Everything You Need to Know About the Biggest Car Insurance Companies

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If you didn’t already know, the car insurance market is dominated by a few players whose commercials you might have seen on TV. Think State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, and the like. 

The largest insurers offer policies nationwide and provide dozens of different options to let customers find the right combination of coverage and value. But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, which makes it all the more important to be a savvy shopper and do your due diligence by comparing car insurance rates across multiple insurers — big or small. 

“Buying insurance isn’t just shopping for the cheapest rate. Though it’s very important to get a fair rate, it’s also thinking about what you need. There’s more research to do than the insurance companies lead on in their silly ad campaigns,” says Douglas Heller, an insurance consultant and expert with the Consumer Federation of America. 

Top 5 Largest Car Insurance Companies 

When shopping for insurance, people often focus solely on price. But knowing how carriers differ in their insurance product offerings, claims reputation, service quality, and many other features is just as  important.

“You’re going to have different needs for coverage as your own exposure grows,” Heller says. “The fact that you might be able to find a cheap policy doesn’t mean it’s the right policy for you.”

Pro Tip

Before you begin shopping for a policy, review the basics on how car insurance works.

We put together a list of the five largest insurance companies, from largest to smallest by market share. These insurance companies tend to offer the most value for a range of consumers, so use this information as a guide to help you navigate your options, but also keep in mind that what you’re looking for in a car insurance policy might be highly specific.

CarrierPremiums Written in 2019 (Billions)Market Share2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study 
State Farm$40.916.1%Above Average (881)
GEICO (Berkshire Hathaway)$34.913.8%Below Average (871)
Progressive$3112.2%Below Average (856)
Allstate$23.69.3%Above Average (876)
USAA$15.26.0%Above Average (890)
Sources: Latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Insurance Information Institute, and 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.

State Farm

State Farm is the largest personal auto insurer, with nearly 20,000 agents spread across the U.S. The Illinois-based company got started in 1922 and has a generous selection of insurance products. 

It not only offers standard auto insurance coverage, but also insurance for your home, life, and more. If you bundle your car insurance with another type of coverage like homeowners or renters insurance, you could get a discount of up to 17%, according to its website. 

State Farm is available everywhere in the U.S., but some coverage features aren’t. Many of its reviews show that customers appreciate its level of service for claims and having a local agent who they can get in touch with quickly.

What stands out to us: State Farm offers lots of unique discounts, such as up to 15% off for taking a driver safety course, and as much as 20% off if two or more cars in your household are insured by State Farm. Additionally, State Farm offers rideshare insurance in most states. If you drive for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, this type of coverage lets you combine personal and ridesharing use into one policy.

Average annual premium for full coverage: $1,422*

J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating: Above Average

GEICO

GEICO, a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owned by investor Warren Buffett, offers some of the lowest rates, national availability and an easy shopping experience. GEICO insures more than 28 million vehicles and has more than 17 million auto policies in force, according to its website. It’s available in all 50 states and Washington D.C. 

As the second-largest car insurer in the country, it offers all the typical car insurance coverages, plus a few extras add-ons and discounts. For example, GEICO offers a discount for being a good driver; you could save up to 22% on most coverages if you haven’t been in an accident for five years. Take a look at this running list of all of GEICO’s car insurance discounts. Reviews for GEICO indicate that customers are consistently pleased with their customer service and lower-than-average rates.

What stands out to us: GEICO’s easy-to-use-digital tools create a smooth service and shopping experience. GEICO’s app makes it easy to manage your policy, get quotes, and file claims from wherever you are. For more traditional service, there’s 24/7 customer service online, or you can speak with a call center representative. 

Average annual premium for full coverage: $1,325*

J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating: Below Average 

Progressive

As the third-largest car insurer in the U.S., Progressive offers all the standard car insurance coverages you need, plus a number of helpful add-ons like rideshare insurance, gap insurance, pet injury protection, and car insurance valid in Mexico. The average cost of liability-only car insurance from Progressive varies between $114 and $190 per month, depending on where you live. Additionally, the company offers a slew of discounts, ranging from loyalty-based auto discounts to driver-based auto discounts, and claims that 99% of its customers earn at least one discount. 

What stands out to us: Progressive’s noted feature, known as the “Name Your Price Tool,” provides you with quotes from other insurers so you can compare prices side-by-side and see the best coverage options available. Another notable feature that Progressive offers is its Snapshot program, which is a free optional program that uses technology to collect information on your driving habits. The safer you drive, the more you can save —  as much as $145 per year. But you do forsake some elements of privacy when you opt-in to a program like this because you’re attaching a device to your car that transmits data to the insurance company about your driving activity. For example, Progressive would be able to track the car’s location using GPS, the car’s speed, and how often you drive.

Average annual premium for full coverage: $1,419*

J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating: Below Average 

Allstate

Allstate — known for the slogan “You’re in good hands” — is the fourth-largest car insurer in the U.S. Allstate is available everywhere in the U.S. and offers generous features that don’t usually cost extra. For example, Allstate issues up to a six-month credit on your car insurance premium if you’re not pleased with how a claim was handled. In over 40 states where it’s available, the guarantee comes free with all standard policies. However, Allstate’s average annual premium for full coverage is higher than many other large insurance providers. 

What stands out to us: Allstate has good savings programs for teens and young drivers, safe driver discounts through its Drivewise program, and a pay-per-per-mile program called Milewise. The company also helps protect your driving record with accident forgiveness. Allstate has a massive reach, so it’s a good choice for customers who want to access local agents anywhere in the country. 

Average annual premium for full coverage: $1,920*

J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating: Above Average

USAA

USAA, known for high marks in customer satisfaction, has the cheapest annual premium of the top five. But there’s a catch: it only offers insurance to military members, veterans, and their families. USAA offers several types of auto insurance coverage and generous discounts to its customers, as well as accident forgiveness and rideshare insurance. It’s one of the more comprehensive carriers because it offers several financial products outside of insurance, which makes it an ideal one-stop shop for those in the military or veterans. 

What stands out to us: USAA’s car insurance has features designed specifically for military members’ needs. For example, customers can get reduced rates for low annual mileage and up to a 60% discount for vehicles stored during deployment. USAA also provides several other discounts for having a car with advanced safety features, safe driving, and bundling auto with homeowners or renters. Plus, the company has one of the highest claims satisfaction ratings, according to J.D. Power. 

Average annual premium for full coverage: $1,252*

J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating: Above Average

*Average annual premium rates are from Bankrate’s latest data. Full coverage includes liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance.