When it comes to car insurance, you may not feel like you have a choice.
After all, most states require automobile liability insurance for drivers.
If you get into an accident and someone else suffers personal injury or property damage, you could be out a lot of money if you don't have an insurance policy to pay for the damages.
Also, you could be fined by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles if you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle.
You could even lose your license or go to jail.
Combined with the fact that it's not always easy to find the best car insurance policy, you may feel like you're at a dead end when it comes to the process.
Choose the wrong company and you could overpay, throwing away hundreds of dollars a year.
According to one survey, drivers pay an average of $368 more than they need to for car insurance.
Imagine you pay just $25 more per month for coverage than your neighbor.
That's an overage of $300 a year!
Assuming you drive from the ages of 17 to 67, you'd spend an additional $15,000 than the guy next door on car insurance over your lifetime.
Indeed, shopping for car insurance can be confusing, and if you do it wrong—costly.
And how's this for a screeching halt?
According to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, 33% of Americans never shop around for a new car insurance policy.
If that's you, it means that even if you are overpaying, you wouldn't know it.
Guess what? Many auto insurance companies count on this.
Rather than rewarding your loyalty, they may continue to raise your rates slightly each year—without giving you anything more for your money.
Even if you've been overwhelmed comparing auto insurance companies in the past, we've simplified the process.
How does an extra $300 or more in your pocket this year sound?
That's money you could invest in your retirement, pay down debt, or even enjoy a weekend getaway.
Buckle up for the Quote's Best Car Insurance Companies of 2018 in-depth review below.
Then get started shopping for car insurance online right now.
There's no reason to wait when you could be saving money right away.
What You Need To Know Before You Buy Car Insurance
It's about more than just the cheapest rate
As you can see, choosing the right car insurance company can save you money.
But there are other factors to consider.
Car insurance varies widely based on the coverage, the customer service, and how easy the insurer makes it to file a claim or get your car repaired after an accident.
Unlock the secret to comparing car insurance. Before choosing a car insurance provider, look at the company's customer service, the financial stability of the company, and compare coverage levels between companies.
You should also consider incentives, such as discounts for students with good grades, safe driver discounts, or discounts for vehicle anti-theft devices.
These offers can considerably lower your car insurance rates.
Finally, the best car insurance companies offer perks, such as rental car reimbursement if your car needs repairs following an accident.
This is the kind of help you should be looking for.
Find out how much car insurance you need. Before you shop around for car insurance, check your state's minimum requirements.
Forty-eight out of 50 states require liability insurance.
You can check the levels required for your state with a quick Google search.
Understand car insurance coverage limits. An example of common coverage limits is 100/300/50, which means you have $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person, $300,000 total bodily injury liability per accident, and $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
These limits describe the maximum amount of money the insurer will pay out for injuries or property damage caused by an accident where you were at fault.
So, if a driver and three passengers were injured in an accident, and each had $50,000 worth of medical bills, your insurance would pay out $150,000.
You would not have reached your coverage limits.
But if six people were injured in an accident, and each had $100,000 worth of medical bills, the insurance company would only cover half of that.
The injured parties could sue you to pay for the rest of the damages.
The insurance companies have determined that 100/300/50 limits provide adequate protection for most circumstances, and it's what most agents recommend.
Decide what type of coverage you need. If you are financing or leasing a car, you'll need collision insurance to cover the car's replacement value if it is totaled.
You may also need comprehensive coverage, which covers any damage to your vehicle caused by anything other than a car accident, including theft, vandalism, weather, or fire.
You may also opt to purchase glass coverage, uninsured motorist protection, and personal injury protection to cover your own medical bills if you are injured in an accident where you are at fault.
Decide on your deductible. Alas, a higher deductible often means lower rates.
But… if you can't pay the deductible when your car needs repairs or if another driver has made a claim against your policy, you could find yourself in a tough financial situation.
Avoid roadside assistance. Did you know that if you make a claim through your insurance, you could get "pinged" on something called a C.L.U.E. report?
This is a listing of claims every insured driver has made, and it could prevent you from getting the most competitive prices for car insurance or even shopping around for a new company.
Some car insurance companies report roadside assistance calls on your C.L.U.E. report.
Even though roadside assistance service is supposedly free, there could be hidden costs if you make a claim.
Many feel it's better to use a third party (such as AAA) for roadside assistance and save your car insurance claims for accidents where the damage exceeds your deductible by a substantial amount.
Green-light the rental car coverage? If you frequently travel and rent cars (or plan to in the future), opting for your policy's rental car coverage is often a good idea.
Rental car coverage is typically included in a comprehensive coverage policy or can be added for just a few dollars.
Just remember: If the credit card you normally use when renting a car offers this coverage, you may be able to forego this all together. (Travel credit cards often do.)
How We Picked These Best Car Insurance Companies
Key factors to help you choose
We looked for car insurance companies with a solid reputation, good customer reviews, and reasonable prices.
We've done the research for you.
We evaluated the most important factors, examined JD Power ratings, read Consumer Reports reviews, and priced out auto insurance plans to find the best car insurance companies of 2018.
We did not include USAA, even though it is a top-rated car insurance provider because it caters only to military members.
We also left out many high-quality insurance companies that only serve a handful of states. (We wanted our roundup to have national appeal.)
Lastly, we did not include companies that operate only online, such as Progressive and Esurance.
Once we found our top picks, we laid it all out in a simple, easy-to-read brief so you can speed your way to an informed decision about the top auto insurance companies in 2018.
Low-cost insurance for families, students, and homeowners
Rated with 4 stars or more on many consumer websites (including the Better Business Bureau), Amica is not just ranked one of the best car insurance companies, but also one of the least expensive.
Offering multiple discounts for families, Amica is a top choice for homeowners because of discounts on bundled policies, for homeowners, and for families with more than one driver.
Their low rates are amicable to many drivers. In some states, Amica'srates are as low as $18/month for liability coverage.
That's less than $225 year, making it one of the most affordable auto insurance carriers.
In a study of 50 car insurance carriers, Amica was rated slightly below average in price.
Their policies cost about half as much as the most expensive insurance companies.
Opportunities for discounts abound. Bundle your auto and home policy together, and you could save even more.
Amica also offers multi-car discounts up to 25% of your total policy price.
Are you a homeowner insured with another insurance company?
Make sure to tell your insurance agent, because you may get a discount anyway.
If you're under 30 years old and your parents have been with Amica for more than five years, you could save money, too.
Like many auto insurance providers, Amica offers discounts for car alarms, various car features, and for drivers who have taken a defensive driving course in the past three years.
Additional discounts include paid-in-full savings, autopay, and a discount for receiving bills electronically.
Financial stability down, but still strong. For many years, Amica boasted an A++ rating from A.M. Best, a company that measures the financial strength of insurance providers.
In 2017, the company was downgraded to an A+ (Superior) rating, due to increased auto insurance claims and more catastrophic losses.
The A+ rating still puts the company above many others.
Long-standing reputation and high ratings today. Amica may be the longest-running mutual insurance company that most people have never heard of.
They're not as well-known as Allstate, State Farm, or Geico, but that could be because Amica doesn't spend money on commercials.
Founded in 1907 in Rhode Island, Amica is actually the oldest mutual car insurer in the U.S.
JD Power ranked Amica number one amongst auto insurance companies in the New England region in 2017.
Amica wins the digital game. Once you log in to your account in the Amica Claim Center, you can report your claim, track a claim, or upload documents.
It's as easy as one click.
Even if you aren't an Amica customer, you can file a claim against an Amica insured on the website.
Amica also offers an app to pay your bill or file a claim.
However, if you'd rather speak to a human being after an experience as harrowing as a car accident, Amica also makes it easy to call in with your claim.
Claims solved quickly and easily. Although some negative reviews may leave you worried about the level of customer service, we discovered enough positive reviews to say that Amica files most claims to the customer's satisfaction.
Online reviews tout them as "best." Many top consumer question sites, including Quora, list Amica as the "best overall car insurance company," with a good balance of affordable rates, customer service, and financial reputation.
Should you take Amica's dividend or non-dividend policy?
In some states, Amica may pay up to a 20% dividend at the end of the year for drivers with no claims in that policy year.
However, dividend policy premiums may be slightly higher to begin with.
For instance, a $2,000 dividend policy could pay out $400 at the end of the year, but a non-dividend policy might cost $1800.
Some people would rather pay less upfront and have that savings guaranteed.
To sign up, get a quote online, then connect via phone for a personalized experience
Unlike many other car insurance providers, Amica does not provide an online sign-up option.
You can get a free quote online, but you must call 842-844-8584 and speak to a representative to write your policy.
This gives you an opportunity to connect with the company in a more personal way, ask any questions you might have, and maybe even find additional discounts.
Amica is available in all states except Hawaii.
Friendly, customer service-focused, and backed by a money-back guarantee
Perhaps one of the best-known names in auto and home insurance—it's the largest insurance company in the country and the third largest auto insurance provider—Allstate offers competitive rates and a longstanding reputation.
Allstate offers a vast list of discounts, making it a good choice for safe drivers, people with good credit, and those looking to bundle their homeowner's insurance with their car insurance policy.
Discounts, discounts, discounts. Although its premium rates tend to be, well, premium, Allstate offers more discounts than many of its competitors to offset the higher rates.
Safe drivers can earn up to 45% off their premiums.
Three years without an accident?
That could save you up to 22%.
Teens can take a special driver education program, called TeenSMART, and save 10%.
Single, full-time students under 25 can also earn an additional 25% for having good grades.
Additionally, drivers willing to install an app on their smartphone or a device in their car can demonstrate safe driving habits and earn discounts and refunds.
Allstate will also reduce your deductible by $100 for every year you remain accident-free, up to $500 in potential savings.
First-time forgiveness is divine. Unlike many companies, Allstate offers one-time accident forgiveness, even for new customers.
So even before you've had a chance to show off your safe driving record to Allstate, the company gives you the benefit of the doubt and forgives your first infraction.
Local, professional service through your Allstate agent. Customers like that they can speak with their local Allstate agent if they ever have a question or a problem.
Make claims on the Allstate mobile app. Allstate makes it easy to make a claim immediately after an accident takes place using its app.
If you prefer, you can always call your Allstate agent who will walk you through the process.
Satisfaction guaranteed (really!). Hold on to the steering wheel, because this really impressed us about Allstate.
If you are unhappy with your auto policy within the first six months, you can call and cancel, and Allstate will issue a cash refund of your premium–even if you filed a claim and collected a settlement.
If you were unhappy with any step of the claims process, Allstate may provide a credit on your car insurance premium.
Are you really "in good hands" with Allstate?
Consumers who ask this question presumably want to know how well the company handles claims, how competitive the rates are, and whether the company can be trusted to pay claims.
Based on the company's S&P and A.M. Best ratings (A+ and A-, respectively), along with its size and length of time in business, the answer seems to be, "Yes."
The money-back customer satisfaction guarantee, along with the personalized service offered by local Allstate agents, also points to the fact that Allstate is a car insurance company to trust.
Get a simple quote online or connect with a local agent to discuss discounts
Before you call an Allstate agent, you may want to consider all the discounts you may qualify for, such as the good student discount or discounts for safety features on your car.
Consider whether you would be willing to install a device or use an app that tracks your driving habits and could qualify you for even steeper discounts.
Call 855-437-6273 to find an Allstate agent or visit the insurer's website to get an online quote.
Well-known insurance company tailored to those who prefer online convenience
While Allstate is the third largest auto insurance provider in the country, GEICO comes in second.
GEICO boasts that it can save you 15% on car insurance in 15 minutes, providing a straightforward online car insurance shopping process.
For safe drivers with good credit scores looking for a simple way to buy car insurance, GEICO can provide cost savings and convenience.
GEICO is likely to appeal to tech-savvy drivers who don't mind going without an insurance agent to call for personalized service.
Founded in 1936 as the Government Employees Insurance Company, today GEICO insurance is available to a wide range of drivers across all 50 states.
No-frills, low-cost coverage. GEICO's business model is to provide low-cost insurance for good drivers.
However, coverage levels may also be lower than with Allstate, which is one-way GEICO seems to save drivers money.
When you compare these two top insurance providers, make sure you are comparing the same coverage levels for the price quoted.
Remember, too, customers with higher credit scores can get lower rates on car insurance.
GEICO provides a number of options to save money by lowering your coverage levels or your deductibles.
Additionally, GEICO offers discounts to the military and employees of certain corporations through partnership agreements.
Rental cars help keep you on the road. GEICO provides a free rental car if your car needs repairs.
There is no cost for this add-on coverage.
Speedy online claims process. Online reviews tout how their online claims servicing is simple and fast, and high marks come in for their customer service time and time again.
The best in financial stability. Of the top car insurance companies, GEICO is one of only a few to receive an A++ rating—the highest possible—from A.M. Best, and an AA rating from Standard & Poors.
Highest-rated car insurance mobile app. GEICO Mobile was rated as the best car insurance app by Keynote, a cloud-based mobile testing, monitoring, and analytics company, and earns five stars in the App Store.
GEICO offers digital insurance cards through the app, as well as a virtual assistant who can answer your questions if you'd rather text/chat than speak with a human being.
Night owl? No problem. If you've ever purchased or leased a new car and closed on the deal after business hours, you may have discovered that "sign and drive" promise has one pretty significant loophole.
You have to insure the car in your name before you can leave the lot.
GEICO's Policyholder Service Center lets you add or drop a vehicle, change coverage levels, make payments, and even file claims 24/7 online or by phone.
Does GEICO live up to its hype?
Nearly everyone with a TV, radio, or internet connection has heard of GEICO from their commercials featuring mascots that range from a caveman to a gecko and, most recently, penguins with a poor sense of direction.
But does the company really live up to the hype?
The top complaints about GEICO relate to customer service and high premiums.
But even the top insurance companies have more negative reviews from people who have made claims than positive.
GEICO is no exception here.
If you have no accidents, tickets, or claims, you can save money with GEICO and enjoy the convenience of their easy online process to purchase your policy and the mobile app.
You can shop for GEICO insurance coverage anytime, day or night, making it extremely convenient to write your policy through this provider.
You don't have to speak to an agent, and everything can be done online.
Visit their website to get started with GEICO.
A community-focused insurance company offering competitive rates
State Farm has substantial opportunities for safe drivers and homeowners to save money.
State Farm lives up to its slogan and customer philosophy of being a "good neighbor" by giving back to the communities in which their agents serve.
If this is important to you, it's worth considering State Farm for your insurance needs.
Safe driver? There's an app for that. State Farm's Drive Safe & Save program is similar to Allstate's app that rewards you for safe driving.
The insurance company's app connects to your car's OnStar or SYNC communication or your smartphone and rewards you for staying within the speed limit and exhibiting other safe driving behaviors.
Multiple ways to save. Student drivers or drivers under the age of 25 can save up to 15% in State Farm's Steer Clear program if they stay accident-free for three years.
Similar discounts are available for drivers of any age who have been insured with State Farm for at least three years without a chargeable accident.
As with many larger insurance companies, State Farm offers discounts for anti-theft devices, a multi-car discount, and discounts if you bundle your home and auto policy with the company.
A company with a strong history. As with the other names on this list, State Farm has been around a long time and has a solid reputation to show for it.
Founded in 1922, the company continues to get better.
In 2016, its A.M. Best rating went up from A+ to A++.
It also has an AA rating from Standard & Poor's based on its ability to pay out claims.
Like a good neighbor … Customers who are happy with State Farm's claim process tend to attribute it to the friendly, personalized service of their State Farm agent.
Drivers who shop around have found State Farm to have the lowest prices and friendly, responsive agents.
Because not everyone uses the same agent, however, reviews about State Farm's customer satisfaction can be spotty.
The best advice? Get an online quote to decide if State Farm is the best choice for you, then find an agent you can trust to write your policy.
Redesigned mobile app. State Farm recently did away with its Pocket Agent app to offer the new State Farm mobile app.
You can pay bills online, file claims, make changes to your coverage, and more.
How do you report an accident to State Farm?
The list of FAQs for State Farm auto insurance includes this exact one.
This leads us to believe that perhaps filing a claim isn't as intuitive or as fast as it should be.
Fortunately, though, the claims process is simple.
You can contact your State Farm agent directly to speak to someone you know.
Or you can dial 800-STATE FARM to speak to a claims adjuster.
You can even make a claim through the State Farm mobile app, or file a claim online.
Overall, customers who reviewed State Farm's claims process seemed satisfied, saying the company responded and paid quickly.
Join the State Farm family by finding an agent you can trust
The best way to purchase State Farm insurance is to contact an agent near you by calling 800-STATE FARM.
You can start the quote process online, but a State Farm agent may be able to find discounts you didn't know about and can explain which coverage levels are right for you.
Customer service-focused and ideal for safe drivers with safe cars
Although Liberty Mutual is one of the higher-priced car insurance companies in our reviews, it offers many discounts to safe drivers and for safe cars.
It also offers lower rates to drivers with good credit scores.
If you are driving a newer vehicle packed with safety features, or if you are looking to bundle your home and auto insurance policies together, Liberty Mutual is a solid choice.
Discounts for safe cars, major life events, and more.You'd be surprised by the many ways Liberty Mutual can save you money on your car insurance.
If you have a car with high-tech safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane change warnings, and collision prevention technology, Liberty Mutual offers savings off their usual premiums.
You can also earn a discount if you recently got married, graduated, retired, or relocated.
Students can earn discounts for good grades, and any driver can earn a discount for automating their premium payments with Liberty Mutual.
You can pay a little extra and preserve your safe driver discounts with accident forgiveness insurance.
If you have this coverage, Liberty Mutual promises your rates won't go up after your first at-fault accident.
Helping you make the best of a bad accident. Car accidents are never fun, but Liberty Mutual's new or better car replacement insurance (the only one we've seen with this offer) takes some of the sting out.
The policy takes comprehensive and collision coverage one step further by offering new car replacement and better car replacement.
This means if your vehicle is totaled in the first year and first 15,000 miles, you'll receive the car's replacement value, not the depreciated value.
Similarly, better car replacement coverage lets you replace your totaled vehicle with one that's a year newer and with 15,000 fewer miles.
High customer satisfaction ratings. Liberty Mutual is the nation's seventh-largest auto insurance company, with the staff and experience to resolve claims quickly.
Reviewers compliment their customer service and fast payouts.
Strong financial base. While it isn't as highly rated as some of the other insurance companies on our list, Liberty Mutual has an A rating with both A.M. Best Company and Standard & Poor's.
What does the "Mutual" mean?
Although many of the names on this list, including State Farm and Amica, are mutual insurance agencies, this question pops up a lot here because the word "mutual" is right in its name.
A mutual insurance company is owned by the policyholders.
Profits earned go back to policyholders in the form of dividend checks or reduced future premiums.
It is in a policyholder's best interest to minimize claims and make payments on time.
That's not just to keep their rates down and maintain any safe driver discounts, but to help ensure the company's profitability.
Call a Liberty Mutual agent to find all the discounts you deserve
While you can obtain a Liberty Mutual quote online, it pays to call a Liberty Mutual agent at 844-686-3424,
They will ask you the right questions and suggest ways you can earn additional discounts for your car insurance.
The best insurance companies save you money and time while offering coverage you need
Many of the companies on our list are preferred insurance companies, which means they give lower rates to safe drivers with good credit scores.
If you have not had an at-fault accident recently, maintain good credit, and need high coverage limits for personal injury protection, liability coverage, and comprehensive coverage, consider GEICO, Allstate or State Farm.
But if you are looking for the lowest prices on personal injury protection and liability coverage, consider getting to know Amica.
You may not get many bells and whistles, but you won't have to worry about seeing your rates skyrocket if you get into a few accidents.
Amica has excellent customer satisfaction ratings, high A.M. Best and JD Power ratings showing its financial stability, and lower than average prices for car insurance.
Do you use Amica or one of our other top five car insurance companies of 2018?
What car insurance coverage have you chosen?
Have you ever filed a claim?
Share your experiences, good or bad, in the comments below.