Allstate, Progressive, Farmers, State Farm, and GEICO are five of the largest auto insurance companies in America. Not only are they available in every state, but they represent the leaders in many of those states. Sometimes they lead with low premiums, other times with specific niche products, and often with customer service. In fact, any single one of these five companies could be one of the top competitors in any given state in several categories.
Which of the five should you choose as your own auto insurance carrier? Each has its own advantages and drawbacks, so you’ll need to evaluate them based on your own personal circumstances and driver profile.
In a nutshell
- Allstate offers comprehensive insurance coverage for all areas of your life, providing plenty of bundling opportunities.
- Progressive offers so many discounts they’ll end up being the lowest-cost provider for many drivers in many states.
- Farmers offers a generous discount program for mature and older drivers.
- State Farm offers the lowest premiums based on nationwide auto insurance premium averages.
- GEICO offers generous plans for young drivers and those with violations, which is why they are often the lowest-cost provider for many drivers.
Compare Car Insurance Plans
Allstate is one of the oldest and best-established insurance companies in America and offers policies to cover just about any risk. That will improve the likelihood of getting a rich bundling discount. They rank above average in the all-important category of customer satisfaction. That matters because that ranking includes claims experience. The whole purpose of having insurance is for handling claims. Allstate ranks high in that department.
Allstate is a major provider in all 50 states, and is especially strong in specific auto industry niches, like high-risk drivers.
They also offer plenty of generous discounts. Two of the more interesting are Deductible Rewards and Milewise. With Deductible Rewards, you can get $100 taken off your deductible for each year you are accident-free. That means a $500 deductible can be reduced to zero after five years of accident-free driving.
Milewise is Allstates program for low mileage drivers. That’s because the premium is based on how many miles you drive each year. Typically, if you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, this plan can reduce your premium. However, it’s only available in 16 states.
Policy Options: Accident forgiveness, personal injury protection (PIP mandatory in some states), rideshare coverage, car insurance for travel to Mexico, personal umbrella, rental reimbursement, classic cars, sound system coverage, roadside coverage.
Discounts: Deductible Rewards, Milewise (not available in all states), Drivewise (monitoring your driving), new car, multi-policy, vehicle safety equipment, Smart Student, ePolicy (paperless), full premium payment, early signing.
- Above-average customer satisfaction rating.
- Comprehensive insurance policies offered, including life, home, boat, umbrella, and business insurance.
- One of the best-established insurance companies in America.
- Allstate is at the higher end of the premium range in most states.
The third-largest car insurance provider in the nation, Progressive is the lowest-cost insurer in many states. And in many others, it goes 1-and-2 with GEICO.
Progressive has what may be the largest number of discounts offered in the auto insurance industry. That goes a long way toward explaining why the company is among the lowest-cost providers in many states. They have more than a dozen discounts just for properly managing your account. That includes getting an online quote, signing your policy documents online, going paperless, setting up automatic payments, or paying your premium in full.
But perhaps their most interesting discount is the Name Your Price Tool. You set the premium amount you can comfortably afford, then Progressive will build a car insurance policy around it. Naturally, it won’t offer some of the company’s best policy options if you set the premium amount too low.
Policy Options: Rideshare coverage, custom parts and equipment value, roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and GAP coverage.
Discounts: Snapshot, Name Your Price tool, bundling, multi-policy, multi-vehicle, small and large accident forgiveness, good student, homeowner, online quote, sign online, paperless, pay in full, and automatic payment.
- Progressive is the lowest-cost provider - or the near lowest-cost provider - in many states.
- The company may have the longest list of discounts in the industry.
- Insurance options are limited to auto and home insurance; Progressive doesn’t offer comprehensive insurance coverage.
- Though they offer a bundle with home insurance, their home insurance arm isn’t one of the lower-cost providers in the industry.
- Customer service ranking is below the national average.
Farmers isn’t the lowest-cost provider nationwide, or even in most states. But it has the advantage of offering other types of insurance. That includes home, life, and business coverage.
Farmers is particularly strong in the area of discounts. Not only do they provide plenty of them, but they extend to military occupational discounts, which apply to a large number of people. They even provide discounts for those who live in retirement communities or homeowners-association gated communities in certain states. And their new home discount extends to homes under 14 years old, rather than only brand-new homes.
But perhaps their biggest strength is providing discounts to mature and senior drivers. If you’re 55 or over and have completed a state-approved safe driver training course in the previous three years, you’ll be entitled to a discount.
Policy Options: Rideshare coverage, accident forgiveness, custom equipment, new car replacement, rental reimbursement, towing, and roadside assistance.
Discounts: Bundling, multi-car, military and occupational discounts, ePolicy, good payer, safe driver, distant student, good student, shared family vehicle, homeowners, mature drivers, pay in full, and safety equipment.
- One of the largest selections of discounts in the auto insurance industry.
- Discounts specifically for mature and senior drivers.
- Live, local agents available to help you with your policy.
- Strong on customer satisfaction.
- Farmers is almost never the lowest-cost provider in any state.
Based on data provided by the Insurance Information Institute (III), State Farm is the largest auto insurance provider in the country, with a 9.1% market share. (And if you’re interested, GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, and Farmers are the second, third, fourth, and ninth-largest, respectively.) State Farm’s industry-leading position coincides with the fact that they are, on average, the lowest-cost auto insurance provider nationwide.
In addition to being a low-cost provider, State Farm also ranks high in customer satisfaction, exceeding the national satisfaction average of 872 with a score of 881. They also rank at the top of the list on financial strength, with an A++ (Superior) ranking from AM Best.
State Farm offers an impressive number of discounts, including their Steer Clear Safe Driver discount. You can be eligible if you complete certain training courses and have no moving violations or at-fault accidents in the previous three years.
State Farm also matches Allstate in the number of other insurance policies they offer. That includes home and renters insurance, life insurance, and business insurance, among other policies offered.
State Farms Features:
Policy Options: Rideshare coverage, antique and sports cars, small business vehicles, emergency roadside assistance, medical payments, car rental reimbursement.
Discounts: Bundling, multi-vehicle, vehicle safety equipment, good driving history, defensive driving course, anti-theft equipment, and Steer Clear Safe Driver discount.
- State Farm is the largest auto insurer in the country, which confirms its status as one of the best in the business.
- Ranks high for both customer satisfaction and financial strength.
- Offers a full selection of personal and business insurance, increasing opportunities to bundle policies or discounts.
- Though State Farm is the lowest-cost provider nationally, that’s not the case in all states.
GEICO ranks at just about the national average on customer satisfaction, which isn’t bad at all in the auto insurance industry. But the company has an industry-leading financial strength rating of A++. Closer to home, they not only have the second-lowest average premiums nationwide, but they are the lowest in many states.
Apart from having low rates in certain states, GEICO is often the lowest-cost provider for certain driver profiles. Depending on what state you live in, this can include new drivers, drivers with a moving violation or an at-fault accident, or even those with a DUI conviction.
One of the advantages of GEICO is that car insurance is what they’re all about. But while that means many other types of insurance policies will not be available with this company, it does give them a level of specialization that’s rare in the industry.
GEICO offers just about every type of policy option imaginable, as well as a competitive list of discounts. But what might be most interesting about those discounts is that they expand to specific groups of people. These include federal employees, members of the U.S. military, those with memberships in certain organizations, and even employees at a large number of companies.
Policy Options: Ridesharing coverage, PIP, medical coverage, collector vehicles, mechanical breakdown, and roadside assistance.
Discounts: Bundling, customer loyalty, multi-vehicle, new car, new driver, good student, drivers education, federal employees, U.S. military members, working for certain employers, and membership in certain organizations.
- Consistently one of the lowest-cost providers in the country, and the lowest in many states.
- Often has the lowest rates for specific driver types, including new drivers and those with driving infractions.
- Plenty of discounts, especially for people in certain occupations, or with specific employers.
- GEICO has limited product offerings and makes use of third-party providers for home insurance.
Table Summary of Allstate vs Progressive vs Farmers vs State Farm vs GEICO
|Company||Best for||Average premium for minimum coverage||Average premium for full coverage||Customer satisfaction rating||A.M. Best rating (financial strength)|
|Farmers||Mature and older drivers||$1,107||$3,582||872||A+|
|State Farm||Low premiums||$597||$1,589||881||A++|
|Geico||Younger drivers and those with violations||$780||$2,017||871||A++|
Does the car insurance policy I have in my home state cover me while I'm driving in a different state?
Yes. Even though your policy is designed to conform with laws in your home state, coverage will still extend to traveling in other states. Generally speaking, car insurance policies are set to automatically accommodate the various driving laws, regulations and insurance requirements in each state.
There is generally a time limitation, however. In most cases, if you will be in another state for more than 30 days, you may be required—by state law—to obtain coverage in that state. If you plan to be in another state for that length of time, check with the local department of motor vehicles to see what the laws are in that state.
The exception has to do with college students living away from home. Coverage will remain in effect for the student as long as they are enrolled in school, consider their parent’s home as their primary residence, and have their vehicle registered in their home state.
How much do car insurance premiums vary from one state to another, and why are there differences?
Average car insurance premiums range from a low of $764 per year in Maine, to a high of $1,637 in Louisiana. Put another way, the average premium in Louisiana is more than twice what it is in Maine.
Different state laws are a major reason why this is the case. But other factors include the frequency and severity of accidents in each state, as well as the percentage of the population who drive without car insurance. For example, while 25.5% of drivers in Michigan have no insurance, only 4.9% of drivers in Maine are similarly uninsured.
What's the difference between no-fault states and other states?
The most basic difference is that while drivers can pursue damages against the at-fault party in other states, you will be required to pursue your own insurance company in a no-fault state. That’ll be true, regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
No-fault was instituted as an attempt to lower insurance premiums. Because no-fault states typically limit the ability of an accident victim to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party, insurance premiums should be lower. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work in theory. In reality, states with no-fault laws often have higher insurance premiums than other states.
What's the best way to get the lowest car insurance premium possible?
The most important strategies need to be implemented before you even shop for car insurance. That includes maintaining a clean driving record for at least three years, keeping a good credit rating, and being careful with the vehicle you purchase. (The cost and type of vehicle you drive, as well as the safety equipment included, are major factors in setting your premium.)
Apart from the above, the most important single strategy is to shop for the best coverage at the lowest premium. That doesn’t mean taking a stripped-down policy with a rock-bottom premium. Insufficient coverage could result in higher out-of-pocket to cover costs beyond the liability limits in your policy, or from a lawsuit. The key is to balance cost with coverage.
In addition, you should plan on shopping for a new carrier about every two or three years. That’s because the company you originally took your policy with may no longer be the lowest-cost provider, even though they may have been at the time you took the policy. The auto insurance industry is highly fluid, and you need to shop periodically to stay on top of the changes.
Which Insurance Is Right for You?
Despite the many policy options, discounts, and premium levels, there’s an excellent chance you’ll choose one of these five companies based on a specific category it specializes in. Fortunately, each company does have one or more areas of car insurance where they are particularly strong.
Why You Should Choose Allstate
As we’ve already covered in this article, they are almost never the least expensive car insurance provider. But the company does offer plenty of policy options and discounts. Because they are a large, diversified insurance company, you might choose to go with Allstate because they offer other insurance policies you need as well.
For example, if you’re self-employed with business insurance, you may find it convenient to maintain your car insurance with the same company.
Why You Should Choose Progressive
Perhaps the best reason to choose Progressive is the long list of discounts they offer. Those discounts aren’t incidental, either. They’re the reason Progressive frequently shows up as either the lowest-cost provider in many states or sitting somewhere in the top two or three.
Those discounts are real, and so is the money they’ll save you. Progressive gives discounts for almost anything, including many of the administrative tasks surrounding the management of your policy. Each may be only a small discount, but they can add up to serious money when taken together.
If you’re looking for a low premium that fits your budget, the Name Your Price Tool can help you find the most affordable policy.
Why You Should Choose Farmers
Farmers rarely turns up as one of the top two or three lowest-cost providers in any of the 50 states. But they do offer significant discounts for drivers 55 and older. You should get a quote from Farmers if you’re in that age range.
Farmers also offers a network of local insurance agents, who will not only help you with the application process but will also be available for servicing needs after your policy is in force.
Why You Should Choose State Farm
State Farm has the lowest average car insurance premiums in America, which is a major reason why they are the single largest auto insurance provider in the country.
But price isn’t the only reason to choose State Farm. Similar to Farmers, State Farm has a network of local, licensed insurance agents to help you through the process. And they also have one of the best customer service records in the industry.
Since it is a full-service insurance company, they can also help you with other types of insurance. That’ll also give you an opportunity to take advantage of a bundling discount.
Why You Should Choose GEICO
If State Farm is the lowest-cost car insurance company in America, GEICO is close on its heels. In many states, GEICO is the lowest-cost provider, frequently going head-to-head with Progressive.
But GEICO is a company you definitely need to look into if you’re either a young driver or you have some sort of moving violation or an at-fault accident. Even with GEICO, you’ll pay more for your policy with an infraction than you would if you didn’t have it. But GEICO tends to be more accommodating of both violations and the price increases they bring. If that describes you, GEICO is likely to be the lowest-cost provider, no matter where you live.
Because of the size of these five companies, there’s an excellent chance that you’re already insured with either Allstate, Progressive, Farmers, State Farm, or GEICO. But if you’re not, and you’re looking to change providers, it’s equally likely you’ll choose one of the other companies on this list.
After all, they are the largest auto insurance companies in America and are available in virtually every state. But which one will be the best car insurance plan for you will depend on the state you live in, your driver profile, and your personal preferences.
Given how popular all five companies are, it’s safe to say that you can’t make a mistake with any one of them.