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.
Of the biggest auto insurers in the U.S. - State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Progressive and Farmers - State Farm ranks as the greatest overall. State Farm was rated 4/5 stars by customers and policyholders in a JD Power survey on companies shopping experience. State Farm is best known for its large agent network; they boast over 18,000 across the nation. It shouldn't be surprising then that State Farm gets 5/5 stars for how its agents interact with customers. As well, State Farm is great when it comes to offering discounts. If you go with State Farm you will have up to 15 discounts to be eligible for which can equal hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
In contrast, a Stated Value policy (sometimes called “stated amount” or “maximum limit of liability”) does not promise to pay the full vehicle value that’s indicated or “stated” on the policy. With regard to a covered total loss, you may receive less than that stated amount, because the insurer has the right to pay either your vehicle’s depreciated actual cash value OR the cost to replace your vehicle -- whichever is less. Also, many insurers that offer stated value policies (typically standard insurers) require periodic appraisals to affirm the insured amount, adding cost and inconvenience to the client.
Customers aren’t very impressed by Liberty Mutual’s claims process or payouts. It’s ranked among “the rest” in J.D. Power’s survey, which falls at the bottom of the scale. It also earned a relatively low Consumer Reports score of 88 (or 23rd place out of 27 companies scored). Finally, Liberty Mutual didn’t quite meet the bar we set for financial stability. Its “A” from S&P Global and “A2” from Moody’s come up a little short of our requirements. These scores are still respectable — indicating an ability to pay out on claims — but mean that Liberty Mutual has a slightly poorer credit outlook in the event of a financial downturn.
Farmers Insurance fell just shy of the benchmark we set for financial stability. It took earned an “A” from A.M. Best (passing), and an “A” from S&P Global (two steps below the required “AA-”). These scores mean that Farmers has strong financials, and offers solid backing for your policy — it’s just a little less likely to weather a major financial crisis than other companies. This is why, like Liberty Mutual, we don’t rank it among the best of the best.
State Farm’s discounts include typical auto insurance discounts like multi-car and multi-policy along with some others for good grades, good driving habits, and cars equipped with safety features like air bags and anti-theft devices. You can cut your auto insurance rate even further if you sign up with State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save app, which tracks your driving in real time and — if you drive safely — can save you up to 50% on your premium.
If you are or were in the military, or if your parents, parent-in-law, or spouse was in the military you are eligible for USAA auto insurance, and they may just be the best company for you. USAA scores 5/5 stars for the both shopping experience, and claims handling process in the J.D. Power study. They do particularly well on how you can report your claims to the company. You should also be highly satisfied with their final settlement claims. For more information, read here.
In virtually all states, drivers are required by law to have mandatory liability insurance coverage. This is done as a way to ensure that the driver can cover the cost of damages to other people or property in the unfortunate event of an accident. Some states implement a “proof of financial responsibility” requirement, which is a little more flexible.
It is incredibly easy to get in touch with State Farm. You can call one of the company’s 18,000 agents, go online, or even send a picture of your damaged car with your smartphone using the Pocket Agent mobile app. Compare that to Amica, which doesn’t allow you to connect with an agent via an app, or file a claim through an agent. State Farm also gets high marks for a pain-free shopping experience that lets prospective customers call their local agent or chat with a representative online if they have any questions.