Finding the best auto insurance for your needs can be difficult. Whether you’re looking for the cheapest premiums, the best customer service or just great basic coverage, NerdWallet has you covered.
A basic auto insurance policy covers the damage and loss of personal property as the result of a traffic collision, as well as coverage for injuries incurred to all parties involved. Proof of insurance is required in most of the U.S. Even if it’s not required where you live, insurance is a good idea for anyone intending to drive regularly.
Generally, auto insurance offers coverage for injury, property damage, medical payments, personal injury, comprehensive physical damage and collision, with provisions to cover expenses if the accident happens to be the fault of an uninsured motorist. Policies can be customized to add features like roadside assistance, towing services and rental car compensation. Premiums usually become cheaper over time, especially if you don’t get into any accidents, since the insurance provider considers you to be a less risky driver.
Metromile: Best for low mileage drivers
Metromile, which launched in 2011, offers pay-per-mile car insurance designed for drivers who log fewer than 10,000 miles a year. The company sells coverage in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Metromile car insurance prices include two parts: a level base rate, plus a per-mile rate, which is typically a few cents per mile. To track mileage, the company provides a device called the Metromile Pulse, which plugs into a port that’s usually located below the dashboard. The device transmits data back to the insurer. Metromile’s customers save $500 a year on average compared with standard insurance rates, the company says.
Allstate: Best for customer satisfaction
Allstate remains one of the most popular insurance companies in the country. Its well-known accident forgiveness program and ratings by customers have continually been better in recent years. Combining multiple policies with the company can also save you up to 30%. Some customers have reported that their premiums were raised without warning or explanation.
Esurance: Best for a variety of discounts
Esurance is owned by Allstate and specializes in vehicle insurance. It was instrumental in writing new online policies, was one of the first major companies to offer unique discounts to the LGBT community and is also known for its strong emphasis on environmentally sound business practices. The company provides excellent prices and quality customer support. Many customers, however, have reported hidden fees, such as increases in premiums when the policy is renewed. In addition, some drivers have reported significant price increases from minor incidents.
USAA: Best for military members
United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is an insurance company primarily focused on covering military members and their families. The company returns a portion of its profits back to its members every year, has no sudden rate hikes, has an easy-to-use claims service and has legendary customer service. Its average customer, it says, saves $426 a year when switching to USAA. The company doesn’t have local agents and coverage is only available to those in the military and their families.
AARP | The Hartford: Best for drivers over 50
The Hartford, which provides AARP plans, is one of the largest and oldest insurance companies in the country. The company has been awarded for its customer service, and offering a large variety of discounts and reasonable premium rates. Another bonus is a car replacement feature that will replace your new car in the event of a total loss within the first 15 months or 15,000 miles. Customers have reported claims taking an excessive amount of time and increases to their premiums without explanation.
21st Century: Best for cheap premiums
21st Century Insurance, a Farmers Insurance company, is frequently praised for having one of the lowest auto insurance rates among insurance providers, offering many discounts as well as having award-winning customer service. Some customers have claimed they did not receive adequate compensation for their cars after being involved in an accident, whereas others have reported unexpected increases to their premiums without notice or proper reasoning. Overall 21st Century is a good choice for your auto insurance if you are looking for the cheapest rate, but that low cost may come at the expense of the amount and quality of coverage that is provided to you.
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