Auto insurance for drivers is required by law in most states, and driving without it can lead to fines, increased future insurance costs and even a suspended license. Most lenders of car loans also require that you have insurance to protect their interest in your car. This is especially important for parents who plan to add a teen driver to their insurance policy. Typical policies provide liability coverage for both bodily injury and property damage for you and others involved in accidents with you. Owners of classic and collector cars also need insurance, but the rules can be slightly different. Learn how to choose auto insurance in our guide below.
This list contains the top ten best auto insurance companies in the U.S. based on affordability, value of services, and responsiveness. Because, after all, what good is having a rock bottom rate if you don't get enough in return or can't get the help you need when you need it.
Top 10 of the Most Reviewed Auto Insurance Companies
The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
- Read the policy: Carefully examine your auto insurance policy to understand exactly what is covered, and work with your agent and insurance company to make the right adjustments to suit your unique situation.
- Limits: Pay attention to the limits and deductibles set by the insurance policy. In some cases, there will be a maximum payout, which may not be as high as you’re looking for. Or in others, the deductible could be higher than you’re willing to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim.
Are there exclusions?
Sometimes insurance policies will have exclusions, and you’ll end up paying out of pocket for an accident or repair that you thought would be covered.
- Other drivers don’t have insurance: If you get into a collision with an uninsured driver, you’ll have to pay for repairs out of your own pocket and sue for damages unless you have the proper auto insurance policy.
- Car theft: Basic insurance policies don’t always cover car theft.
- Damage from natural accidents: Some insurers don’t cover collisions with animals, tornados, earthquakes, damage from falling objects, etc., unless you specifically pay for these coverages.
Mechanics and replacement parts
Be wary during a claim. Some insurers will push you to use shops in a direct-repair program or use cheaper replacement parts rather than the original equipment manufacturer.
- Can you choose a service provider?: Choosing your own mechanic is the best-case scenario, but they aren’t always covered by insurance policies. Check the fine print of the policy to see if the insurer has control over which service providers and parts are used for repairs.
- Are service providers reputable?: If the insurer has the authority to pick your mechanic, investigate them. Look for service reviews online from past claims and from former policyholders.
- What if the replacement part breaks?: Find out how the insurer handles faulty repairs and how quickly they will take care of it.
The cost of auto insurance is a big factor in most people’s decision about which policy to choose.
- Premium: The premium is the monthly , semi-annual or yearly price that you pay for your insurance plan.
- Deductible: Deductibles are the amount of money you are required to pay for a claim before your insurance company starts to pay out. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium tends to be.
- Coverage factors: Depending on much coverage you opt for (i.e., the limits), the cost of your insurance will vary. Your past driving record, credit rating, distance you drive and even drivers’ education will all affect how much your policy costs.
In addition to basic auto insurance, there are optional coverages available for drivers with different needs.
- Collision coverage: Collision coverage pays for the expenses to repair your car after you’ve been in an accident, whether you’re at fault or not. If you drive an older car that isn’t worth much money, it may not be worth it to pay for collision insurance.
- Comprehensive coverage: This covers things that could happen to your car not related to an accident that might not be covered by standard insurance, such as weather damage, running into an animal or other factors. It’s a good idea to opt for comprehensive coverage if you can afford it, but it can get costly and might not be worth it if you drive an old or inexpensive car.
- Uninsured motorist protection: This protects drivers in the event that they get into an accident with a person who isn’t insured but is to blame for the accident or in a hit-and-run. It will cover damages to the car and injury in the event that another driver is unable to pay out.
Insurance company ratings
An insurance company’s reputation is important. Good companies should have a quick response time, be adept at handling claims and have excellent customer service.
- Reviews and complaints: Check the reviews and ratings on an insurance company before purchasing a policy. Be aware of any complaints that have been filed.
- Handling claims: How long does it take for the company to handle a claim? Do you have to pay out of pocket first or do they cover the expenses immediately?
What are different types of auto insurance policies?
Liability insurance covers you if you’re in an accident deemed to be your fault. It will cover repairs to damaged property, as well as medical bills resulting from injury to the other driver and his or her passengers. Most states require at least a minimum amount of liability insurance, but it’s a good idea to purchase extra protection if you can afford it.
If you are involved in an accident, collision coverage will pay for the repairs to your car whether or not you’re at fault. If your car is damaged beyond repair, good collision coverage will pay for the value of your car.
If something happens to your car that isn’t related to a vehicular accident, such as weather damage, hitting an animal or theft, comprehensive coverage will pay for the damage to the car.
Personal injury protection
Personal injury protection is imperative for all drivers. Medical bills following an accident can be devastating, and good personal injury coverage will cover medical expenses for you and your passengers, as well as missed work expenses.
Uninsured motorist protection
About one in six drivers is uninsured, even though it is illegal to be in most states. Uninsured motorist protection offers payment when you are in a collision with another driver who is at fault and does not have insurance or after a hit-and-run. It is usually relatively inexpensive to add uninsured motorist protection to a car insurance policy.
Who's it for?
Drivers who own a car
Auto Insurance is required by law for drivers in most states. Drivers who own a car and drive it often should definitely have auto insurance to cover the risk of damages to their car and personal injury and the liability of harm to other people and property. Otherwise, repairs and medical costs, particularly when you’re liable for an accident, can be very expensive.
Drivers who occasionally drive cars not their own
If you don’t own a car but occasionally drive rental cars or cars that belong to other people, you should still have auto insurance. The car owner’s insurance typically doesn’t cover other drivers unless that is stipulated in the policy.
Car owners who have other people drive their car
If you own a car that other people drive, such as a hired car, you should have auto insurance that covers the additional driver as he or she may not have insurance.