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15 Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021


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If you drive in the U.S., then you must carry auto insurance — no ifs, ands, or buts.Uninsured drivers avoid paying auto insurance premiums, of course. That’s a significant expense — $1,517 per year for the average American driver, according to an analysis. But they’re also playing with fire.

The Insurance Information Institute has a handy guide to minimum insurance requirements in all 50 states, from Florida to New York to Hawaii and everywhere in between. Penalties for driving without insurance vary widely by state, but they’re often stiff, per FindLaw. These can include hefty fines — up to $2,000 or more, depending on the state — and reinstatement fees, temporary license or registration suspension (or both), and prison time, even for a first offense.

Best Car Insurance Companies

Fortunately, high-quality auto insurance coverage at affordable rates is not difficult to find, even for those without perfect driving records. To earn a spot on this list of the best car insurance companies for U.S. drivers, auto insurers and their car insurance policies must demonstrate:

  • Adequate financial stability, as measured by leading third-party evaluator AM Best
  • High claims satisfaction ratings per J.D. Power, the gold standard in driver customer satisfaction metrics
  • Aboveboard business practices, as measured by complaints lodged with state insurance commissioners and reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

These listings incorporate subjective data about each insurer’s available policy discounts, claims processes, and customer loyalty perks. They also account for geographical coverage, with insurers doing business in many states favored over those with more limited coverage.

As with any type of insurance, pricing for auto insurance policies can vary widely by issuer and geography.

Pricing is also subject to change based on your coverage levels (limits) for essential coverages like bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage, your deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage (if you’ve chosen these coverage options), and whether you add non-mandatory coverage options or features such as a driving habits tracker.

1. Auto-Owners Insurance

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 4 out of 5 (Better Than Most)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 71
  • Great For: Excellent customer service; local agent relationships

The name says it all. Auto-Owners Insurance has grown into a multifaceted insurance provider with insurance products ranging from homeowners insurance and renters insurance to life insurance and commercial insurance. But it remains devoted to the motorists it was founded to serve and can credibly claim to be among the best auto insurance companies for U.S. drivers right now.

In keeping with its roots, Auto-Owners retains an agency-based business model that’s increasingly rare. You must go through a local agent just to get a car insurance quote, although that’s not as daunting as it sounds.

Auto-Owners’ main website effortlessly funnels quote-seekers to agents in their area, and responses are timely. The inquiries I’ve sent out — to multiple local offices in different parts of the country — have been answered within one business day.

Auto-Owners offers exemplary front-end customer service, a claims experience that’s second to none, and a financially stable organization. It’s no coincidence that Auto-Owners’ auto insurance arm has an unusually low incidence of consumer complaints. You’re less likely to escalate a service complaint to your state insurance commissioner when you’re on a first-name basis with your primary point of contact.

In addition to core services like liability insurance and collision coverage, Auto-Owners has some valuable fringe benefits, including 24/7 tow service anywhere in North America and deductible reduction programs.

These programs may significantly lower your out-of-pocket expenses when you’re involved in an accident with another Auto-Owners policyholder or experience a loss that affects your home and vehicle, such as severe weather.

Auto-Owners is Michigan-based, and its agents are most plentiful in the heartland. Entire swathes of the country, including California and Texas, are outside its network. But if you’re fortunate enough to have an Auto-Owners’ agent between you and the nearest state line, you’re in for an auto insurance treat.

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2. Erie Insurance

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 5 out of 5 (Among the Best)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 293
  • Great For: Excellent customer service; hands-on (yet flexible) local agent relationships

With operational bases in about a dozen states, Erie Insurance has the smallest trade area of any company on this list. But it more than makes up for that with excellent customer service, above-average bundle discounts, and surprisingly competitive auto insurance rates for a company that lives and dies by its agency-centric model.

Erie really shines on the bundle front. Combine your auto policy with life, renters, homeowners, or other policies, and you could snag a premium discount of 30% or more — although that’s by no means guaranteed.

Like Auto-Owners, Erie requires you to get a quote through a local agent. However, you can shop around for agents and don’t have to complete the transaction with your original selection. Erie has an average of 1,000 agents per state served, although their concentration is densest in jurisdictions closest to its western Pennsylvania home base.

In addition to impressive bundle discounts, Erie earns high marks for excellent customer service and relatively low complaint volumes, although the modest coverage area no doubt plays a role there. Should you need to make a claim, you can count on your local agent to keep the process as painless as possible.

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  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 5 out of 5 (Among the Best)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 1,042
  • Great For: Excellent customer service; tons of discounts

Auto insurance was USAA’s original claim to fame. It’s now a diversified consumer financial services company offering everything from cash-back credit cards to flood insurance, but it remains a top choice for discerning drivers who qualify for membership.

Unfortunately, most drivers don’t qualify for USAA membership. Only service members (active, retired, and honorably separated military members) and eligible immediate family members (mainly spouses and children) are eligible. That’s less than 5% of the U.S. population.

Still, USAA auto insurance is a great deal for those lucky enough to qualify for it. It aced the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction rankings, and it earned the highest possible score on Temkin’s (now XM) customer service scale for five years running and online experience scale for four years running.

USAA offers a slew of sign-up and loyalty incentives. According to its own data, customers saved an average of $707 per year on car insurance rates by switching to USAA. That’s not unheard-of in a competitive industry, but it’s better than many competitors.

Policy discounts on USAA’s car insurance coverage include:

  • Length of membership (the longer you’ve been a USAA member, the better)
  • Family discounts (more family members on your membership means bigger savings)
  • Safe driver and defensive driving discounts
  • New vehicle
  • Multipolicy discount (more USAA insurance policies means lower premiums on each)
  • Good student discount (great for high school and college students on family policies, assuming they maintain good grades)

Because I have no ties to the military or foreign service, I’ll never qualify for USAA membership. But I have a close friend who belongs thanks to a foreign service connection, and she can’t stop raving about the company’s above-and-beyond customer service.

If you’re eligible, do yourself a favor and compare USAA’s auto insurance solutions against the competition’s.

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4. Nationwide

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 323
  • Great For: Competitive pricing; loyalty benefits; tons of discounts

Nationwide offers direct and agent-based sales to serve the preferences of its diverse customer base. Although it’s widely available, it boasts a proportionally low share of customer complaints, even if its overall customer satisfaction rating can’t compete with the best of the best.

Where Nationwide really shines is on competitive pricing, broad policy choices, seemingly endless policy discounts, and a vast array of perks cut-rate insurers simply can’t match.

Members of hundreds of organizations, from credit unions and nonprofits to municipal governments and Fortune 500 companies, qualify for partner discounts with Nationwide.

Drivers willing to install a tracking device in their vehicles qualify for an instant 10% car insurance discount and may earn up to 40% off with safe-driving practices through Nationwide’s SafeRide program.

Those willing to shop around quickly and start a new policy within a week of requesting a quote may qualify for even deeper discounts. And Nationwide offers deep bundle discounts for policyholders with multiple Nationwide policies.

Loyal Nationwide customers save even more over time thanks to the company’s accident forgiveness plan. It’s added to policy quotes by default, but you can remove it before purchase for a modest premium discount.

You can also save more with Nationwide’s optional vanishing deductible program, in which policyholders pay a modestly higher premium to reduce their deductible each year.

Nationwide is a top choice for rideshare drivers, thanks to widely available rideshare insurance and a low-cost, short-term solution developed in partnership with Slice Labs.

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5. Travelers Insurance

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 189
  • Great For: Extensive discounts; quality service

Travelers Insurance balances a direct-sales model with an easy online quote generation process and a dense local agent network that caters to multipolicy holders with more complex insurance needs.

The company’s excellent financial rating complements a solid, if unspectacular, satisfaction rating. It also has a proportionally modest number of consumer complaints.

While Travelers isn’t known for ultra-competitive car insurance rates, its discount menu is much bigger than average. In addition to standard discounts like multipolicy and multicar, Travelers cuts a break to prospects whose current policies haven’t expired in a bid to poach customers from the competition.

It also offers affinity (partner) discounts to members or employees of dozens of organizations. For drivers willing to give up some privacy on the road, Travelers’ IntelliDrive technology is good for premium discounts of up to 20%.

Travelers’ rideshare coverage is available only in Colorado and Illinois, so it isn’t suitable for rideshare drivers outside those states.

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6. American Family Insurance

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 114
  • Great For: Agent-centric model; above-and-beyond customer service

American Family Insurance is an agent-centric insurer that simply can’t — and, in my experience, doesn’t really try to — compete on price. What it can do, thanks to a broadly distributed network of experienced agents, is deliver exceptional claims service that discounters can’t match.

Unlike some competitors’ agents, American Family agents expect to serve as customers’ advocates at all times, not just when customers call up demanding it.

That’s a big help for families with complex insurance needs that extend far beyond auto insurance, who might typically rely on the advice of a busy financial advisor or do whatever research they can on their own.

During the claims process, policyholders can count on their agents to recommend trusted repair shops that prioritize American Family-insured repairs and guarantee their work for life. That’s a huge time- and stress-saver, as anyone who’s filed a collision or comprehensive coverage claim can attest.

And American Family Insurance has a network of trusted roadside service providers on call 24/7, ready to support policyholders at no out-of-pocket cost.

American Family Insurance isn’t entirely dependent on humans, of course. With policy documents, account management tools, and initial claim reporting, the AmFam app takes agents out of the equation under normal circumstances.

IntelliDrive, American Family’s usage-based insurance solution, may reduce car insurance rates once users establish a predictable pattern of safe driving.

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7. Amica

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 5 out of 5 (Among the Best)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 103
  • Great For: Excellent claim service; deep discounts

Amica is a smaller insurer with a big heart — and an unusually wide array of policy discounts. Policyholders who bundle home and auto save up to 15%. Multiple cars are good for discounts of up to 25%. And young policyholders whose parents have been with Amica for five consecutive years qualify for an unspecified variable discount.

If you’re among the tens of millions of Americans living in a multicar household, and Amica operates in your state, this provider should automatically make the cut.

Amica offers another unusual, although not unheard-of, solution that may reduce your long-term insurance costs: dividend policies, which pay back up to 20% of premiums over time.

Since you’ll pay more upfront and will be set back when you file a claim, you should only explore a dividend policy if you’re confident you can avoid Amica’s claims department. If you can, an Amica dividend policy could magnify the company’s already competitive pricing.

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8. Liberty Mutual

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 2 out of 5 (The Rest)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 557
  • Great For: Deep policy discounts, including safe-driving

Liberty Mutual emphasizes the direct sales arm of its business. In my dealings with the company over the years, I’ve never worked with a local insurance agent and never really felt the need to — the national service team was always adequate.

“Adequate” seems to describe many Liberty Mutual policyholders’ feelings about the company, given the mediocre overall satisfaction rating and complaint patterns. Because Liberty operates in so many jurisdictions, the seemingly high complaint figure is actually decent in comparison to other insurance giants that rank lower on this list.

Liberty Mutual really shines on cost, boasting some of the best rates around. Its surprisingly low auto insurance quotes come thanks to a broad discount menu that includes up to 30% off for safe driving tracked by the company’s RightTrack technology.

All policies come standard with fixed rates for 12 months, even when you choose a monthly payment option. They also come with 24/7 roadside assistance and lifetime guarantees on all work performed through authorized repair shops.

Popular Liberty Mutual add-ons like Accident Forgiveness and Better Car Replacement (providing a new car worth more than the totaled one it replaces) sweeten the deal and may not cost as much to add as you think. They’re a reminder that cheap car insurance doesn’t have to be skimpy.

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9. The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 240
  • Great For: AARP members and their families

The Hartford is the exclusive car insurance partner of AARP, giving its 40 million-odd members access to competitively priced policies tailored to their needs.

If you’re not an AARP member or don’t qualify for membership due to age — you must be at least 50 years old to join — then you may not qualify for auto insurance through The Hartford. That means The Hartford’s appeal isn’t as broad as national competitors like Liberty Mutual.

But it’s worth remembering that, due to membership or geographical restrictions, USAA and Erie Insurance are even more challenging to qualify for.

For those who do qualify, The Hartford’s auto insurance offers a slew of discounts and perks that cautious older drivers are sure to love. RecoverCare is particularly welcome. It reimburses home-related expenses such as landscaping and pet care, as well as commuting costs, following an injury-producing accident.

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10. Esurance

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 215
  • Great For: DIYers; very competitive pricing

For Esurance, the name says it all. It’s associated with the full-service insurer Allstate, but it hews to a digital-first model that forgoes human agents and appeals to younger drivers who value low-cost coverage over white-glove treatment.

Esurance’s technology-driven solutions begin with Coverage Counselor, a guided approach to selecting just the right amount of coverage. Most insurers offer a variation on this theme, but Esurance’s is unusually thoughtful.

Once you’re signed up, enroll in the DriveSense driving-tracking program, powered by a smartphone app, to save up to $100 off your premium. That’s an impressive-sounding discount, but potentially not as deep as the 30% to 40% breaks offered by some competitors.

Esurance’s claims process is also remarkably hands-off. You’ll need to speak with a human claims rep at some point, but most of the legwork goes through your app, and you’ll probably spend less time on the phone than you would with an agency-centric insurer.

Judging by Esurance’s modest record of customer complaints, claimants are generally happy with the process.

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11. Allstate

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 2,105
  • Great For: Broad coverage; extensive discounts; name recognition

Allstate’s reputation precedes it. The company’s high name recognition is the product of decades of growth and untold millions of marketing dollars — which, thanks to the company’s scale, apparently hasn’t done much to swell its premiums.

Allstate isn’t always the lowest-cost provider, but it’s usually in the mix in a way most other agency-centric insurers aren’t.

To get a customized quote, you’ll need to contact a local agent after completing Allstate’s online intake process. During business hours, this should be a breeze, and you can expect to have your quote on the same day.

That quote will almost certainly include a ton of semi-personalized discounts and add-on options that could further reduce your policy premiums and out-of-pocket claim costs.

Allstate’s Drivewise app provides customized safe-driving recommendations while determining whether your driving habits qualify you for up to 15% cash back. If they do, you’ll get that cash back after your first 50 trips and every six months after that.

Allstate also offers some bespoke coverages, including cost-competitive insurance for teen drivers and reasonable gap insurance for rideshare drivers. Check with your agent to learn what’s available in your area.

Allstate does have a hefty complaint file, but that’s partly due to its size. When you have millions of customers, you won’t satisfy everyone.

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12. State Farm

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 2,943
  • Great For: Broad coverage; lots of discounts; name recognition

State Farm is another seemingly ubiquitous auto insurer known for competitive pricing and extensive discount opportunities.

Like other big names, its seemingly high share of consumer complaints doesn’t necessarily indicate uniformly poor service. State Farm has millions of claim-filing customers, not all of whom are going to be 100% satisfied with the service. However, a good J.D. Power satisfaction rating suggests that most are.

Part of State Farm’s appeal is its dual approach. While it’s easy to get an accurate quote online within minutes, it doesn’t take much longer to reach out to any of its 18,000-plus local agents to put together a more customized package.

Since State Farm has so many discount opportunities, including two safe-driving programs that may substantially reduce premiums for accident-free drivers, you may want to discuss your options with an agent.

Like some other big names, State Farm offers competitively priced teen driver and rideshare driver insurance. And its excellent financial stability rating all but guarantees it’ll be around to pay claims when you expect.

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13. Progressive

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 2,274
  • Great For: Competitive pricing; great loyalty discounts; name recognition

Progressive is another highly recognizable insurer with tons of discount opportunities and more than its fair share of add-ons. Like some of its fellow national providers, its high incidence of complaints is partly the result of its size. J.D. Power’s overall satisfaction rating finds most customers satisfied with, if not overjoyed by, Progressive’s service.

Progressive has a smooth, insightful onboarding process that includes transparent quote comparisons. You can see at a glance how your proposed policy’s premium stacks up against comparable coverage from other top insurers.

And its Name Your Price tool tailors coverage to your preset budget. The path of least resistance is to begin and complete your quote online, but you can chat with an agent or sales rep if you need more help.

For policyholders, Progressive boasts an impressive safe-driving discount for Snapshot program participants, who save an average of $145 according to the company. The deepest discounts are reserved for drivers whose Snapshot participation demonstrates low-mileage, low-energy, and low-nighttime driving.

One Progressive discount that doesn’t live up to its potential is the bundle — the standard discount for bundling home and auto is 5%, which is less than most competitors’.

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14. Geico

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: 3 out of 5 (About Average)
  • Auto Insurance Complaints: 2,817
  • Great For: Competitive pricing; broad coverage; name recognition

Geico is yet another household name with impeccable financials and extremely competitive pricing. Despite higher-than-average customer complaints in raw numbers, most policyholders are satisfied with Geico’s service.

That said, Geico is not for those seeking white-glove treatment. From onboarding to claims processing, this company is all about efficiency, and that’s reflected in its pricing.

Source quotes from every company on this list, and Geico’s offer is almost certain to be in the bottom half price-wise. If car insurance premium pricing is your top concern, you should find Geico’s value compelling.

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15. AAA Auto Insurance

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: Varies by location
  • J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating: Varies by location
  • Great For: Great discounts for AAA members; attractive bundle options

AAA Auto Insurance works a bit differently from the other car insurance options on this list. For one thing, it’s highly regionalized — offered through a variety of different companies doing business in various parts of the country. The AAA insurance products and services available to you depend on where you live and which regional AAA club you belong to.

Is it worth joining AAA to take advantage of its auto insurance options?

If you qualify for any of AAA Auto Insurance’s potentially lucrative discounts — like those for hybrid and alternative vehicles, good students, new-car drivers, and drivers who’ve successfully completed defensive driving courses — the answer could well be yes.

And AAA offers an unusually wide range of bundle discount options for policyholders who purchase home, life, and/or specialty insurance through AAA.

There’s only one way to find out if AAA Auto Insurance is right for you: Visit your home club’s insurance page to learn more, then reach out to a friendly AAA Auto Insurance agent to find the policy or policies that fit your needs and lifestyle.

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Final Word

Mandatory coverage minimums aside, auto insurance is not a luxury the average driver can safely do without. Even a minor fender bender is liable to produce thousands of dollars in property damage, and any accident that results in an overnight hospital stay is sure to cost far more.

When you forgo auto insurance, you assume the risk of a potentially ruinous financial obligation.

Affordable, quality auto insurance coverage isn’t difficult to come by. But it’s nevertheless important to choose an insurer whose coverages, claims process, and overall business model fits your lifestyle.

In the aftermath of a serious auto accident, the last thing you need is grief from an insurer that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.


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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.