they offer a wide variety of insurance products. But the company’s satisfaction ratings suggest that you can find better options elsewhere for car insurance.

Geico

Geico is a good option for shoppers who are primarily interested in an affordable car insurance policy. Studies from both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power place Geico as better than average for price.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s full review of Geico.

Reviews of Geico’s customer service tend to be lukewarm. It’s in the middle of the pack in Consumer Reports’ rankings of car insurance customer satisfaction. J.D. Power had similar findings of Geico’s customer service as “about average.”

Geico can get you set with coverage for a variety of vehicles in addition to your cars: recreational vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and boats. Geico services about 13 million auto insurance policies and offers insurance through agents who sell exclusively for Geico.

Although Geico does not sell homeowners or renters insurance, it makes it easy for customers to get these policies from other companies through the Geico Insurance Agency.

The Geico mobile app helps you easily keep track of your policy and billing details. It lets you access your Geico policies and a digital auto insurance ID card, pay bills and submit claims.

Geico: Pros and cons

Pros
Cons
  • Competitive prices.

  • Top financial strength rating of A++ from A.M. Best.

  • Customer service does not stand out.

  • Does not offer its own homeowners or renters insurance.

Geico: The bottom line

If the price of your auto insurance policy is your main concern, it’s worthwhile to get a quote from Geico.

Progressive

Progressive offers coverage for a range of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, snowmobiles, business vehicles and even Segways. It sells insurance through independent agents. Progressive, the No. 4 car insurance provider, specializes in vehicle insurance and offers other types of coverage, such as home and life insurance, through third parties.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s full review of Progressive insurance.

Progressive’s website offers ways to research auto insurance rates beyond traditional online quotes: Its “Name Your Price” tool helps you find a policy that fits within your budget — although a low price will come with the trade-off in coverage.

Progressive is unusual in that it allows customers to view competitors’ prices alongside Progressive quotes; a NerdWallet comparison found Progressive prices to be about average. Claims satisfaction does not stand out: Progressive was “about average” for auto insurance claims, according to a J.D. Power study.

Progressive was a pioneer in usage-based insurance with its Snapshot program, which bases your premiums on how much and when you drive, along with driving habits such as hard braking and acceleration. But it was also the first insurer to announce that customers who switch to its usage-based program might see their rates go up.

Its drive-in auto claims service offers convenience to customers who have had a crash. And with Progressive’s smartphone app you can easily find your policy details and insurance card, see payments, report claims, find a repair service center and more.

Progressive: Pros and cons

Pros
Cons

  • Specializes in insurance for almost any kind of vehicle.

  • Auto quoting tool shows rates from major competitors.

  • “Name Your Price" tool finds coverage that fits within your budget.

  • “Concierge” claims service takes care of repairs from start to finish, including rental car pickup from service centers.


  • Pricing is average.

  • Life and home insurance offered through third parties.

  • Claims satisfaction ratings are average.

  • Rates can go up with the usage-based Snapshot insurance program if your driving is not great.

Progressive: The bottom line

If you’re interested in convenient features that help you compare prices and deal with an auto accident, Progressive is worth a look.

State Farm

Size-wise, State Farm is the top dog, holding close to 19% of market share nationwide for private passenger auto insurance and about 20% of the home insurance market. It also ranks among the top 10 life insurance companies.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s full review of State Farm.

The company, founded in 1922, offers more than 100 products and services, including insurance for motorcycles, boats, off-road vehicles, renters, health and long-term care. State Farm services almost 44 million auto insurance policies and has 18,000 agents who sell exclusively for State Farm. It also sells annuities and banking products.

State Farm’s overall customer service is generally rated better than others in J.D. Power’s regional studies of customers. The company recently earned top honors in J.D. Power’s life insurance satisfaction study.

However, satisfaction dips for customers who have made auto insurance claims; among those customers, State Farm service is about average.

If you’re a safe driver and don’t put many miles on your car, you may be able to save money with State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save program. This usage-based insurance program calculates price in part on your mileage and a few “safe driving” measurements such as acceleration and braking.

State Farm’s smartphone app, called Pocket Agent, offers the ability to view your insurance card and policy information, submit a claim online and view a claim’s status, among other features.

State Farm: Pros and cons

Pros
Cons
  • Full range of insurance products available, such as homeowners, renters, life and auto, plus banking and other financial products.

  • Highest possible A.M. Best financial strength rating of A++.

  • Personal service from local agents.

  • Prices are average, according to Consumer Reports and J.D. Power.

State Farm: The bottom line

If you’re looking for a strong company with a well-known brand name, a variety of products and good customer service, State Farm is a wise choice.

Shop around

Comparing Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm is a good start to shopping for auto insurance. But other insurers also can offer good deals. NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool can help you find them.

The Big 4 car insurance companies at a glance

InsurerGreat for those who value...Consumer complaints (vs. median)Start comparing

Customer service
Fewer
Price
More
Convenience
Fewer
Breadth
More
Source for complaints: National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Amy Danise is an editor at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: adanise@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AmyDanise.


Image via iStock.

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