The 5 Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020
We searched high and low for the best car insurance companies, rating them based on price, add-on options, available discounts, financial rating, car insurance reviews and coverage.
We summarize our top 5 car insurance companies here, and you can read our more detailed car insurance reviews if you’d like more information.
Here are our top picks for best car insurance companies:
#1 USAA Car Insurance
USAA was founded in 1922 and is the fifth largest auto insurer with 11.9 million members. It differentiates from other insurance companies by exclusively covering active and former military members and their families. Additional highlights include:
- Bundle discount: Get up to 10 percent off your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance premium when you add auto insurance.
- Competitive pricing that is lower than most competitors (particularly for young drivers)
- Flexible payment plans
#2 Allstate Car Insurance
Allstate Insurance is one of the largest insurance providers in the U.S. and serves over 16 million American households. Many recognize the company by its catchy slogan, “Are you in good hands?” Highlights include:
- Accident forgiveness add-on package prevents your premiums from going up as a result of an accident.
- Competitive pricing.
- Easy-to-use mobile app rewards you for good driving and enables you to quickly film claims.
#3 Liberty Mutual Car Insurance
Liberty Mutual Insurance Group is a diversified insurance provider based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1912, it provides several types of insurance, including auto insurance. Highlights include:
- Minimum coverage policies are cheaper than most competitors.
- Optional accident forgiveness add-on package prevents your premiums from going up as a result of an accident.
- Teachers’ Auto Insurance package offers free add-on benefits for teachers.
#4 Esurance Car Insurance
Esurance is the third largest auto insurance provider in the U.S., serving 17 million people. We’ve rated this company as having the best overall insurance options except for families with teen drivers. Highlights include:
- Competitive pricing
- Large and small accident forgiveness
- Discounts such as safe driver, sign online, multi-car, good student and more
#5 Metromile Car Insurance
Metromile is a relatively new auto insurance company founded in California in 2011. Geared towards city-dwellers and infrequent drivers, Metromile offers pay-per-mile car insurance. Highlights include:
- 24/7 customer service
- Helpful parking and car health reminders
- Monthly rates starting at $29
Best For Young Adults (Excluding Teen Drivers): Esurance
From car insurance to homeowners, motorcycle, and renters coverage, Esurance will be there for you from quote to claim with lightning-fast claims and proven financial strength.
Esurance offers competitive prices and a plethora of discount options. There’s pretty much one discount option available for any driver. Most notable are Esurance’s small and large accident forgiveness programs. Small accident coverage means that if you are involved in a small accident such as a fender bender and file a claim of less than $500, your premiums will not increase. Its large accident forgiveness programs mean that if you have Esurance coverage for at least five years and remain accident-free for three yours, your premium will not increase should you become involved in an accident.
While Esurancedoes offer teen driver discounts and other good student discounts, its rates are typically more expensive for young drivers than competitors. Thus, while Esurance is our top choice for Best All Around Car Insurance, it is only so for those without young teenage drivers. if you have teen drivers, we recommend Allstate.
Esurance consistently gets great car insurance reviews, and they’re a top pick for car insurance.
- 24/7 customer service: With Esurance, you’ll never have to wait anxiously about when you can contact your insurance company.
- Accident forgiveness: For good drivers who still get into an accident, this policy can be helpful.
- Good discounts: Esurance offers discounts for almost every driver.
- High rates for young drivers: Parents of teens may want to choose another option because of the expensive teen driver rates.
- Not available in all states: Esurance might be a great option, but if it’s not available where you are, you can’t take advantage of their offerings.
Best All-Around for Young Drivers and Their Families: Allstate
“Are you in good hands?” You may recognize Allstate’s catchy slogan and, if you have Allstate, you really are in good hands because this is one of our top 5 car insurance companies. Allstate is our top choice for Best All-Around Car Insurance for Young Drivers and Their Families. This includes teenage drivers, college students and drivers under the age of 26. Allstate serves more than 16 million American drivers and is one of the largest car insurance companies in the U.S.
Allstate offers competitive pricing and optional add-on packages such as accident forgiveness. This means that your premiums won’t go up if you are involved in an accident — no matter who was at fault! Allstate also has an easy-to-use app, which means if you are involved in an accident, you can file a claims form in second.
Did you know that teenage drivers and other young or new drivers can cost up to 80 percent more to insure adults and seasoned drivers? As such, adding a teen, college student, or another new driver to your policy can be quite a financial undertaking.
Allstate offers a variety of discounts for young drivers, and its good student insurance rates are more affordable than other car insurance companies on our list. Thus, if you want to add your young driver to your car insurance, Allstate is our top choice for Best All-Around Car Insurance for Young Driver and Their Families. Allstate gets great car insurance reviews, and we’re happy to include them in our top 5 car insurance list.
- Discounts for young drivers: Car insurance can be expensive for younger drivers, so discounts in this category can make a big difference to families.
- Mobile app: The mobile app makes it easy to submit claims, update pictures and view the status of your claim.
- Ride-share options: If you drive for a company like Uber or Lyft, you can get additional coverage to protect you while you’re working.
- No discount for electric vehicles: You may be helping to save the environment, but you won’t get helpful savings on your car insurance.
- No gap insurance: Allstate does not offer insurance to cover the difference between an insurance payout and your car loan.
Best for Military Families: USAA
USAA is our favorite car insurance company as it offers some of the best pricing around. However, it’s only available for active and former military members and their families. As such, we couldn’t vote it “Best All Around Car Insurance,” but it does make our list as the Best Car Insurance For Military Families. If you can qualify, we highly recommend this one out of our top 5 car insurance options.
Even though it has a niche segment, USAA is the fifth largest auto insurer and has nearly 12 million members. USAA offers competitive pricing for everyone, including young drivers. In fact, its premiums for young drivers were some of the lowest we found. USAA also offers a variety of discounts including bundling (USAA also offers homeowners and renters insurance, so if you purchase more than one, you can get a discount of 10 percent). It offers flexible payment plans (you can pay with a credit card as well), as well as accident forgiveness. If you remain accident-free for five years, USAA will add accident forgiveness to your plan for free!
USAA is available for active military members, former military members, cadets and midshipmen, and family of military, including widows and widowers, divorced spouses and children of USAA members. USAA gets excellent car insurance reviews, which is another thing that puts it in our top 5 car insurance options.
- Bundle discount: If you get multiple types of coverage through USAA, you can get great discounts on your insurance.
- Easy claims process: USAA makes filing claims easy, so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re already dealing with the aftermath of an accident.
- Flexible payment plans: You can choose out of their options to find something that works best for you.
- Military only: If you’re not in the military or family with someone in the military, you won’t be able to choose USAA.
Best All in One Insurance Provider (and Best for Teachers): Liberty Mutual Insurance
Liberty Mutual Insurance Group is a multi-disciplinary insurance provider that has been around for over 100 years. Liberty offers car insurance, property insurance, life insurance and pet insurance. It also provides insurance for identity theft, small business and more. Given the variety of coverage, Liberty Insurance is in our top 5 car insurance picks and our choice for “Best All in One Insurance Provider.” If you are looking for one company where you can enroll for car insurance, life insurance, property insurance and more, you can’t beat Liberty Insurance.
Liberty offers discounts for those with clean driving records, hybrid and electric cars and good grades (if you are a student). The company also offers add-ons such as accident forgiveness and lifetime repair guarantee. One of its key differentiators is its Teacher’s Auto Insurance Policy. Liberty offers educators protection against vandalism, personal property damage, and collision coverage if you are involved in an accident while driving for school-related business. Liberty frequently gets top car insurance reviews.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Pros
- Competitive pricing: If cost is a major factor for your opinion of best car insurance, know that Liberty often has some of the best deals on the market.
- Helpful app: The app gives you all your insurance information right at your fingertips.
- Teacher discounts: Teachers provide a valuable service to our community, so it’s nice that Liberty gives them special discounts and coverage for teacher-specific needs.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Cons
- Multi-car priority: Liberty targets multi-car households. If you only have one car, the plans may be a little more expensive than competitors’ plans.
- Limited add-ons: Liberty doesn’t offer as many optional coverage items as other companies.
Best for Infrequent Drivers: MetroMile
MetroMile is the next of our top 5 car insurance picks. This is a new and unique type of car insurance that caters to people who live in big cities and take public transportation more often than they drive. MetroMile offers pay-per-mile car insurance and is ideal for those who drive less than 10,000 miles per year. Thus, it’s our top choice for “Best Car Insurance for Infrequent Drivers.”
MetroMile believes that the more you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. Thus, it rewards you for not driving. Rates start at just $29/month, making the cheapest car insurance option around for those who qualify. However, at present, MetroMile is only available in eight states (Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington), as some states actually prohibit pay-per-mile insurance. If you live in San Francisco and prefer taking BART to driving the 101, MetroMile may be a good choice for you, but if you live in NYC, unfortunately, it’s not yet an option. Even though this is a new company, the car insurance reviews for MetroMile have generally been positive and excited about what this company has to offer.
- Inexpensive plans with less driving: If you prefer other types of transportation to driving but still need car insurance, you won’t have to pay as much as you would with other companies.
- Multi-car discounts: If you have more than one car in your household, you can get a discount.
- Inconsistent premiums: Because you are chased based on how much you drive, it can be hard to plan for exactly how much your car insurance will cost each month.
- Limited availability: You can only use MetroMile if you live in one of the few states where this insurance is available.
- Slow claims process: You can’t file claims from the app, and several car insurance reviews for MetroMile say that claims take longer than other companies to process.
What Is Car Insurance?
Car insurance is what protects your car (and you) if you are involved in a collision, but it isn’t a “one and done” deal. There multiple types of car insurance designed to keep you, your car and your passengers protected should an accident occur.
Liability insurance, collision insurance, and comprehensive insurance are the three most popular types of car insurance, but there are also about a dozen more add-ons you can invest in to further protect you and your car. Because different companies offer different types of coverage, you’ll need to do your own research to find what you hope to have covered.
Why Do You Need Car Insurance?
Let’s talk about a few car insurance basics: If you’ve ever wondered why you need car insurance, the answer is two-fold. Not only is it legally required in pretty much every state (Virginia and New Hampshire are the only two states that do not require it), but it’s smart. Having car insurance is smart because can it save you a lot of money and stress if you hit someone, injuring them and damaging their vehicle and yours. It can also save you a lot of money and stress if someone else hits you, whether they are insured or not.
Did you know that there are approximately 6 million car accidents in the U.S. a year? That’s about 16,000 a day! Cars are expensive, and fixing them is just as expensive. Additionally, in the U.S. there are over 37,000 fatalities and 2.4 million injuries each year due to car accidents. In the U.S., the average cost of an accident is $820 per person, but it can be much higher depending on the extent of the damage, as well as depending on whether or not you have car insurance.
Car insurance will protect you from the stress and financial problems that can come from accidents.
Car Insurance Case Study: Medical Coverage
Evan Walker, a lawyer who owns his own practice in California, shared with Supermoney how car insurance saved a family’s finances after their 9-year old son was hit by a car. After being struck by a car, the 9-year old boy spent a week in the hospital. The bill? $100,000.
While the driver of the car had insurance, his insurance company and the police blamed the boy for running out into the street and said he was 50% at fault in the accident. Thankfully, Evans was able to intervene by looking at the policy limits.
In the end, Evans did not have to file a lawsuit and was able to get all of the boy’s medical bills paid. Without car insurance, chances are the family would have been stuck with the $100,000 in medical bills. Now that’s a positive car insurance review.
What Does Car Insurance Cover?
There are many different types of car insurance, so make sure you do your research to see what the best option is for you and your family.
As we mentioned before, the three primary types of car insurance coverage are collision insurance, liability insurance and comprehensive insurance. This is what they cover, and how they differentiate:
Liability insurance is the most common type of car insurance. It protects other people and their property from the damage you may unintentionally cause should you hit them or their vehicle with your car. This form of car insurance is mandatory in most states. It covers both property damage and medical payments. Common claims for liability insurance include:
- Bodily injury: If you are at-fault in an accident that injures another person, bodily injury liability coverage will help pay for the injured person’s medical costs.
- Property damage: If you are at-fault in an accident that damages someone’s property, such as their car, property damage liability coverage will help cover the cost of repairs or even car eplacement.
Collision insurance is the second most common type of car insurance. Collision insurance protects your car regardless of who was at fault in an accident. It also covers your car should someone hit you in a hit and run accident. Finally, collision insurance covers your car should you hit a stationary object. Common claims for comprehensive insurance include:
- Collision with another vehicle
- Collision with a stationary object, such as a mailbox
- Vehicle rolling over
Comprehensive insurance is the third most common type of car insurance. It protects your car if it’s damaged in an event besides a collision with another vehicle. It covers damage from fire, vandalism, hail or falling objects. Comprehensive insurance also protects your car should damage occur when no one is driving it, such as when it’s parked in your driveway or a parking lot. Comprehensive insurance is not legally required, but if you are leasing or financing a car, the lender will likely require it. Common claims for comprehensive insurance include:
- Theft: You’ll have protection if your vehicle is stolen.
- Vandalism: Coverage would include incidents like someone keying your car, breaking your windows or intentionally causing destruction in another way.
- Natural disasters: If your car is damaged in a hurricane, tornado or flood, your car will be covered.
- Falling objects: If a tree branch falls and damages your car, you’ll be able to get help from your insurance.
- Fire: Insurance would cover your car if it is damaged or destroyed in a house fire, or fire due to any other reason
- Damage caused by animals: If you live in the mountains or like to go camping and a bear or other large animal causes damage, your insurance provider will help repair the damage.
In addition to the above, many car insurance providers provide add-ons, including medical payments coverage (personal injury protection), uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, rental car reimbursement and much more.
When Should You Purchase Car Insurance?
If you are purchasing your first car, you’ll need to get car insurance before you drive the car off the lot. If you already have car insurance and are simply buying a new car, we recommend contacting your car insurance provider before purchasing your car and adding it to your policy.
While some car insurance providers give you between 7 – 30 days to add your new car to your insurance policy, this isn’t always the case. We recommend checking in advance with your preferred company to see what their policy is. If you’re not sure what the best car insurance company is for your needs yet, get quotes from your top 5 car insurance companies and read reviews before you buy the car. That way, you’ll have your car protected from the beginning.
What Should You Look at When Selecting a Car Insurance Provider?
Not all car insurance companies are equal. What’s best for your brother may not be the best car insurance company for you. When you are researching a car insurance company, there are a few things you should keep in mind and look to find out about in car insurance reviews to help you with your decision:
When selecting a car insurance provider, there are a lot of factors to consider. Price is obviously a major contender, but it varies depending on factors.
Here are some of the major factors that influence car insurance prices:
- Age: Age is one of the biggest factors, as most car insurance companies charge higher rates for teen drivers. We recommend getting quotes from several different insurance providers to determine which is right for you. You can also look at car insurance reviews to make sure your top 5 car insurance choices offer good rates for the age range you want to cover.
- Annual mileage: The more you drive, the higher your car insurance will be. This makes sense because the more time you spend in the car, the more likely it is that you will get in an accident.
- Driving history: When you apply for car insurance, the companies will ask you how old you were when you got your license, whether or not you have been involved in an accident in the last 3-5 years and if you have received any tickets.
- Gaps in insurance coverage: If you are applying for car insurance after not having it for a period of time, your rates may be higher.
- Individual state laws: Check your state requirements to see if you need liability coverage or additional coverage. Your state requirements may require you to buy more types of coverage, which will cost more money.
- Location: Your location will affect the price of your insurance.
- Make and model of your car: The type of car you drive will affect your car insurance rates. If you drive a reliable, safe car with airbags, for instance, your insurance rates will be cheaper than if you drive a luxury convertible.
Many car insurance companies provide discounts for good driving, policy bundling, smart students, paperless statements and more. Once you have an idea of the base rate, research what discounts each policy provides to see if you can lower your monthly premium. This can be done online by going to your top 5 car insurance providers’ websites, reading car insurance reviews or by talking to a representative.
Financial security is important for an insurance company, as it indicates how well a company can pay claims. You’ll want to look at what rate companies such as S&P, A.M. Best and Moody’s give each insurance provider. The best car insurance companies will have A and higher ratings.
How Should You Get and Compare Quotes?
Getting car insurance quotes is simple, and we recommending soliciting quotes from at least three different companies before selecting one. If you get a list of your top 3 or top 5 car insurance options, you’ll be able to narrow down what the best choice is for you. Most car insurance companies enable you to get a quote and sign up for insurance online.
To get a car insurance quote, simply visit the provider’s website and answer a few questions. You’ll likely be asked:
- Approximately how many miles you drive each year
- If you have been involved in an accident in the last 3-5 years
- If you received a ticket in the last 3-5 years
- What type of car needs insurance
- Who needs coverage (just you or multiple people)
- Your date of birth
- Zip code
Once you have provided answers to the above (as well as a few more simple questions), you will either receive your quote online or via email. Once you get your quotes, you can narrow down your list from your top 5 car insurance options to just one or two. If you need help deciding after you get your quote, read car insurance reviews to find out what other people think of the providers you’re interested in.
How Do You Use Car Insurance?
Hopefully, you’ll never have to use car insurance. But if you do, you’ll be glad you invested in it. If you are involved in an accident with another driver or vehicle, you should always file an insurance claim, no matter how minor the accident may seem. If you don’t, it could come back to haunt you.
Liability insurance protects you from lawsuits. Settling an accident with the other driver yourself (ie, rather than turning it over to the insurance company) is risky. What happens if you pay to fix someone’s car, but then they come back later asking for more? Or even claiming injury? If you hadn’t filed a claim, they may be able to go after you financially rather than the insurance company.
The only time it’s ok to not file a claim is if you hit a stationary object that you own and cause minimal damage. If you have collision insurance and the damage is less than your deductible, there wouldn’t be a claims payout anyway, so it’s not worth your time attempting to claim it.
Now that you know the reasons to file a claim, let’s discuss the “how to.” Each car insurance company varies slightly in how they handle claims.
How to File a Claim With Allstate
One of the reasons we love Allstate is because of its easy claims process. The company enables you to file your claims via the app, which is very straightforward and simple.
File Your Claim:
If you are involved in an accident, the first thing you should do when you get home is to file a claim. You can do so via the app, or by calling 1-800-ALLSTATE if you would prefer speaking to a person. Once you file a claim, you will receive a claims number so you can track your claim.
Receive a Visit From a Professional:
Once you have filed a claim, Allstate will send a professional to investigate the damages to your vehicle. They will look at how badly your car is damaged and provide an estimate of the cost of repairs.
If your car is utterly wrecked and Allstate determines it will cost more to repair your car than its cash value, it is considered a “total loss vehicle.” In this case, Allstate will pay you up to the actual cash value of your care, minus the deductible.
Choose How You’ll Get the Payment:
Once the investigator has given you an estimate of the cost of repairs, a claims adjustor will contact you to discuss the details and payment options. You will have a few options for how to pay the cost of repairs:
- Allstate pays the repair shop directly
- Allstate transfers the funds to you using Fast Mobile e-Payment
- You receive a check at the time of inspection
- A check will be mailed to you after the estimate has been submitted and approved
- If you are leasing your car or have an auto loan, Allstate can pay the lien holder or finance company directly
- Payment can be made jointly payable to the repair facility and you
Once the estimate has been approved and you have chosen your preferred method of payment, the repairs can begin.
How to File a Claim With USAA
USAA’s app makes filing claims (and managing your account) simple. If you have USAA, we highly recommend you download it.
Once you have returned home following an accident, you will need to file a claim. This can be done via USAA’s app, on their website or via phone. Once USAA receives your claim, it will be automatically assigned to a claims representative who will keep you informed throughout the process.
Review Your Policy Coverage:
Once you have filed your claim, you’ll want to know what your policy covers. You can review this on your own, or wait for a claims representative to contact you. Once he or she does, they will have your policy on hand and can answer any questions you may have.
Inspect and Appraise Damage:
Your claims representative will assign someone to come out and inspect your car. This person will assess the damage and work to determine how much repairs will cost.
Determine a Resolution:
Once the inspector informs you how much repairs will cost, you have the option to move forward with repairs or hold. You’ll want to keep your deductible in mind, as that will be the cost you are required to pay out of pocket.
Depending on the claim, payment can be made directly to you, the lien holder (if your car is leased or financed), the repair facility, or other. If payment is given directly to you, you will be paid based on what type of payment you requested: check or Electronic Funds Transfer (ETF). Most of USAA’s car insurance reviews mention that this process is simple.
How to File a Claim With Liberty Insurance
Liberty Mutual boasts that its claims can be filed in five minutes or less with its app. Don’t want to use the app? You’re also welcome to call 1-844-825-2467, and a representative will help you with claims the process. Plus, with accident forgiveness, you won’t have to worry about your rates increasing due to your first accident.
Report Your Claim:
If you are involved in an accident, you need to report it to your insurance company as soon as possible. If you choose to file your claim via Liberty’s app, you will be guided through. If you prefer to speak with a live representative, they will guide you through the process as well.
Get an Investigation:
Once you have filed your claim, Liberty will conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault in the accident. This will determine how the claim will be settled.
Review Next Steps:
After the investigation, your claims representative will contact you to discuss next steps. Steps will vary depending on who is considered the at-fault driver. If you are able to drive your car and it is at home with you as opposed to in a repair shop, the representative will ask you to take photos of the damage of your car and provide an email address for you to send photos to.
Schedule a Damage Review:
Your claims investigator will also help you schedule a damage review. This is where someone will come out to look at your car and access the damage, as well as figure out how much it is estimated to cost to repair.
Repair Your Car:
While Liberty does have a Guaranteed Repair Network, you are welcome to have your car repaired wherever you like. However, if you do go through the Liberty Guaranteed Repair Network, your repairs will be 100% guaranteed for as long as you own your car.
Many Liberty Mutual car insurance reviews state that the claims process was smooth and took care of everything that needed to happen without stress or fuss. That’s one reason why Liberty is one our top 5 car insurance choices.
How to File a Claim With MetroMile
MetroMile is an innovative, out-of-the-box car insurance company, so it should come as no surprise that the company has a first-class app through which you can file your car insurance claim.
File Your Claim:
This company also has a different process depending on what type of claim you need to file. If you need to file a hit and run claim or a glass and windshield claim, there are dedicated claims centers. If you need to file any other type of claim, you will go through the normal claims process and either file your claim through the app or by calling (888) 595-5485.
You will need the following information when filing a claim with Metromile:
- Your Metromile insurance policy number
- Date of accident
- Location of accident
- Description of accident
- Names of those involved in the accident
- Make and model of vehicles involved in the accident
Once the claim has been filed, you can begin the repairs process.
Repair Your Car:
The first step is to get a damage estimate. Your claims representative will walk you through this process and in most cases is able to complete an estimate based on photos, rather than having to come out in person.
If you are happy with the repairs estimate, you can move forward, but if not, that’s fine too. Repairing your car is not mandatory.
In conclusion, you need car insurance. Driving without it isn’t just illegal in most states, but not having insurance puts you at risk financially. If you are at-fault in an accident, you are legally required to cover the costs of the car you hit, as well as any medical bills incurred by the other party.
Imagine you hit a brand new Ferrari and the driver winds up in the hospital for an extended stay, requires surgery and physical therapy. You could be liable for half a million dollars! If you don’t have car insurance, that money will need to come out of your pocket. If you do, then thankfully your car insurance company will cover the costs.
Luckily, our top 5 car insurance picks and our car insurance reviews can help you make the decision about which company you should go with. If you’re interested in learning more, read our individual car insurance reviews to learn more about our top 5 car insurance picks.Read More