The 5 Best And Worst Car Insurance Companies As Rated By Consumers

Car Insurance Companies: From Best to Worst

Every year, J.D. Power and Associates ranks consumer satisfaction across a variety of industries and services using information gathered through surveys, and one of their most areas of expertise is the automotive world. Their list is acclaimed for its accuracy and respectability.

In August 2009, they released their annual ratings of auto insurance providers determined by customer satisfaction. If you’re with one of the companies that topped the list, congratulations; if you’re with one that’s lower down, it might be time to get a car insurance rate quote. Take a look and see where you wind up:

The Best Rated Car Insurance Companies

Here are the top five car insurance companies, from best to worst:

1. Amica Mutual: In every category measured — contacting the insurer, policy offerings, billing and payment, and pricing — Amica Mutual earned a perfect score from consumers, placing it atop the list. This is the 10th year in a row that Amica Mutual has topped the Power list. (There’s something to note, though: USAA and New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. also earned perfect scores in every category, but they aren’t included in the list because of their exclusivity: USAA is only available to military personnel and their families, while NJM is only open to New Jersey Business & Industry Association members and a few other select local categories. If you’re with either, good on you.)

2. State Farm: State Farm came in a close second, with perfect scores in contacting the insurer and solid returns in the policy offerings and billing areas.

3. Shelter: Another big contender, Shelter wowed consumers with its prices but faltered a bit in the billing and payment aspect.

4. Auto-Owners: This was another close call, as Auto-Owners matched State Farm, Shelter, and Erie for overall satisfaction. However, their policy offerings were the least popular among the top five.

5. Erie Insurance: A great company with much-loved billing and payment plans.

The Worst Rated Car Insurance Companies

Here are the bottom five car insurance companies, from bad to worst:

1. Travelers: Every company in the bottom five scored a two (out of possible five) in overall customer satisfaction. The only thing that gave Travelers an edge was its higher marks in the area of contacting the insurer.

2. Commerce: Commerce almost tied with Travelers, earning similar scores across the board but still leaving its customers less satisfied.

3. 21st Century: Despite an uptick in pricing satisfaction compared with the others, 21st Century left its customers mostly unhappy.

4. GMAC: GMAC earned a two (out of five) in every category, sending it almost all the way to the bottom thanks to customers’ complaints of sub-par service.

5. AIG: The worst of the bunch. AIG earned low marks in every area, with customers voicing their displeasure about every aspect of the company.

So what does all that mean? Well, it’s important to remember that customer satisfaction is a helpful way to gauge the quality of an insurance company, but the rankings leave out something important: price. You might be able to find a lower cost auto insurance policy with your current company than with one of those at the top of the list. And if cost is your ultimate decider, then that will guide your decision. However, the intangibles that lead to customer satisfaction – kindness, responsiveness, willingness to go the extra mile for the consumer — have a way of balancing out pure price, or at least putting it in perspective. When you shop around for quotes, use this list as a guide and try to find the most affordable insurance at the most-loved company. You might wind up paying a higher premium than you would elsewhere, but the gains in customer satisfaction and peace of mind will be worth it.

Now that you’ve seen the best and worst, it might be time to get a car insurance quote to see if you are paying too much.

This guest post is contributed by Jena Ellis, who writes on the topics of Online Certificate Programs.  She welcomes your questions and comments at her email Id: jena.ellis20@gmail.com.

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FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers. Read more here.

31 Comments
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  1. I’ve been with State farm for years. No complaints. I once shopped around for lower rates. NO ONE could beat what I was paying at state farm.

  2. Mick Elrod

    I have had State Farm Insurance on my automobiles for 48 years. Their service has always been outstanding. All claims were handled quickly and efficiently. I have not been able to find any insurance company with lower prices. I have only had two agents in the past 48 years and both were outstanding agents.

  3. Nate Steuer

    I felt I needed to comment on your post. I had Allstate for years and felt convicted to “shop” the market for Insurance. After shopping all insurers in my state I found that AIG was $450 less than what I was paying at the time through Allstate. I went to my Allstate agents office (who I was with for 10+ years) and asked him to meet me in the middle and take $225 off of my current premium and I would stay with Allstate. He not only told me he could not do that but he also HIGHLY recommended AIG. He said any other company he might have a problem seeing one of his insured leaving him to go to but AIG was one he knew was better and cheaper with the same great service.
    I have now been with AIG for over 6 years. I have had two accidents (not my fault) and the claims process and customer service has been exceptional! I HIGHLY recommend them to anyone!
    (Just a side note AIG was bought our by 21st Century some time ago.)
    I am one HAPPY, HAPPY customer! :)

  4. I have also been with State Farm for years. I have, hands-down, the best insurance man around, the only one I’ve ever had. He does everything possible to keep our rates as low as possible. Thank God I have never had an accident but my mom, who goes through the same guy, did, and it was as hassle-free as you could imagine. He even came out to visit my dad in the hospital when he had his heart attack (he’s ok now) just because he cared enough to do so. He’s just a great guy, and my rates are better than anything I can find anywhere. I also recommend State Farm.

  5. My entire family has been with State Farm for years. My husband had an old truck that we “cash for clunkered” and switched from his previous carrier Geico to State Farm for the new truck saving over $35 a month. It’s well worth the time to call and compare rates. Every dollar counts!

  6. It is ironic that I read this aritcle yesterday and than I got this email from 21st Insurance today. You will see that they were rated Best in Customer service four times in a row by JD Power: http://21stinfocentral.com/newsletters/July-2010/Retail/jdpowers.html

  7. Just a quick comment. Price is not everything when you have a vehicle that needs to be restored to pre-accident condition. Watch for the companys that use aftermarket parts look at your estimate and see what they are paying for.If I have an Acura or a Chevy I want the same original part the car had that is pre-loss condition. If it is classified “competitive part” or “economy part” that means it is not a genuine original manufacturer crash tested and corrosion tested part but rather an imitation part not subject to the same stringent testing. This means the part costs much less usually half the cost of the original and unless the insurance company is passing the savings on to me directly it means they are keeping the savings and that is cheating me the consumer. So if one company is $200.00 cheaper or whatever are they really if they pocketed $400.00 or $500.00 on the aftermarket parts that they just put on your car?An educated consumer is a quality insurance company’s best customer because they know they are getting what they truly pay for.That is why Amica Ins and New Jersey Manufacturers always top the list and dividend checks are given to policy holders too not just stock holders does your insurance company give you a dividend check yearly? One last FYI about AIG, they brought 21st Century Insurance guess thats where some of the government bailout money went.

  8. Nate, You need to read the 21st Centurt Email a little closer. It appears to me the rating is on their call center, not customer satisfaction. Quote from article: “Eligible call centers are measured for effectiveness in the following areas: recruiting, training, employee incentives, quality assurance capabilities, and management roles and responsibilities.”

  9. Thank you for the article Jena. I have been employed by Amica for several years as an agent and can honestly say that they really do keep their promises. It’s important to remember that we appreciate the J.D. Power award but we are also featured by Clark Howard, Consumer Reports and BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Customer Service Champs. It’s a good company to work for and I can sleep well at night knowing we are a company with integrity. I’m also a customer of Amica and I take advantage of the Dividend Policy which gives me 20% interest on the money I “invest” in the company in the form of a higher premium.

  10. Natasha

    Anyone know information about a company called “Sterling Health Plans”? I received an email from them telling me I may have skills for an opening. I am assuming it is in sales. Is this a good company to work for?

  11. Spjutster

    I have been with State Farm for a while and have had nothing but good experiences with them. Remember though that a lot of the service you get depends upon your agent and not necessarily the company. One of the major reasons we picked State Farm is that our agent is a good family friend and is willing to help us out in any way possible. If you really know someone who is an agent, you should seriously consider going with them because they are more likely to help you in sticky situations.

  12. chickiemom

    Does anyone have Nationwide? We have had them for a few years and they are always a few hundred cheaper then everyone else…. we have a truck and a car on full covrage and pay less then $1,000/yr

    • Kathy Lancaster

      I do not have Nationwide but I was in an accident with a person (they were at fault) who did have Nationwide. This person lied about the accident and did not fax the police report to Nationwide when asked to. Consquently nothing was happening with my claim. I had to pay a deposit to get a rental car and no one came to the repair shop where my car was towed. When I called Nationwide to complain they requested the report from me which I promptly faxed to them. They immediately sent someone to see my car, paid my rental car bill and stayed with the claim until I had my car back. I was very impressed with them and plan to ‘shop’ them when it is time to renew my policy this year.

  13. Edna Folley

    I had been a customer of State Auto with no complaints on claims which were minimal and did not involve accidents where we were at fault. However, this past year their rates for auto went up considerably and this is for two older, paid off cars and we are seniors with no accident history. So I shopped around and found Autoowners which is saving me over $300 on auto and basically not increasing my homeowners. NOW, here is the rub. I signed up for my new policies on April 4. My auto ins went in to effect on 4/15. The homeowners will not be effective until April 29 when our old policy expires. Autowners was to bill my mortgage company before then. This week we received a letter from the mortgage company saying that they had not received a bill for our homeowner’s insurance and they would have to impose their own ins if they did not hear from someone by April 29. I called today, April 26, to make sure it had been sent out and found out, no, Autowners is behind on their underwrites and have not mailed out bills yet. We are now 3 days away from expiration. After talking to my broker and his checking on it for me, it was taken care of. SECOND rub!!! I was supposed to be getting a discount for paying cash, BUT that does not apply if it is escrow cash. NO where on their printed material did they make that clear. After a conversation with my broker and the underwriter, I still owe the additional $45. I am staying with Autowners for a year only because I did two months of research to decide on them and I am just too tired and frustrated to go searching again. I was visably mortified and expressed my displeasure. So now I have home and auto insurance for at least a year with a company I no longer feel good about and am concerned I can even trust. I am sure the person writing this article did some level of research beforehand, but quite frankly, why would I trust them again either?? I feel betrayed and let down. I might have done as well to blind my eyes and pick a number.

  14. I’m really surprised the USAA is not on the list. They have been nothing short of amazing & they are 1/2 as much as everybody else. Loyal customer for life!

  15. He did say, “There’s something to note, though: USAA and New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. also earned perfect scores in every category, but they aren’t included in the list because of their exclusivity: USAA is only available to military personnel and their families”

    • kathie

      Not even their families, unless it get’s passed down. My Father died in action at 24, my Mother has since died of cancer, and didn’t drive, so, I am not eligible, even though I lost my Father in WW2 and am now 70 years of age. I consider Mercury the worst insurance and want to change, so, I was very disappointed to find that being a ‘ war orphan’ does not qualify me.

  16. JUDY BORINO

    HAVE HAD STATE FARM FOR 2 HOMES AND AUTOS ALSO FOR 40 YRS. PUT IN A FEW CLAIMS, ONE OF WHICH WAS DENIED DUE TO FLOOD FROM HURRICANE IRENE AND THE SECOND FOR A LEAKING ROOF OF WHICH THEY PAID $200 AND WE PD OUR DEDUCTIBLE AND AN ADDITIONAL $2000 TO FIX THE PROBLEM. NOW THE CALL TO CANCEL OUR HOMEOWNERS FOR TOO MANY CLAIM. AM VERY UPSET.

    • ROMONA ROUNDTREE

      I CAN RE-LATE TO YOUR SITUATION THE SAME THING JUST HAPPEN TO ME I’VE BEEN WITH STATE FARM FOR OVER 19 YRS.JUST MOVED IN MY SECOND HOME 9/12/2011 HAD A KITCHEN FIRE 11/19/11 AND FILED THE CLAIM AND BEFORE ANYTHING WAS REPAIRED I RECIEVED A CERTIFED LETTER THE FOLLOWING WEEK THAT THEY WERE DROPPING ME DUE TO HAVING 2 CLAIMS IN ONE YEAR. WHICH THE FIRST CLAIM WASN’T EVEN A FIRE CLAIM. VERY DISAPPOINTED MY HOME STILL HAVE NOT BEEN COMPLETED AND ON TOP OF THAT I’M STILL HAVING A HARD TIME TRYING TO FIND A INSURANCE COMPANY TO PICK ME UP FOR HOMEOWNERS.MY CARS ARE STILL INSURED THROUGH STATE FARM BUT THEY WONT BE WHEN EVER I FIND ANOTHER COMPANY TO TAKE ME FOR HOMEOWNERS. CAN ANYONE REFER ME TO A INSURANCE COMPANY THAT IS WILLING TO TAKE SOMEONE WITH 2 CLAIMS.THANKS

  17. As an Autobody shop owner in the state of New Jersey I think…Know Hands down that the worst insurance company to deal with is Liberty Mutual…They are always TRYING to make us short cut repairs and not paying for obvious damage from losses. The Appraisers are all scared to do the right thing because they might loose their jobs. As a professional in this business for well over 25 years I suggest you all stay away from Liberty Mutual…I could go on for hours..

  18. I have been insured with AMICA for about15 years and they are the best insurance company out there, in my opinion. I should mention that I own a company who provides continuing education training for insurance companies all over the US. I have been asked to analyze the coverage under policies and train agents for all of the top insurers. I have 2 recommendations for insurance shoppers:
    1. DO NOT shop by price alone! Insurers who spend millions of dollars on advertising their “low prices” and say within a few minutes they can save you money are not concerned with providing you the best coverage. When your teenage son is involved in a serious accident, the last thing on your mind will be the small amount you saved on the premium! AMICA does not advertise and relies on recommendations from satisfied policyholders for new business. Even though their coverage is far superior to most companies, their price is usually much lower as well!
    2. BUY AS MUCH LIABILITY AND UNINSURED MOTORIST AS YOU CAN AFFORD AND AS LARGE A DEDUCTIBLE ON YOUR VEHICLE DAMAGE TO SAVE MONEY. Even if your vehicle is totally destroyed, The amount of damage is limited compared to the amount of damages you may have to pay to the people in the “other car”. Most of the “cheap” insurance includes only the minimum amount of coverage that the law allows. Anything above that amount will have to be paid out of your pocket. People misunderstand Uninsured Motorist coverage. It protects the people in your vehicle from people who have purchased “cheap, skimpy” coverage. If you are injured by one of these drivers who only cared about saving money, you can protect yourself and loved-ones.
    I have AMICA on my home, travel trailer, three vehicles and umbrella and have had 2-3 claims over the time and have not been cancelled. Their claims service is tip-top. They do not steer you to a body-shop that they have negotiated a cheap price with or make you get 3 estimates. Also try calling one of the “cheap” insurers and tell them that you have a teen driver who just got their license and a brand-new Corvette and see what their reaction is!
    Good luck to all of you and remember to shop coverage first – service second and price last!

  19. I have nothing good to say about State Farm. I was rear ended on Christmas Eve 2010 by a drunk driver. He had State Farm insurance and I had Progressive. Progressive was terrific through it all my car was totaled and they had me a rental car right away & within a week I had the check for my car. Then I ended up having to have knee surgery and my car insurance covered my medical bills to the extent of my coverage, but State Farm has still not paid a penny towards my medical bills. I ended up with $6,000 in unpaid medical bills that I now have to find a way to pay. I also had to get a lawyer and I am currently fighting State Farm for the money for my medical bills, my wages for not being able to work ( let alone the fact that I lost my job because I could not work for 3 months.) and State Farm are dragging their feet about paying me a settlement over this matter when I am the one who has had nothing but trouble since this accident, and the guy who was drunk in the middle of the afternoon on christmas eve is going on with his life with no hassles. Therefore in my opinion state farm is the worst car insurance around.

  20. Christopher Kandrat

    NJM is a pretty good insurance based out of NJ, low rates, flexible payments, pretty good company.

  21. Sarah M.

    I have been on the phone all day trying to get quotes. There are so many ins and outs it is hard to compare. I appreciate all your comments. I have a home and 2 cars.
    This is my experience:
    –GEICO had good coverage and they handled accidents quickly and well. They came to my job to do an estimate. I don’t remember price, but I was dropped after several accidents and they don’t offer home insurance.
    –STATE FARM was recommended, but agent kind of rushed me. I’ve heard so many extremes about them. Their rates weren’t too high
    –NATIONWIDE gave low rate, but didn’t give me full value on my house. I felt they were playing with numbers. I do like the disappearing deductible over time.
    –The best yearly rate so far has been with the HARTFORD, through AARP and they offered a good value on my house. I need to go back to them and check what car would be with 100/300. I don’t know if they included that. If they didn’t then I know they just gave me minimum coverage for lower premium.
    –PROGRESSIVE was extremely thorough. The rates were average. The agent I spoke with was very helpful, but that is just one person. They also offer this thing that gauges your driving (that you plug into the steering column) You can get a lower rate if you are “really” a good driver according to the thing. It can’t go up, but if you are a good driver, it can go down.
    –21st CENTURY rates were horrendous.
    –And last (and I DO mean least) is ALLSTATE. I loved the agents I worked with, but their rates are the highest even though they offer less coverage. The company has screwed up my bills numerous times (not the local office). They asked for feedback, on which I spent a lot of time, and I got no response.
    I’m going to check out AMICA now. Wish me luck!

  22. Good luck Sarah. I worked at Amica from 2007-2011 and I can tell you they are a top-notch company who really does keep their promises. If you want the direct line to a good agent then call 1-800-882-6422 x59555. His name is Todd Mapes and he will take care of you.

    It looks like you’re having some issues with finding the right replacement cost on your home. Make sure you find out what the “extended replacement cost” is whenever you get a homeowners quote. If you’re not sure what that it… here’s how it works:

    If the replacement cost on your home is $180,000 and the extended replacement cost was 130% then you would really have a $234,000 available to you at the time of the loss. Make sense?

    Let me know if you have any questions but call Todd and let him know Josh Monen sent you.

  23. Rates presented in this post are based on overall scores made by a population of customers. It’s not that these companies here deserve to be blown away from the market because of a low performance because they too have satisfied customers for sure. In fact, a lot here are reacting.

  24. The worst car insurance provider is the one that will let us undergo a very tiresome process when we make a claim. We are customers and we always pay what we have to pay just to get our coverage. We do not deserve to be treated like beggars when it is our time to get what we have paid for.

  25. i must say the worst ins we have had the misfortune to obtain was allstate, which i truly feel we are not in good hands with them, in 2011 i was in a not at fault accident and where the other person’s ins paid my own ins co is fighting me and i pay extra for med pay to cover medical cost, but they stopped me before i could finish getting treatment, now i am in more pain than before and i have no health ins and on top of that my vehicle was totaled so i haven’t had a vehicle for 2 yrs. in addition my eldest son was hit by a drunk driver a few months after my accident and that vehicle was totaled and he has a lot of pain in his shoulder, the drunk driver did not have ins and once again allstate is giving us the run around while my son is need of surgery and medical care. in short if u c allstate run in the other direction. please pray for us and we will pray for all of you.

  26. I have to agree with the report that Travelers is terrible. I have a neck injury from being rear ended while I was stopped at a red light. I am in NJ, a no fault state, so even though the other person got a ticket, I have to go thru my own ins co, which is Travelers. Dealing with Travelers Auto Insurance is like getting rammed into at that red light over and over and over again.

    The claims adjustor at Travelers speaks to me as if I were a criminal, denies tests and treatments my doctor orders, claims the doctor’s office didn’t send requests when the office said they did, compares my injuries to her own medical problems and implies I should have a more positive attitude like she did, sends denial letters that mysteriously lost in the mail, etc. The only thing that keeps me sane is knowing she is leaving the department. They are probably promoting her to Vice President for keeping costs down.

    I realize now that the pain I am in has made me sit back and take bad service. Even if my new Travelers claims adjustor is better (not holding my breath) I am shopping around for new insurance next week. I’m still stuck with Travelers for this claim, but at least I’ll have the releif of knowing that I won’t ever have to deal with Travelers if, God forbid, I get in another accident.

  27. I had State Farm alkaloids for car and home and never claimed once. Then the letter came stating State Farm was dropping a lot of polices for homes in the state of FL. Ours was one. We had to find another company and they lost our auto insurance too. Almost 40 years of service gone in one letter.

  28. I have had Allstate for over 30 yrs Had to get a new car –now over 1 yr old My ins went up $200 this last 6 mos and my car sits in the driveway 3-4 days in the week I go in the neighborhood generally to do most of my business It is a 30 min drive if I go into El Paso Maybe 2 times a month Also, have home owners with Allstate They get over 2 months of my income per year for insurance No accidents other than a black ice damage due to a slide into a pole and water damage in house due to a freeze They have been good with claims follow up BUT I feel the premiums are not justified by–it is the area you live in— $200 jump in 6 months????? I am considered OLD over 70 Took the AARP course last week

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