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The Best Car Insurance of October 2021

NerdWallet looked at claims processes, transparency, complaints and more to rank the best car insurance companies.
Sept. 27, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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The best car insurance companies give their customers more than just coverage they want at a reasonable price — merely good companies can do that. The best auto insurance companies provide a customer-first experience from quote to claim, including a headache-free way to manage policies and make payments.

The best car insurance companies

Large company size doesn’t necessarily mean a better customer experience. Smaller, local insurers like NJM and Erie also make the cut, while some of the largest companies in the U.S., including Nationwide, aren’t on our list.

The following companies received 4.5 or 5 stars out of 5 in NerdWallet’s analysis of the best auto insurers in the U.S.

CompanyNerdWallet rating
Amica
5.0 NerdWallet rating
NJM
5.0 NerdWallet rating
Shelter
5.0 NerdWallet rating
Texas Farm Bureau Insurance
5.0 NerdWallet rating
Allstate
4.5 NerdWallet rating
American Family
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Auto-Owners
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Chubb
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Erie
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Farmers
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Geico
4.5 NerdWallet rating
The Hanover
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Liberty Mutual
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Progressive
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Safety
4.5 NerdWallet rating
State Farm
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Travelers
4.5 NerdWallet rating
USAA*
4.5 NerdWallet rating
*USAA is available only to active military, veterans and their families.
Note: Not all insurers available in all states.

NerdWallet’s editorial team considered pricing, discounts, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and more to determine the best car insurance companies. Our “ease of use” category includes factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. As we continue to evaluate more insurance providers and receive fresh market data, this list of best auto insurance companies is likely to change.

» MORE: Cheapest car insurance

More on the best car insurance companies

Amica 

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Amica Insurance sells auto insurance in 49 states. In J.D. Power’s 2020 studies, Amica ranked second-highest for overall auto claims satisfaction in 2020.

If you do have to go through the claims process, you may not even see an increase in your rates. Customers who opt for certain upgrades can earn “Advantage Points” for good driving, renewing a policy and referring other drivers. These points can be used to keep your current rate after an accident.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Average.

Pros:

  • High customer satisfaction ratings and low consumer complaints.
  • Many policy perks and discounts.
  • Potential for earning dividends.

Cons:

  • May deny coverage to some people deemed risky by the company.

High marks for customer satisfaction and numerous discounts make Amica a great choice for most drivers.

» MORE: Amica auto insurance review

NJM

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Despite its name, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance isn’t limited to a single state. The company offers auto insurance to drivers in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

NJM ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power 2020 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.

Drivers with comprehensive and collision coverage get free perks, including new car replacement coverage and pet coverage, which pays for vet bills if they are injured in a covered car accident.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Below average.

Pros:

  • Customer satisfaction is historically high.
  • Complaints are low.
  • Possible dividend payments for New Jersey policyholders.

Cons:

  • Not available in all states.
  • No mobile app for managing policy.

NJM is one of a handful of insurers with a five-star rating and has some of the cheapest car insurance rates on average. However, its policies are available only in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

» MORE: NJM auto insurance review

Shelter

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Shelter Insurance sells policies in 15 states — Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, Shelter ranks third among 14 insurers in the Central region.

Shelter’s policies for new vehicles automatically include new car replacement insurance, which will pay for a new car if yours is totaled in its first year with fewer than 15,000 miles on it.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Average.

Pros:

  • Fewer complaints than similarly sized companies.
  • Many discounts available.
  • User-friendly website and mobile app that allow online claims and bill payments.

Cons:

  • Not offered in every state.
  • Some discounts may be not be available depending on where you live.

Shelter’s minimal customer complaints and extensive list of discounts make it a solid option if you live in one of the 15 states where the company offers policies.

» MORE: Shelter insurance review

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance operates in a single state, and buying coverage requires a Farm Bureau membership, which typically costs $35 to $50 a year. That gives you access to some of the cheapest car insurance in Texas.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance was the highest rated auto insurer in Texas.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Average.

Pros:

  • Low auto insurance rates.
  • Among the highest-rated auto insurance companies by J.D. Power.
  • Few consumer complaints.

Cons:

  • Farm Bureau membership requires an annual fee.
  • Can’t get insurance quotes online.
  • Website lacks details about policy options.

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance operates in a single state, and buying coverage requires a Farm Bureau membership, which typically costs $35 to $50 a year. For many drivers — especially young adults — Texas Farm Bureau will be among the cheapest providers, though its rates are about average overall.

» MORE: Texas Farm Bureau Insurance review

Allstate

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Allstate operates in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 studies, Allstate ranked fourth among eight large insurers for customer satisfaction with buying insurance. It ranked No. 8 out of 24 companies and scored about average for customer claims satisfaction in 2020.

Allstate offers discounts for drivers in some states who use the company’s telematics program — a system that tracks how safely you drive. The company also gives you a discount on your deductible if you sign up for the optional deductible rewards program, cutting down on your out-of-pocket expenses when you’re in an accident.

Complaints: Close to the expected number.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for auto insurance.
  • Generous perks, including accident forgiveness, new car replacement and a safe-driving bonus every six months.
  • Offers rideshare insurance in many states.

Cons:

  • Customer satisfaction ratings are below average compared with other companies.

With generous discounts and plenty of coverage options, this auto insurance giant is worth a look.

» MORE: Allstate auto insurance review

American Family

4.5 NerdWallet rating

American Family Insurance operates in 19 states, mainly throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction studies, American Family ranked third among a dozen midsized insurers for satisfaction with the insurance shopping experience and tied for first place for overall satisfaction in the Southwest region. J.D. Power ranked American Family No. 17 out of 24 companies for auto insurance claims satisfaction in 2020.

American Family offers a range of discounts to drivers in some states, including for loyalty, completing a defensive driving course and students away at school. The company also has apps to monitor driving, allowing good drivers to earn discounts.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Fewer customer complaints than expected for a company its size for auto, home and life.
  • Many coverage types offered.
  • Wide range of discounts.

Cons:

  • Not available in all states.

American Family received fewer consumer complaints than expected for a company of its size. But the insurer really shines when it comes to discounts, with savings for insuring multiple vehicles, completing a defensive driving course and having a student away at school.

» MORE: American Family insurance review

Auto-Owners

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Auto-Owners Insurance is available in 26 states.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 studies, Auto-Owners ranked fifth among 12 mid-sized insurers for customer satisfaction with insurance shopping and first for overall satisfaction in the Central region. Auto-Owners ranked No. 3 out of 24 companies for customer claims satisfaction in 2020.

Auto-Owners has an app to track your driving. Good drivers can get a discount for avoiding hard braking and sharp turns, along with other safe behaviors.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Average auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Below average.

Pros:

  • Offers a wide variety of products with the opportunity to bundle.
  • Fewer complaints than other companies for auto and life insurance.

Cons:

  • Available in only 26 states.

People who need several insurance policies may benefit from the convenience and discounts of bundling them with Auto-Owners, which has many coverage options and few customer complaints.

» MORE: Auto-Owners insurance review

Chubb

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Chubb Insurance specializes in high-end coverage for well-to-do families. The company sells policies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Chubb isn’t trying to be the cheapest car insurer — it’s trying to be the car insurer with the white-glove touch. Rental reimbursement comes with a whopping $15,000 limit. Coverage will pay for repairing your car with original manufacturer-made parts, for those cars that need just the right imported piece. You can even get extra-high liability limits, up to $10 million.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Average auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Generous coverage and perks for high-end customers.
  • Cash settlements available for auto policies.
  • Fewer than expected number of complaints for auto insurance.

Cons:

  • Does not focus on providing cheap insurance.

Chubb is best for drivers who value coverage quality over price. The company doesn’t focus on cheap insurance, but rather caters to mostly high-net-worth families, providing generous coverage options and perks that aren’t usually available from other insurers.

» MORE: Chubb insurance review

Erie

4.5 NerdWallet rating

​​Erie Insurance offers auto insurance to buyers in 12 states — Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin — plus Washington, D.C.

Erie ranked second among a dozen midsized auto insurance companies in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, which measures satisfaction with the auto insurance shopping experience.

When you buy Erie car insurance, you can lock in your rates until you change covered drivers, covered cars or your home address. With Erie, rental reimbursement coverage comes standard with comprehensive coverage in most states.

Complaints: More than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Average.

Pros:

  • Many perks and coverage options.
  • Option to lock in your auto insurance rate.

Cons:

  • Not available in most states.

With free perks like accident forgiveness for loyal customers, Erie is popular with consumers. The company even lets you lock in your auto insurance rate, so your premium won’t change unless you make major policy adjustments. It’s a strong choice for insurance, but it operates in only 12 states and Washington, D.C.

» MORE: Erie insurance review

Farmers

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Farmers Insurance ranks seventh on the list of the largest car insurance companies in the U.S.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, Farmers ranked sixth among eight large insurers for customer satisfaction with the insurance shopping experience. J.D. Power rated Farmers No. 10 out of 24 companies for customer satisfaction with its claims process in 2020.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Many coverage options for auto insurance.
  • Fewer complaints than expected, relative to its size.
  • Lots of discounts available.

Cons:

  • Mixed scores for customer satisfaction.

One of the country’s largest insurers, Farmers offers plenty of ways to customize your policies and more discounts than most other insurers.

» MORE: Farmers auto insurance review

Geico

4.5 NerdWallet rating

One of the most popular car insurance companies in the U.S., Geico operates in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction studies, Geico ranked first among large insurers for the insurance shopping experience and first (or tied for first) for overall satisfaction in the North Central, Northwest and Southwest regions.

Geico stacks up the discounts, giving drivers in some states a few bucks off for everything from clean driving records to good grades. Federal employees also get discounts, as do veterans, active military and reservists.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Low complaints and above-average customer satisfaction for auto insurance shopping.
  • Robust website and mobile app.
  • Many discounts available.

Cons:

  • Some coverage types available only through partners.
  • Doesn’t offer gap insurance.
  • Limited network of local agents.

With nationwide availability and a raft of discounts, Geico is a popular and often affordable choice for car insurance. Among the nation’s four largest insurers, Geico stands out as having the cheapest annual rates on average and the smoothest online experience for users.

» MORE: Geico auto insurance review

The Hanover

4.5 NerdWallet rating

If you’re looking for an auto insurance policy with built-in extras, you may want to consider The Hanover. The insurer offers both home and auto insurance in 27 states and Washington, D.C. It received fewer than the expected number of complaints for auto insurance, and has a wide variety of coverage options.

The Hanover offers the usual car insurance coverage, but also has customizable packages with additional perks. These packages come in two tiers and different price points.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: More expensive than average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Complaints are low.
  • Lots of coverage options.
  • Combination (home, auto and umbrella) policies available.

Cons:

  • Not available in all states.
  • Can’t get a quote online.

If you’re looking for an auto insurance policy with built-in extras, you may want to consider The Hanover. The insurer offers highly customizable policies for both home and auto insurance in 19 states.

» MORE: The Hanover auto insurance review

Liberty Mutual

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Liberty Mutual is one of the largest insurers in the nation, with an extensive list of coverages and discounts.

Liberty Mutual ranked fifth out of eight large insurers for customer satisfaction with buying insurance in J.D. Power’s 2020 study. The insurer ranked No. 14 out of 24 companies for customer claims satisfaction in 2020.

Among large insurers, Liberty Mutual offers more discounts than anyone besides American Family. The carrier also provides a unique benefit for teachers, who can receive free auto insurance in certain instances, such as collision and personal property insurance and vandalism loss protection. This benefit is not available in all states.

Complaints: More than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our analysis because it does not provide average rates.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Many types of coverage available.
  • Lots of discounts.
  • Robust digital tools.

Cons:

  • More auto insurance complaints to state regulators than expected for its size.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings are below average.

Liberty Mutual provides robust digital tools on its website and app, and offers more discounts than most other insurers.

» MORE: Liberty Mutual auto insurance review

Progressive

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Progressive Insurance operates in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., so you can get it no matter where you live.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, Progressive ranked seventh out of eight large insurers for customer satisfaction with the insurance shopping experience. J.D. Power rated Progressive No. 21 out of 24 companies for customer satisfaction with its claims process in 2020.

Progressive has different features and options depending on your state. Some of the more interesting additions include pet injury protection, which is included with collision coverage, and a deductible “savings bank,” which knocks your deductible down by $50 each claim-free policy period to a minimum of $0.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Third-largest personal auto insurer in the country.
  • Pet injury protection included if you buy collision coverage.
  • Rideshare coverage anytime you have the app on.

Cons:

  • Below average rating for car insurance shopping customer satisfaction from J.D. Power.

Progressive’s customer satisfaction scores aren’t as high as other companies’, but it offers enough discounts and insurance products to accommodate most people and has few customer complaints.

» MORE: Progressive auto insurance review

Safety

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Safety Insurance is available only in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but its strong customer service makes it worth considering if you live in one of those three states. The company receives fewer consumer complaints to state regulators than expected for an insurer of its size.

You can customize your auto insurance with a “Safety Shield” package that may include full glass coverage, a waiver of your collision deductible, emergency road travel expenses and other extras, depending on where you live.

In Massachusetts, other optional insurance may include accident forgiveness or coverage for a pet riding in the car with you. In all three states, you can also add gap insurance to pay off a loan or lease if your vehicle is totaled.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Gets fewer consumer complaints than expected for a company of its size for auto and home insurance.
  • Offers a variety of upgrade options for auto and home insurance.

Cons:

  • Available in only three states.
  • No online quotes available.

Safety offers cheaper car insurance rates on average than most other companies and gets fewer consumer complaints than expected for a company its size. However, it sells policies in only Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

» MORE: Safety Insurance review

State Farm

4.5 NerdWallet rating

As the largest personal auto insurer in the country, State Farm covers all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 studies, State Farm ranked third among eight large insurers for customer satisfaction with buying insurance and first for overall satisfaction in New York and the mid-Atlantic region. State Farm ranked No. 6 out of 24 companies for customer claims satisfaction in 2020.

State Farm has a safe driving app that you can use on your phone or through OnStar. You can earn a discount by following the rules and driving sensibly.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Numerous discounts offered, including a program for safe driving and another for young drivers.
  • Generous rental car and travel expenses coverage.
  • Customer satisfaction rating for purchasing auto insurance is better than average, according to J.D. Power.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer gap insurance.

With generous coverage and discounts for good driving habits, State Farm is a popular insurer with better customer satisfaction ratings compared to other large competitors.

» MORE: State Farm auto insurance review

Travelers

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Travelers Insurance operates in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 study, Travelers ranked eighth among eight large insurers for customer satisfaction with buying insurance. Travelers ranked No. 19 out of 24 companies for customer claims satisfaction in 2020.

Travelers offers potential discounts in some states for using the company’s telematics program, a system that tracks your driving. Optional plans offer forgiveness for one accident and one minor violation so your rates don’t go up after an incident.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

Pros:

  • Received fewer customer complaints than expected.
  • Lots of coverage options for auto insurance.
  • One of the largest insurance providers in the nation.

Cons:

  • Customer satisfaction ratings are average or lower.
  • Rideshare insurance available only in Illinois and Colorado.

One of the largest auto insurers in the nation, Travelers offers a broad range of coverage options and discounts to help you customize your car insurance policy.

» MORE: Travelers auto insurance review

USAA

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Although USAA sells insurance in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., it’s only available to active military, veterans and their families. For that reason, NerdWallet doesn’t rank USAA alongside other major auto insurance companies. But for customers who qualify, USAA often offers cheap rates.

USAA consistently scores high in J.D. Power studies for insurance shopping, claims and overall customer satisfaction.

USAA offers many discounts, including some specifically for drivers in the military. For instance, you can get a discount for keeping your car in a garage on a military base. You can also get more general discounts in some states for earning good grades and insuring a new car.

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Below average.

Pros:

  • High customer satisfaction ratings for auto insurance.
  • One-stop shop for insurance as well as banking and investing products.
  • Had fewer than the expected number of complaints compared to other companies.

Cons:

  • Available only for active military members, veterans and their families.

Although USAA sells insurance in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., it’s available only to active military, veterans and their families. For that reason, NerdWallet doesn’t rank USAA alongside other major auto insurance companies. But for customers who qualify, USAA often offers cheap rates and scores high in J.D. Power studies for insurance shopping, claims and overall customer satisfaction.

» MORE: USAA auto insurance review

Finding the best car insurance company for you

Pricing and discounts made up a portion of each insurer’s score, but we know that cost is the top factor for many auto insurance shoppers. Since pricing is based on personal factors including your age, location, vehicle, credit history and gender (in most cases), it’s important to shop around for car insurance quotes to find the cheapest option.

You may find that your shopping experience also sheds light on a company’s customer service standards.

To find the top car insurance companies:

  • Visit your state insurance commissioner’s website to find complaints and other information about companies in your area.
  • Ask your agent or a customer service representative questions to make sure you’re getting all the coverage you need — and nothing you don’t want.
  • Consider smaller auto insurance companies, too. Small companies offer rates well below large competitors in many locations.
  • If you’ve had a ticket, DUI or other violation, be sure to shop three and five years after the incident, when surcharges can drop significantly.

Want to see rates? Use the cheap full coverage calculator and compare average rates from the three cheapest car insurance companies where you live.

» MORE: Compare car insurance

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 and discounts. Our “ease of use” category looks at factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. 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.

Auto insurance cost scoring methodology

NerdWallet averaged rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our rates analysis due to a lack of publicly available information.

To assess relative cost, we compared companies' average rates to state averages to determine three cost tiers.

In our analysis, drivers were 35 years old and had no moving violations on record; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. In states where pricing based on credit is allowed, we used “good” credit rates based on credit score approximations, which 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 a 2018 Toyota Camry LE in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

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