Named after its Pennsylvania hometown, Erie Insurance has provided car insurances since 1925. The company is known for its sterling record in settling claims and for its overall client service. In fact, J.D. Power ranked Erie as number 7 among insurance companies in the nation for its 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.3
Pros and Cons
- Long history of financial stability, reliability
- Good rates for young drivers
- Discounts geared toward drivers younger than 21
- Not available nationwide
- No online claims-filing
Erie unfortunately is not a nationwide carrier; rather, it is a region-specific insurance company, based primarily in the Northeast and Midwest. Its products are available in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. To verify coverage in your area, you can visit the Erie Insurance website and enter your zip code.
In the areas it serves, Erie Insurance offers all of the state-required auto insurance coverage. Additionally, it offers:
- Pet Insurance (for injuries during an auto accident)
- Personal item coverage for items damaged, destroyed, or lost in an auto accident
- Glass coverage for windows, windshield
- Roadside assistance/rental car coverage
- Locksmith services
Also, for just $35 or less extra per year, you can add Erie Auto Plus to your policy. With this plan, you receive diminishing and waived deductibles, a $10,000 death benefit, and other elevated benefits.
Among the wide array of discounts are some rate reductions that will specifically appeal to parents of teen drivers or young drivers paying for their own insurance policy. These deals include:
- Youthful Driver Discounts for unmarried drivers younger than 21 who live with their parents
- Driving Training Discounts for drivers younger than 21 who complete an accredited training course
- Erie Rate Lock, which keeps premiums the same every year regardless of accidents
- Multi-car and multi-policy discounts of up to 25%
For a smaller insurance company, Erie Insurance offers a decent website that allows customers to do a lot in regards to their policies. On the site, you can obtain a car insurance quote, find a local Erie Insurance agent, access your account to pay your bill, file an auto-glass claim, and more.
Erie recently added a mobile app available for Android devices. From there, you can manage your billing, track claims, and more.
Despite being a regional car insurance company, Erie Insurance doesn’t clown around in terms of customer satisfaction. In fact, J.D. Power awarded Erie the #2 spot in the mid-Atlantic region and #1 spot in the North Central region during the 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.4
Erie maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a complaint index of 1.10 from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), representing a slightly higher than average level of complaints relative to other companies in the market.56 The company has an A+ rating in financial strength from AM Best.7
State Farm Car Insurance
State Farm has grown over the past century into one of the largest insurance companies in the nation: In fact, with 84 million policies across the U.S., it insures more cars and homes than any other carrier. State Farm has top ratings from AM Best.13 State Farm requires agents to exclusively sell State Farm. This means that agents can’t offer you auto insurance from multiple companies, and instead will exclusively work with State Farm and tend to be familiar with State Farm’s offerings. Its network of local agents prides itself on providing the best possible customer service.
Pros and Cons
- Large, established carrier
- Numerous discounts geared to students
- Competitive rates
- Mediocre customer satisfaction/claims processing
- Pressure to work through a local agent
State Farm is available nationwide in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Unlike some companies that work only out of a corporate headquarters—increasingly common in this digital age—State Farm has a decentralized model, functioning more like a network of regional agents dedicated to their local communities.
State Farm offers all the needed and desired coverage for any driver nationwide. Additional coverage options include:
- Rideshare insurance for Lyft and Uber drivers
- Emergency roadside assistance
- Rental car & travel expense reimbursement
State Farm seems to love young drivers—students in particular. Among the breaks it offers:
- Good Student Discount of 25% for those in high school and college who maintain good grades
- Student Away Discount for families with a college student who uses the car only when at home
- Defensive Driving Discount for anyone who completes an approved driver safety course
Additionally, State Farm offers a Steer Clear discount of up to 15% for drivers younger than 25 who maintain a clean record with no traffic violations for three consecutive years.
In comparison to some of the other car insurance companies on this list, State Farm’s digital experience lags a bit behind. However, the company is making strides both in its website and smartphone app offerings.
In fact, the company now offers unique smartphone apps for its Steer Clear program and the Drive Safe & Save program that tracks driving behavior. These apps in particular appeal to young drivers and their parents, as they can allow teens to evaluate their driving habits and learn where to make improvements for the future.
Many car insurance customers love State Farm because it is one of the few national car insurance providers that still exclusively uses local agents to provide outstanding customer service. But don’t just take our word for it—check out State Farm’s #6 rating on J.D. Power’s 2020 claims satisfaction study.3 State Farm also maintains a 4-star rating (out of 5) on Consumer Affairs, an independent consumer rating site.14
Progressive Car Insurance
Since 1937, Progressive Insurance has grown into a household name, especially in the last decade—thanks in large part to its tongue-in-cheek ads featuring perky agent Flo and, of late, her nerdy sidekick Jamie. Behind the jokes, though, lies a solid company that is especially sensitive to safe drivers.
Pros and Cons
- Extensive young-driver-oriented discounts
- Generous safe-driver discount
- Multi-featured website
- High premium rates
- Poor record in claims satisfaction
Progressive provides insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, it doesn’t work through a proprietary network of agents as State Farm does. Although some local independent insurance agents sell Progressive, along with other carriers’ products, most Progressive customers manage their policies online.
Like most other car insurance companies, Progressive offers all of the basic liability and collision/comprehensive coverages, plus things like uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection. Additionally, Progressive offers the following:
- GAP Coverage
- Roadside Assistance
- Custom Parts Coverage for aftermarket additions
- Rideshare Coverage
- Deductible Savings Bank, which drops your deductible amounts the longer you go without an accident
- Mexico Auto Insurance for those taking their car across the border
While many companies reward safe drivers, Progressive offers one of the best discounts in the industry. Those who go three years without any accidents or violations can earn upwards of 30% off their annual premiums. Most other firms only offer 10%–20% off.
Additionally, Progressive offers the following discounts to young drivers:
- Teen Discount available to parents who are insuring a driver younger than 18
- Good Student Discount for high school and college students who maintain a B average
- Distant Student Discount available to families with a child who is away for college
- Online Quote Discount, which provides an average discount of 7% just for quoting your insurance online
- Pay In Full Discount for customers who pay six months worth of premiums in advance
Progressive actually offers one of the best digital experiences out of all the major car insurance companies on this list. The Progressive website includes a variety of useful features that can help drivers save money, such as the Name Your Price Tool and side-by-side Comparison Tool.
What’s more, Progressive’s smartphone app lets customers obtain 24/7 roadside assistance, file a claim, make payments or policy changes, and even obtain digital ID cards with just a few swipes.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Progressive’s standing is somewhere in the middle among most major car insurance companies. For example, J.D. Power rated Progressive in the bottom half (22nd out of 25) of insurers during its 2020 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.3 Furthermore, the Better Business Bureau gives Progressive an A+ rating, but the customer ratings on the BBB website come in with mixed results.15
Our Verdict on Nationwide
We recommend Nationwide for anyone who thinks their young driver may end up in an accident. Furthermore, Nationwide’s SmartRide Program can save families up to 40% if their young driver maintains safe driving habits.
Nationwide isn’t available in all states, though. Furthermore, even the Accident Forgiveness program isn’t available everywhere, so check with Nationwide about your coverage options before signing up.