Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2021

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Americans love Top 10 lists. In fact, we’ll rank just about anything, from sports teams to travel destinations to different ways you can earn money from the comfort of your own home.

Top 10 lists are a way for us to quickly digest condensed information without having to do a whole lot of research. So what are the top ten insurance companies from last year?

After you find out who the top ten auto insurance companies are, make sure you enter your ZIP code into our FREE search tool for some online insurance quotes!

You may go to half a dozen different websites and never find two rankings that are the same. This is primarily due to the fact that there are so many criteria by which insurance companies are rated. That means the top ten will depend on who does the ranking and the criteria used.

We’ll talk about three of those ranking systems here, including how some of the most well-known companies have fared over the years.

Ranking by Market Share

Our first category is known as market share. Market share is defined as a percentage of the total amount of business for which a given company is responsible. Think of it in terms of a pie.

If a whole pie represents the total dollar value of all of the car insurance policies sold in the United States, the market share of one company would equal its slice of that pie.

All of the car insurance companies together would have slices that, when combined together, make up the entire pie.

We’ve chosen market share as our first criteria because it says an awful lot about a company. The top two or three companies selling the most policies, and getting the most money for them, would seem to have the best overall product and service based simply on the principles of supply and demand.

American consumers tend to put their money into the best companies.

According to the latest rankings from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, published in April 2012, the top 10 auto insurance companies by market share in 2011 were:

  • State Farm – 18.62% ($31.48 billion)
  • Allstate – 10.32% ($17.45 billion)
  • Berkshire Hathaway (Geico) – 9.07% ($15.34 billion)
  • Progressive – 7.94% ($13.3 billion)
  • United Service Automobile Association – 4.6% ($7.63 billion)
  • Liberty Mutual – 4.54% ($7.68 billion)
  • Nationwide – 4.05% ($6.85 billion)
  • Travelers – 2.08% ($3.52 billion)
  • American Family Insurance – 1.8% ($3.04 billion)
  • The Hartford – 1.39% ($2.34 billion)

It must be noted that the United Service Automobile Association is not a car insurance company, per se. Rather, it is the military equivalent of AAA (a.k.a. the American Automobile Association).

The United Service Automobile Association (USAA) offers a wide range of benefits to American military service members and their families.

However, unlike AAA insurance, which is underwritten and sold by dozens of insurance companies around the country, the USAA writes all of its own policies through a subsidiary insurance company.

Ranking by Overall Customer Satisfaction

Perhaps the second most dependable way to rank America’s top 10 insurance companies is according to surveys that gauge overall customer satisfaction. J.D. Power and Associates, one of the world’s most well-known market research companies, conducts extensive research on customer satisfaction relating to numerous industries and businesses.

While their insurance company findings are generally accepted as being accurate, it is a bit more difficult to compile a top 10 list from them.

J.D. Power doesn’t necessarily rank insurance companies from 1 to 10. Instead, they give each one a “circle rating” similar to the star ratings you might find at a site like Amazon.com. It’s up to the consumer to delve deep into the data to compile their own top 10 list.

That being said, here are J.D. Powers’ top 10 auto insurance companies based on overall customer satisfaction:

  • Amica
  • USAA
  • State Farm
  • Erie
  • AAA of Southern California
  • AAA
  • The Hartford
  • Geico
  • 21st Century
  • Liberty Mutual

Again, it must be noted that USAA and AAA are not insurance companies. They are automobile clubs offering car insurance as one of the benefits to members.

The most recent J. D Power client satisfaction survey for 2012 indicates that customer satisfaction with the auto insurance claims experience increased in the past few months. See complete survey details here.

Ranking by Price

Have you noticed that most of the major auto insurance companies claim to be the cheapest? There’s good reason for that, seeing that price is one of the first things people look at when considering a new auto policy.

We took a look at pricing numbers produced by Business Week after their experts analyzed the J.D. Power data, to come up with this top 10 list based on price:

  • Amica
  • USAA
  • AAA of Southern California
  • Erie
  • 21st Century
  • Mercury
  • The Hartford
  • Geico
  • State Farm
  • Liberty Mutual

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Your Personal Preferences

We’ve provided just three categories by which auto insurance companies are ranked. But you may have your own personal preferences. What’s most important is that you find the car insurance company that will give you the coverage you need, a price you can afford, and customer and claims service with which you can effectively deal.

The companies that do the best job of providing these things will be at the top of your list.

Be careful not to settle on the first company you deal with if they don’t meet your expectations in some way. While there’s no such thing as the perfect car insurance company, there are some that are stronger than others in the areas that are important to you.

It may help for you to decide on your own set of criteria and then rank the various insurance companies as you deal with them.

Purchasing Your Policy

When it comes time to actually purchase a policy, you may find that some insurance companies are not as well-versed as others regarding the laws in your state. For example, New York has long had a requirement stipulating that the name on a vehicle registration must be identical to the name on the insurance ID card.

Yet it took the largest auto insurance companies in the U.S. a few years to catch up to that law.

Prior to that point it was up to customers to instruct their insurance companies regarding the name that should be put on ID cards. It wasn’t uncommon for drivers to be turned away at the DMV because their documents didn’t match.

In terms of pricing, consumers bear most of the responsibility. It’s understandable to be unhappy with a company because their premiums seem to be too high, but checking to see what you’re getting for that money gives you a far more accurate picture of company pricing.

It helps to know what is required by your state regulations so that you can look at the quote and easily figure out what is necessary and what isn’t.

You may find that a particular quote is a bit higher because the company is offering higher annual limits. Reducing a quote to just the bare minimum required by your state will likely drop the price significantly.

Rating Your Company

Once a policy is in place and you’ve had a fair amount of time to assess your relationship with your insurance company, it’s helpful for you to write and submit your own review. Many insurance companies accept reviews for their websites.

If yours doesn’t, there are also a lot of independent consumer research sites that will allow you to post your review.

The only thing to be concerned about with independent review sites is the tendency they have to be negative. In other words, you’ll probably see a large number of complaints and negative reviews for just about every major insurance company in America. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those companies are failures at what they do.

The truth is, it’s usually the unhappy consumer who has the motivation to write an online review. Happy customers don’t have such strong motivations. You can help turn the tide to more positive reviews by posting your own.

And remember this: For every unhappy customer who goes out of his way to post a negative review, there are many more that are quite happy.

Get Ready to Start Searching

Now that you have a pretty good idea of how car insurance ratings go, it’s time for you to start searching on your own if you need a new policy.

Even if you already have car insurance policy in force, you can still dig around among some of the other providers to find out what they offer.

While you’re at it, you can look at review sites and resources like J.D. Power and Associates and A.M. Best. Take all the information you glean and use it to decide whether or not you want to stick with your current provider at renewal time.

Right now is the time for you to start comparing auto insurance quotes from the top 10 companies we’ve listed. Enter your ZIP into our FREE search tool to get started right away!

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