There are many ways to identify the top-rated auto insurance companies. There are objective criteria you can use, like pricing and financial rating, and there are subjective criteria you can use, like customer service and claims processing.
Finding the best-rated insurers by price will have to be a personal affair because the insurer that will offer the best premium will depend on your personal characteristics and needs.
One option for getting a general idea of which major insurers in your state offer the best prices is to access a rate-comparison guide provided by state regulators. With these guides, you’ll have to find the driver profile that’s closest to yours and see which insurers have the best rates. A more precise way to do this, though, may be to generate multiple auto insurance quotes from trusted insurers and find which provides the best price for the coverage you need.
To find out which insurers have the best financial footing, you can turn to independent rating agencies like A.M. Best, which provide financial strength rating assessments of insurers. These agencies will assign a letter grade to an insurer based on its financial strength. The letter grades may change between agencies.
At A.M. Best, “secure” companies are rated as:
“Vulnerable” companies are rated as:
These ratings cannot be relied on 100 percent, however, but they are informed analyses made by experts of a company’s financial strength.
There are a couple of ways to get information about which insurers in your state have the best customer service track records.
One way is to look at consumer-based ratings put together by independent companies. J.D. Power and Associates1, for instance, surveys consumers on their insurers’ customer service and uses that data to rank auto insurers by purchase experience, property-claims satisfaction, claims ratings, and overall customer satisfaction.
Another way is to check consumer-complaint reports published by state regulators. In these reports, regulators present data showing how many complaints they got from consumers regarding specific insurers. These complaints most commonly have to do with insurers’ handling of claims, cancellation of policies, and disputes over coverage. The amount of complaints filed against an insurer is weighed against the number of policies it had in place in the state, or against the amount of premiums it collected. The resulting score is called a consumer-complaint ratio, and, in theory, the insurers with the best complaint ratios may be the best in customer service. To find a consumer-complaint report for your state, start by looking on your state insurance regulator’s website.
Finally, another useful (but less scientific) way to gauge the customer service quality at an insurer is to ask friends, family, or anyone else about their experiences with a particular insurer.
Make sure the agent or insurer you’re buying insurance from is licensed in your state. Buying coverage from an unlicensed entity could result in unpaid claims or lost premiums, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners2.