The Best Arizona Auto Insurance Company
Arizona’s auto insurance rates are right in line with the national average — $973 per year, compared to $1,009 nationwide. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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Arizona has some of the lowest minimum requirements for auto insurance in the country (only four states require less), but that doesn’t mean you can afford to skimp. If you do, you run a high risk of having to pay out of pocket — either for someone else’s medical bills and damaged property if you cause an accident, or for your own if you’re hit by an uninsured driver (12 percent of Arizona drivers are uninsured). Arizona also had the 10th most motor vehicle thefts of any state in 2016, making comprehensive insurance a wise choice, even though it’s not required by law.
Arizona Minimum Liability
Arizona requires only that you insure yourself against bodily injury and property damage liability, so it’s your choice whether to add coverage for yourself, your passengers and your vehicle. The state’s liability minimums can be expressed in the shorthand 15/30/10 (the format we’ll use throughout this review), which means the following:
- $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $10,000 property damage coverage per accident
These minimums are exceptionally low compared to other states, and that makes sense because they really don’t offer total peace of mind if you happen to cause an accident. Consider what would happen if you took your eyes off the road for a second and collided with a luxury car. Damages to that vehicle could easily exceed Arizona’s minimum $10K of property damage coverage, meaning you’d be stuck paying the rest out of pocket. And if the other driver is injured, $15K of bodily injury coverage might not be enough for all his or her medical care, leaving you responsible for that difference too.
That’s why, especially in Arizona, it’s a good idea to buy more than the minimum required insurance. A good rule of thumb is to buy as much as you can afford, and think of it as purchasing peace of mind. To find the best rates on your ideal coverage, you have to shop around for quotes, since personal details like your age, vehicle type, usage, and credit history all have an impact. But our reviews of Arizona’s top five providers are a good starting point in your search.
How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in Arizona
We researched Arizona’s five biggest auto insurers (by market share), and compared their financial strength, coverage options, and customer service using methodology similar to our review on nationwide providers. Since claims satisfaction is at the heart of great insurance, we also checked J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to see how each company’s customers rated their claims experience, as well as the Arizona Department of Insurance to see how many complaints were filed against each provider in 2016 (the most recent year with data available). Then we collected quotes from each company, taking note of available endorsements and discounts.
Arizona Auto Insurance Reviews
Elite financial strength, competitive pricing and extensive coverage options are all good reasons why State Farm has the largest share of the Arizona auto insurance market (17.4 percent), but the company’s record of claims satisfaction is what separated it as our top pick. Not only did it rate higher in J.D. Power’s claims scoring than any other insurer in the top five, but Consumer Reports’ readers gave it and GEICO the highest overall marks, including for “Simplicity of Process” and “Timely Payment.” Arizona insurance holders filed very few complaints against State Farm in 2016 too (their rate was about half that of GEICO’s), sealing its reputation for outstanding claims-handling.
When it comes to premium costs, data from the Arizona Dept. of Insurance shows that State Farm was also among the cheapest providers in the state in 2017 across a range of coverage levels and drivers (only GEICO was cheaper). Coverage options are thorough with one minor exception: no “gap” coverage for new cars. (This coverage helps pay off your auto loan in the event that your car is totaled and the depreciated value is less than what you owe.) And while State Farm’s online quote process is straightforward enough, we would’ve liked a Live Chat feature, something only GEICO and Progressive have.
In two important areas — financial strength and premium cost — GEICO actually came in first, but it slipped below State Farm in our rankings because of a less-than-stellar claims reputation. Compared to the other big five Arizona providers, GEICO had the highest rate of customer complaints in 2016, and according to J.D. Power at least, its customers weren’t thrilled with how their claims were handled. But the differences weren’t big enough to weigh too heavily, and Consumer Reports readers rated their GEICO claims satisfaction on par with State Farm.
The big selling point for GEICO is its affordable pricing. Last year, it was consistently the cheapest of the top five Arizona providers, sometimes quoting 50 percent less than the others for the same coverage (according to the Arizona Department of Insurance). We found its quote tool easy to use, and its coverage options are clearly outlined on the website, although once again there’s no “gap” coverage for new cars. The bottom line seems to be that if you’re confident wrangling a claim, GEICO’s pricing and financial stability make it a really attractive choice.
At 8.7 percent, Allstate’s market share is the smallest among Arizona’s top five providers, but its claims reputation is second only to State Farm’s. Both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports readers reported hassle-free filings and quick payments from Allstate, and their 2016 complaint ratio was in line with other top providers in the state. The company’s website is easy to navigate and does a good job explaining various coverages, including their “gap” protection for new cars (something State Farm, GEICO, and Farmers don’t offer).
As for pricing, Allstate’s 2017 Arizona premiums were on the high side among the state’s five biggest providers, particularly for married couples. It seems you can count on solid coverage and smooth claims-handling, but you pay more for it than you probably would with State Farm. Still, Allstate seems like a safe and reliable choice to insure your ride.
Progressive is another solid option for Arizona auto insurance, but it lags slightly behind our top picks in both financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings. The differences are small enough that they likely have no impact on most customer’s experiences, but they nonetheless make it hard to justify Progressive over State Farm, GEICO, or Allstate on the basis of anything except price. Still, we liked how easy it was to get a quote through Progressive’s website.
Progressive has a slew of available discounts — more than any provider we reviewed, except GEICO. There’s even one for adding a newly licensed teen driver to your existing auto policy (surprising given that teenage drivers are among the riskiest to insure). But a policy loaded with discounts isn’t necessarily cheaper than a non-discounted policy, and last year’s data on premiums show that Progressive is, on average, significantly more expensive than GEICO, State Farm, and Allstate in Arizona.
Farmers has the fourth-largest market share in Arizona (8.8 percent), and a Consumer Reports overall score of 89 (above average and tied with GEICO and State Farm). It also had the lowest complaint ratio of Arizona’s top five insurers in 2016, which speaks well for its customer service. Still, there’s a bit of rust on the hubcaps. J.D. Power respondents rated Farmers below average for claims satisfaction, and the company’s financial strength is a couple notches lower than the others on this list. That doesn’t mean they’re about to go bankrupt anytime soon; it’s just the difference between “quite stable” and “completely rock-solid.”
The bigger drawback for Farmers, at least in Arizona, is its high premium prices. It was the most expensive provider on our list in 6 out of 8 driver profiles spanning a range of ages and coverage levels (a notable exception was the profile of an 81-year-old woman, suggesting that Farmers may be cheaper for older drivers). It’s still worth getting a quote from Farmers since every person’s insurance profile is different, and they also offer the second-most discounts behind GEICO.
Auto theft in Arizona has declined, but is still a problem.
Arizona now ranks 10th out of all 50 states in motor vehicle thefts, an improvement from the early 2000’s when it was consistently in the top three. The state’s border with Mexico, along with its proximity to international shipping ports in California, mean that it’s easier for thieves to get rid of stolen cars before law enforcement catches up with them. While it’s a nightmare to imagine your car getting stolen, it would be even worse if you were uninsured. Just because Arizona doesn’t require drivers to have comprehensive insurance against theft doesn’t mean it’s not a smart idea. Unfortunately, a brand new car — the kind most attractive to thieves — also carries a higher comprehensive insurance premium, but you can lessen the cost by selecting a high deductible (like $2,000). It’s still no fun to pay, but it sure beats starting from scratch purchasing a replacement car.
Beware of “Household” or “Family” exclusions on your policy’s liability coverage.
Some auto policies contain an exclusion (commonly called a “Household,” “Family,” or “Intra-Family” Exclusion) which limits the bodily injury coverage available to your family members in the event of an accident. Arizona law lets insurers use it to limit such coverage to the state’s minimum liabilities of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, regardless of whether you have higher liability limits on your policy. This means that if you cause an accident which injures your family members, your policy might not pay up to the full limits you’ve set for their medical care. Make sure they’re covered by asking your insurer whether your policy contains this exclusion. If it does, you might want to purchase additional umbrella coverage.