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 Laura Walker

UPDATED: Apr 25, 2022

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There are many top lists on the Internet, rating and ranking all manner of products and services. There are lists that delineate the best companies and products and there are lists that warn consumers to steer clear of what are perceived as the worst companies with which to do business.

Type your ZIP into the FREE toolbox here to find all the top auto insurance companies in your area!

Insurance companies are no different than other service providers. With a global audience, the Internet can instantly provide consumers with lists of the best car and home insurance providers based on service, value, quality, and, of course, overall customer satisfaction.

Top Auto Insurance Companies

Each year, the well-known market research company J.D. Power and Associates compiles its list of the top auto insurance providers in the United States. This year, 24 companies were ranked from the best to worst in overall customer satisfaction.

Each auto provider was given a point score based on 1000. The top company for 2012 was The Hartford, which was the recipient of the J.D. Power prestigious Five Circle award. Companies are compared in five important categories.

Consumers complete surveys regarding their insurance company’s policy offerings, the cost of their insurance, the effectiveness of their local agent as well as their professionalism, quality of service, and speed of call center representatives with whom they interact. Finally, the insurance company’s website is reviewed and rated.

Forbes Magazine provided the list of companies, beginning with The Hartford and concluding with Mercury Insurance in 24th place for 2012.

Take a look at the list – it features well-known companies such as Liberty Mutual and State Farm. There are many auto insurance providers on the list that also specialize in homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, and other specialty products.

Power Circle ratings for every company in each category, along with the point total for each insurer, can be found at the J.D. Power website.

Website Satisfaction Survey

In 2012, J.D. Power and Associates also inaugurated a brand new insurance study aimed at determining which auto insurers’ websites were perceived as the best, as well as how much influence a company’s website has when viewed by consumers shopping for an auto policy.

Here is a summary of the first edition of this survey. The Power team discovered a number of interesting trends during this study, including the fact that almost three-quarters of consumers shopping for auto insurance will look to at least one insurance provider’s website.

The importance of company websites is definitely increasing, as evidenced by this study, both before and after the sale. Among the highest performers in the website evaluation study was the traditional auto and home insurance giant Allstate.

Esurance and Geico, whose presence is almost entirely Web-based, were both given high marks for their sites.

The Travelers Insurance Company rounded out the top four. Other companies profiled in the study, in no particular order, were American Family, 21st Century, Farmers, Amica Mutual, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Progressive, and the 2012 award winner, The Hartford.

Companies were evaluated by 1,650 shoppers in the spring of 2012, who were asked to rate each company’s website on five different aspects that are believed to contribute to a consumer’s overall satisfaction.

Those factors included: the appearance of the site, the clarity of the information presented, the variety of services offered online, and the ease and speed of navigating the site.

Of the customers who were delighted with a company’s website, more than half reported that they would absolutely recommend the site to a friend, family member, or business associate.

Those consumers who were generally dissatisfied with a particular insurance provider’s website were highly unlikely to recommend the site; only 2% indicated they would.

More than a third of respondents indicated that they now buy their car insurance online. Getting an auto insurance quote quickly on their computer is very important to consumers.

Those who received their quotes rapidly rated companies much higher–an average of 857 points out of 1000–than those whose quotes took longer or didn’t come at all.

Those consumers whose online service expectations were not met scored provider’s websites at an average of only 612 points out of a possible 1000. The industry average score for this survey was 702 points.

One thing that J.D. Power points out in this year’s auto insurance studies is that overall satisfaction is on the rise in this industry as a whole. In 2012, satisfaction scores hit their highest level since the surveys began in 2000.

In 2012, overall satisfaction was up 14 points from the previous year, to a new total of 804 points out of 1000.

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Top Home Insurance Providers

The most recent J.D. Power study of home insurance companies was published in September, 2011. Many of the same names from the auto insurance studies appear prominently on this list as well.

Home insurers were rated and ranked on their policy offerings and pricing, how well they handled their billing and payment systems, the general level of helpfulness customers found when contacting the insurer, and, of course, the efficiency and timeliness of claim payouts.

At the top of the list of 22 home insurance vendors rated by J.D. Power and Five Circle award winner is Amica Insurance. Amica came in sixth on the list of highest-rated auto insurers.

However, Amica’s score of 831 points in considerably lower than the 857 achieved by the Hartford as the winner in the auto insurance category.

In this, the eleventh year of the J.D. Power surveys, the average homeowner’s insurance company scored 769 points out of 1000. This is a 19-point gain from the same period in 2010, but significantly lower than the 790 average satisfaction score in the 2011 survey.

Seven other home insurance providers in addition to Amica achieved scores above the 769 point level.

Of these, in second place was Auto-Owners Insurance (ranked 10th on the auto survey) and third went to Erie Insurance (number eight among auto insurers). The fourth place finisher was Cincinnati Insurance, followed by State Farm in fifth (seventh place on the auto list).

American Family was sixth on the homeowner’s list but third overall among auto policyholders. The Automobile club group was seventh, (fourth on the auto list), followed by the California State Automobile Association, which finished eighth.

Below-average homeowner’s companies began with ninth place Country, followed by the Automobile Club of Southern California (13th on the auto list).

The rest of the top twenty- two homeowner insurance companies in decreasing order with their rank, if any, on the top auto insurer’s list are as follows: number 11, Nationwide (fifth); number 12, The Hartford (first on the auto insurance satisfaction survey); 13, CHUBB; 14, Allstate (20th); and 15, The Hanover.

Number 16-ranked Farmers enjoyed the same placement on the auto satisfaction survey (16th). Number 17 was Mercury (24th) and then number 18 Encompass.

Number 19 was Liberty Mutual (second), 20 Safeco (14th), 21 MetLife (ninth) and in last place with just 732 points was the Travelers (19th).

Some Lack Sufficient Homeowner’s Coverage

The entire year of 2011 was a very difficult one for homeowner’s companies, owing to a number of catastrophic storms and other natural disasters that occurred throughout the United States.

There were multiple floods, devastating tornadoes, and powerful hurricanes, all of which drove home the point of having significant homeowner’s coverage.

Studies show that at least 16% of homeowners do not have enough coverage to completely rebuild their homes in the event of a loss. These policyholders are far less satisfied with their insurance providers than their average score of 739 would show.

Bundle Discounts Provide Better Pricing and More Satisfaction

Satisfaction with homeowner’s policies improved in 2011 from the previous year, but fell short of 2009 levels. Satisfaction increased in all the factors measured by the homeowner’s survey as they did in the auto insurance surveys, with one significant difference.

Those homeowner’s customers who bundle more than one policy are far more satisfied with their price than homeowners who don’t bundle.

Among auto insurance customers, the opposite is true. Auto insurance customers who have only one policy with their insurance provider are generally more satisfied than those consumers who bundle.

This is the result of very aggressive marketing by auto insurers, who are attempting to lower the number of auto customers who bundle in favor of selling only auto policies.

J.D. Power researchers found that bundlers in general derive more benefits and enjoy lower prices by having multiple insurance products with the same carrier. One insurance carrier that received top scores on both surveys, but was not counted because it only serves military personnel, was USAA.

Claims Dissatisfaction

The American Association for Justice published a report providing the names of insurance providers with the worst claims records in the industry.

Among them are four names that appear on both the homeowner’s and auto insurance survey lists. They include Allstate, State Farm, Farmers, and Liberty Mutual. The APA presents compelling documentation supporting reports that all of these companies delay paying out funds as long as they can.

In some cases, these companies even deny reasonable and legitimate customer claims, often after protracted legal battles.

The Biggest May or May Not Be the Best

Fortune Magazine recently published its annual list of the 500 largest companies in the United States. Exxon-Mobil, Wal-Mart Stores, and Chevron Oil top the list in the first three positions.

Many of the insurance providers we have examined are also listed prominently on the Fortune 500 list, including MetLife at number 34 and State Farm at number 43.

However you choose to rate and rank insurance companies, you should always comparison shop as many carriers as are available in your area to find the absolute best rates and coverage values for your insurance dollar.

Whether you’re looking for a new homeowner’s policy, auto policy, or both, you’ll find all the best deals online by putting your ZIP in the FREE tool on this page!

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