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

Feb. 24, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm are the four largest car insurance companies in the United States. 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 2018, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

NerdWallet compared these insurers and found out who’s best in five categories.

The rankings in each category are recapped at the bottom.

Here’s a quick look at how the insurers compare, ordered by their rank in NerdWallet’s 2020 best car insurance companies analysis. You can also see each company’s top traits — the categories in which it ranked first or second in NerdWallet’s separate, in-depth comparison of the four largest insurers.

CompanyTop traits
1. GeicoPrice, tech, customer satisfaction
2. State FarmPrice, customer satisfaction
3. ProgressiveCoverage options, few complaints
4. AllstateCoverage options, tech, few complaints

How the 4 biggest insurers stack up in 5 categories

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

Best for price: Geico

For many, price is king and little else matters as much. If that describes you, Geico is worth checking out. Charging $300 less per year, on average, than the next cheapest large insurer (State Farm), Geico ranks the cheapest among the four companies in NerdWallet’s 2020 analysis. And with more than 15 auto insurance discounts available, Geico offers more ways to save on your car insurance than State Farm, Progressive, or Allstate.

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

  1. Geico: $1,198 per year.
  2. State Farm: $1,511 per year.
  3. Progressive: $1,766 per year.
  4. Allstate: $1,834 per year.

Still, rates can vary significantly based on individual factors such as gender, car make and model, age and location. Even though Allstate might have the cheapest car insurance quote for a 35-year-old man living in Georgia, Geico may offer a better rate for a 53-year-old woman living in California. The only way to tell what company will fit your needs best is to shop around for 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 National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

But it was not 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: NerdWallet’s Progressive insurance review

Best for customer satisfaction: State Farm

State Farm’s customers report better overall satisfaction than the others, according to J.D. Power and Consumer Reports data. Satisfaction surveys include pricing, claims and customer service questions.

Geico was a close second place; in Consumer Reports surveys, it ranked the same as State Farm.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s State Farm review

Best for coverage options: Allstate

Out of 11 optional coverage needs we looked for — such as gap insurance and accident forgiveness — Allstate offered 10. Progressive followed closely, offering eight.

Here are some differences:

  • Allstate offers both gap insurance and new-car replacement, while Progressive only offers gap insurance. Because the coverage is similar, insurers commonly offer only one or the other, if at all. State Farm and Geico offer neither.
  • Neither Allstate nor Progressive offers mechanical breakdown insurance. Of the big four, only Geico does.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s Allstate insurance review

Best for tech and apps: 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, parking and nearby attractions.
  • A voice-activated resource for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant plus an in-app virtual assistant.

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

» MORE: NerdWallet’s Geico insurance review

Extra features

If you’re looking for a particular feature from your 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 extra charge when you buy a policy. Star ratings come from NerdWallet’s 2020 ranking of the best car insurance companies.

CompanyCoverage optionsTech and apps
Allstate

4.5 NerdWallet rating

  • Accident forgiveness.

  • Gap insurance.

  • New-car replacement.

  • Usage-based insurance.

  • Deductible rewards.

  • Reward for accident avoidance.

  • Sound system coverage.


  • Escape Route uses augmented reality to create a path to safety in the event of a fire.

  • Drivewise safe driving rewards app.

  • Parking locator.

  • Gas price locator.

  • Alexa voice assistance.

Geico

5.0 NerdWallet rating

  • Accident forgiveness.

  • Mechanical breakdown coverage.


  • Nearby attractions locator.

  • Parking locator.

  • Gas locator.

  • Lyft integration in app.

  • Car maintenance alerts.

  • In-app virtual assistant.

  • In-app chat.

  • Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistance.

Progressive

4.5 NerdWallet rating

  • Gap insurance.

  • Accident forgiveness.

  • Usage-based insurance.

  • Deductible rewards.

  • Custom parts coverage.


  • Google Home voice assistance.

State Farm

4.5 NerdWallet rating

  • Usage-based insurance.


  • Drive Safe & Save app to earn discounts for good driving.

  • Steer Clear training app for young drivers.

Options available from all four insurers

These insurers have been in the game a while, so they know which features are no-brainers to offer. In terms of coverage and tech options, Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm all have the following features 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
  • In-app bill pay.
  • 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.

Head-to-head price comparisons of all four companies

After you narrow down your choices to two companies, a closer look at the differences can help you know 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 vs. 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 and usage-based insurance, where an app tracks your driving behaviors in exchange for discounts or other rewards.

Geico has more robust tech and app offerings than Progressive and scores higher for customer satisfaction. The two companies both 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$1,198$1,766
Good driver, poor credit$1,748$3,238
Driver with recent at-fault accident$1,888$2,980
Minimum coverage$478$774

Allstate vs. State Farm

If you’re choosing between Allstate and State Farm, you’ve picked two companies that get fewer complaints to state regulators, relative to their size, than Geico or Progressive.

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 and new-car replacement insurance.

 AllstateState Farm
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$1,834$1,511
Good driver, poor credit$2,907$3,114
Driver with recent at-fault accident$2,904$1,968
Minimum coverage$784$624

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 all four price comparisons below. Both also rank high for customer satisfaction.

Geico has the edge for tech options like virtual assistance and an app function to monitor your car’s maintenance. State Farm may be your choice if you want usage-based insurance, or discounts in exchange for letting the company monitor your driving behaviors, which Geico doesn’t offer.

 GeicoState Farm
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$1,198$1,511
Good driver, poor credit$1,748$3,114
Driver with recent at-fault accident$1,888$1,968
Minimum coverage$478$624

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 several options that Geico doesn’t, including new-car replacement coverage and usage-based insurance.

 AllstateGeico
Average annual car insurance rates
Good driver, good credit$1,834$1,198
Good driver, poor credit$2,907$1,748
Driver with recent at-fault accident$2,904$1,888
Minimum coverage$784$478

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.

Allstate scores higher than Progressive for customer satisfaction, but Progressive has fewer complaints to state insurance regulators. Progressive sometimes beats Allstate on price, but not always. Since they’re often close on price, 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$1,834$1,766
Good driver, poor credit$2,907$3,238
Driver with recent at-fault accident$2,904$2,980
Minimum coverage$784$774

Progressive vs. State Farm

When you’re 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 and has better customer satisfaction scores. Progressive, on the other hand, 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$1,766$1,511
Good driver, poor credit$3,328$3,114
Driver with recent at-fault accident$2,980$1,968
Minimum coverage$774$624

Recap: How the insurers compare

CategoryRankings
Price1. Geico
2. State Farm
3. Progressive
4. Allstate
Complaints1. Progressive
2. Allstate
3. Geico
4. State Farm
Satisfaction1. State Farm
2. Geico
3. Allstate (tie)
3. Progressive (tie)
Coverage options1. Allstate
2. Progressive
3. Geico
4. State Farm
Apps and tech1. Geico
2. Allstate
3. State Farm
4. Progressive

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Methodology

NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women for all ZIP codes in any of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in which the insurer was one of the largest insurance companies (by premiums written). “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and an insurance credit score considered “good” by each insurer; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. 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.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven. In all cases, a paperless discount, e-signature discount and electronic funds transfer discount were automatically applied. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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 and life insurance.

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