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Comparing Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm Car Insurance

The biggest insurers are available to most drivers. Finding the best insurance depends on the features you value.
Feb. 19, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm are the four largest car insurance companies in the U.S. All have been in business for decades, enjoy top financial strength ratings and are well known in the industry. Together, they held more than 50% of the total market share of personal auto insurance policies in 2019, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. They also all scored high ratings in NerdWallet’s 2021 best car insurance companies analysis.

NerdWallet compared these insurers and found the best in five categories.

The rankings in each category are recapped at the bottom.

Here’s a quick look at each company’s top traits — the categories in which it ranked first or second in our in-depth comparison of the four largest insurers.

CompanyTop traits
AllstateCoverage options, tech, few complaints
GeicoPrice, tech, customer satisfaction
ProgressiveCoverage options, few complaints
State FarmCustomer satisfaction, price

How the 4 biggest insurers stack up in 5 categories

We looked at price, consumer complaints, customer satisfaction, coverage options, and apps and technology to see how the nation’s four largest car insurance companies compare with one another.

Best for price: Geico

For many, price is king and little else matters. If that describes you, Geico is worth checking out. Charging $200 less per year, on average, than the next-cheapest large insurer (State Farm), Geico ranks the cheapest among the four companies in NerdWallet’s 2021 analysis. And with over 15 auto insurance discounts available, Geico offers more ways to save on your car insurance than State Farm, Progressive or Allstate.

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance

To rank by price, we used national average rates for a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving history. Here are those average annual rates:

  1. Geico: $1,268 per year.
  2. State Farm: $1,491 per year.
  3. Progressive: $1,562 per year.
  4. Allstate: $2,381 per year.

These rates reflect full coverage insurance for drivers with good credit. Full coverage isn’t a specific type of policy, but includes a combination of coverage types including liability, comprehensive and collision, and any other insurance required by the state.

Insurers use credit history as one factor to determine your car insurance rates except in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan, where using credit to set auto insurance prices is banned. Credit-based insurance scores are different from regular credit scores, although they look at the same factors. Your credit score is generally a good indicator of the insurance version.

Besides credit and driving history, rates can vary significantly based on individual factors such as gender, car make and model, age and location. One company might have the cheapest car insurance quote for a 35-year-old man living in Georgia, while another may offer a better rate for a 53-year-old woman living in California. The only way to tell which company fits your needs best is to compare car insurance quotes in your state.

Fewest consumer complaints: Progressive

Relative to its size, Progressive had the fewest complaints reported to state regulators for private passenger auto insurance, according to three years’ worth of data from the NAIC.

But it wasn’t the only large insurer with good behavior: Allstate and Geico also had fewer complaints than expected relative to their size, which is measured by premiums written. State Farm had close to the expected number of complaints for auto insurance.

» MORE: Progressive auto insurance review

Best for customer satisfaction: State Farm

State Farm customers are not only the most satisfied with customer insurance claims, but also report better overall satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study and Consumer Reports’ 2019 car insurance ratings (the most recent survey available). Satisfaction surveys include pricing, claims and customer service questions.

» MORE: State Farm auto insurance review

Best for coverage options: Allstate

Out of 12 optional coverage needs we looked for — such as gap insurance and accident forgiveness — Allstate offered nine. Progressive was a close second, offering eight of the 12 optional types of coverage.

Here are some differences:

  • Allstate is the only one of the four carriers to offer pay-per-mile insurance, a different type of policy where you pay a base rate plus a per-mile rate.
  • Allstate offers new-car replacement, which pays for the value of a brand-new car of the same make and model (minus the deductible) if your car is totaled in a covered loss. Alternatively, Progressive offers gap insurance, which pays for the difference between the value of a car at the time it’s totaled or stolen and the balance of its loan or lease. Because the coverage is similar, insurers commonly offer only one or the other, if at all. State Farm and Geico offer neither.
  • Of the big four, only Geico offers mechanical breakdown insurance.

» MORE: Allstate auto insurance review

Best for apps and technology: Geico

Consumers expect smooth online experiences and slick apps for many services, and insurance is no exception.

Geico stands out for having:

  • An in-app vehicle care feature to monitor your car’s maintenance.
  • Locators in the app for gas and parking.
  • Lyft integration so you can hail a rideshare car from the app.

The other three big insurers have some similar technology features, but Geico has the most.

» MORE: Geico auto insurance review

All four companies offer apps that could save you money through the use of telematic technology. If you opt in, the company will track your driving behavior with a mobile app or device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port. Safe drivers may pay lower rates, get discounts or earn rewards, but Geico’s and Progressive’s options may penalize risky behaviors with higher rates.

Extra features

If you’re looking for a particular feature from an insurance company, you may find it with some and not others. These are some of the options that set the four largest auto insurers apart from one another. Some cost extra; others are included at no additional charge when you buy a policy. Star ratings come from NerdWallet’s 2021 ranking of the best car insurance companies.

CompanyCoverage optionsTech and apps
Allstate

4.5 NerdWallet rating

  • Accident forgiveness.

  • New-car replacement.

  • Deductible rewards.

  • Reward for accident avoidance.

  • Sound system coverage.

  • Pay-per-mile insurance.


  • Parking locator.

  • Gas price locator.

Geico

5.0 NerdWallet rating

  • Accident forgiveness.

  • Mechanical breakdown coverage.


  • Parking locator.

  • Gas locator.

  • Lyft integration in app.

  • Car maintenance alerts.

Progressive

4.5 NerdWallet rating

  • Gap insurance.

  • Accident forgiveness.

  • Deductible rewards.

  • Custom parts coverage.

State Farm

4.5 NerdWallet rating

  • Steer Clear training app for young drivers.

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

Options available from all 4 insurers

These insurers have been in the game awhile, so they know which features are no-brainers to offer. Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm all have the following coverage and technology options in common.

Common coverage options

  • Rideshare insurance.

  • Roadside assistance and towing.

  • Rental reimbursement, if your car is in the shop for a claim that's covered.

Common tech capabilities

  • Pay bill in app.

  • View and download ID card from app.

  • Submit claims in app or online.

  • Track claims in app or online.

  • See policy info in app.

  • Upload damage photos in app.

  • Earn lower rates, discounts or rewards through apps that collect driving behavior data.

  • Voice or artificial intelligence assistance.

Head-to-head price comparisons of all 4 companies

After you narrow down your choices to two companies, a closer look at the differences can help you decide which insurer is best for you. Take a look at these head-to-head comparisons of each of the four biggest car insurance companies.

Geico vs. Progressive

When you consider Geico versus Progressive, think about whether you prefer low prices or need extra options. Geico has lower average rates in our analyses, while Progressive offers coverage that Geico doesn’t have, such as gap coverage.

Geico has more robust technology and app offerings than Progressive. Both companies get fewer than the expected number of complaints to insurance regulators, relative to their size.

 GeicoProgressive
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$1,268$1,562
Good driver, poor credit$1,766$3,302
Driver with recent at-fault accident$1,991$2,556
Minimum coverage$380$577

State Farm vs. Allstate

If you’re choosing between Allstate and State Farm, you’re picking from two companies that get relatively few complaints to state regulators for insurers of their size.

To decide between Allstate and State Farm, consider what’s most important to you. State Farm has lower average prices in our analyses, although you should get quotes to be sure it’s cheaper for you. Allstate offers features that aren’t available from State Farm, such as accident forgiveness, pay-per-mile and new-car replacement insurance.

 AllstateState Farm
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$2,381$1,491
Good driver, poor credit$3,356$3,130
Driver with recent at-fault accident$3,367$1,925
Minimum coverage$759$550

Geico vs. State Farm

Geico and State Farm are both cheaper on average than Allstate or Progressive, according to our analysis. Still, Geico ranked cheaper than State Farm in three out of the four price comparisons below.

Geico also has the edge for tech options like an app function to monitor your car’s maintenance. State Farm beat Geico for customer satisfaction, but just barely.

 GeicoState Farm
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$1,268$1,491
Good driver, poor credit$1,766$3,130
Driver with recent at-fault accident$1,991$1,925
Minimum coverage$380$550

Allstate vs. Geico

When you’re choosing between Allstate and Geico, you can expect plenty of tech options: Among the four largest insurers, Geico has the most features in its apps, and Allstate is a strong second. Both offer more tech and apps than Progressive or State Farm.

If price is your main concern, Geico may be right for you. NerdWallet’s analysis of insurance rates found Geico is consistently cheaper than Allstate, on average. But if you’re looking for specific coverage options, Allstate may have what you need. Allstate offers a few options that Geico doesn’t, including new-car replacement insurance.

 AllstateGeico
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$2,381$1,268
Good driver, poor credit$3,356$1,766
Driver with recent at-fault accident$3,367$1,991
Minimum coverage$759$380

Progressive vs. Allstate

Among the top four insurers, Allstate and Progressive stand out most for their coverage options. At either of these companies, you can get coverage for custom parts or stereos, and you can reduce your deductible by staying accident-free. Those options aren’t available from Geico or State Farm.

Progressive has fewer complaints to state insurance regulators and sometimes, but not always, beats Allstate on price. Since their rates are often similar, it’s worth getting quotes from both insurers to know which will be cheaper for you.

 AllstateProgressive
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$2,381$1,562
Good driver, poor credit$3,356$3,302
Driver with recent at-fault accident$3,367$2,556
Minimum coverage$759$577

Progressive vs. State Farm

When choosing between Progressive and State Farm, think about whether you want more coverage options, or whether price matters more.

State Farm is cheaper, on average, than Progressive. On the other hand, Progressive offers several coverage options that aren’t available from State Farm, including gap insurance, accident forgiveness and coverage for custom parts and equipment.

 ProgressiveState Farm
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$1,562$1,491
Good driver, poor credit$3,302$3,130
Driver with recent at-fault accident$2,556$1,925
Minimum coverage$577$550

Frequently asked questions

Who are the top five insurance companies?

The five largest car insurance companies in the nation are State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate and USAA, according to the NAIC. Although USAA is the fifth-largest carrier in the country, it is available only to military, veterans and their families.

Which insurance company is best at paying claims?

Of the four largest insurers, State Farm has the highest ranking for customer satisfaction with auto claims based on a 2020 J.D. Power auto insurance claims study.

Is State Farm cheaper than Geico?

Average annual car insurance rates for good drivers are cheaper from Geico than from State Farm, according to NerdWallet’s 2021 rates analysis. However, State Farm has cheaper annual rates on average for drivers with a recent car accident. Remember, these are only averages. Because factors like your gender, location and vehicle affect your rates, you should always shop around to find the lowest price.

Is Geico a good insurance company?

Geico has consistently ranked on NerdWallet’s best car insurance companies list, and has the cheapest rates on average for good drivers among the nation’s largest insurers.

Recap: How the insurers compare

CategoryRankings
Price

  1. Geico

  2. State Farm

  3. Progressive

  4. Allstate

Complaints

  1. Progressive

  2. Allstate

  3. Geico

  4. State Farm

Satisfaction

  1. State Farm

  2. Geico

  3. Allstate

  4. Progressive

Coverage options

  1. Allstate

  2. Progressive

  3. Geico

  4. State Farm

Apps and tech

  1. Geico

  2. Allstate

  3. State Farm

  4. Progressive

AVERAGE RATES METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet averaged rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. We examined rates for 40-year-old men and women for all ZIP codes in any of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for the nation’s four largest auto insurers, Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm.

In our analysis, “good drivers” had no moving violations on record; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. Our “good” and “poor” credit rates are based on credit score approximations and do not account for proprietary scoring criteria used by insurance providers. These are average rates, and your rate will vary based on your personal details, state and insurance provider. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.
  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.
  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect only the minimum coverage required by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit. In states where credit isn’t taken into account, we only used rates for “good” credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.

We used a 2018 Toyota Camry LE in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

Auto insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, website transparency and affordability. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

 

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