Best Auto Insurance Companies of 2022

How do the major auto insurance companies stack up when we compare their premiums, coverage and customer satisfaction?

Written by Timothy Moore / June 9, 2022

Quick Bites

  • Geico is our all-around top choice for auto insurance in 2022, thanks to its low premiums and high customer satisfaction.
  • USAA is also a top option for auto insurance, but it’s limited to members of the military and their families.
  • Hallmarks of the best auto insurance companies include affordable rates for full coverage, plenty of discounts, easy quote and claims processes and great customer support.

Comparing auto insurance quotes can be an exhausting process, and often, it’s tempting to just go with the cheapest number. But the best auto insurance companies offer a blend of stellar coverage at affordable rates—and a great claims process, an easy online and mobile interface, and top-notch customer service.

Sound Dollar evaluated the 10 largest auto insurance companies in the U.S., scoring them across dozens of criteria, including coverage options, discounts, monthly rates, customer satisfaction scores, number of complaints, usability, availability and claims process. We then rated these insurance providers based on these data points to help you find the best auto insurance company for you.

Read on for the details on the best auto insurance company of the bunch, plus top choices for everything from customizable coverage and discounts to a smooth claims process and great perks for safe drivers.

Best auto insurance companies

Company
Geico logoVisit
Best for
Best for
Overall
Key benefit
Key benefit
Low cost, high customer satisfaction
Visit
Best for
Best for
Military families
Key benefit
Key benefit
Lowest cost, best customer satisfaction
Best for
Best for
Claims process
Key benefit
Key benefit
High customer satisfaction
Best for
Best for
Customized coverage
Key benefit
Key benefit
Lots of coverage options
Best for
Best for
Discounts
Key benefit
Key benefit
18 different discounts
Best for
Best for
Price transparency
Key benefit
Key benefit
Online rate comparison tool
Best for
Best for
Safe drivers
Key benefit
Key benefit
Get up to 40% off for safe driving

For consideration in our study, car insurance providers had to:

  • Be among the 10 largest private passenger auto insurance writers in the U.S.[1]

  • Score an A- or higher with AM Best for claims reliability

  • Score above an 800 in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study[2]

  • Offer an average annual rate below $1,600; anything higher would be significantly more than the average annual premium

After our calculations, three of the 10 insurers did not quite make the cut, mainly because their average annual premiums are above our $1,600 threshold: Farmers, Liberty Mutual, and Allstate. While they don’t rank on our top seven best auto insurance companies list, we did want to call out a couple of hallmarks for each company:

  • Farmers has a low volume of customer complaints and scored well in the J.D. Power study. It’s a good insurance company; you just have to pay a high price for coverage.

  • Liberty Mutual has one of the best mobile apps of any car insurance company. However, in addition to its high average cost to insure, Liberty Mutual struggles with customer complaints.

  • Allstate is the most expensive auto insurance company out of the top 10 insurers, but you can keep costs low with pay-per-mile coverage. Not too many insurance companies have started offering this option; Allstate leads the pack here.

Best overall: Geico

Geico logo
Average annual premium:

$1,211

AM Best Score:

A++

Nationwide coverage:

Yes

J.D. Power Score:

881

Discounts available:

16

Visit

At an average annual rate of $1,211, Geico is technically the second most affordable car insurance company on our list. The cheapest—USAA—is only available to military families.

But Geico earned a top score for more than just its low rates. Geico was one of only five of the top 10 insurers to score above average in the J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction study, and compared to competitors, Geico has a lower volume of complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

You can get full coverage with Geico (with easily customizable limits and deductibles), plus extras like rental reimbursement and even rideshare insurance. The quote process is quick and painless, the claims process has good ratings, there are plenty of discounts available, and the company’s mobile app scores speak highly of the app’s usability.

Pros

  • Low cost to insure
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Leading mobile app and online platform

Cons

  • No gap insurance
  • Higher rates for teen drivers

Best for military families: USAA

USAA logo
Average annual premium:

$1,162

AM Best Score:

A++

Nationwide coverage:

Yes

J.D. Power Score:

909

Discounts available:

14

Visit

In many ways, USAA is the best of the best auto insurance companies this year (and every year). USAA scored the highest in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, and our research shows that USAA averages the lowest premiums for full coverage: $1,162 a year. USAA checks all the boxes for things like accident forgiveness, classic car insurance and safe driving programs (SafePilot offers up to 30% in savings on premiums).

So why isn’t it our top pick? USAA’s auto insurance is only available to active-duty military, veterans, and their immediate family members.

Pros

  • Lowest cost to insure
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Strong safe driver program

Cons

  • No gap insurance
  • Only available to military families

Best claims process: State Farm

State Farm car insurance
Average annual premium:

$1,331

AM Best Score:

A++

Nationwide coverage:

Yes

J.D. Power Score:

892

Discounts available:

13

Visit

State Farm is the largest auto insurance provider in the U.S., and it knows how to process claims smoothly—its above-average score (892) from J.D. Power proves this. State Farm also has a low complaint volume compared to competitors lower on this list, the highest possible creditworthiness rating from AM Best (A++) and some of the strongest mobile app ratings for those who prefer to handle their insurance digitally.

Coverage options with State Farm are ample, with multiple levels of deductibles and coverage limits, plus important extras like roadside assistance and Payoff Protector, which helps cover outstanding loans if your car is totaled (instead of gap insurance). Complaint volume with the NAIC is moderate—and so are State Farm’s prices. In fact, State Farm’s average annual premium is $1,331, which is right in line with the overall U.S. average of $1,296.

Pros

  • High ratings across J.D. Power, AM Best and NAIC
  • Bundle, multi-car and safe driving discounts
  • Average cost to insure

Cons

  • Large company that can be challenging to navigate

Best for customized coverage: Travelers

Travelers logo
Average annual premium:

$1,391

AM Best Score:

A++

Nationwide coverage:

Yes

J.D. Power Score:

871

Discounts available:

15

Visit

Travelers is easily the most customizable in terms of coverage. You can elect for options like new car replacement, gap insurance, rideshare coverage, and collectors’ insurance on top of the typical required coverages. Discounts and bundles are plentiful with Travelers, and the average annual cost ($1,391) falls squarely in the middle of the pack.

Where Travelers car insurance falls short is in customer satisfaction. Complaint volume is high with the NAIC, Travelers scores below the industry average for claims satisfaction, and mobile app ratings for Android specifically could be stronger.

Pros

  • Ample coverage options
  • Bundle, multi-car and safe driving discounts
  • Average cost to insure

Cons

  • High volume of customer complaints
  • Below-average mobile app ratings
  • Poor claims process scores

Best for discounts: American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance logo
Average annual premium:

$1,421

AM Best Score:

A

Nationwide coverage:

Only 19 states

J.D. Power Score:

889

Discounts available:

18

Visit

American Family Insurance is one of the best auto insurance companies in 2022, but it’s only available to drivers in 19 states. While its average annual premium ($1,421) comes in higher than the national average ($1,296), you can often lower your rate through the ample discounts American Family Insurance offers, including product bundles, multiple vehicle discounts, early bird discounts, and safe driving discounts. Plus, American Family scored above average in the J.D. Power study, maintains an A rating with AM Best and has a low complaint volume with the NAIC.

Coverage options are plenty with American Family Insurance. During the online quote process, you can easily sort through the coverage limits and deductibles that make sense for your finances, and even teen drivers and drivers with bad credit or multiple accidents on their record can get competitive rates.

Pros

  • Ample coverage options
  • Bundle, multi-car, and safe driving discounts
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Competitive coverage for teen drivers, bad credit

Cons

  • High cost to insure
  • Coverage only available in 19 states

Best for price transparency: Progressive

Progressive logo
Average annual premium:

$1,501

AM Best Score:

A+

Nationwide coverage:

Yes

J.D. Power Score:

862

Discounts available:

13

Visit

While there are now plenty of auto insurance comparison sites that let you compare quotes from multiple insurers, Progressive has long been popular with customers because of the built-in rate comparison tool. Progressive will even show you when other insurers can offer you better rates.

On top of that, Progressive earns top marks from AM Best, has one of the best online platforms for getting quotes efficiently, and has high star ratings for its mobile app. Progressive has had some trouble with customer satisfaction, however, scoring below average on its claims process and collecting more complaints than other insurance providers.

Pros

  • Rate comparison tool
  • Great mobile app ratings
  • Fast and easy quote process

Cons

  • High cost to insure
  • High volume of customer complaints
  • Poor claims process scores

Best for safe drivers: Nationwide

Nationwide logo
Average annual premium:

$1,276

AM Best Score:

A+

Nationwide coverage:

Yes

J.D. Power Score:

876

Discounts available:

11

Visit

Nationwide is one of the best auto insurance companies for drivers with clean records. Rates are on the lower end for drivers without tickets or accidents, and the SmartRide safe driving program gets you 15% off your rate just for signing up (and 40% off for good driving). The average driver seeking full coverage for a mid-size SUV can expect to pay about $1,276 a year—$20 below the national average.

Coverage options are ample with Nationwide, including varying levels for deductibles and coverage limits. Plus, you can sign up for all the extras, like roadside assistance, medical payments, and rental reimbursement coverage. Nationwide struggles with customer complaint volume, mobile app ratings, and customer satisfaction with the claims process, but the website is easy to use, and the quote process is quick and painless.

Pros

  • Cheaper than average coverage
  • Leading safe driver program
  • Accident forgiveness, vanishing deductibles

Cons

  • No rideshare coverage
  • Below-average mobile app ratings
  • Poor claims process scores

Average cost of car insurance

AAA identified the average cost of car insurance for a mid-size SUV as $1,296.[3] To see how these major insurers stood up to that average cost, Sound Dollar got quotes for drivers in different locations throughout the country driving a mid-size SUV (a 2019 Honda CR-V, which is one of the cheapest cars to insure).

The table below shows the results of our quote simulation:

Auto insurance providerAverage cost to insure
USAA$1,162
Geico$1,211
Nationwide$1,276
State Farm$1,331
Travelers$1,391
American Family Insurance$1,421
Progressive$1,501

Compare the best auto insurance companies

Auto insurance provider
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,211
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
881
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A++
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,162
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
909
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A++
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,331
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
892
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A++
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,391
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
871
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A++
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,421
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
889
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,501
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
862
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A+
Average annual cost to insure
Average annual cost to insure
$1,276
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
J.D. Power claims satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
876
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
AM Best Rating (for an insurer’s ability to pay claims)
A+

What is comprehensive insurance?

When you think about car insurance, you might picture a collision between two vehicles on the roadway. And while this is the primary reason to get coverage, a comprehensive policy can protect you in other situations, too. They include:

  • Theft

  • Vandalism

  • Natural disasters

  • Accidents involving animals

Comprehensive coverage is typically optional, but it could be required if you're leasing a car. In determining whether to select this supplementary policy, you might consider factors like whether theft or vandalism is likely to take place in your neighborhood, or whether your home state is susceptible to major weather events.

Learn more: What Is Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

What is car liability insurance?

There's collision and comprehensive coverages for auto insurance, but there's also something called car liability. This third main type of insurance helps you pay for another person's healthcare or property damage if you cause an accident.

Aside from 12 "no-fault" states, most of the country require that you have a minimum amount of car liability insurance. So, it's wise to check with your insurance agent and state about local rules.

In some cases, it could make sense to take out more than the minimum amount of liability coverage, particularly if you have assets that would be vulnerable if an injured party files a lawsuit for damages.

Learn more: What Is Car Liability Insurance?

What to do about a totaled car

If you get into an accident and are told that your car has been "totaled," it means that repairs would cost more than the car's market value. Fortunately, having car insurance can help in this scenario.

If your insurer deems the car a "total loss," it may reimburse an amount equal to the value of the car before the accident took place. Receiving a payoff from your insurance provider isn't your only option, however. You could also...

  • Look into repairing the vehicle without insurance support (if it would still be safe to drive)

  • Consider trading your car into a dealership that accepts totaled cars (perhaps to put toward the cost of a new or used car)

If the insurance payout offer is low—perhaps because the car was on its last legs even before the accident—you might also donate it, or sell of its valuable parts.

Learn more: What to Do About a Totaled Car

FAQs

What is car insurance?

Car insurance is a contract between you and an insurance provider that protects you in the event of a collision, theft, or other major issue with your automobile. In return for a monthly premium and a deductible payment, car insurance providers cover your losses up to an agreed upon amount. In most states, car insurance is legally required for drivers.

What are the types of auto insurance?

The main types of auto coverage are liability, comprehensive and collision. Liability coverage helps pay costs for injury to someone else or damage to the other person’s car; comprehensive covers damage to your car due to an event like hail or a storm, and in case your car is stolen; and collision covers damage to your car in an accident.

Methodology

To score each of the 10 major auto insurance providers, we compiled data from the NAIC, J.D. Power, the Apple App Store and Google Play, and AM Best.

Insurance Methodology: How We Rate Companies and Their Products

Insurance Methodology: How We Rate Companies and Their Products

We judge insurers across cost, coverage and customer experience, all to make sure you find the best policy for your situation.

Find out more

We compared key data, including volume of complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), average annual premium (compared to the $1,296 average for mid-size SUVs identified by AAA), J.D. Power customer satisfaction score (compared to the industry average of 880), mobile app scores, AM Best scores, coverage options, discounts, safe driving and accident forgiveness programs, and more.[3]

We also graded insurers on how easy it was to get an online quote, coverage options (with points for extras like gap insurance, roadside assistance, and rental reimbursement, among others) and discounts (like safe driving and bundle discounts). In addition, we compiled multiple quotes from each insurer across five different regions of the U.S. to calculate an average cost to insure, for comparison. Specifically, we looked at the following coverage amounts:

  • Bodily injury: $100,000/$300,000

  • Property damage: $100,000

  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $100,000/$300,000

  • Medical payments: $5,000

  • Collision deductible: $500

  • Comprehensive deductible: $500

Article Sources
  1. "Top 10 Writers Of Private Passenger Auto Insurance By Direct Premiums Written, 2021," Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/table-archive/20598.
  2. "Auto Insurance Claim Satisfaction Rises on Combination of Soaring Vehicle Values and Growth of Straight-Through-Processing Claims Management, J.D. Power Finds," J.D. Power, Oct. 28, 2021, https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-auto-claims-satisfaction-study.
  3. "Your Driving Costs," AAA, 2021, https://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2021-YDC-Brochure-Live.pdf.

About the Author

Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore is a freelance writer and editor covering personal finance, travel, autos, and home renovation. He's edited technical B2B white papers and economic analyses, as well as written financial advice for The Penny Hoarder and other outlets.

Full bio

Related Content