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Because almost every state requires some sort of auto insurance coverage, a car insurance policy is one of the most important purchases you can make. That’s why it’s essential to choose an insurance company that has excellent ratings.

Choosing A Car Insurance Company

Not only is car insurance necessary to legally operate a vehicle, but it also protects you from financial devastation if you’re ever in an accident or your vehicle is stolen. While each driver has a particular set of coverage needs and budgetary concerns, factors such as an insurance company’s financial strength and customer satisfaction should play a part in choosing a provider.

While you might be tempted to just go with the insurance company that gives you the lowest quote, Policygenius recommends that you consider more than how much your policy costs. Some companies might seem to offer a good financial value, but if they don’t provide good customer service, you’ll end up paying in other ways. On the other hand, a company’s excellent customer service might make it worth paying higher rates.

The Best Car Insurance Companies For 2021

Bankrate rates auto insurance companies on a scale of one to five, with one being the poorest and five being the best. When rating companies, Bankrate considers the provider’s financial strength and customer service reviews to determine where a company ranks on the scale. Here are Bankrate’s top car insurance companies for 2021, their Bankrate score, and what they charge for an annual premium with full coverage:

  • USAA – 4.7/$1,252
  • Geico – 4.6/$1,325
  • State Farm– 4.6/$1,422
  • Erie – 4.5/$1,207
  • Amica 4.4/$1,318
  • Progressive – 4.1/$1,419
  • Nationwide – 3.9/$1,475
  • The Hartford – 3.7/$2,064
  • Allstate – 3.6/$1,920
  • Farmers – 3.6/$1,912

How To Find The Best Insurance Company

In addition to looking at company ratings, NerdWallet recommends that you do some additional research. When shopping for insurance, it helps to take the following steps:

  • Visit your state insurance commissioner’s website. The insurance commissioner’s office will list any consumer complaints lodged against an insurance company operating in your state.
  • Ask questions. When talking to an insurance agent or customer representative, they should be able to answer any questions you have. Asking questions helps you get the coverage you need and keeps you from paying for anything you don’t want.
  • Look at smaller insurance companies. A smaller company may be able to provide the individual customer service experience you’re looking for better than a larger company. They’re also likely to offer lower rates.
  • Wait to shop if you have a spotty driving record. If you shop for insurance soon after an accident or DUI, you’re sure to pay higher rates than if you wait three to five years to purchase a new policy.

ValuePenguin suggests that you determine what you need from and care about most in an insurance company and find a company that meets those needs. For example, maybe you want a company that makes it easy to manage your policy with tools like a mobile app. Perhaps you need specialized coverage. Or maybe you are just looking for the lowest premium. Making a list of your insurance priorities will help you stay focused on finding the policy that’s right for you.

Car Insurance Discounts

As Policygenius notes, the best insurance companies help their customers save money by offering discounts. While many discounts are standard across the car insurance industry, the amount of each discount varies by company. Be sure to compare how much of a discount each company is willing to give. Common discounts that you should look for include:

  • Good Student Discount – If you have a teen driver on your policy, they can qualify for a discount if they maintain a 3.0 GPA. Some companies extend this discount to college students if they live at home and are under the age of 25.
  • Bundling Discount – If you combine your home and auto insurance policies through the same company, you’ll qualify for a substantial discount. Bundling your policies can also make it easier to manage your insurance payments.
  • Affiliation Discount – Some companies offer discounts to customers who are members of professional organizations or automobile-related clubs.
  • Paperless Statement Discount – You could qualify for a discount if you decide to access your statement online instead of having it mailed to you.
  • Payment Discount – Some companies will give you a discount if you pay for your policy in full instead of making monthly payments.
  • Equipment Discount – If you install an alarm system on your car or buy a new vehicle with advanced anti-theft and safety features, you could get a discount, which could help offset equipment costs.
  • Safe Driver Discount – A safe driver discount typically requires you to install a telematics device provided by your insurance company. This device will monitor how fast you drive and other habits. The safer you drive, the bigger the discount.

Customer Service And Claims

While ratings can give you a good overall picture of an insurance company, consulting a website like Policygenius can give you more details. Policygenius allows users to post detailed reviews in which they describe how easy it is to file a claim and how long they have to wait for an insurance provider to respond to the claim and pay it out. It never hurts to ask friends or family about their claim experiences. Claims satisfaction is an essential factor to consider since that what you’re buying insurance for in the first place.

If you want to see for yourself what kind of customer service you can expect to receive from a company, ValuePenguin recommends that you call their customer service line. You can see how long the customer service representative keeps you on hold and how the representative responds to a general inquiry. If the company seems difficult to deal with, you probably want to go with another provider. The last thing you want to deal with if you’re in an accident is the added frustration that poor customer service brings.