We’ve taken guesswork out of finding the best car insurance companies by analyzing important factors that will affect your customer experience.
We evaluated large auto insurance companies based on average rates for a variety of drivers, coverage features available, levels of complaints, grades for collision claims from auto body repair professionals and how understandable the insurers’ websites are. See our top picks below.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?
Car insurance shoppers often put the most importance on price. Here are average annual and monthly costs for good drivers.
Average annual car insurance cost for good drivers
Average monthly car insurance cost for good drivers
Car Insurance Cost by Driving Profile
Here’s a look at car insurance rates based on averages nationwide among the largest insurance companies.
Type of driver
Average annual car insurance cost
Driver who caused an accident with property damage
Driver who caused an accident with an injury
Driver with one DUI
Driver with one speeding ticket
Driver with poor credit
Driver caught without insurance
Rates are based on a female driver, age 30, insuring a Toyota RAV4 with liability coverage of 100/300/100 and collision and comprehensive insurance. Averages are based on rates from 11 large auto insurance companies.
Why Do People Shop for New Car Insurance?
Shopping around for car insurance can result in savings, but many car owners renew their policies each year without checking prices from other insurance companies.
A March 2022 Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 drivers asked what would motivate them to shop for a new car insurance policy. More than half said any of these three reasons would get them to shop around:
A bad experience with a car insurance claim (55%)
Looking for a better price (54%)
Current company doesn’t have the coverage types I want (52%)
Older drivers (ages 58 to 76) chose price as the No. 1 reason to shop around, while bad claims experiences and coverage types were tops for younger drivers (ages 18 to 25).
Factors That Impact the Cost of Car Insurance
Your car insurance cost will vary depending on several factors that typically include:
Your driving record
Your age and years of driving experience
Where you live
Car insurance coverage selections
Deductible amount (if you buy collision and comprehensive coverage)
Your car insurance history, such as whether you’ve had continuous coverage or lapses
Your credit-based insurance score (use of credit in calculating car insurance costs is banned in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan)
How Can I Find the Best Price on Car Insurance?
Once you decide how much car insurance you need, it’s time to start shopping for a policy. Rates often vary widely among companies for the exact same coverage, so it’s smart to compare car insurance quotes from multiple insurers. For example, in California, rates for a good driver range from $1,668 (Wawanesa) to $3,940 (The Hartford)—a range of about $2,270 for the exact same driver.
Here’s what you should do to find the cheapest car insurance.
1. Shop around
If you don’t shop around, you won’t know if your rates are on the high end or the cheapest. Getting multiple quotes will help you find the most affordable car insurance company. You can find free quotes online or by working with an auto insurance agent. Independent insurance agents can provide quotes from multiple companies. Insurance quotes are always free.
2. Ask about discounts
Ask about car insurance discounts when you’re getting car insurance quotes. You can typically knock down your car insurance costs with discounts for:
By “bundling” multiple insurance policies from the same company, such as auto and home insurance.
Insuring more than one vehicle with the same company.
Qualifying for a good driver discount.
If you have a student on the policy, getting a discount if they’re a good student.
If you have a college student on the policy, snagging a discount if they’re away at school without a car (usually must be at least 100 miles away).
Taking a defensive driving class if you are age 55 or older.
Paying your car insurance bill in full for the term rather than monthly.
3. Choose a higher deductible
Collision and comprehensive coverage have a deductible. The deductible is the amount of money a car insurance company deducts from an insurance claims check.
The higher your deductible, the less you’ll pay for insurance.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you get into an accident and your car suffers $2,000 worth of damage. If your collision deductible is $500, the insurer will deduct that from the settlement amount, so you’d get a $1,500 check to cover the repairs.
If you decide on a high deductible, try to set aside money for that deductible, so you have it available if you need to file a claim later.
4. Ask about pay-per-mile policy if you don’t drive much
If you own a car but take public transportation to work and don’t drive your vehicle much, check out pay-per-mile auto insurance policies.
These policies charge a monthly base rate and also a per-mile rate. They can be a more affordable option if you don’t spend much time behind the wheel.
Let’s say your pay-per-mile insurance has a base rate of $40 a month and a 5-cent per mile rate. If you drive 500 miles in a month, your monthly bill would be $65 ($40 plus 500 miles times $.05).
5. Ask about usage-based car insurance
Usage-based insurance (UBI), also called telematics, may sound like pay-per-mile, but it’s quite different. With a usage-based insurance policy, the car insurance company tracks your driving closely and creates a driving score.
For instance, a usage-based insurance program might track your speed, braking, acceleration, miles driven and time of day. The program will use a smartphone app or a device attached to the vehicle to track your driving.
These programs often come with an initial discount and then you may save more based on your driving. But not all drivers with UBI can save money. These programs are best suited for excellent drivers.
What Types of Car Insurance Are Required?
Here are types of car insurance that are generally required by states.
Liability insurance: Required in most states. Car liability insurance pays for injuries and property damage you cause to others. A good rule of thumb is to buy enough liability insurance to cover what can be taken from you in a lawsuit.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM): Mandatory in some states and optional in others. Uninsured motorist insurance pays for you and your passengers’ medical bills and other expenses if someone crashes into you and they don’t have any liability insurance. A related coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, helps with you and your passengers’ medical bills when a driver with insufficient coverage causes an accident resulting in injuries.
Collision and comprehensive insurance: Required if you have a car loan or lease. These are two separate coverage types often sold together. Collision and comprehensive insurance pay for your vehicle repair bills due to problems such as car accidents, car theft, fires, floods, severe weather, falling objects, vandalism and collisions with animals.
Personal injury protection: Required in some states. Some states use a no-fault car insurance system. In these states you’ll make smaller injury claims on your own auto insurance no matter who was to blame. These claims fall under personal injury protection, which is required in no-fault states and available in some others.
Other Types of Auto Insurance to Consider
Sometimes getting the best car insurance means adding extra coverage in order to get more protection or guard against unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Here are some other auto insurance types to consider.
Accident forgiveness. Raising your car insurance rates after you cause an accident is standard operating procedure for car insurance companies. If you get “accident forgiveness” coverage from your insurer, you can escape a rate increase after your first at-fault accident. Some insurers go a step further and also “forgive” a moving violation, such as a speeding ticket.
Gap insurance. Do you have a large car loan balance or lease? If your car is totaled, the insurance payout for the vehicle could be much less than your balance. Gap insurance pays the difference.
New car replacement. If you’re the unlikely driver who totals your new car, this coverage can help. It will pay to replace your car with a similar new car, rather than compensating you only for the depreciated value of your car. New car replacement coverage rules can vary among insurers for what qualifies as a “new” car so check the details.
Pay-per-mile insurance. If you drive very little, pay-per-mile auto insurance could be a good bet for you. Part of your premium hinges on exactly how many miles you drive each month. The other part, called the base rate, doesn’t change from month to month.
SR-22 insurance. An SR-22 is definitely not something you want, but you may need an insurer that provides it. Your state could require you to obtain an SR-22 form to prove that you have auto insurance. Your insurance company needs to send this form to the state to verify you have coverage, but not all insurers perform this service. You might end up with an SR-22 requirement if, for example, you rack up a lot of moving violations or you cause an accident while driving uninsured.
Usage-based insurance. This type of policy has the potential to reduce your car insurance bill if you’re a really good driver. This typically means no speeding, hard braking, hard cornering and other factors. Usage-based insurance (UBI) programs use either an app or a device that plugs into your car to track your driving habits.
But don’t count on savings from usage-based insurance. Less than half (48%) of drivers who opt into a usage-based insurance program actually see savings, according to TransUnion’s 2022 Insurance Trends and Outlook Report. Premiums stayed the same for 30% of drivers using UBI.
Vanishing deductibles. If you have a collision or comprehensive insurance claim, your insurance check will be reduced by your deductible. Some auto insurers take the sting out of deductibles by offering a vanishing deductible. Generally this means a set reduction (such as $100) for every year you don’t make a claim.
Complaints Against Auto Insurance Companies
Complaints collected nationwide against car insurance companies reveal problem spots for some insurers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners calculates a complaint ratio for each company that reflects the number of complaints in relation to the insurer’s business size.
The Insiders’ View of Car Insurance Claims
If you’re lucky, you’ll have very little experience with collision repairs. That also means you won’t necessarily know if you’re getting superior claims service compared to other insurers.
Collision repair professionals have the advantage of dealing with insurers daily and seeing which companies try to cut corners on claims, and which companies have processes that slow down the repair process.
For this reason we incorporated grades of insurance companies from collision repair professionals, supplied by CRASH Network.
“Drivers pay their auto insurance premiums every month, yet they only find out how well that insurer will take care of them when they file a claim—which happens about once a decade for the average driver,” says John Yoswick, editor of CRASH Network, which has a weekly newsletter covering the collision repair and auto insurance market segments.
“But auto body repair shops see every day which insurance companies prioritize cost-savings by pushing to use the cheapest parts and repair methods, and which insurers take better care of their policyholders by prioritizing repair quality and the use of automaker-recommended repair methods and parts,” he says.
CRASH Network produces an annual Insurer Report Card that gives insight into insurers’ claims processes that others don’t see. Auto body repair professionals across the country are asked, “How well does this company’s claims handling policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for motorists?”
“This knowledge gives body shops a unique perspective on which insurance companies consistently earn an ‘A’ when it comes to customer service and a proper repair for their policyholders, and which insurers deserve a ‘C’ or ‘D,’” says Yoswick.
Among 75 insurers scored by CRASH Network, only North Carolina Farm Bureau, Chubb, Erie and Michigan Farm Bureau received grades in the “A” range.
More About Geico Car Insurance
Geico sells insurance for cars, motorcycles and classic cars. For those who enjoy a little more adventure, Geico also sells insurance for RVs, ATVs and boats.
Optional coverage types for auto insurance includes emergency road service, rental reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance.
If you’re concerned about a rate increase after an accident, Geico offers accident forgiveness insurance, which you can pay to add to your policy or earn by maintaining a clean driving record. Geico will waive the first at-fault accident caused by an eligible driver listed on your policy.
Geico also sells Mexico auto insurance if you plan to drive south of the border.
Geico Car Insurance Discounts
Geico offers many discounts, especially for drivers who practice safe driving habits. If you’re in the military or are part of an emergency deployment, you could receive between 15% and 25% off your policy. And, if you’re a loyal customer, you can benefit from the multi-vehicle discount or the multiple policy discount. Other auto insurance discounts include:
Vehicle equipment discounts: Does your car have some of the latest safety features such as side airbags or full front-seat airbags, anti-lock brakes or an anti-theft system? If so, you could save up to 40% off the medical payments or personal injury protection portion of your policy.
Discounts for driving history and habits: If you have a good driving record and are accident-free for five years you can receive up to 26% off most coverages. Also, if you and your passengers wear seat belts, you can save up to 15% off the medical payments or personal injury protection portion of your policy.
Driving course discounts: If you complete a defensive driving course, you can save on your premium.
Drivers education discount: If you have a young driver on your policy who completes a driver’s education course, you may be eligible for discounts on most of your coverage types.
Good student discount: For drivers who are between age 16 and 24 and enrolled in school full-time, you might be able to receive a discount if they get a B average or better.
Federal employee discount: Whether you’re an active or retired federal employee, you can receive up to 8% off of your auto insurance premium.
Membership and employee discounts: Geico has partnered with more than 500 alumni associations, fraternities and sororities, and professional organizations to offer discounts to its members.
Military discount: For those who are on active duty, retired from the military, or a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you might be eligible for a discount of up to 15% on your total car insurance premium.
Multi-vehicle discount: You can save when you insure two or more vehicles with Geico.
Multi-policy discount: You can save when you bundle your auto insurance with other types of insurance you buy through Geico, such as homeowners, condo, renters or mobile home insurance. While Geico itself does not underwrite these other insurance types, they are available through the Geico agency.
More About Nationwide Auto Insurance
Nationwide sells insurance for cars, classic cars, RVs, motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, golf carts and boats. For winter-fun enthusiasts, Nationwide sells insurance for snowmobiles.
For drivers concerned about paying a high deductible in the event of an accident, Nationwide offers a vanishing deductible. Every year you go without an accident, you can earn $100 off your deductible, up to $500 total.
Nationwide also offers accident forgiveness, which helps drivers avoid a rate increase due to an at-fault accident. While you have to pay to add this coverage to your policy, it can help offset the premium increase that typically applies after an at-fault accident.
Nationwide’s Pay-Per-Mile and Usage-Based Auto Insurance
Nationwide has two options for customers looking to reduce their car insurance bills through low mileage or superior driving skills.
For low-mileage drivers, Nationwide offers SmartMiles, which provides the same coverage as a traditional Nationwide auto insurance policy but largely bases your premium on the actual mileage driven. Your rate consists of two components: a base rate and a variable rate (the cost per mile). Since your variable rate is determined by how much you drive, your monthly rate will vary month-to-month.
Nationwide also offers savings potential with its SmartRide usage-based insurance program. When you sign up you can earn up to 10%. Then, if your driving habits are good enough, you could earn up to 40% off your auto insurance.
Nationwide Auto Insurance Discounts
Nationwide offers several discounts, especially for drivers with safe driving habits. If you have a driver in high school or college, look for Nationwide’s discounts for good students.
Other car insurance discounts from Nationwide include:
Multi-policy discount: You can save on both your home and auto insurance policies when you bundle them together.
Accident-free and safe driver discounts: If you have a clean driving record you could receive a discount.
Defensive driving discount: This is a discount for completing a state-approved safety course.
Good student discount: If you have a young driver between the age 16 to 24 who has a “B” average or better in high school or college, you could be eligible for savings.
Anti-theft discount: Ask about this discount if your vehicle is equipped with certain anti-theft devices.
Easy pay sign-up discount: This is a one-time discount for setting up an automatic payment from your bank.
Paperless discount: You can get a discount for receiving your insurance documents and bills electronically.
More About Travelers Car Insurance
Travelers sells car, boat and yacht insurance (for those who prefer traveling via water). Optional auto insurance add-ons include roadside assistance coverage and rental reimbursement coverage.
For drivers who want to protect a vehicle when it’s financed or leased, Travelers offers loan/lease gap insurance. If your vehicle is totaled, this coverage can pay your the difference between the actual cash value of the car and the remaining balance of your loan or lease.
Travelers Car Insurance Discounts
Travelers offer many possible discounts. If you enjoy getting ahead of your bills, look for EFT and pay-in-full discounts. Travelers’ car insurance discounts include:
Multi-policy discount: If you bundle your auto insurance with other types of insurance (like homeowners insurance) you can save up to 13% on your auto insurance policy.
Multi-car discount: This is a discount for customers who have multiple cars on one auto insurance policy.
Homeownership discount: Do you own a home or condo? If so, you can save up to 5% off your auto insurance.
Safe driver discount: For drivers with no accidents, violations or major comprehensive claims for the past three years, you could save up to 10%, or up to 23% for the past five years.
Continuous insurance discount: Drivers who have no gaps in auto insurance coverage could save up to 15%.
Hybrid or electric vehicle discount: Ask about this if you own or lease a hybrid or electric car.
New car discount: You could save up to 10% for owning a newer model car that’s three years old or less.
ETF, paid in full and good payer discounts: You could receive discounts up to 15% for setting up automatic payments, paying in full or always paying on time.
Early quote discount: If you get a Travelers auto insurance quote before your current policy with another company expires, you could save between 3% and 10%.
Good student discount: Do you have a high school or college student on your policy who maintains a “B” average or better? If so, you could qualify for an 8% insurance discount.
Student away from home discount: If you have a college student on your policy who goes to school at least 100 miles away and won’t be driving your cars, you could save up to 7%.
Driver training discount: In an effort to encourage young drivers to work on their driving skills, Travelers offers up to 8% off if your young driver takes a qualified training course.
More About USAA Car Insurance
USAA sells insurance for cars, motorcycles, ATVs, motorhomes, boats and classic cars. And, for those who fly to their destinations, aviation insurance. Optional coverage types include roadside assistance and rental reimbursement.
Current and former U.S. military members, and spouses and children of U.S. military members are eligible for USAA insurance.
For drivers concerned about a rate increase after they cause an accident, USAA offers accident forgiveness insurance. If you remain accident-free for five years, your premium won’t go up after one at-fault accident.
USAA also offers rideshare coverage for drivers with Uber, Lyft and other services.
USAA Auto Insurance Discounts
If you’ve had USAA auto insurance for a few years, you can benefit from “length of membership savings.” And if you add auto insurance to a USAA homeowners or renters insurance policy, you could save up to 10%. Other USAA car insurance discounts include:
Safe driver discount: Do you have a clean driving record for the past five years? If so, you could save money.
Defensive driver discount: This is a discount for taking an approved course to improve your driving skills.
Driver training discount: Are you younger than age 21? Drivers under 21 can take a basic driving course and save money on their USAA auto insurance policies.
Good student discount: Ask about this discount if your high school or college-age child maintains good grades.
New vehicle discount: For cars that are three years old or newer, you can qualify for this discount.
Multi-vehicle discount: Look for this price break if you have two or more vehicles on a policy.
Annual mileage: Based on the number of miles you drive per year, you may qualify for a discount.
Vehicle storage: When you store your vehicle, you can save up to 60% on your auto insurance. This is especially useful for military members on deployment.
Family discount: If your parents have USAA insurance, you can save on your premium.
Military installation discount: When you garage your car on the base you could save up to 15% on comprehensive coverage.
Length of membership savings: Look for this discount if you maintain coverage with USAA for several years.
More About Auto-Owners Car Insurance
Auto-Owners sells vehicle insurance for cars, ATVs and off-road vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, and boats. For those who enjoy exploring the nation in a motorhome, Auto-Owners sells motorhome and RV coverage.
Optional add-ons include roadside assistance coverage, additional expense coverage, and lease or loan gap coverage. If you choose to purchase the Personal Automobile Plus Package from Auto-Owners, you’ll receive 10 other coverage add-ons including identity theft protection, re-keying locks and cell phone replacement.
Auto-Owners also sells “diminished value” coverage. With this coverage, you receive compensation if you’re in an accident and the damage depreciates the value of the vehicle even after it’s repaired.
Auto-Owners Insurance customers may be eligible for a few additional benefits, including “collision coverage advantage.” With this benefit, your collision deductible is waived if you’re in an accident with another vehicle insured by Auto-Owners Insurance.
Auto-Owners Car Insurance Discounts
Auto-Owners offers several discounts, especially for students. If you have a young driver who’s in school, look for Auto-Owners discounts for good students and students away at school. If you’re passionate about saving the environment, you can benefit from the green discount. Other discounts include:
Multi-policy discount: If you have other policies (such as a home insurance policy) with Auto-Owners, you can qualify for a discount on your auto policy.
Payment history discount: You can receive a discount if you paid your policy on time for the last 36 months.
Green discount: You’ll be eligible for this discount if you go paperless and pay your bill online.
Life multi-policy discount: You can receive this discount if you bundle a qualified life insurance policy with your auto policy.
Paid-in-full discount: You’ll be eligible for this discount if you pay your annual premium in full and on time.
Advance quote discount: This discount is for new customers who request a quote before the effective date of their policy.
Multi-car policies: You can get a discount if you insure two or more cars under the same policy.
Safety features discounts: If you have safety features installed in your car like airbags or anti-lock brakes, you could qualify for a discount.
Good student discount: You may be eligible for up to a 20% discount if your high school or college-age driver maintains at least a “B” average.
Student away at school discount: If your student is attending a school at least 100 miles from home and without a vehicle, you may qualify for a discount.
Teen driver monitoring discount: Ask about this if your car has a permanently installed GPS.
More About State Farm Car Insurance
State Farm is currently the largest auto and home insurer in the U.S. It sells vehicle insurance for cars, motorcycles, RVs, off-road vehicles and boats. For those who have antique and classic cars, State Farm provides coverage for vintage vehicles.
State Farm Auto Insurance Discounts
Whether you’re a safe driver or have multiple vehicles under one policy, you might be able to save on State Farm auto insurance rates.
Safe driver discount: Whether you maintain an accident-free driving record or educate yourself on best driving practices, you could receive a discount. For example, if you take a defensive driving course or have gone three years without a moving violation or at-fault accident, you could be eligible for a discount.
Accident-free discount: If you drive three consecutive years without an accident, you may qualify for a discount.
Good student discount: Do you have a full-time student on your policy who has a B average or better? If so, you could save up to 25%. And the discount can stay with your student ever after graduation (until they reach age 25).
Student away at school discount: If a driver in your household is under age 25 and moves away to school, you could qualify for a discount.
Safe vehicle discounts: For drivers who have newer vehicles with the latest safety features, State Farm offers insurance rewards. For example, if your vehicle was made in 1994 or after (depending on the make and model of the car), you could save up to 40% on medical-related coverage.
Anti-theft discount: You could get a discount if your car has an alarm or other type of anti-theft device.
Multi-vehicle discount: Look for this if two or more cars in your household are insured by State Farm.
Multi-policy discount: You can save by bundling other types of insurance with your auto insurance, such as homeowners, renters, condo or life insurance.
Loyal customer discounts. Customers who insure more than one vehicle or have other insurance types could land a loyalty discount. For example, drivers who insure at least two vehicles on the same policy could save as much as 20%, and drivers who bundle home, condo or life insurance with an auto insurance policy could save up to 17%.
Defensive driving course discount: If you complete an approved defensive driving class, you could earn a discount around 10% to 15%.
Driver training discount: Ask about this if your young driver (under age 21) completes a driver training course.
More About Allstate Car Insurance
Allstate sells vehicle insurance for cars, motorcycles, classic cars and boats. For those that enjoy the outdoors and adventure, Allstate also offers coverage for ATVs and RVs.
Optional coverage that can be added to an Allstate policy include roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and sound system insurance. Allstate also offers add-on coverage of gap insurance, new car replacement and diminishing deductible.
Gap insurance helps if your car is totaled in an accident and you owe more than the vehicle’s value. Alllstate’s new car replacement coverage will pay to replace your car with a new car of the same make and model if it is two model years old or less and totaled in an accident covered by your policy. And enrolling in the diminishing deductible gets you $100 off your collision deductible immediately, and if you remain claim-free you can continue to reduce your deductible each year, up to a maximum of $500 off.
Allstate Auto Insurance Discounts
Allstate offers a variety of car insurance discounts, particularly for safe drivers. Teen drivers and their parents can take advantage of discounts such as the smart student discount and teenSMART driver education program. Car features like anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices can also result in discounts. Other discounts include:
Early signing discount: If you sign up for your policy seven or more days before the start date, you could receive a discount.
Responsible payer discount: You can qualify for a reduction if you haven’t received a cancellation notice within the past year.
Multiple policy discount: You’re eligible if you have more than one Allstate policy, such as auto and homeowners insurance.
New car discount: If you’re the first owner of a current model year car or one year prior, you can receive this discount.
Anti-lock brake discount: Driving a car with anti-lock brakes can save you money on your auto insurance.
Anti-theft discount: The discount may be applied if you have an anti-theft device in your car.
Allstate eSmart discount: Save by signing up for an ePolicy and going paperless.
FullPay discount: Receive a discount when you pay your annual premium in full.
EZ plan pay discount: Receive a discount by setting up an automatic payment plan.
Safe driving club discount: Your driving may qualify you for the safe driving club and earn you a discount.
More About Erie Car Insurance
Erie’s vehicle insurance is available for cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, classic cars and boats. You can also purchase insurance for snowmobiles, RVs, ATVs and golf carts. Optional add-ons include:
Transportation expenses and rental car coverage
Lease loan protection
For drivers who recently purchased a new car, Erie sells new car protection. With this coverage, your car will be replaced with the latest model if it’s deemed a total loss due to an accident covered by your policy. Erie also offers “better car protection” that pays to replace your vehicle with a car two years newer.
Erie Auto Insurance Discounts
Erie offers several auto insurance discounts, especially for safe drivers. If you have a driver under age 21on your policy, look for Erie’s discount for young drivers. If you don’t use your car for an extended amount of time, you could benefit from the reduced usage discount. Other discounts include:
Safe driving discount: This is for safe drivers with a clean driving record.
Car safety equipment discount: You can get a discount if your car has safety features like factory-installed airbags, passive restraint, or anti-theft devices.
Multi-car discount: Drivers who insure two or more vehicles under the same policy may be eligible for this discount.
Multi-policy discount: Look for this if you bundle other insurance types (like homeowners insurance) with your Erie auto insurance.
Reduced usage discount: If you don’t use your car for at least 90 consecutive days during your policy period, you could be eligible for this discount.
Young driver discount: Do you have a driver who is under age 21, unmarried and lives with you? If so, you could save on your auto insurance policy.
Annual payment plan: Look for savings if you pay your annual auto premium in one lump sum.
College credit: If your college driver is away at school without access to your car, you may be eligible for a discount.
The average annual rate is based on large insurers in each state for liability coverage of 100/300/100, uninsured motorist coverage and collision and comprehensive insurance for a 2021 Toyota RAV4.
Most Drivers Confused About Car Insurance
A March 2022 Forbes Advisor survey found that most drivers do not understand their own auto insurance coverage. They cannot correctly identify the car insurance types that would cover common situations.
Liability insurance is among the most misunderstood coverage types. Here’s a look at how much drivers don’t know about auto insurance.
Percent of drivers giving a wrong answer
What type of car insurance pays if someone else crashes into you and they are injured but they don’t have car insurance?
None of the above (choices were liability, collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage)
85% got it wrong
What type of car insurance pays for someone else’s car damage if you cause an accident?
62% got it wrong
What type of car insurance pays for fence repairs if you accidentally crash into a neighbor’s fence?
60% got it wrong
What type of car insurance pays for vehicle repairs if a tree crushes your car roof?
59% got it wrong
What type of car insurance pays for vehicle damage if you back into a pole?
57% got it wrong
What type of car insurance pays if your car is damaged by a flood?
56% got it wrong
Many drivers also think they have car insurance coverage that isn’t actually available. For example:
50% of respondents said accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage is part of their car insurance policies. AD&D coverage is not included in car insurance.
49% believe they currently have “extended crash protection,” which does not exist.
41% believe their auto insurance covers “vehicle emissions,” which it does not.
Even the best car insurance won’t pay off if you don’t understand the coverage you have purchased.
To identify the best car insurance companies we took a holistic view of each company that incorporates scores for auto insurance rates, the coverage options offered, complaints against the company, collision repair and how easy it is to understand the information on their websites.
Auto insurance rates: 50% of score. We used data from Quadrant Information Services to find average rates from each company for good drivers, drivers who have caused an accident, drivers with a speeding ticket, drivers with a DUI, drivers with poor credit, drivers caught without insurance, adding a teen driver, senior drivers and young drivers.
Car insurance coverage options: 25% of score: Any auto insurance company can provide the basics of liability insurance, collision and comprehensive coverage and other standard offerings. But it’s also important to have access to additional coverage types that can provide greater protection or cost savings. In this category we gave points to companies that offer accident forgiveness, new car replacement, vanishing deductibles, usage-based or pay-per-mile insurance, and SR-22s.
Complaints (20% of score): We used complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Each state’s department of insurance is in charge of logging and monitoring complaints against the companies that operate in their states. Most auto insurance complaints center on claims, including unsatisfactory settlements, delays and denials.
Collision repair (5% of score): Auto body shop professionals have an insider view of each company’s approach to repairs. The better insurers don’t apply pressure to cut costs or install lower-quality repair parts. Some insurers also have processes that help speed up repair and claims processes, making for more happy customers. We used data provided by CRASH Network, a weekly newsletter covering the collision repair and auto insurance market segments. CRASH Network’s 2021 Insurer Report Card used grades from more than 1,000 collision repair professionals to gauge auto insurers on the quality of their collision claims service.
Website readability: Bonus points. It’s important to understand the coverage you’re buying, and insurance company websites should help you do that. But many insurer websites don’t do a good job explaining the products they sell. Many insurer sites are filled with passive voice, jargon, complex words and long sentences..
Forbes Advisor asked VisibleThread to analyze the readability of insurance company websites. VisibleThread is a language analysis platform that improves the efficiency, clarity and compliance of mission-critical business writing. Read VisibleThread’s Forbes Advisor Research Report.