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: Apr 12, 2020

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Some of the largest auto insurance companies in the nation are also the ones that have the greatest name recognition: State Farm, Allstate, Geico, Progressive, Farmers, and Nationwide.

While these are seen as sure bets when it comes to reliable auto insurance, as with any financial purchase it is important to do your research and make sure that the largest companies are also the best ones for you.

By putting your ZIP in the FREE quote tool, you can get the customized quotes you need for auto insurance from the largest to the smallest companies!

These six largest companies make up more than 50% of the market share for car insurance in the United States. Other large insurance companies include Liberty Mutual, USAA Insurance, Travelers, and American Family Mutual.

However, not all of these companies offer coverage in every single state. There are also other excellent auto insurance companies out there that are much smaller than the ones on this list.

Size Sets State Farm apart

State Farm ranks the highest among the largest auto insurance companies on the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study. It was ranked six out of all the companies in the nation according to this renowned customer satisfaction index ranking.

The study looks at actual customer’s opinions on how an insurer is doing in terms of pricing, interaction, billing and payment, claims, and policy offerings.

In terms of financial strength, independent insurance rating company A.M. Best gives State Farm an “A+”, which is a superior rating.

It also states that the insurer has a stable outlook for the future. A.M. Best, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Weiss Ratings are all independent insurance rating firms that assign grades to insurers based on their financial performance.

An “A” or better rating from any of these organizations is what you are looking for in an insurance company.

State Farm is the largest auto insurance company in the country. It is hard to argue with sheer size. More than 40 million drivers insure their vehicles through State Farm.

If you live in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, however, you are out of luck, as the company is not offering new policies in these states. However, for those looking for insurance in other states, State Farm is a good option.

Experience Sets Allstate apart

Allstate, the second largest U.S. insurer, ranks 13th in the J.D. Power and Associates study for customer satisfaction, which puts it slightly below the industry average.

The company also receives an “A+” from A.M. Best in terms of financial strength, with a stable outlook. This bodes well for those leaning towards Allstate for an insurance policy.

In addition to auto insurance, the company also offers a wide variety of other types of insurance coverage.

Allstate has more than 75 years of experience and protects more than 16 million policyholders. Some of its standout features include the fact that it offers accident forgiveness for its customers and new car replacement for cars totaled during their first three model years.

In addition, it gives a safe driving bonus check to policyholders for every six months they go without accidents.

Advertising Sets Geico apart

Geico, the third largest auto insurance company in the country, does well in customer satisfaction also, according to the J.D. Power and Associates annual study. It ranks 7th, just behind the country’s largest insurer, State Farm.

Another positive for Geico is that A.M. Best views its financial strength as superior, with an “A++” rating and a stable outlook.

Geico is the company with the talking gecko as a spokesperson, who convinces you to take 15 minutes to call for a quote than could save you more than 15 percent on auto insurance costs.

The company focuses on advertising campaigns and does most of its customer service by phone or online. It does not have local agents in every town and city throughout the country. In fact there are few local offices.

Innovation Sets Progressive apart

Progressive is 12th in customer satisfaction, a little below the industry average, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

The fourth largest insurer in the country, Progressive is another “A+” rated insurer in terms of financial strength, as analyzed by A.M. Best.

One of the unique things offered by Progressive is a “Name Your Price” quote tool. This can help you get the price you want. The company also offers loyalty rewards for customers who keep their insurance with them year after year.

Some of these rewards can be very valuable, such as large accident forgiveness and a young driver discount.

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Service Sets Farmers apart

According to policyholders, Farmers could use some help improving its customer relations. The insurer ranks 27th in terms of customer satisfaction on the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates study, making it the worst-performing company amongst the top six largest insurers in the nation.

According to A.M. Best, Farmers has a stable outlook and gets an “A” rating for financial strength, lower than other large auto insurance companies.

Farmers does not offer car insurance coverage in Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Alaska, Hawaii, or Rhode Island. It does offer unique discounts for occupational groups such as nurses, teachers, firefighters, and more.

The company’s focus is on the service provided by local professional agents. However, it appears that it still needs to work on that, judging by its low customer satisfaction rating.

Savings Set Nationwide apart

Consumers ranked Nationwide in 21st position for customer satisfaction on the J.D. Power study. When it comes to financial strength, A.M. Best gives Nationwide an “A+” superior rating, but has deemed its outlook to be negative. This firm is the sixth largest in the nation.

One of the things that sets Nationwide apart from the other large auto insurance companies is that it offers a vanishing deductible. What this means is that you save $100 on your deductible for each year you have a safe driving record.

Nationwide does not offer coverage in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Jersey, or New Mexico, but residents of other states can opt for insurance from this company.

Choose the Right Insurance Company

While all auto insurance companies essentially operate the same way, there are a variety of differences from one company to another. Rates, especially, can be very different depending on the underwriting guidelines of each one.

While they all take into consideration pretty much the same factors, like your driving record, demographic information, your insurance record, the vehicle you drive, and how you use your vehicle, they weigh each factor differently.

This results in the difference in rates that you find when you are shopping around.

The largest car insurance companies in the country may or may not be the best option for your particular car insurance needs. Some regional car insurance companies may excel but may never be one of the biggest in the country because of the population numbers that they serve.

Therefore, it is important to consider more than just the big guys when looking to purchase your auto insurance.

When you are looking for car insurance, take the time to get a variety of quotes from both big and small companies.

For ones that are not listed above, be sure to check each out with companies like A.M. Best, Moody’s, or Weiss Ratings to find out how they fare in terms of financial stability.

You should also find out how they rank in the annual J.D. Power and Associates auto insurance study or with other consumer review sites such as the Better Business Bureau, so you know how actual users rank them.

Size sometimes Matters for Insurance Companies

If you prefer personalized service with agents who know you by name, you may prefer small insurance companies. Some of the larger companies offer only customer service from a distance.

You should also do some investigation into the biggest and best-rated companies in your state, as these may be very different than the biggest auto insurance companies in the country.

In fact, the J.D. Power and Associates study of customer satisfaction uncovered five companies that outperformed all of the big companies in overall satisfaction.

Just remember that there are some advantages to large companies too. Some large insurance companies are able to offer lower prices because of their size. The cost of their claims is spread out over a larger group of individuals; therefore, they can keep offering lower prices.

Small companies may need to raise premiums more often to cover claims. However, before you decide that small companies have higher premiums, find out for yourself exactly what your premium would be from the big guys and the little ones.

While many of the big-name insurance companies looked at above are excellent options for your car insurance needs, it is important to bear in mind that big is not always better.

Take the time to carefully shop around and compare insurance policies to find the best company that meets your needs. Get a variety of quotes that you can compare based on price, policy, ratings, and reputation.

Plug your ZIP code in the FREE quote tool now to get car insurance quotes from all insurance companies, both big and little!

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