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The Best Car Insurance of September 2021

NerdWallet looked at claims processes, transparency, complaints and more to rank the best car insurance companies.
Aug. 27, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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.

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.

 

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.

Amica 

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Average.

ProsCons
High customer satisfaction ratings and low consumer complaints.May deny coverage to some people deemed risky by the company.
Many policy perks and discounts.
Potential for earning dividends.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Below average.

ProsCons
Customer satisfaction is historically high.Not available in all states.
Complaints are low.No mobile app for managing policy.
Possible dividend payments for New Jersey policyholders.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Average.

ProsCons
Fewer complaints than similarly sized companies.Not offered in every state.
Many discounts available.Some discounts may be not be available depending on where you live.
User-friendly website and mobile app that allow online claims and bill payments.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Average.

ProsCons
Low auto insurance rates.Farm Bureau membership requires an annual fee.
Among the highest-rated auto insurance companies by J.D. Power.Can’t get insurance quotes online.
Few consumer complaints.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

Complaints: Close to the expected number.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for auto insurance.Customer satisfaction ratings are below average compared with other companies.
Generous perks, including accident forgiveness, new car replacement and a safe-driving bonus every six months.
Offers rideshare insurance in many states.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Fewer customer complaints than expected for a company its size for auto, home and life.Below average rating for homeowners insurance satisfaction.
Many coverage types offered.Not available in all states.
Wide range of discounts.

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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Average auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Below average.

ProsCons
Offers a wide variety of products with the opportunity to bundle.Only available in 26 states.
Fewer complaints than other companies for auto and life insurance.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Average auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Generous coverage and perks for high-end customers.Does not focus on providing cheap insurance.
Cash settlements available for auto policies.
Fewer than expected number of complaints for auto 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

Complaints: More than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Average.

ProsCons
Low customer complaints for home and life insurance.Not available in most states.
Many perks and coverage options.
Option to lock in your auto insurance rate.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Many coverage options for auto insurance.Mixed scores for customer satisfaction.
Fewer complaints than expected, relative to its size.
Lots of discounts available.

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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Low complaints and above-average customer satisfaction for auto insurance shopping.Some coverage types available only through partners.
Robust website and mobile app.Doesn’t offer gap insurance.
Many discounts available.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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: More expensive than average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Complaints are low.Not available in all states.
Lots of coverage options.Can't get a quote online.
Combination (home, auto and umbrella) policies available.
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

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.

ProsCons
Many types of coverage available.More auto insurance complaints to state regulators than expected for its size.
Lots of discounts.Customer satisfaction ratings are below average.
Robust digital tools.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Third-largest personal auto insurer in the country.Below average rating for car insurance shopping customer satisfaction from J.D. Power.
Pet injury protection included if you buy collision coverage.
Rideshare coverage anytime you have the app on.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Gets fewer consumer complaints than expected for a company of its size for auto and home insurance.Available in only three states.
Offers a variety of upgrade options for auto and home insurance.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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Numerous discounts offered, including two programs — one for safe driving and the other for young drivers.Doesn't offer gap insurance.
Generous rental car and travel expenses coverage.
Customer satisfaction rating for purchasing auto insurance is better than average, according to J.D. Power.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: About average.

Discounts: Great.

Ease of use: Above average.

ProsCons
Received fewer customer complaints than expected.Customer satisfaction ratings are average or lower.
Lots of available coverage options for auto insurance.Rideshare insurance available only in Illinois and Colorado.
One of the largest insurance providers in the nation.
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

Complaints: Fewer than expected.

Auto insurance cost: Cheaper than average.

Discounts: Average.

Ease of use: Below average.

ProsCons
High customer satisfaction ratings for auto insurance.Only available for active military members, veterans and their families.
One-stop shop for insurance as well as banking and investing products.
Had fewer than the expected number of complaints compared to other companies.

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? Navigate to your state below and compare average rates from the three cheapest car insurance companies where you live.

Snapshot: The best car insurance companies

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.

» 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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