That’s where car insurance companies come in. The 10 biggest car insurance companies in the United States are State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate, USAA, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, Nationwide, Travelers, and American Family. Each car insurance company offers a similar product. You pay a set fee, called a premium, on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual basis. In return, you get a car insurance policy that provides you with car insurance coverage. That coverage pays for expenses related to your car in the event of a crash, theft, or natural disaster. Exactly which expenses are covered depends on the coverage you select and pay for. How much car insurance coverage you need depends on several factors, like the value of your car, the minimum insurance coverage required in your state, and any extra car insurance coverage you want.
Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
One note on price: Not all insurers will quote based on what you’ll pay each month. Some might list the annual or even semi-annual cost of a policy. (Why? Who knows? Insurance will never get accused of being easy.) Point is, here, too, you’ll want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. (Prices vary widely enough where it’s easy to get confused on the actual price.) That way, you know what insurer is truly offering the best price.
Another consideration when choosing between a large and small auto insurance company is availability, coverage options and discounts. While you’re likely to have a better experience with a small insurance company, it may not have the availability, benefits and discounts that large insurance companies do. For example, the major insurance companies in the U.S. often have representatives that are available 24/7. Additionally, small insurance companies don’t typically offer the long list of discounts and coverage options that national insurers, like Allstate and State Farm, offer. If around the clock availability or having discounts and coverage options are important to you, consider a large insurance company.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Ratings Program provides consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles, with more stars equaling safer cars. We examined 2016 model year vehicles for which ratings are available to compile the list of most affordable to insure for teen drivers.
"Many companies offer discounts for good grades and for completion of an approved driver’s education or defensive driving course," continued Doreen Haughton-James of 123 Drive! Driving Academy. "Some also have their own discount programs. State Farm, for example, has a program called 'Steer Clear' where students receive discounts for logging driving hours and completing a program."
USAA Insurance Agency means USAA Insurance Agency, Inc., or USAA of Texas Insurance Agency. CA Lic. #0D78305, TX Lic. #7096. 9800 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78288. The agency represents third-party insurers that are not affiliated with USAA and provides services to you on their behalf. Third party products are not underwritten by USAA or its affiliates. The agency receives a commission on the sale or renewal of third-party insurance products and may receive other performance-based compensation from them. Product availability may vary in some locations.