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5 ways to compare car insurance companies

By Posted : July 10, 2017

five ways to compare car insurance companiesComparing car insurance companies is easy, once you know what to look for.

The cutest mascot shouldn't be the deciding factor.

Car insurance companies evaluate and appeal to different drivers. For instance, some companies specialize in families, others in older drivers and some in drivers with tarnished driving records. So comparing car insurance companies is just as important as comparing car insurance quotes.

By doing your homework, you can save hundreds of dollars by comparing car insurance companies and rates. And that's easy with Insurance.com's quote comparison tool. 

Our online quote comparison tool let's you see side-by-side car insurance rates:

  • By completing one form, you will remove the hassle of filling out multiple forms from various carriers.
  • You will get online car insurance quotes directly from top carriers in our network.
  • You will see multiple quotes from major insurance companies all on one page that will allow you to compare rates and make an educated choice. 

Get affordable auto insurance quotes>

Here are five ways to compare car insurance companies and find your best match.

1. Research the car insurance company’s consumer track record.

To narrow down your search among car insurance companies, Hunter recommends starting with your state insurance commission's website (State car insurance information).

"Most states have a buyer's guide for auto insurance that lists the companies that sell insurance in your state," says J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America in Washington, D.C.Compare insurance quote

For an overall rating of company performance, including complaint ratios and financial ratings (A.M. Best), Insure.com's "Best insurance companies" will give you a great summary of top companies.

Hunter says state complaint ratios are more important than financial ratings for car insurance. Every state has an insurance guaranty fund that will pay some claims if the insurance company goes bust. It's still prudent, though, to check up on the insurer's financial health.

"However, if you're only shopping every few years, then you should look at the A.M. Best ratings just to make sure the insurance company is financially solvent and can pay you if you need to make a claim," he says.

"The two most important things to look at when choosing an auto insurance company are the price and the claims service," says Hunter. "Choose the company that has both a low level of customer complaints and low prices."

2. Compare complaint ratios.

Hunter suggests choosing five to seven companies and checking their complaint records on the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's (NAIC) website or on your state’s insurance department website. "You can quickly knock out the companies with the highest number of complaints, because you never want to work with an insurance company that doesn't offer good customer service," says Hunter.

To access this information, go to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Consumer Information Source. The site shows reports of insurer’s national complaint statistics. Enter the company name and type of insurance in the search box and you'll see a list of reports.

You can find complaint ratio reports that show the ratio of the company's U.S. market share of closed complaints compared to the company's market share of premiums. Using this formula prevents larger insurance companies from being unfairly graded for having more complaints simply due to customer size. Compare the company's complaint ratio number with the national median provided. You can also review the complaint trend report to see whether the company's complaints have been increasing or decreasing over time.

As of late June, auto insurance complaints accounted for 29 percent of those investigated by state insurance departments, ranking second behind accident and health with 47 percent, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Claims-handling delays topped the complaint list, (16%) followed by denial of claims (14%) and unsatisfactory settlement offers (11%). Claim-handling/prompt payment ranked fourth, with 6 percent. When comparing car insurance companies, check to be sure ones you’re considering do not have lots of complaints in these areas. 

Hunter also recommends checking the most recent Consumer Reports survey of car insurance providers.

3. Compare the exact same coverage when comparing car insurance companies.

The best way to save on your car insurance is to buy only what you need, says Hunter. Use Insurance.com's calculator to get a recommendation of how much car insurance to buy.

Insurance.com's car insurance coverage calculator >

"If you have good health insurance you don't need to pay extra for PIP (Personal Injury Protection), and if you have an older car, you don't always need to pay for collision insurance."

Hunter says most people only need liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.

He says you should establish your desired coverage limits before shopping and then be sure to use those same limits for every car insurance quote.

Auto insurance companies average rates by state

Below you'll see how major car insurance companies compare in your state for price for full coverage ($100,000 per person in liability, up to $300,000 per accident, with $100,000 in property damage liablity; comprehensive and collision carrying a $500 deductible). Enter your state in the search field to see major insurers ranked cheapest to most expensive.

StateCompanyAverage annual rate
Alaska State Farm $979
Alaska Geico $1,075
Alaska Progressive $1,080
Alaska Allstate $1,304
Alabama Geico $759
Alabama Mid Century $1,172
Alabama Nationwide $1,197
Alabama Allstate $1,257
Alabama State Farm $1,572
Alabama Progressive $1,840
Arkansas Geico $980
Arkansas State Farm $1,165
Arkansas Farmers $1,176
Arkansas Nationwide $1,483
Arkansas Progressive $1,594
Arkansas Allstate $1,821
Arizona Geico $977
Arizona Progressive $1,047
Arizona Farmers $1,195
Arizona State Farm $1,392
Arizona Nationwide $1,719
Arizona Allstate $1,807
California Geico $944
California United Financial $1,128
California Nationwide $1,379
California Nationwide $1,756
California Farmers $1,932
California State Farm $1,967
Colorado Geico $813
Colorado State Farm $1,241
Colorado Farmers $1,516
Colorado Progressive $1,559
Colorado Allstate $1,889
Connecticut Geico $946
Connecticut Nationwide $1,254
Connecticut State Farm $1,463
Connecticut Progressive $2,026
Connecticut Allstate $2,462
Connecticut Foremost $2,478
DC Geico $713
DC Progressive $1,496
DC State Farm $1,518
DC Nationwide $1,977
DC Allstate $2,913
Delaware Geico $1,134
Delaware Progressive $1,333
Delaware Nationwide $1,492
Delaware State Farm $1,872
Delaware Allstate $2,398
Florida Geico $1,192
Florida State Farm $1,611
Florida Progressive $1,754
Florida 21st Century Centennial $1,972
Florida Allstate $2,584
Georgia Geico $762
Georgia Nationwide $1,303
Georgia State Farm $1,372
Georgia Progressive $1,563
Georgia Allstate $1,701
Hawaii Geico $857
Hawaii State Farm $1,023
Hawaii Allstate $1,389
Hawaii Progressive $1,646
Hawaii Farmers $2,376
Iowa Amco Ins Co $645
Iowa Geico $693
Iowa Farmers $933
Iowa State Farm $945
Iowa Progressive $1,286
Iowa Allstate $1,589
Idaho Geico $713
Idaho Farmers $800
Idaho State Farm $845
Idaho Progressive $848
Idaho Depositors Ins Co $863
Idaho Allstate $1,577
Illinois Geico $590
Illinois Amco Ins Co $678
Illinois State Farm $1,011
Illinois Illinois Farmers $1,170
Illinois Progressive $1,193
Illinois Allstate $1,375
Indiana Geico $651
Indiana Illinois Farmers $748
Indiana Progressive $854
Indiana Nationwide $866
Indiana State Farm $1,095
Indiana Allstate $1,569
Kansas Nationwide $814
Kansas Geico $823
Kansas State Farm $1,166
Kansas Farmers $1,249
Kansas Progressive $1,682
Kansas Allstate $1,718
Kentucky Geico $881
Kentucky Nationwide $1,631
Kentucky Progressive $1,693
Kentucky State Farm $1,734
Kentucky Allstate $2,822
Louisiana Geico $1,540
Louisiana State Farm $2,023
Louisiana Allstate $2,316
Louisiana Progressive $2,881
Massachusetts Geico $865
Massachusetts State Farm $884
Massachusetts Progressive $1,272
Massachusetts Allstate $1,742
Maryland Progressive $1,102
Maryland Nationwide $1,114
Maryland Geico $1,199
Maryland State Farm $1,357
Maryland Allstate $2,177
Maine Geico $517
Maine State Farm $948
Maine Progressive $1,025
Maine Allstate $1,212
Michigan Geico $1,027
Michigan Progressive $1,714
Michigan Titan $2,177
Michigan Allstate $2,849
Michigan State Farm $3,135
Michigan Farmers $3,999
Minnesota Geico $935
Minnesota Illinois Farmers $1,030
Minnesota Allied $1,188
Minnesota State Farm $1,190
Minnesota Progressive $1,295
Minnesota Allstate $1,483
Missouri Allied $724
Missouri Geico $800
Missouri Farmers $1,051
Missouri State Farm $1,279
Missouri Progressive $1,303
Missouri Allstate $1,769
Mississippi Geico $894
Mississippi Nationwide $1,184
Mississippi Progressive Gulf Ins Co $1,268
Mississippi State Farm $1,353
Mississippi Allstate $1,917
Montana Geico $848
Montana Progressive $1,112
Montana State Farm $1,149
Montana Depositors $1,238
Montana Mid Century $1,244
Montana Allstate $1,753
North Carolina Progressive $622
North Carolina Geico $704
North Carolina State Farm $845
North Carolina Farmers $1,046
North Carolina Nationwide $1,071
North Carolina Nationwide $1,205
North Carolina Allstate $1,230
North Dakota Allied $753
North Dakota Geico $897
North Dakota Progressive $1,047
North Dakota State Farm $1,132
North Dakota Allstate $1,502
North Dakota Mid Century $2,560
Nebraska Allied $711
Nebraska Geico $978
Nebraska State Farm $1,003
Nebraska Mid Century $1,192
Nebraska Allstate $1,393
Nebraska Progressive $1,403
New Hampshire Geico $550
New Hampshire Nationwide $867
New Hampshire State Farm $1,036
New Hampshire Progressive $1,465
New Hampshire Allstate $1,588
New Jersey 21st Century Centennial $762
New Jersey Geico $1,104
New Jersey Progressive $1,255
New Jersey Allstate NJ $1,761
New Jersey State Farm $1,847
New Mexico Geico $894
New Mexico Progressive $998
New Mexico State Farm $1,177
New Mexico Farmers $1,251
New Mexico Allstate $1,948
Nevada Geico $1,342
Nevada Mid Century $1,537
Nevada Progressive $1,663
Nevada State Farm $1,726
Nevada Victoria $1,955
Nevada Allstate $2,256
New York Geico $993
New York Progressive $1,160
New York Allstate $1,587
New York State Farm $1,855
New York Nationwide $2,098
New York Foremost $2,858
Ohio Geico $619
Ohio State Farm $881
Ohio Farmers $887
Ohio Progressive $999
Ohio Nationwide $1,015
Ohio Allstate $1,310
Oklahoma Geico $1,050
Oklahoma Farmers $1,327
Oklahoma State Farm $1,416
Oklahoma Allstate $1,918
Oklahoma Progressive $2,506
Oregon Geico $933
Oregon State Farm $1,043
Oregon Nationwide $1,121
Oregon Progressive $1,238
Oregon Farmers $1,594
Oregon Allstate $1,656
Pennsylvania Geico $703
Pennsylvania Nationwide $711
Pennsylvania State Farm $1,284
Pennsylvania Allstate $1,729
Pennsylvania Progressive $3,183
Rhode Island State Farm $1,132
Rhode Island Geico $1,292
Rhode Island Nationwide $1,678
Rhode Island Progressive $2,092
Rhode Island Allstate $2,246
South Carolina Geico $1,050
South Carolina Allstate $1,178
South Carolina Nationwide $1,200
South Carolina Progressive $1,359
South Carolina State Farm $1,511
South Dakota Geico $708
South Dakota Nationwide $938
South Dakota Mid Century $982
South Dakota State Farm $1,052
South Dakota Progressive $1,110
South Dakota Allstate $1,562
Tennessee Geico $764
Tennessee Nationwide $796
Tennessee State Farm $1,131
Tennessee Progressive $1,223
Tennessee Mid Century $1,576
Tennessee Allstate $1,794
Texas Farmers $905
Texas Geico $1,027
Texas Colonial $1,247
Texas Progressive $1,328
Texas State Farm $1,348
Texas Allstate $1,949
Utah Geico $684
Utah Mid Century $1,016
Utah Allied $1,119
Utah Allstate $1,353
Utah Progressive $1,503
Utah State Farm $1,518
Virginia Nationwide $744
Virginia Geico $894
Virginia State Farm $969
Virginia Allstate $1,102
Virginia Progressive $1,150
Vermont Geico $485
Vermont Nationwide $789
Vermont Progressive $1,103
Vermont Allstate $1,183
Vermont State Farm $1,255
Washington Nationwide $1,028
Washington Geico $1,075
Washington Progressive $1,092
Washington State Farm $1,160
Washington Farmers $1,335
Washington Allstate $1,455
Wisconsin Geico $663
Wisconsin State Farm $914
Wisconsin Mid Century $1,021
Wisconsin Artisan $1,176
Wisconsin Allstate $1,484
Wisconsin Nationwide $2,851
West Virginia Geico $1,149
West Virginia Progressive $1,238
West Virginia State Farm $1,309
West Virginia Nationwide $1,327
West Virginia Allstate $1,853
Wyoming State Farm $1,128
Wyoming Geico $1,287
Wyoming Farmers $1,688
Wyoming Allstate $1,874

*Rates were fielded by Quadrant Information Services from up to six major insurers in nearly every ZIP code of each state. Driver profile: male, age 40, married, clean record and good credit, driving 2016 Honda Accord.

4. Check for car insurance discounts.

 

Before you begin comparing car insurance quotes, make sure you know about your potential car insurance discounts for things like bundling home and auto insurance with the same company, good grades, a good driving record, anti-theft devices and anti-lock brakes. Ask each insurance company for any other possible discounts so that you are comparing the lowest possible rates.

You can also raise your car insurance deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage to reduce your premiums. If you do this, make sure you are using the same deductible with each company so that your rate comparison is accurate.

5. Compare optional auto insurance coverage.

Many insurance companies offer optional coverage for things like rental car coverage while your car is being repaired, towing and labor coverage or even CD/DVD replacement costs if these items are stolen from your car.

"Don't take any optional insurance coverage unless you really think you need it," says Hunter.

However, if one company offers optional coverage that you want at the same price or close to the price of another company's insurance policy without the optional extras, it may be worth choosing the policy with the options, says Hunter.

Related article: How to compare car insurance quotes - gives additional details and tips when you're shopping for car insurance.

Find car insurance quotes with our quote comparison tool >

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Check this box if you, your spouse or a parent ever served in the armed services.