How we make our picks
Bankrate strives to help consumers navigate their auto insurance shopping experience, no matter where they are in their financial journey. Since our founding in 1976, we have built a strong reputation for creating valuable content that gives people the confidence to make smart and informed decisions about insurance and other personal financial needs.
Whether you are purchasing a new vehicle, need help filing an insurance claim or have questions about your coverage options, Bankrate has resources to guide you. We help more than 100 million consumers learn about and shop for insurance each year, through a series of product comparison tools and educational content, including roundups of the best car insurance companies and cheapest car insurance companies.
What are Bankrate Scores?
Many of the car insurance companies we review include a Bankrate Score in the analysis, which is out of 5.0 points. We calculate Bankrate Scores based on third-party ratings from organizations like J.D. Power, AM Best, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and Moody’s. We also factor in average annual premiums in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. based on data from Quadrant Information Services, using a standard driver profile.
From a qualitative perspective, we also assess an insurance company’s policy offerings, including coverage and discount options. We also look at each company’s online and mobile resources, and its local agency network (if it has one), when calculating Bankrate Scores. These factors can help you find a company that fits your budget, coverage needs and accessibility desires. Combined, the metrics we analyze help you get a well-rounded view of each carrier.
How are Bankrate Scores used?
Bankrate Scores are used across our auto insurance pages whenever we review a single provider, compare multiple providers or publish a roundup of the best providers in a specific category. These scores can be useful when comparing several providers to gain a better understanding of how each carrier stacks up against the rest.
The two main pages where you will find Bankrate Scores include:
Best car insurance companies: This resource is a roundup of the best car insurance companies overall on the market. We determine the best providers based on our in-depth research and a company’s subsequent Bankrate Score. We also provide an overview of the best car insurance companies at the state level, offering analysis based on in-state driver needs and circumstances.
Best cheap car insurance companies: This guide features the best cheap car insurance companies in different cities at the time of publishing. While cost is a driving factor for these lists, we also review and select companies based on their customer service ratings and coverage options. The companies highlighted represent some of the cheapest providers based on average premium data from Quadrant Information Services and available discounts.
We also calculate Bankrates Scores for home insurers and use our methodology to choose the best home insurance companies. We used many of the same metrics for both auto and home insurers, including third-party scores, coverage and discount options, digital tools and agency accessibility. While we did assess whether a company had a mobile app capable of handling home insurance claims, we didn’t analyze each home insurance company’s mobile app score in the App Store and on Google Play, like we did for auto insurance. Generally speaking, most homeowners don’t make as many changes to a home insurance policy as they do to an auto insurance policy. While filing a claim digitally may be an important time-saving metric (versus having to call a company to file), having the ability to manage your policy on your mobile device may not be as important for home policies as it is for auto policies.
How we calculate Bankrate Scores
Our Bankrate Score model is designed to encompass the factors that consumers care about most. After all, while our team includes licensed insurance agents, we’re also insurance buyers, just like you, and our time in the industry has helped us understand what consumers want and need from an insurer. The factors we analyze include annual cost, which we gather using our sample driver profile. When choosing a provider, many people look to annual cost, insurer reliability and customer experience as the top indicators of a good company. We provide a weighted score indicating how well an insurer performs across these different areas, including:
Average annual rates gathered from Quadrant Information Services
Financial strength ratings
Customer service and experience ratings
Coverage and discount options
Digital policy management options
Online and mobile resources
Local agency availability
24/7 customer service
Corporate sustainability programs
We divided these factors into three tiers, based on what matters most to consumers. Tier 1 includes average premiums and third-party scores, Tier 2 includes coverage options and availability, and Tier 3 includes digital tools, local agencies, customer service availability and corporate sustainability programs. Tier 1 was weighed most heavily in our analysis, while Tier 3 was weighed least heavily.
Because choosing an insurer is an important part of building a solid financial foundation, assessing providers across these different performance lines helps consumers gain a well-rounded understanding of how well a company fits their unique needs.
Why we consult J.D. Power ratings
When compiling Bankrate Scores, we place emphasis on a provider’s current J.D. Power ratings. J.D. Power is one of the most trusted third-party sources that takes customer feedback and rates insurance companies based on overall customer satisfaction, purchase satisfaction and claim satisfaction. Insurance carriers that score above-average in J.D. Power studies are typically among the best in the industry.
Why we consult AM Best ratings
AM Best is a well-known organization that assigns a rating to licensed insurance carriers based on their historical financial strength. These ratings are calculated based on a company’s past debt obligations, balance sheet, operating performance and more. Carriers with excellent or better financial strength may be less likely to go out of business or declare bankruptcy. The score helps indicate that a company may have adequate funds to repay policyholders after a covered loss.
How we determine the top companies
Bankrate’s editorial team identifies the top car insurance companies in various categories using quantitative and qualitative data. We start by evaluating companies individually, calculating its Bankrate Score and then determining which companies stand out among the rest.
We also identify the top companies for specific types of drivers. For example, we figure out which of the best auto insurance companies are the cheapest in every state by comparing average premiums and highlighting the cheapest companies based on age, driving record and credit score — in states where those factors apply.
If we cannot calculate a Bankrate Score due to missing third-party ratings, the editorial team will weigh the available information, including average rates, policy features and availability, to gauge a company’s competitiveness.
Why trust Bankrate?
At Bankrate, we follow a strict editorial policy to ensure that every car insurance company is reviewed and rated accurately and objectively. We are committed to creating content that is worthy of your trust, which is why we have insurance professionals write and review our content.
One of our primary goals at Bankrate is to make insurance content more accessible to our readers, regardless of their financial literacy or stage in life. Our insurance editorial team strives to help consumers choose the right auto insurance for themselves and their families, which is why we create timely content to help every driver throughout the insurance shopping process — from getting a quote to filing a claim, and everything in between.