Buying car insurance can overwhelm even the best prepared shopper. Auto policies combine so many variables — and so many companies vie for your premium dollars.
So we’ve created a list of the 15 best car insurance companies to give you a starting point as you shop. To find the best auto insurance companies in the United States, we conducted over 200 hours of research, spoke to seven experts, vetted 23 insurers, and analyzed data points such as market share, customer complaints, coverage options, claims processes, discount availability, deductible flexibility, and customer support.
You should do your own research, too, because your specific needs should drive your auto coverage choices. Find the company (or broker) that can best meet your specific needs.
Lastly — and we can’t stress this enough — get at least three car insurance quotes, all from different insurers, before making up your mind. Car insurance rates change every year. You won’t know which companies offer the best savings this year unless you compare quotes.
And remember, the best car insurance policy is not always the cheapest policy. Consider a company’s customer service and reputation. These details will matter when you need to file a claim.
Your ideal car insurance company should have great rates as well as a streamlined claims process and responsive customer support.
15 Best Car Insurance Companies
We recommend these 15 best car insurance companies for 2020:
- Progressive: Best for Coverage Options and Discounts
- GEICO: Best for Competitive Rates
- Allstate: Best for Local Agents and Customer Service
- Amica: Best for Remote Customer Service
- Travelers: Best for New Technologies in Underwriting
- The Hartford: Best for Older Drivers
- The Hanover: Best for High-End Upgrades
- Nationwide: Best for Ease of Use
- State Farm: Best for Discounts
- Erie: Best Regional Carrier
- Farmers: Best for Flexibility
- Auto Owners: Best for Mutual Coverage
- The Insurance Center: Best for Customers in Upper Midwest
- USAA: A Great Resource for Military Members and Veterans
- Liberty Mutual: Best for Bundling and Available Coverage
1. Progressive – Best for Coverage Options and Discounts
As one of the largest auto insurers in the U.S., Progressive claims nearly 10 percent of the market. Progressive has some nice options and features such as:
- Rideshare Coverage: Special car insurance coverage if you drive Uber or Lyft.
- Deductible Savings Bank: Reduces your deductible by $50 for every six months you go without filing a claim.
- Name Your Own Price: This tool provides customized insurance options based on your budget.
- Snapshot: This program records your driving habits through a small device that plugs into your car or through an app. (Progressive claims that the average driver saves $145 per year with this feature.)
- Coverage for Custom Parts: Custom parts cost more and tend to be excluded from or limited by auto coverage.
This variety within Progressive’s coverage helps you choose exactly what you need without paying for unnecessary extras.
Progressive also has the stability to back up its service:
- A.M. Best: A
- Moody’s: A2
- Standard & Poor’s: A
J.D. Power awarded Progressive three out of five stars for claims satisfaction, and the company has a complaint ratio of 1.11 with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a score which is only slightly higher than average. None of these scores are stellar, but they’re relatively good for a company as large as Progressive.
2. GEICO – Offers Some of the Cheapest Auto Policies on the Market
GEICO has based its entire business model on saving you money on car insurance. With a 13 percent share of the market, GEICO is now the second-largest auto insurer in the nation.
- Stellar customer service: The NAIC has recorded a customer complaint score of a mere 0.56, much lower than the industry average 1.00.
- Stable coverage: The company can boast the top-notch A.M. Best financial rating of A++, and a strong Standard & Poor’s rating of AA.
3. Allstate – Best for (Local) Customer Service
Allstate, another huge insurer, offers home, life, auto, boat, motorcycle, and renters coverage in all 50 states.
These features set Allstate’s auto coverage apart:
- Good Hands Repair Network: Not sure where to get a specific repair for your car? Allstate has connections with more than 3,500 shops through its network.
- Drivewise Program: This app can monitor your driving habits and extend discounts based on your driving and braking speed. You’ll get a 10 percent discount just for using Drivewise and a chance to earn a 25 percent discount after six months.
The Drivewise app is particularly helpful if your policy includes younger drivers who tend to get charged higher premiums. Drivewise gives teens and other inexperienced drivers a chance to prove they’re better than the average young driver. Safer driving habits can reduce premiums.
Allstate probably has an agent near you, and your local agent would be your point person for accessing your coverage. And if you’d prefer an online-first insurance provider, check out Esurance, Allstate’s more tech-driven subsidiary.
Allstate is financially solid, obtaining the following ratings:
- A.M. Best: A+
- Moody’s: Aa3
- Standard and Poor’s: AA-
4. Amica – Best for (Remote) Customer Service
It’s easy enough to like your auto insurer when it’s selling you a policy and saving you money. It’s another matter to like your insurer during the claims process when you’ve just had a wreck and just need your claim paid.
Amica Auto Insurance excels in both phases of customer experience. J.D. Power rated Amica No. 1 for claims in 2019. This award is a big honor considering J.D. Power surveyed customers who had actually filed claims.
Amica has a full slate of policy options and some extras. You could get a rental car that’s comparable to your own car during repairs, for example.
This company’s agents work over the phone or online — not in person.
Here’s how Amica’s financial stability measures up:
- A.M. Best: A+
5. The Travelers – Best for New Technology
Travelers is a large and stable auto insurance provider. An independent insurance agent in your area most likely sells Travelers policies for auto and homeowners coverage.
Travelers has embraced new ways to underwrite your coverage. Its IntelliDrive app measures your speed and braking habits. After 90 days, if your habits reveal you’re a safe driver, you could save up to 20 percent on your premiums.
You could also pay higher premiums, though, if the app records riskier driving habits. (We’ll explore new technology more below.)
Travelers also has an accident forgiveness program and coverage specifically for new cars. This coverage eliminates the need for a separate gap insurance policy.
Travelers has top-notch financial ratings, including:
- A.M. Best: A++
- Standard & Poor’s: AA
- Fitch: AA
- Moody’s: Aa2
6. The Hartford / AARP – Best for Older Drivers
The Hartford underwrites the auto policies AARP offers its members. So naturally, The Hartford’s coverage works well for older drivers. You could also purchase a policy through an independent agent.
A big benefit here is The Hartford’s guarantee of insurability in most states. If you have a license, The Hartford will continue to renew your policy every six months. So you wouldn’t lose coverage even after a couple accidents.
On the other hand, if you keep a good driving record, The Hartford can help you keep lower premiums through its:
- Disappearing Deductible: Except in California you can decrease your deductible at no charge for each year of clean driving.
- Rate Protection: Your premiums can stay the same for a full year instead of only six months.
- Waivable Deductible: If you’re not the at-fault driver, The Hartford can waive your deductible (in most states).
The Hartford has good but not stellar financial ratings:
- A.M. Best: A
- Moody’s: A2
- Standard & Poor’s: A+
7. The Hanover – Best for High-End Upgrades
The Hanover Insurance Company offers the usual package based on liability, comprehensive, and collision coverages. But this company offers upgrades high-end auto owners may want.
Your policy could extend to:
- Key Replacement: Up to $250 if you lose your keys.
- Car Seat Replacement: Baby seats have grown more elaborate and expensive; this coverage could replace yours.
- Custom Equipment Coverage: Great for high-end car stereo equipment or other after-market additions you make.
- Pet Injury Coverage: Helps pay veterinarian (or sadly, burial) fees if your pet gets injured in an accident.
- Trip Interruption: Could buy you a hotel room and meals if a wreck interrupts your travel plans and you’re more than 100 miles from home.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. The Hanover packages these sorts of upgrades, so you may have to buy coverage you don’t want in order to access coverage you do want.
- A.M. Best: A
- Moody’s: A
- Standard & Poor’s: A
8. Nationwide – Best for Ease of Use
Unless you’re judging by name recognition, Nationwide Auto Insurance doesn’t stand out. But the company does a lot of things well, including letting customers shape their own coverage.
If you’ve done your own research about your vehicle and your driving habits — which we’ll explore more below — you could use Nationwide to build coverage that closely aligns with your needs.
Nationwide has user-friendly apps and an intuitive web site to help you file a claim, pay your premiums, or adjust your coverage.
Speaking of adjusting, Nationwide does stand out with its free “On Your Side” annual review process. This review can prompt you to make changes to your coverage which saves you money or makes your policy more responsive to your changing needs.
- A.M. Best: A+
- Standard & Poor’s: A+
- Moody’s: A1
9. State Farm – Best for Discounts
State Farm writes about 1 in 6 auto insurance policies in the United States, making it the nation’s largest car insurer. The company has a number of discounts for safe drivers, returning customers, and those who bundle multiple insurance policies.
You can also save with:
- Steer Clear Driving Program: Drivers younger than 25 can qualify for this discount by taking a training course, practicing their driving, and joining a mentoring program. The goal: creating safer driving habits.
- Drive Safe and Save: Drivers 25 and older can save 5 to 30 percent by installing a mobile app that tracks driving habits and sends to State Farm.
- Extended Rideshare Coverage: More and more carriers have special coverage for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare drivers; State Farm’s coverage extends even when you’re not carrying a passenger.
State Farm has a 7.5 score on Trustpilot for its customer service.
They are also rock-solid financially, holding the following ratings:
- A.M. Best: A++
- Moody’s: A2
- Standard & Poor’s: AA
10. Erie Insurance – Best Regional Carrier
If Erie Insurance were available in more than just 12 states it would appear higher on this list. Erie excels with customer service, transparency, and paying claims.
If you’re shopping for coverage in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or Washington, D.C., look up an Erie agent and give this coverage a close look.
- Pet coverage
- Travel coverage
- Locksmith service
- Glass repair coverage
- Accident forgiveness (for drivers who have three years of clean driving history).
You could also opt for:
- A $10,000 life insurance death benefit if an accident kills someone in the car.
- 10 extra days of rental car access after a wreck.
- Rideshare coverage between passengers if you drive for Uber or Lyft.
And Erie has solid financial ratings:
- A.M. Best: A+
11. Farmers – Best for Quick Claims
Farmers Insurance gives free quotes for car insurance online. It’s a national company. But your local Farmers agent would be your conduit for coverage — for buying a policy and filing a claim.
This personal touch can become a big deal when you need to file a claim. Plus, you can opt into Farmers’ “No Fault, No Foul” program which guarantees your premium rates won’t increase if you’re not the at-fault driver in a wreck.
We also like Farmers’ stance on covering new cars. If you have less than 24,000 miles on a car that’s two years old or less and the car gets totaled, Farmers will pay to replace it with a comparable new car. You’d have to opt into this coverage in some states.
Farmers has solid financial ratings:
- A.M. Best: A
- Standard & Poor’s: A
12. Auto Owners – Best for Mutual Auto Coverage
Drivers in 26 states can get quality coverage from Auto Owners Insurance.
You can find this coverage in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, or Wisconsin.
As a mutual company, you could receive dividends each year depending on the company’s performance.
Along with top-notch financial stability, you could pay more affordable premiums through Auto Owners’ safe driving discounts and its discount for making 36 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
- A.M. Best: A++
13. The Insurance Center – Best for Customers in the Upper Midwest
For residents of Wisconsin and Iowa who want to work with a local agent, The Insurance Center provides a good place to start.
Founded in 1966 to help dairy farmers get good health insurance, The Insurance Center has expanded into areas such as life insurance, homeowners insurance, and, of course, auto insurance.
An insurance agent can help a lot if you have a unique situation such as a poor driving record or an unusual vehicle. Agents can zero in on the best companies for your specific needs.
So if you live in the Upper Midwest and prefer discussing your options with an expert, The Insurance Center is well worth exploring.
14. USAA – Best for Military Families
USAA is part of the family for a lot of military members and veterans. This members-only association started out as an auto insurer for Army officers a century ago. Now USAA provides banking services, several kinds of insurance, investing, and financial services to service members in all branches of the military.
Because USAA has always served customers wherever they are deployed in the world, the association has quality online and phone-based tools. But USAA has only seven physical branches, all located near military centers or academies. If you’re a military retiree or spouse who prefers face-to-face customer service, use another provider on this list.
And, unless you have military connections, you can’t join USAA or use any of its services.
15. Liberty Mutual – Best for bundling and available coverage
Liberty Mutual is the sixth-largest auto insurance provider in the country, writing over $11.7 billion in premiums for 2019. As a leading insurer, Liberty Mutual offers policy options that benefit a wide variety of customers.
Liberty Mutual offers:
- One-of-a-kind coverage for teachers: This covers vehicle vandalism on school property, vehicle damage occurring during official school business and personal property losses for teaching materials.
- A comprehensive list of discounts: The company provides industry-standard accident-free and safe driving discounts but also issues unique discounts compared to other major insurers, such as the Alternative Energy Discount for hybrid or electric vehicles, and its RightTrack program that offers up to a 30 percent discount for safe drivers.
Liberty Mutual ranks as average or below average for customer satisfaction. This is reflected in its J.D. Power’s 2019 Claims Satisfaction Survey “about average” ranking and its NAIC complaint ratio of 1.56.
Financially, Liberty Mutual stands on very solid footing with positive scores from the major credit rating agencies:
- A.M. Best: A
The Cost of Car Insurance
Auto insurance isn’t cheap. AAA estimates you’ll pay around $1,250 a year for full-coverage on a mid-size sedan. Your actual cost will depend on a series of overlapping factors:
- Your State: Drivers in Michigan pay three times more for car insurance coverage than drivers in Maine because of state laws. Auto coverage costs a lot more in California or New York than it costs in Pennsylvania or Utah. Your state creates the context for your insurance coverage.
- Your Locality: Even your local ZIP code will impact rates. Insurers know the crime rate in your neighborhood and will charge higher premiums if your car’s more likely to be stolen or vandalized. They also know your area’s highway conditions which affect your chance of having a wreck and, therefore, filing a claim.
- Your Driving Record: Your driving habits also drive your premium rates. You can qualify for good driver discounts by keeping a clean record, but more importantly, avoiding speeding tickets and at-fault wrecks will keep your premiums lower even without discounts.
- Your Age: Teen drivers get charged more; senior citizens do too. It’s not personal, but insurers know these age groups have more accidents.
- Your Vehicle: More expensive cars cost more to repair or replace, so your insurance will also cost more.
- Your Coverage Choices: Your car’s lien holder (if you still owe money on an auto loan) and your state will require minimum coverage amounts. Increasing your coverage amount beyond these minimums or adding extra features to your policy will increase your premiums.
- Your Deductible: You could save money by choosing a higher deductible — the amount paid by the auto owner before the insurance company pays a claim.
- Your Credit Score: Insurers have detected a correlation between lower credit scores and higher instances of claims.
Smart Ways to Lower Auto Insurance Rates
We all want to save money, but cheaper isn’t always better with auto insurance. In fact, cheaper isn’t always cheaper. If you were in a collision and your coverage couldn’t pay, you’d be on the hook for the repairs.
As an at-fault driver in a collision, you could be sued for damages. Could your liability coverage absorb your losses? If not, your cheap car insurance could cost you a lot more than you’d saved on premiums.
But you can lower your auto insurance premiums without compromising your coverage — and that’s the best way to save money on your car insurance.
You already know about safe driving discounts, bundled policy discounts, accident forgiveness discounts, and discounts for having modern safety features installed in your car. So we’ll look into other savings opportunities such as usage-based discounts (UBI) below.
Some of the most overlooked ways to save money depend on how you build your policy and how your coverage fits your needs. So we’ll first explore these factors to find simple ways to reduce your premiums.
Important Things To Know About Auto Insurance
- Know the law: Minimum auto insurance requirements vary by state. Your state’s coverage requirements will offer a starting point as you build or modify your coverage.
- Know you may need more: You might need more coverage than your state requires such as extra liability coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), and additional underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage.
- Know when you can cut: Consider reducing the amount of optional coverage on your older vehicles, especially if you have comprehensive coverage and your car is worth less than 10 times your premium.
- Know your deductible: You can save money on your premium by choosing the highest deductible you can afford out of pocket.
- Know your market: Get quotes from at least three auto insurance companies to find the best rates and discounts. A regional or local insurer in your market may have lower rates than the big, national brands.
- Know when to review: Reassess your auto insurance coverage needs every year to make sure you’re fully protected. Compare your rate with the rates other companies offer. Could you get cheaper car insurance elsewhere?
- Know your car: Shop around and get auto insurance quotes before you buy a new car.
How Your Auto Insurance Rate Is Determined
It’s simple: You’ll pay less for auto insurance when you drive safely and avoid collisions and traffic violations. But even drivers with clean records may pay thousands of dollars a year because rates depend on other factors, too.
Along with your driving history, the Insurance Information Institute says your premiums will depend on:
- How often and how far your drive: More driving means you’re statistically more likely to be in a wreck — so more driving equals higher premiums.
- Your location: Insurers consider the safety of your region’s roads, the likelihood of auto theft, and the population density in your region.
- Your age and gender: Drivers younger than 25 pay a lot more for coverage. Males usually pay more than females.
- Your vehicle: Your vehicle’s repair costs, its safety features, and its value impact your coverage.
- Your credit score: This isn’t about whether you’ll pay your bill on time; it’s about your tendency to take risks. Insurers have found a correlation between lower credit scores and higher chances of filing a claim.
- The policy and coverage amount you choose: Your deductible, your coverage limits, your extra features — they have a big effect on your premiums.
You can control some of these factors such as your car, your driving habits, and your credit score. Other factors — such as your location and your age — are out of your hands for the most part.
Controllable or not, insurers combine all these factors to assess your chances of filing a claim. When an insurer takes on more risk of paying a claim, it will charge higher premiums.
If you think this isn’t entirely fair, you’re not alone. Consumers often claim some of these factors have nothing to do with their chances of having a wreck. Gender has been a controversial factor, and at least seven states have passed legislation banning car insurers from using gender to assess premiums.
Most leading insurers have adopted new technology to directly monitor driving habits and assess risk accordingly, and we’ll learn more about those methods below.
Still, most insurers in most states continue to use traditional underwriting methods. This is the playing field as you shop for the best coverage at the best price.
How MONEY Looks at the Best Auto Insurance Companies
Nationwide, dozens of insurers vie for your premium dollars. Your region may have its own industry leaders such as Erie Insurance in the East or Wawanesa Insurance on the West Coast.
This is good because competition tends to drive down prices. However, it also means shopping for insurance can become overwhelming.
To generate our list of best companies, above, we analyzed these criteria, and we recommend you consider these factors, too:
Coverage Options & Discounts
Even a policy from the best companies won’t be useful if it doesn’t provide the coverage you need. Likewise, even with the lowest rates, you’ll pay too much if you buy more coverage than you need.
That’s why you should scrutinize your policy to make sure you are not paying for costly options that are irrelevant to your situation. Ask yourself: Do you need the coverage you’re buying?
You should also consider whether you’re buying enough coverage. If you’ve put a lot of work and money into your car by adding customized parts, you may need extra or specialized coverage. Standard coverage may not protect your full investment in an accident. We gave extra credit to insurers that provide a lot of easy-to-use coverage options.
The same is true for discounts. Discounts that apply to only a few people aren’t all that valuable. We looked for insurers offering a wide range of discounts and additional savings opportunities through technology-based programs.
For example, we didn’t give much credit to insurers just because they offered a bundled policy discount. Bundling policies work best when your company excels at more than one kind of coverage. If you like American Family’s auto coverage but not its homeowners policy, you should look for other discounts.
In other words: Find the quality coverage you need and then look for discounts to make the coverage more affordable. Discounts shouldn’t take the driver’s seat when you’re shopping for coverage.
We considered the financial strength of individual insurance companies (but not marketplaces) in our recommendations. Nobody wants an insurer that struggles to pay claims and has to sell your policy to a different insurer. While this isn’t the worst thing that could happen, it could delay the payout.
We included only financially-stable companies on our list as measured by their A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s ratings.
Comments and consumer reviews about insurance companies are almost always negative. Unlike angry customers, happy customers just don’t have much incentive to go online and share their thoughts.
While we don’t ignore remarks people post online about particular insurance companies, we understand they don’t give us a total picture of customer experience. For this reason, we paid more attention to customer service metrics as measured by J.D. Power and the NAIC.
How To Choose the Best Auto Insurance Coverage For Your Needs
You can save the most money on car insurance by driving safely, avoiding wrecks, and staying out of speed traps. How you build your policy matters a lot, too. Here’s a step-by-step guide for assessing your needs:
Step 1: See Your State’s Requirements
At the very least, you’ll need to buy your state’s mandated minimum coverage before taking your car on the road. Most states require liability coverage which would pay if you caused property damage or personal injury to others.
A few states also require personal injury protection (PIP) for yourself and/or coverage in case you’re struck by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Step 2: Consider Additional Requirements
Next, consider whether your state’s minimum coverage is enough to protect you. For the most thorough analysis, check with an agent who can tell you the size and frequency of car insurance claims in your area.
For example, according to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida requires only $20,000 in liability insurance for bodily injuries. Yet, in 2018, the average claim for bodily injury in the United States exceeded $15,000. This means Florida’s minimum requirements may not cover your liability.
For the most liability protection, consider an umbrella policy that can extend beyond your auto coverage to other policies.
Step 3: Do You Need Extra Insurance Policy Features?
Finally, consider whether you need other types of common insurance products. If you couldn’t pay the following expenses out of pocket, consider getting insurance to help:
- Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist insurance: This covers you if you’re hit by an at-fault uninsured or underinsured motorist. This can be especially good to have in certain states, such as Mississippi, where an estimated 24 percent of all motorists are uninsured. Underinsured motorist coverage will protect you if an at-fault driver who injures you doesn’t have enough liability coverage to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and disability.
- Personal Injury Protection: This helps pay your own medical bills and lost wages if you’re involved in a car crash. Even if you have good health insurance, a serious accident could cause many thousands of dollars in co-pays, deductibles, and other uninsured medical expenses. Personal Injury Protection could cover you for those expenditures.
- Collision insurance: This covers damage to your vehicle if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. As with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, collision insurance is an especially good idea if you live in an area with a high percentage of un- and underinsured drivers. Most lenders require you to carry collision coverage until you’ve paid off the car.
- Comprehensive insurance: This covers non-collision damages to your car: theft or damage from wind, hail, or water, for example.
- Gap Insurance: Your lien holder may require this extra coverage in case you total a new car. This coverage fills the gap between the amount you owe on your loan and the car’s replacement value. Collision or comprehensive alone might not pay off a new car loan.
- Roadside Assistance: Some insurers can help if you’re broken down on the side of the road or need a tire change. You could also join AAA and save on this portion of your auto premiums.
Reassess Your Auto Insurance Company On A Regular Basis
Most auto insurance policies are written for a term of six months. This means that twice a year you can easily renew or drop your coverage.
Every six months, or at least once a year, ask yourself whether your current coverage is sufficient or redundant. For example, if you just got roadside assistance through a recently opened credit card, you can drop your policy’s roadside assistance. Or if you’ve started driving for Lyft, add on coverage for rideshare vehicles.
Similarly, you should compare car insurance quotes from different companies each time your policy comes up for renewal. It takes only a few minutes to shop around — especially if you use an insurance marketplace. This is especially true if your situation has changed recently; if your teen driver just got licensed, for example.
Brokers vs. Online Insurers
Most of us don’t consider insurance brokers when shopping for car insurance. Why not? According to Gilberto Sánchez, a licensed insurance broker with over 20 years of experience, people look to brokers for most other types of insurance.
“Typically, customers go to a broker for life and homeowners insurance, but less often for auto,” he said. “Many prefer to shop online and do the legwork themselves, but consulting an independent insurance agent can be especially beneficial for those who have little experience comparing rates, don’t know or understand their state’s minimum auto insurance requirements, or simply want the convenience and added security of running their needs by an expert.”
If you like face-to-face interaction, personalized service, and a handful of options tailored to your needs, consider using a broker. If you already know how much insurance you need and you’re comfortable buying insurance online, comparison shopping on your own could be your best bet.
The Future of Auto Insurance Coverage
Consumer advocacy groups across the nation have contested the use of personal details such as credit scores to help price car insurance. So more companies are seeking better ways to assess individual risk. The latest trend is usage-based insurance (UBI) or telematics.
Telematics uses wireless technology to monitor drivers’ behavior on the road. Most of the insurers on our list of best companies offer telematics. These devices let insurers track how far you drive, how fast you drive, how quickly you brake, and how you handle speed bumps and curves.
This data helps insurers set premiums based on actual driver behavior instead of on projected behavior.
So far, insurers have two telematics-based insurance options:
- Pay-as-You-Drive Insurance (PAYD): These plans work with a GPS device that transmits mileage data back to the insurance company. These are typically recommended for motorists who don’t drive often or far.
- Pay-How-You Drive Insurance (PHYD): More sophisticated than its PAYD counterpart, these plans also work with GPS technology and with accelerometers that track speed, location, date and time, cornering technique, and lane change frequency.
These devices create transparency and allow insurers to use actual facts to set premiums. But they also threaten the privacy of policyholders, and researchers have questioned the quality of the driver data collected and how insurance companies use the data.
Still, a UBI program can save drivers about 3 percent on premiums. This discount, coupled with others that may be available, could decrease overall rates, especially for infrequent drivers who take safe routes on even terrain.