Best Auto Insurance of 2018

Eli McCormick ·
Finance Senior Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

This is our ninth year reviewing auto insurance. For our latest update, we spent several days gathering quotes from all 10 of the insurers we reviewed. After comparing the quotes and consulting with experts in the auto insurance industry, we found Liberty Mutual to be the best auto insurance provider overall. It quoted us better-than-average rates, offers a variety of discounts and has additional services like roadside assistance.  

Best Overall
Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual has relatively low rates and a wide variety of discounts, including some for green vehicles, which makes it our pick for the best auto insurance company overall.
View on Liberty Mutual
Best Value
Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance had the lowest premiums across the board. In fact, some of its basic policies saved us 30 percent over the price at the insurer with the next-lowest premiums.
View on Farmers Insurance
Best Services & Features
Allstate
With Allstate, you can file claims through a mobile app and sign up for accident forgiveness programs. It has reasonable rates and a variety of discount options.
View on Allstate
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Rates
Discounts
Services
Low Premium Car Quote (100/300/100)
High Premium Car Quote (100/300/100)
2-Car Policy Quote (100/300/100)
Minimum Policy Quote
Teenage Driver Policy Quote
Good Student Discounts
Green Vehicle Discounts
Good Driver Discount
Smart Driving
Auto Pay Discount
Rental Car Reimbursement
Accident Forgiveness
Mobile App Filing
$0.00 Atomic Leads
9 8.3 10 9.3
$432
$564
$798
$144
$1,245
$30 per day / $900 max
$0.00
8.8 10 7.8 8
$200
$291
$382
$95
$473
-
-
Check Price
8.8 9 9 8
$274
$450
$563
$253
$789
-
-
$0.00 Atomic Leads
8.7 7.8 9 10
$566
$688
$816
$329
$900
-
$30 per day / No max
Check Price
7.8 9 6.8 6.8
$244
$433
$560
$222
$1,012
-
-
$35 per day / $1,050 max
-
Check Price
7.5 7 9 6.5
$528
$762
$1,112
$404
$1,106
-
$30 per day / $900 max
-
Check Price
7.2 4.3 10 9.3
$904
$1,159
$1,682
$527
$2,630
-
$30 per day / $900 max
Check Price
6.9 8.3 6.8 4.5
$440
$532
$859
$208
$815
-
-
$50 per day / $1,200 max
-
-
Check Price
6.3 4.8 9 6
$778
$832
$1,135
$795
$3,050
-
$25 per day / $750 max
-
Check Price
5 3 6.8 6.5
$1,162
$1,310
$1,852
$874
$2,342
-
-
$30 per day / $900 max
-
Best Overall
Liberty Mutual’s respectable rates, wide variety of discounts, and additional service like accident forgiveness and mobile claim filing make it one of the best companies to insure your car with as well as our choice for the best auto insurance provider overall.
We got quotes based on multiple scenarios, including a two-car policy, a minimum coverage policy, a policy with a teenage driver, and a policy for a high-risk car and a low-risk car. While we never got the lowest price at Liberty Mutual, it always had one of the four lowest rates. Also, depending on the coverage level you select, its rates are competitive with other lower-priced insurers. We noticed that adding a teenage driver made the premium especially expensive, so you may want to explore other options if you need to add a teen to your policy. Keep in mind that your policy premiums are determined by your car, where you live and a variety of factors, including your credit score. So, your results may differ from ours, especially if you have poor credit. Liberty Mutual offers discounts that can substantially lower your costs. Two of the less-common discounts if offers are a green vehicle discount and a smart driving discount. If you have a hybrid car, you receive additional savings on your policy. RightTrack, Liberty Mutual’s smart driving program, uses a mobile app and a small device you attach to your car to monitor your driving habits. After 90 days of smart driving, you can receive a 5-percent to 30-percent discount.
Pros
  • Discounts for hybrid vehicles
  • Claim filing through mobile app
  • Smart driving program can save you up to 30 percent
Cons
  • Especially high premiums for teen drivers
  • Rental reiumbursement not outstanding
  • Rates are generally middle of the road
Check PriceLiberty Mutual
Read the full review
Best Value
Farmers Insurance is our choice for best value auto insurance provider. If getting the lowest possible premium is your top priority, it’s a good place to start.
We got auto insurance quotes for a variety of common scenarios, and Farmers Insurance consistently gave us the lowest prices. A lot of factors contribute to how much you pay for your car insurance, including the car you drive, your driving record, where you live, how much you drive, who is on your policy and even your credit score. As we researched, we looked at policies for low-risk and high-risk cars as well as for policies with two cars, among others. Farmers always came back with the lowest quotes, especially for the high-risk car and two car policies – in those scenarios, the company saved us more than $100 over the insurer with the next-lowest price. Those policies were for the 100/300/100 coverage recommended by insurance industry experts. However, Farmers also had the lowest rates for policies with the state minimum coverage, and it is the only insurer we reviewed that offers policies that cost less than $100. It’s worth stressing again that other factors, especially your credit score, determine the actual price you pay. Before signing a new policy, check your score. If it falls in the good range (670 to 730) you may want to look at ways to improve your credit score before getting a new policy.
Pros
  • Lowest quoted prices
  • Discounts for green vehicles
  • Accident forgiveness
Cons
  • No smart driving program
  • Basic plans don’t include rental reimbursement
  • Pricing varies depending on where you live
Check PriceFarmers Insurance
Read the full review
Best Services & Features
Allstate has some of the best services and features of the auto insurance companies we looked at.
Many insurance companies let you start a claim through a mobile app, but Allstate’s in-app claim system is the most complete. With the app’s QuickFoto feature, you use your phone’s camera to take pictures of the damage, the rest of the car, the VIN and the odometer, and the claims process can begin. Claims can take a while to process, and using this technology can speed up the process significantly. You can also get accident forgiveness through Allstate’s Choice Auto Policy program. This program doesn’t increase your premiums after accidents and gives you discounts for going six months without an accident. Allstate policies also include rental car reimbursement, so you won’t be stranded if your car is in the shop after an accident. You can choose the level of reimbursement, though the cost is minimal. The lowest level reimburses you $30 a day with no maximum limit, which is more generous than most other insurers we looked at.
Pros
  • Quick mobile claims process
  • Accident forgiveness program includes good driving discount
  • No maximum rental car limit
Cons
  • Prices not especially low
  • Policy with minimum coverage among the more expensive
  • No green vehicle discount
Check PriceAllstate
Read the full review
Best For Comparing Quotes
Progressive has the best tool for comparing quotes and shopping around to find the best rate.
It shows you a clear picture of the rates you’re eligible for and the discounts you may be able to receive. This saves you time, since it takes a while to fill out each insurer’s individual form. Progressive has solid rates and may be worth looking at if you have a two-car home or are adding a teenage driver to your policy. If you enroll in the Snapshot program, you can earn a discount based on your driving habits. One drawback of Progressive is its policies don’t reimburse you for any rental cars you need because of an accident.
Pros
  • Has tools that help you compare its rates to other insurers
Cons
  • Doesn’t reimburse for car rentals
$0.00Progressive
Read the full review
Best Policies for Multiple Cars
If your household has two or more cars, Geico has the best policies for you.
When we compared quotes, Geico was consistently one of the cheapest for a policy with two cars – the average was nearly $1,000 and Geico quoted us half of that. It’s important to note that where you live, the cars you need to insure and your credit score all affect your insurance premiums. In general, Geico was one of the least expensive insurers we looked at, with rates that were lower than average for most policy types. It also offers a variety of discounts, including those for good driving and good grades. However, it doesn’t have discounts for hybrid or electric vehicles.
Pros
  • Good rates on multi-car policies
Cons
  • No discounts for hybrid or electric cars
$0.00Geico
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

We’ve evaluated auto insurance providers for nine years and update our reviews annually. Rates change often and insurance companies continually add features – for example, the ability to file claims through mobile apps.

Industry experts recommend getting new quotes every few years, and a good time to look at other options is when your existing policy expires. Shopping around can save you substantially, though you should make sure your new quotes match your existing policy in terms of deductibles and coverage limits. You can also consult your existing agent to see if you can lower your current premium by adjusting your coverage limits or deductibles.

Some organizations, such as the USAA, provide auto insurance for members of certain groups, like the military. They often offer quality rates, but owing to their exclusivity, we chose not to include them on our update.

How We Tested

Cost is one of the biggest considerations when choosing insurance, so we got quotes from each insurance company based on a variety of policy scenarios. There’s a lot that goes into insurance premiums, including where you live, the car you’re insuring and your credit score.

Your premium also varies depending on the level of coverage and your deductible. All our quotes reflect the 100/300/100 coverage recommended by most insurers. This means that $100,000 worth of bodily injury per person is covered with $300,000 total in an accident and $100,000 worth of property damage.

Using research by third-party groups, we chose a car listed as one of the 10 cheapest to insure (a Subaru Outback) and one listed as being among the more expensive (a Chevy Cruze), then got quotes for each one. We also got a quote for a policy with both of those cars. In addition, we looked at the costs for minimum coverage and the cost to add a teen driver to a plan.

Again, these are only example quotes, and yours may vary depending on where you live. Life events also impact your premiums – marriage can lower your cost, while adding a teenage driver makes your policy more expensive.

We also looked at programs offered by insurance companies. For example, many have their own roadside assistance services, though if you’re already a member of one, it may not be worth the cost to join the program your insurance provider offers.

How Much Does Auto Insurance Cost?

How much you pay for auto insurance depends on where you live, the car you’re insuring, your credit score and the coverage you plan on carrying – minimum required coverage varies by state. In general, you can expect to pay around $380 for a policy, though we saw quotes as low as $95. If you opt for the industry-recommended 100/300/100 coverage, you can expect to pay between $200 to $1,000. Adding a teenage driver dramatically increases your premiums, often by an average of $600 or more.

How to Save on Your Insurance Policy

Most insurance companies offer a variety of discounts. The most common are for good students and good driving. If the students on your policy maintain good grades (usually a B average), then you’ll see a savings of up to several hundred dollars on your premium, depending on your insurance carrier. If you maintain a good driving record, you can reduce your premium, and this discount increases the longer you stay accident free.

You can also get discounts if you choose to pay all at once instead of in monthly installments. If you can afford to make the onetime payment every six months when your policy renews, we recommend you do so – you’ll save at least $100, possibly more. You can get additional savings if you chose to go paperless and receive your statements and policy information electronically.

In the past 20 years, auto insurance companies have begun using your credit score to determine the cost for your policy – except in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, where the practice is banned. Per a Consumer Reports study on the effect of credit scores on insurance, having a good credit score as opposed to an excellent one can increase your insurance premium by several hundred dollars. In fact, the extra cost that comes with a good or poor credit score is much higher than the premium increases after an accident.

Before getting a quote, we recommend checking your credit score and report. A free service like Credit Karma can give you an idea of where you stand. Looking at your credit score won’t affect it adversely, and you may be able to spot errors you can contest. Try and keep your credit card balances low and avoid certain credit cards, such as department store cards, which insurance company models penalize you for.