Guest Post by James Oronoz Generally, everyone is aware that car insurance is a necessity when driving on the road. You could even say that we’ve all seen at least one commercial telling us about how much money we can save. However, the question remains — how can you actually optimize your car insurance? It’s best to approach this with a pay-now-save-later mindset that doesn’t require removing the necessary coverage or only signing up for a basic policy. Instead, it calls for a more strategic approach that balances your needs and budget. With that in mind, let’s dive in! 1. Make sure your coverage reflects your needs. It’s easy to take your car insurance for granted; after all, it’s not something you think about every day. Still, you should assess your current policy to ensure you have the coverage that’s right for you. Think about it: do you have a rising young driver with a learner’s permit? Are you biking to work? Have you recently transitioned to working from home full-time? Maybe you are a driver who reduced your coverage because you weren’t driving much during the COVID lockdown and now that more Americans are hitting the open road, you need to revisit your policy. Whatever your situation, be sure you have enough coverage. 2. Avoid minimum insurance coverage since it could max out your finances. Some drivers think they are saving money when they carry the minimum insurance required, but the truth is this type of policy might cost you more if you are in a serious auto accident. Most states require drivers to either carry bare-bones coverage (usually for bodily injury, personal injury protection, and property damage) or prove they can pay out of pocket if they're in an accident. If you, your passengers, or the other driver is seriously injured and you only have the minimum insurance, you could easily exhaust the small amount of coverage available to you. Unfortunately, this would add unnecessary strain to your budget, so it’s wise to avoid it. Instead, follow your state’s requirements and add other protections based on your driving habits. For example, if you'd need a car to drive while your vehicle was being repaired, rental car coverage would be wise to add to your insurance policy. 3. It may be time to see other agents. Many people get comfortable with their insurance company, especially if the customer service is great and they’ve never had to file a claim. However, those details don't necessarily mean you’re getting the best deal. National Insurance Awareness Day, which is June 28th of each year, serves as a gentle reminder to see if you are really getting the most from your auto insurance. Even though you may be satisfied with your current plan, it’s wise to compare policies from time to time. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it manually! You can use a free insurance comparison tool online. Or, if you prefer, you can get quotes online from several companies. If you do find a cheaper rate for comparable coverage but don’t want the hassle of switching carriers, ask your current insurance provider if they will match the premium. Also, remember to ask about discounts, like safe driving records, defensive driving course certification, or bundling options if you also have property or renter’s insurance with the same company. 4. Consider uninsured motorist protection. Of course, we’d like to think that everyone who drives has insurance coverage, but that is not the case. It’s important to proactively protect yourself and potential passengers with uninsured motorist coverage. Then, if you are in a hit-and-run accident, or hit by an uninsured driver, your policy will cover your medical bills, lost pay, and other expenses. In fact, it also picks up the difference if you are severely injured by an underinsured driver. Basically, it is worth the investment in the long run. 5. Think about raising your deductible. As a reminder, your insurance deductible is the amount of money you’re responsible for paying out of pocket if an accident occurs. Depending on your driving record, the age of your vehicle, and how many drivers use one car, you could save money on premiums by raising it. It’s kind of a pay-now-or-pay-later situation, but if you have a long-term clean driving record, increasing your deductible (for example, from $500 to $1,000) can be a significant cost-saver on premiums. Remember, the key here is to raise your deductible to an amount you can comfortably afford. Overall, like automotive educator Chaya Milchtein says, it’s important to remember that "savings vary from person to person and insurer to insurer." Every individual has a unique budget, specific driving habits, and daily routines. You should always be honest about how these factors will impact your insurance preferences and check with a registered insurance agent before making any modifications to your coverage. James Oronoz is the founding shareholder of Oronoz & Ericsson Injury Lawyers, a Las Vegas law firm dedicated to helping individuals navigate life before and after a tragic accident. He uses the knowledge he’s gained over 20 years to educate others on their legal rights, specifically pertaining to criminal defense and personal injury matters.
Beginning to drive is a great opportunity to help your teen learn about how insurance works. Our survey found that 39 percent of people who had either gifted or received a car as a gift didn't know what kind of insurance coverage they had. Most of the people responding "don't know" had received the car as a gift (89 percent). Below are some important things to understand about coverage requirements, coverage options, and claims. Coverage requirements Most states require drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance coverage with their car: California Motor vehicle liability insurance minimum requirements: $15,000 for injury/death to one person; $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person; $5,000 for property damage If you don't want to get insurance, you can work with the DMV to do a cash deposit, self-insurance, or a surety bond. Texas Motor vehicle liability insurance minimum requirements: $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person up to $60,000 per accident, $25,000 coverage for property damage New York Liability coverage minimum requirements: $10,000 property damage, $25,000 bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident; $50,000 bodily injury and $100,000 for death of two or more people Work with your insurance agent and financial advisor to determine the right amount of liability coverage for your situation. Beyond liability insurance, some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist or personal injury protection coverage. Your insurance agent should know what the requirements are. If you purchased a car with a car loan, your loan carrier may require you to add other coverages to your insurance policy. Coverage options Whether other coverages are required or not, it can be helpful to add them to your policy for additional protection: Comprehensive — covers damage to your vehicle resulting from non-collision events (e.g. falling objects) Collision — covers damage to your vehicle from collisions; generally speaking, coverage is for damage where you're the at-fault driver Uninsured/underinsured motorist — depending on the kind you buy, this coverage can offer payouts for medical bills, lost income, and property damage if you're in an accident with a driver without sufficient liability coverage Medical payments — helps pay medical expenses for you and your passengers Personal injury protection — helps pay your medical expenses and may replace some income if you're injured and unable to work Roadside assistance — assistance if you encounter problems on the road Rental car — covers some rental car costs if you're unable to use your car while it's in the shop for covered repairs Claims You need to ensure that your current insurance cards are in your car or with you at all times. If you are pulled over or get in an accident, you'll need to have your insurance information available to exchange with the other driver or show the police officer. Insurance is there for the big things. If your car has minor damage or a scratch from backing into a pole or your garage door, it may not be worth filing a claim. Generally speaking, your insurance premiums can increase if you file a claim or someone else files a claim on your insurance with the company. Before you file a claim, assess your needs and coverage. Depending on the coverage you have and the circumstances of the claim, you may be on your own. For example, if you don't have collision coverage and backed into a pole, you can't make a claim. Or, if you're in an accident and the other driver doesn't have sufficient insurance, you can turn to your own insurance coverage if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. When you file a claim, you'll need to have your insurance information handy. You'll also want to have a copy of the police report or the information for locating the incident report. What to do if you're in an accident If you're in an accident, find a safe place to pullover. Make sure everyone is okay. If you need emergency assistance, call 911. You should also call your parents to let them know what happened. Exchange insurance information with the other driver. Take photos of damage. Call the police to file an accident report. Be timely with all of the actions you take. States have deadlines for filing accident reports and insurance claims. Download Accident Checklist Download, screenshot, and save this checklist to your phone so you know what to do if you're in an accident. Download Checklist Survey Methodology: Survey data was collected in March and April 2021 with 137 respondents through SurveyCircle, Survey Monkey, and emailing Best Company reviewers. This article is the third in a series on teen drivers. Read the complete guide by following the links below: Teen Driving 101: How to Select the Right Car for Your Teen Teen Driving 101: Getting the Right Car Insurance
Once you've determined whether your family will get another car and what kind, the next step is figuring out insurance. (Learn more about important considerations when making this decision.) We'll cover important factors to consider when buying insurance and ways to save on auto insurance premiums. When you add your teen to your policy, be prepared for higher premiums. "Teenagers/new drivers have a higher rate of accidents on the road, which means they may need to file more claims when compared to the average driver. This higher risk can increase your rates, which can be frustrating to grapple with," says David Adler, Adler Insurance Group president. Mike Wall of Next Century Insurance, offers additional insight on what kind of rate increases to anticipate: "According to the Insurance Information Institute, adding a teen girl can increase insurance rates by 50 percent, while adding a teen boy can increase rates by 100 percent." With such a large rate increase, you'll want to choose an insurer with the best rates and find as many discounts as you can. Choosing a good insurer Saving on insurance Choosing a good insurer Taking time to compare coverage options and rates will help you save on premiums while ensuring you and your teen have the coverage you need. "I advise families in this situation to contact a couple of the majors and then a few local providers and have them all present some coverage options for you to weigh against one another as closely as possible with an apples-to-apples approach, where possible," says Brent Thurman, Keystone Insurance Services president. As you consider which insurers to work with, insurance research specialists and customer reviews can help you narrow down your choices. "Opt for a company that offers the best car insurance for teens. Based on in-depth industry research, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, USAA, GEICO, Progressive and AAA offer the best rates for young drivers. Each of these insurers offers some of the highest discounts available for young drivers, as well as perks like accident forgiveness," recommends Cecilia Beard, auto insurance expert for Motor1.com. Customer reviews can also offer helpful insight on companies. By reading reviews, you can get a sense of the customer experience with an insurer and how well it treats its policyholders. Many of the companies Beard identifies are also highly rated by customers on Best Company. GEICO, Progressive, State Farm, AAA, and USAA are ranked in the top 10 insurers using an algorithm that weights customer reviews. Liberty Mutual is ranked 17th but has significantly fewer reviews than the others. Progressive Progressive is ranked first on BestCompany.com. Progressive has 349 reviews with a 4.2/5 average star rating. 5-star — 53 percent 4-star — 25 percent 3-star — 11 percent 2-star — 5 percent 1-star — 7 percent Progressive Auto Insurance Reviews Read customer reviews to learn more about Progressive auto insurance. Read Reviews GEICO GEICO ranks second. It has received 894 customer reviews with a 3.6/5 average rating. Its review breakdown is 5-star — 49 percent 4-star — 16 percent 3-star — 6 percent 2-star — 5 percent 1-star — 25 percent GEICO Auto Insurance Reviews Read customer reviews to learn more about GEICO auto insurance. Read Reviews State Farm State Farm comes in fourth with 554 reviews and a 4.3/5 average rating. 5-star — 56 percent 4-star — 24 percent 3-star — 11 percent 2-star — 4 percent 1-star — 5 percent State Farm Auto Insurance Reviews Read customer reviews to learn more about State Farm auto insurance. Read Reviews AAA AAA follows State Farm in the rankings. It has 473 reviews and an average rating of 4.2/5. Although these are good ratings, it's tricky to gauge the customer satisfaction with auto insurance since an overwhelming majority of the reviews focus on AAA roadside assistance. Below is AAA's review breakdown: 5-star — 63 percent 4-star — 17 percent 3-star — 4 percent 2-star — 2 percent 1-star — 14 percent AAA Auto Insurance Reviews Read customer reviews to learn more about AAA auto insurance. Read Reviews USAA USAA ranks sixth. The insurer has received 362 reviews and an impressive 4.7/5 average star rating. It has the highest percentage of 5-star reviews of the auto insurers mentioned in this section, which is an excellent sign if you are eligible for USAA membership. 5-star — 84 percent 4-star — 10 percent 3-star — 2 percent 2-star — 1 percent 1-star — 2 percent USAA Auto Insurance Reviews Read customer reviews to learn more about USAA auto insurance. Read Reviews Liberty Mutual Liberty Mutual ranked seventeenth on Best Company's list, although the insurer has received far fewer reviews by comparison to the above insurers. Liberty Mutual has received 61 customer reviews with an average rating of 3.8/5. Here's the review breakdown: 5-star — 43 percent 4-star — 25 percent 3-star — 13 percent 2-star — 5 percent 1-star — 15 percent Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance Reviews Read customer reviews to learn more about Liberty Mutual auto insurance. Read Reviews Saving on insurance Once you've found a good insurer, you'll want to check eligibility for discounts. Commonly offered discounts for teens include driver monitoring programs, good student discounts, and drivers education discounts. Driver monitoring programs The programs have become commonly offered by insurers. Using an app or a monitoring device provided by the insurance company, you'll get a rate based on your teen's personal driving habits. Driving monitoring programs are also available for adults. Some companies may offer an initial discount for participating in the program. Keep in mind that rates can be better or worse depending on driving. "Rather than predictive rates based on group trends, these programs allow for a rate based on your driving habits." Janet Ruiz, Insurance Information Institute strategic communications director. Through these apps, teens can also benefit from driving tips based on their habits. When it comes to your premium rate, good driving habits can result in lower costs. Good student With most insurers, teens who maintain good grades qualify for discounts. Typically a B average is required. However, this may vary depending on your insurance carrier. The discount percentage can also vary. For example, GEICO offers up to 15 percent off with its good student discount. In contrast, Progressive advertises that savings through its good student discounts average 10 percent. Speaking from personal experience, Ruiz notes the dual benefits good student discounts can offer parents: "It was a great incentive for my kids. To drive, they had to keep their grades up." Drivers education You can also find discounts for completing an approved drivers training. Some insurers offer discounts for drivers education classes. You can also find discounts for participating in a more specialized course like defensive driving. Typically, your insurer will have a list of approved courses. Once you provide documentation of completion, you can receive a discount. Mike Wall Car Insurance Expert Drivers education and insurance: Insurers frequently offer a 5 to 10 percent discount to teen drivers who complete a Driver's Ed course. Some insurance companies have their own defensive driving program. Others will accept course completion documentation from your teen's high school or from an online program. To encourage participation, driver's education courses are frequently offered for free or at a low cost.
Where do customer reviews and industry trends intersect? We took a look at 2020's car insurance reviews and talked to industry experts to learn more. We'll focus on how the largest patterns in customer reviews relate to trends identified by experts. Here's what reviews reveal about the auto insurance industry in 2020: Car insurers do well with the following: Customer service (60 percent) Cost (27 percent) Claims (21 percent) Coverage (7 percent) Although these numbers show high levels of success, reviews also revealed some complaints: Cost (13 percent) Customer service (10 percent) Claims (5 percent) Coverage (1 percent) These complaints occur less frequently than praise for these items, which is a good sign for the industry as a whole. Customer service (60 percent positive vs. 10 percent negative) Customer service is a key component of the customer experience, and it's a good sign that reviews reveal such a high level of satisfaction with customer service. From 2020's reviews, auto insurers do well with customer service. Reviewers mention honesty and reliability. They appreciated getting help from knowledgeable and proactive agents. The reviewers with a poor customer service experience mentioned poor communication and uncaring agents. Auto insurers can build on this strength by continuing to train their insurance agents and customer service representatives well. Customer service in 2021 Marc Fredman, CCC Information Services Senior Vice President, notes that auto insurers have the difficulty of delivering continuity for policyholders while engaging with them infrequently. Technology can help insurers meet this challenge. "We predict digital communications that connect policyholders and carriers in real-time conversations will become table stakes, and this same technology will begin to unify parties that need to work together to resolve claims, including collision repairers and auto lenders," says Fredman. Technology's role in customer service will increase. While this can help make the customer experience consistent, it also runs the risk of removing the human interaction that many of 2020's reviewers praised. Cost (27 percent positive vs. 13 percent negative) Good pricing attracts and retains customers. Auto insurance is a necessity for car owners, so finding good coverage at a good price matters. A higher percentage of reviewers had positive things to say about cost, mentioning things like affordability, good discounts, low premiums. A lower percentage of reviews did not have a good experience with cost. These reviewers mentioned increased rates and high pricing for the coverage offered. Although auto insurers seem to balance cost and coverage well for policyholders, more often than not, they can do more in this area — whether it's making the cost and coverage tradeoffs clearer for clients or innovating in pricing models. Cost in 2021 COVID-19 drastically changed driving habits, generally reducing driving time and traffic. This change in habits has affected insurance rates. Duncan France, State Farm Insurance Agent, predicts: "Rates will likely remain low for the foreseeable future. Fewer people are driving nationwide, and the work from home trend is here to stay. Eventually I think people will rotate back in and out of the office, but the morning commute and rush hour seem to be a thing of the past!" Lower driving levels has also made Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) more attractive to consumers. "There will be an increase in policies that measure how many miles you drive. This is a rising trend due to the Work-From-Home phenomenon. If you drive 100 miles round trip to work, you will pay more than the WFH person who has zero miles to work (and consequently zero chances of getting in a wreck)," says Mark Anderson, Texas personal injury lawyer. Rates customized based on how you drive and how much you drive can help safe and infrequent drivers save money on their policies. These offerings make it easier for auto insurers to balance cost and coverage for their policyholders. Claims (21 percent positive vs. 5 percent negative) Policyholders buy insurance policies to be able to protect their finances with the ability to make claims. With this trust, policyholders anticipate that their insurer will help them when needed. In 2020, more reviewers had a positive experience with filing claims than reviewers with poor experiences. These reviewers appreciated quick processing, good communication, and felt their claim had been resolved fairly. Reviewers with negative experiences mentioned claims denials, poor communication, and other complications in the claims process. Claims in 2021 Increased use and reliance on technology has been a rising trend throughout many industries, and the pandemic only increased it. Auto insurance is no exception. "Consumers should be prepared for a greater digital experience during the claims process. From notifying their company about an accident to receiving payment, most companies have adopted some form of digital experience into their claims process. The pandemic has forced the industry to reduce our dependence on face-to-face interactions resulting in companies expediting their digital claim strategy," anticipates Charlie Wendland, Branch Insurance Head of Claims. Tech-enabled claims can keep processing efficient and automate communication, which could help insurers capitalize on praise found in 2020's customer reviews. Coverage (7 percent positive vs. 1 percent negative) Coverage is another important element of car insurance, and it goes hand-in-hand with claims. Reviewers didn't have very much to say about coverage. Coverage was described frequently as "good" or "great." Some reviewers with positive perceptions of coverage had been with their insurer for many years. Those with negative comments on coverage were few. These reviewers usually felt that the coverage was low for the price. With coverage occuring in reviews at such low percentages, it's hard to draw conclusions on what car insurers do well and what they can do to improve. COVID-19 response (4 percent) Many auto insurers responded to the COVID-19 crisis and the shift to more remote work by returning part of car insurance premiums to policyholders. Four percent of reviewers mentioned the COVID-19 response of their auto insurer. These mentions were largely positive. Continued effects on the auto insurance industry Long-term effects of the pandemic's crises on the auto insurance have yet to be seen. However, short-term effects will be evident as we continue to confront the pandemic. Anderson, identifies one important trend drivers should be aware of: "There will be more uninsured motorists on the road. As unemployment rises (or remains the same, a relatively high number in 2021 due to pandemic related layoffs), then the number of uninsured motorists also rises. In the DFW metroplex, for example, recent reports show that up to 25 percent of the vehicles do not carry the state mandated insurance. That number will likely increase as the unemployed must prioritize how they spend their money and auto insurance falls to the back of the line. So we recommend to all our clients and family to always carry uninsured motorists coverage. It is relatively inexpensive and can provide the needed protection if the person who causes a wreck has no insurance.” Methodology The qualitative analysis is based on a random sample of 227 reviews from a total of 1,329 reviews left for car insurance companies on BestCompany.com. Before publication, reviews must pass our verification process that helps ensure that reviews are from real people. AAA reviews are primarily about AAA's roadside assistance services. These reviews were omitted from the random sample to prevent the qualitative analysis from being skewed.
If you drive, you need car insurance. You'll want to find a reliable company that offers good coverage at affordable rates. Best Company has received over 3,200 customer reviews in the car insurance industry. We'll take a look at the top-ranked companies and how they compare to statistics for the industry overall. Here are the top five companies on BestCompany.com: Progressive GEICO Allstate State Farm AAA And, here are the overall statistics for the auto insurance industry: Average User Star Rating: 4.1 /5Customer Review Breakdown: 5-Star — 57% 4-Star — 21% 3-Star — 8% 2-Star — 4% 1-Star — 10% Total Review Count: 3,215 Net Promoter Score: 7.6 /10Sentiment Criteria: Customer Service — 3.8 /5 Quality of Product or Service — 3.8 /5 Value for Money — 3.6 /5 Company Trustworthiness — 3.8 /5 Progressive Best Company Rank: 1Average User Star Rating: 4.1/5Customer Review Breakdown: 5-Star — 51% 4-Star — 25% 3-Star — 13% 2-Star — 4% 1-Star — 7% Total Review Count: 270Net Promoter Score: 7.7 /10Sentiment Criteria: Customer Service — 3.9 /5 Quality of Product or Service — 3.8 /5 Value for Money — 3.7/5 Company Trustworthiness — 3.8/5 Progressive vs. auto insurance industry Progressive's customer review statistics on Best Company stack up well with industry averages. Progressive's star rating (4.1 /5) is on par with the industry average (4.1 /5). Its review breakdown also resembles the industry's review breakdown. The 4-star and 5-star review ratings (25 percent and 51 percent respectively) are close, though slightly below what we found for the industry (21 percent and 57 percent). Progressive has a lower percentage of 1-star reviews than the industry, earning 7 percent 1-star reviews compared to the 10 percent earned by the industry as a whole. It also has one of the highest Net Promoter Scores of the top five car insurers. These scores indicate the likelihood customer reviewers on BestCompany.com are to recommend Progressive to friends. What to expect Progressive offers the standard coverage options for personal car insurance. It also offers policies for RVs, ATVs, UTVs, golf carts, and classic cars. You can also buy Mexico car insurance, which is helpful if you're planning a road trip to Mexico. If you drive for work purposes or are a business owner with delivery services, you can buy commercial car insurance through Progressive. Progressive stands out in the industry for the discounts it offers and its rate comparison tools. Its signature Name Your Price® Tool allows you to view policies based on how much you want to pay. Keep in mind that a lower premium usually means less robust coverage. You can find the typical discounts like multi-policy and multi-car from Progressive. Its Snapshot® program customizes your premium rate after monitoring your driving for six months. Progressive also offers a unique discount for continuous insurance. This discount is available based on how long you've maintained car insurance without a lapse in coverage regardless of the insurer. Most insurers only offer a loyalty discount based on how long you've been with them. Company insight Progressive did not provide comments. Customer Review: Ashton Rogers from Fayetteville, Arkansas "Progressive has been my car insurance company for 3 years now and I have never had any issues with them. The customer service is great and I love the app because it is so user-friendly and modern. I was able to add my insurance cards to my Apple Wallet on my phone so that if I need to present them, they are easily accessible." Progressive Car Insurance Learn more about Progressive's auto insurance offerings and read customer reviews. Learn More Back to List GEICO Best Company Rank: 2Average User Star Rating: 3.6/5Customer Review Breakdown: 5-Star — 49% 4-Star — 17% 3-Star — 6% 2-Star — 5% 1-Star — 23% Total Review Count: 724Net Promoter Score: 6.0 /10Sentiment Criteria: Customer Service — 3.5 /5 Quality of Product or Service — 3.4 /5 Value for Money — 3.3 /5 Company Trustworthiness — 3.4 /5 GEICO vs. auto insurance industry GEICO's star rating and review breakdown do not stack up well to industry standards. Its user star rating (3.7/5) is below the industry average (4.1/5). Its 4-star and 5-star review percentages (17 percent and 49 percent respectively) and lower than those for the industry (21 percent and 57 percent). Although these percentages are lower than the industry's, it is promising that a majority of GEICO's reviews are positive. Despite earning a majority of positive reviews, 23 percent of GEICO's reviews are 1-star. This percentage is more than double that for the industry overall (10 percent). Read through both positive and negative reviews to learn more about what to expect when choosing GEICO. What to expect GEICO offers several online tools to help you assess your coverage needs and compare quotes. If you prefer, you can also work with one of GEICO's agents. The company offers all the standard coverages for car insurance policies and allows you to customize your policy to your needs. Like most insurers, GEICO offers many discounts. These include discounts for seniors, insuring more than one vehicle, and having more than one policy from the company. GEICO stands out for its military and federal employee discounts. GEICO is dedicated to good customer service. It's Auto Repair Xpress® Program makes getting your car repaired after submitting a claim a convenient process. You'll drop off your car, get a rental, and be updated on your car's repair status. Company insight GEICO Communications Team "GEICO continually develops technologies and processes that individualize customers’ experiences. Our customer-first approach allows people to conveniently reach us through the channel they most prefer, whether that’s online or mobile, by phone, or meeting with one of our more than 250 GEICO local agents across the country." Customer Review: Brodie from Smithfield, Utah "We have used Geico for car insurance for many years. Filing claims is so easy and the app makes it easy to always have my insurance cards." GEICO Car Insurance Learn more about GEICO's auto insurance offerings and read customer reviews. Learn More Back to List Allstate Best Company Rank: 3Average User Star Rating: 4.1/5Customer Review Breakdown: 5-Star — 50% 4-Star — 30% 3-Star — 11% 2-Star — 3% 1-Star — 6% Total Review Count: 282 Net Promoter Score: 7.9 /10Sentiment Criteria: Customer Service — 3.8 /5 Quality of Product or Service — 3.8 /5 Value for Money — 3.5 /5 Company Trustworthiness — 3.8 /5 Allstate vs. auto insurance industry Allstate's reviews and ratings are better than the auto insurance industry's. It's star rating (4.2/5) is slightly higher than the industry's (4.1/5). Allstate's 4-star and 5-star reviews percentage combined (30 percent and 50 percent respectively) are also slightly higher than the industry's (21 percent and 57 percent). It's a good sign that 80 percent of Allstate's reviews are positive. Allstate's percentage of 1-star reviews (6 percent) is just over half of the percentage received by the industry (10 percent). What to expect Allstate is competitive in the industry because it offers the standard coverage options for personal car insurance. You can also find coverage for collector or classic cars. Allstate's Mexico Tourist Auto Insurance gives you coverage while traveling in Mexico. If you're a rideshare driver, you can close your coverage gap by purchasing Allstate's Ride For Hire® coverage. Choosing Allstate, you can benefit from many savings options, including multi-policy, safety device, and participating in Allstate's safe driving program Drivewise®. Through Drivewise®, you'll get feedback and earn points for safe driving. These points can be redeemed for gift cards, subscriptions, travel, and more. You can earn cash back or policy credits after your first 50 trips. The reward flexibility offered through Drivewise® is distinct from what is offered at other insurers. Allstate also stands out for its Early Signing Discount®, responsible payer, and new car discounts. Company insight Allstate did not provide comments. Customer Review: MikeD from Denver, Colorado "Their customer service is awesome! They took care of everything through the entire process when my wife was in an accident. Would highly recommend." Allstate Car Insurance Learn more about Allstate's auto insurance offerings and read customer reviews. Learn More Back to List State Farm Best Company Rank: 4Average User Star Rating: 4.2/5Customer Review Breakdown: 5-Star — 56% 4-Star — 23% 3-Star — 11% 2-Star — 4% 1-Star — 5% Total Review Count: 491Net Promoter Score: 8.1/10Sentiment Criteria: Customer service — 3.9/5 Quality of Product or Service — 3.9/5 Value for Money — 3.6/5 Company Trustworthiness — 3.9/5 State Farm vs. auto insurance industry State Farm exceeds the industry's ratings and review breakdown. It edges about the industry's high user star rating with a 4.2/5 compared to 4.1/5. Its proportion of 4- and 5-star reviews (23 percent and 56 percent respectively) also surpass the industry's proportion (21 percent and 57 percent). State Farm also has half the proportion of 1-star reviews (5 percent) than the industry overall (10 percent). State Farm also has the highest Net Promoter Score of the top five companies on BestCompany.com. You can be confident when choosing State Farm because of its high performance in customer ratings and reviews. What to expect State Farm is a well-respected insurer and has earned high financial strength ratings. It offers all of the standard coverage options for personal car insurance. You can also find coverage if you're a rideshare driver, need commercial auto insurance, or own an antique or classic car. State Farm is also competitive with the discounts it offers. Like other insurers it offers good driving, safety feature, and bundling discounts. Its Drive Safe and Save™ program monitors your driving and customizes your premium rate based on your performance. Company insight Kelly Pargett, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist "We deliver value to our customers through competitive prices, top customer service, and personalized coverage opportunities like Drive Safe & Save, which puts customers in the driver’s seat. DSS gives policyholders an opportunity to save up to 50 percet on their auto insurance premium just by being a good driver. Every customer is unique and has specific insurance needs. State Farm offers a variety of discounts that can help a customer save money." Customer Review: Nicole Layer from Lincolnwood, Illinois "Been a customer of State Farm for over 20 years and they've always been excellent. Great service, great coverage, great value." State Farm Car Insurance Learn more about State Farm's auto insurance offerings and read customer reviews. Learn More Back to List AAA Best Company Rank: 5Average User Star Rating: 4.1/5Customer Review Breakdown: 5-Star — 63% 4-Star — 17% 3-Star — 4% 2-Star — 2% 1-Star — 14% Total Review Count: 424Net Promoter Score: 7.2/10Sentiment Criteria: Customer service — 3.9/5 Quality of Product or Service — 3.9/5 Value for Money — 3.8/5 Company Trustworthiness — 3.9/5 AAA vs. auto insurance industry AAA does well when compared to the auto insurance industry. Its user star rating (4.2/5) edges out ahead of the industry's (4.1/5). The company has also earned a higher percentage of 5-star reviews, 63 percent compared to the industry's 57 percent. When looking at 4-star and 5-star reviews combined, AAA has 80 percent compared to the industry's 78 percent. It's encouraging that AAA has earned such a positive response from customer reviewers. However, its proportion of 1-star reviews is 14 percent, 4 percent higher than the industry's 10 percent. Although AAA measures up well in reviews and ratings, it's important to note that many of AAA's reviews on Best Company focus on their roadside assistance services. What to expect AAA has high financial strength ratings, which indicates its financial stability as an insurer. It offers the standard options for personal car insurance. AAA stands out with its new car added protection rider that covers repairs or replaces your car without depreciation according to the policy terms. This option is especially valuable if you've recently purchased a brand new car. AAA offers many discounts, including those common to the industry like multi-policy and multi-vehicle. It stands out for its AAA membership and membership loyalty discount that is available to AAA members. This discount is in addition to an auto insurance loyalty discount. Company insight Ellen Edmonds, spokesperson for AAA "Insurance protects your financial well-being, and can help make things right when life goes wrong. AAA works with you to meet your unique needs by offering insurance coverage that is backed by more than 100 years of financial strength and stability, and a top-notch customer service experience of insurance agents available nationwide. AAA also offers exclusive products and discounts that reward loyal Members." Customer Review: Mo from Windham, New Hampshire "They’re great insurance, very helpful and on top of things. Towing is helpful and value is good. Discounts as well are good" AAA Car Insurance Learn more about AAA's auto insurance offerings and read customer reviews. Learn More Note: Data is as of November 2020.
GEICO has received over 700 customer reviews on BestCompany.com with a majority of 4-star and 5-star reviews (17 percent and 49 percent, respectively). To understand more about GEICO's satisfied customers, I looked at a random sample of GEICO's 4-star and 5-star reviews. Here's what I found: Customer service Good customer service was the most frequently mentioned praise, occurring in 56 percent of 4-star and 5-star reviews. Specific praise for customer service included the ability to reach a representative quickly and assistance finding discounts to lower costs. Here are two examples: Helpful customer service representatives and their commitment to helping clients save are benefits of choosing GEICO. Cost Occuring in 50 percent of 4-star and 5-star reviews, cost satisfaction and savings was the second most common praise offered for GEICO. Customers were pleased with the competitiveness of GEICO's rates and the discounts and savings offered. Customer Review: Stevey Shumway from Midvale, Utah "I currently have Geico Auto Insurance and love it! Geico has offered me great coverage at a great price. Super happy with their service." Since savings features prominently in GEICO's marketing, this high level of cost satisfaction is a good sign. Nine percent of reviewers praised GEICO for offering good coverage. Savings and good coverage is a nice combination. However, it should be noted that 8 percent of 4-star and 5-star reviewers mentioned switching from GEICO because their rates were raised or changed. These customers found better deals at other companies. Claims 24 percent of 4-star and 5-star reviewers mentioned satisfaction with GEICO's claim process. Not every reviewer had needed to file a claim with GEICO. Although 24 percent is comparatively low compared to the frequency of cost and customer service satisfaction, it's still a helpful indicator of GEICO's claims process. Customer Review: Nancy Morales from Gilbert, Arizona "Geico has a great response time to my claims. They addressed my issues/concerns and ensured I had repairs done timely. Their customer service representatives also made it clear on what I was required to do to get my repairs completed." While you hope you never need to file a claim, it's the reason you buy insurance. An easy, quick claims process matters. Convenience Reviewers on BestCompany.com also liked the convenience GEICO offers through its easy-to-use website and app. Praise for these features occurred in 15 percent of GEICO's 4-star and 5-star reviews. Customer Review: Amie "Love them i have the app i can see my account pay my bill or even change the date of my payment" The ability to take care of your insurance policy when you want and in the way that's most convenient for you is another benefit of choosing GEICO for auto insurance. Praise for GEICO reveals satisfaction with customer service and cost. The 4-star and 5-star reviewers were also largely satisfied with the claims process — its timeliness and judgements made. The convenience of accessing information online and using the GEICO app was another nice feature of working with GEICO according to positive reviews. GEICO Auto Insurance Learn more about GEICO car insurance by reading our expert analysis and more customer reviews. Learn More Methodology Analysis based on a random sample of 174 from 478 4-star and 5-star reviews with a 90 percent confidence level and a 5 percent margin of error. Reviews are from June 2017 through October 2020.
With so many ways to find cheap car insurance, drivers throughout the United States shouldn’t have to overpay for coverage. Whether you have a good or bad driving history, a teen or college student driver on your policy, or multiple vehicles insured, lowering your premiums is nearly always possible. Car insurance is a regular line item on your monthly budget. Finding a more cost-effective option can help you save money or give you more flexibility with your budget. We'll review what affects premium rates as well as nine savings strategies. (Skip to the savings strategies.) What affects car insurance rates David Adler Insurance Expert Many factors affect underwriting: Insurance companies calculate auto insurance premiums based on a wealth of factors. Of course, they will take into consideration the age and type of your vehicle(s), but that's not all. Insurers will also use your age and gender, your credit score and claims history, and even your marital status when calculating your car insurance rates. In addition, your insurer will also take into account how much you drive, where you live, and any safety features that are included in your car. Insurers consider many things when issuing policies and determining rates. These factors can vary based on where you live. For example, California restricts the use of credit scores when underwriting car insurance policies. Since many things can affect your rate, determining which ones have the most impact will make it easier to find savings opportunities. "Basically it'll come down to: How old are you, where are you, how much do you drive, and what's your driving record? In other words, do insurers think you are more inclined to do something risky? Are you in a place with lots of accidents, and how much time are you spending on the road?” says Stuart Winchester, licensed insurance broker and Marble founder and CEO. How to lower your rate While understanding how insurers assess risk as Winchester mentions can help you identify ways to lower your overall risk, reducing your risk can take time. Striking a balance between lowering your risk and living your life also matters. You still need to get to work, and there may not be much you can do about your commute. We'll cover additional ways to save beyond lowering your risk below. 1. Only get what you need Most states require a set amount of coverage for drivers to carry. These rules vary by state and typically include liability, medical payments or personal injury protection, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Obviously, carrying the minimum required coverage is usually the cheapest option. However, it may not meet your coverage needs and increase your risk of being sued. If you're a high-income earner, you'll want to have much higher liability coverage limits. Higher limits generally result in a higher cost. Auto insurers offer other types of coverage including collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage helps pay for repair costs for your car in a collision. Comprehensive coverage also helps pay for other types of damage to your car like hail, fire, vandalism, flood, or a collision with an animal. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to drop collision and comprehensive coverage. For example, cars that are worth less than the deductible or would cost more to fix than the car's worth are good candidates for not getting collision or comprehensive coverage. You can put the savings on the premium towards your savings for a new car. If you're leasing or have a loan on your car, you'll likely be required to carry this coverage so you can keep covering monthly payments. Nestor Hugo Solari Car Insurance Expert Note coverage options and drivers on auto policy: One of the most effective ways to lower the cost of your car insurance premium is by modifying the coverage options in your policy. Determine if you need coverage that you have never used before and consider the people who are registered on your policy. For example, if you live with someone who will not be driving your car, you have the option of excluding them from the policy. 2. Comparison shop Car insurance is like any other product or service — the drivers who shop around and compare reviews and prices always get the best deals. This starts with the fact that you should never assume one company is cheaper or better than another. Most providers spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year convincing consumers they offer the lowest rates or the best coverage. However, the only way to know for sure is to get an insurance quote online and compare policies, coverage, premiums, and service. Just remember you don’t absolutely need to switch insurers if you find a lower price elsewhere — you can simply use the competing bid as a negotiating tool to bring down the rate at your current company. Kirsten Reneau Car Expert Compare rates regularly: It can be overwhelming to get car insurance, and tempting to stick with one provider after you’ve found someone that works. However, you should be getting quotes from other insurers at least every two years, just in case there is a lower rate out there. But remember: cheaper isn't always better. If rates seem too good to be true, they may be. You should always check an insurer's financial strength ratings, brand reputation, and responses to claims. Financial strength ratings show how financially stable an insurer is. You don't want a policy from an insurance provider that may go bankrupt and be unable to pay your claim. You can check a company's brand reputation to get a sense of customer satisfaction levels. You can learn more about formal complaints by checking NAIC's complaint index. Customer reviews are also a helpful, informal read on how well an insurer treats its customers. (Reviews on Best Company must pass a seven-point verification process before publication, so you can trust reviews on our site.) Working with a trusted and independent insurance agent can also help you identify trusted insurers. They'll have a good sense of an insurer's reputation with claim payments and understand the market, so you'll have a sense of whether you're choosing a good insurer and if your rate is competitive. As you compare costs, be sure to understand the typical rates in your area. Drivers may be tempted to compare their current premiums to the overall national average or family and friends who live in different states. Unfortunately, car insurance rates are hyper-local, meaning where you live plays a huge role in your cost of coverage. For instance, different states have different levels of required coverage mandated by state regulations and laws. Similarly, different states, cities, and zip codes can have vastly different insurance risks. To determine whether you are paying too much for your policy, you’ll need to compare average car insurance rates by state. 3. Ask about discounts Some insurance companies won’t automatically apply all the discounts you qualify for. In some cases, you may need to request the discounts and possibly prove that you meet the requirements. Here are some discounts to look for: Multiple policies — companies offer lower rates to policyholders who have more than one type of coverage with them. Multiple vehicles — if you’re insuring more than one car on the policy, you’ll likely get a price break. Clean driving record — although insurers will apply this automatically, your driving history may have discrepancies. If you don’t currently have it applied, verify the claims for accuracy. Pay upfront — if you can afford it, pay your premium for 6 or 12 months upfront to earn about 5 percent off your total cost of coverage for the year. Autopay — if you can't afford to pay in full, many insurers offer discounts for setting up autopay. Safety features — companies will often charge lower premiums to insure cars with safety features, including anti-theft devices, airbags, traction control systems, etc. Professional organizations — if you’re part of a professional or affiliate group that has a relationship with the insurer, make sure it is noted on your account. Safety course — some insurers offer discounts to policyholders who complete an approved safety course. Grades — good students in high school or college will receive a discount for a “B” average or better. Just note that your provider may ask to see a transcript for proof. A long list of discounts won’t necessarily yield the cheapest insurance, so always compare the final price. 4. Use driver monitoring programs Many insurers offer driver monitoring programs, typically through an app. When you participate in this program, you may receive a small discount initially just for participating. Once the initial period has passed, you'll receive a rate customized to your driving habits. If you're a safe driver, these programs can save you lots of money. If your driving habits aren't as good, you may end up with a higher rate. These programs are designed to reward safe drivers, and most offer helpful suggestions for improving your driving. 5. Adjust the deductible If you’re a good driver and don’t file many small claims, opting for a higher deductible makes sense. Or, if you simply want to save money on your annual cost of car insurance, then you should consider raising your deductible. Your deductible may be increasing your premiums substantially if you’ve opted for a $250 deductible or have a low amount set for your comprehensive and collision coverage. A change from $250 to $500 can save you money. "Insurance companies generally offer different rates based on deductible amounts, so a higher deductible can actually lower the cost of your auto insurance premium," advises Solari, Sigo co-founder and CEO. Be careful when increasing your deductible because it puts more financial responsibility on you in the event of a claim. Make sure your deductible is affordable. 6. Check insurance costs before purchasing a car Most Americans may not think about it in advance, but car insurance is a monthly or annual expense of car ownership. If you’re considering an auto loan and are leaning towards one that’s on the edge of your budget, then insurance costs may push you outside of your comfort zone. "One big factor is how much your car costs to begin with. More expensive cars will be more expensive to replace and therefore more expensive to insure. The cost of repairs is another factor to consider," advises Jake McKenzie, Auto Accessories Garage content manager. As you're looking at cars, pay attention to repair costs and compare insurance rates on different new cars before arriving at the dealership, especially if you want to purchase a sports car or luxury vehicle. Beyond replacement and repair costs, a car's safety ratings and features also have an effect: "The cost of your car is a major factor in the cost to insure it, but other variables are taken into consideration. These include the likelihood of theft (where you keep it overnight), the cost of repairs, its engine size, and the overall safety record of the car. Cars with high-quality safety equipment might qualify for premium discounts, so always mention any features your car has," says John Peterson, Safe Drive Gear editor. Thoroughly researching car safety ratings, features, insurance costs, and more will help you make a smart purchase decision that meets your transportation and financial needs. 7. Improve your credit score While some states prohibit the use of your credit score as a car insurance rating factor, most states allow companies to factor this variable in. The logic behind the idea is that individuals who are financially responsible tend to be safer drivers. If you have bad credit, be cognizant that it may be affecting more than just your ability to get a home loan from the bank. Similarly, if you’ve recently taken steps to significantly improve your credit score, make sure your insurance company is using your updated record. It may be possible to ask them to pull a fresh report to demonstrate that you’ve fixed your credit history. 8. Drive safely Perhaps this strategy goes without saying. However, you can always improve your driving, especially if you don't have a great driving record. Avoid speeding. Follow road signs and traffic lights. Over time, you'll show you're a lower-risk driver and qualify for lower rates. 9. Be cautious when making claims Insurers check your claims history when deciding whether or not to insure you and at what cost. Be careful about the claims you file. In some cases, too many claims can mean that an insurer won't issue a policy. Knowing how insurers assess risk by looking at the car and driver and using the strategies above will help ensure savings when you buy car insurance. Don't get so caught up in savings that you compromise on coverage. Get the coverage you need so you have financial peace of mind while you're on the road.