For many, a Sunday drive in Nebraska means only endless fields along a straight stretch of country road, or a beeline cruise on the interstate. While Nebraska’s I-80 does make the list of 10 straightest drives in the world, Nebraskans are well aware of the dynamic driving environments throughout their state, from major metropolis grids in Lincoln and Omaha to winding river passes, like the Desoto Trail accompanying the Missouri River. The state also surprises with its desire to be on the cutting edge of automotive technology; calling for auto manufactures to make their state a hotbed for driverless-car testing. All of this makes Nebraska a unique and affordable place to own and insure a vehicle, with one of the lowest average premiums across the nation: around $831 per year.

Nebraska Minimum Liability

Nebraska’s DMV and legislature require a minimum amount of insurance to be held on any registered, road-driven vehicle. This mandate is in place to not only protect yourself and your passengers, but also anyone else who may be involved in an incident. There are also non-mandatory types of auto insurance as well, which can cover all kinds of expenses and damages incurred by an accident, but let’s look at the basics first.

All drivers must carry when operating a vehicle on any Nebraskan road must have at least 25/50/25 in liability coverage:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 property damage coverage per accident

These sound like reasonable coverages that should cover most expenses, right? Well, maybe, but maybe not. As new vehicle values continue to rise every year and car technology keeps pace with some of the most sophisticated systems ever seen, the consequences of a major or minor accident can be financially catastrophic. The average new car value across major categories (i.e. small cars, minivans, pickup trucks, luxury SUVs, etc.) hangs right around $36,000. If you only opt for basic coverage for property damage, for instance, you’re at a deficit of $11,000 in protection. Once you max out your coverage, you’ll be on the hook for whatever remains. If you have an unfortunate run-in with an even more expensive vehicle, like a large luxury vehicle, you’ll find that costs can quickly skyrocket out of your coverage range. Therefore, it's important to consider the most coverage your budget can afford in order to protect yourself from potentially devastating out-of-pocket costs.

Of course, as your coverage increases, so will your premium. A multitude of factors go into every auto insurance quote, including driving history, place of residence, credit history, age, gender, and much more. To further complicate things, every insurer uses its own risk algorithms to calculate premiums based on your personal conditions. Therefore, there’s no way to know who will have the best coverage for the best price without getting as many quotes as you can from all available insurers. This list should serve as your jumping off-point as you search for the best plan for you or your family.

Nebraska Auto Insurance Reviews

Auto-Owners Insurance

Auto-Owners Insurance crowns our list of the best auto insurance in Nebraska for many reasons. They have an impressive range of coverages, a long list of easy to obtain discounts, and some of the highest financial scores across all of our top picks. Accompanied by some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings we have ever seen from a publicly available insurance company, Auto-Owners Insurance quickly climbed to the top of our ranks.

Like we said, Auto-Owners has an impressive range of coverage options to accommodate any vehicle owner’s needs. On top of universally available coverage like liability, property damage, collision, and comprehensive, Auto-Owners offers gap loan/lease payoff coverage, which is essential for anyone driving a brand new car. If you should encounter a claim, especially a total claim which values the cost of repair above the value of the vehicle, you would still be on the hook for the remaining amount owed on your lease. Gap loan/lease payoff coverage will pay off the remaining value owed on a lease or loan. The only other provider offering this coverage is Travelers. Auto-Owners also offer collectable or modified car coverage for classic high-value cars and converted or highly modified vehicles — only Farmers offers similar coverage.

The company also offers a number of discounts to keep your premiums in check as you start adding up protections. Auto-Owners offers the standard discounts like home and auto bundle, multi-car policy, and clean driving record discounts, and goes the extra mile with less common offers like discounts for vehicles with ABS brakes or anti-theft systems. It also has discounts for simply going paperless with your bills, paying your six-month premium in full, or just quoting a new policy a few days before your old one runs out.

But the real achievement of Auto-Owners Insurance lies in its customer satisfaction scores. Ratings powerhouse JD Power crowns Auto-Owners Insurance with the top spot in its overall satisfaction study for auto insurance providers across the North-Central region of the country. Consumer Reports ranks Auto-Owners in its top 10 best car insurance companies. With ratings of “excellent” for each part of the claims process from contact, to damage assessment, to timely payouts, Auto-Owners solidified its spot as our first recommendation to check for an auto insurance quote. In fact, it’s the only Nebraska auto insurance company that really competes with USAA, a military-exclusive insurer known for its high-quality service and products.

Farmers

Farmers has the largest selection of available coverage in the group, edging out Auto-Owners and Travelers. Like Auto-Owners, Farmers offers niche coverage for collectable or highly modified cars. But, unlike Auto-Owners, a standard Farmers policy actually comes with approximately $1,500 worth of coverage for modifications and accessories on a vehicle. That nice stereo system you put in, or those extra plush shocks you upgraded to, will be covered by a basic policy when you go with Farmers. This coverage is great for those who have had a vehicle for an extended period of time, and through regular maintenance and refinement, have upgraded various parts and pieces.

Farmers shines with discounts as well. You can catch a break on your premium for having green, hybrid, or an alternative fuel vehicle — a discount only Travelers can match in this group. Farmers also has a totally unique and unusual discount for adding a teenage driver (under 18) to a multi-car policy that you have held for at least two years — and keeps the savings coming until your youthful driver makes it to 25.

Farmers also offers the best digital experience between these providers. We found it to have the most useful and detailed FAQ section, outlining nearly any question you could have regarding your current or potential auto policy. Farmers makes it smooth and easy to navigate coverage options and discounts on its homepage and its dedicated Nebraska page. It also hosts the most in-depth resource center, broaching topics from roadside emergency tips to mechanical maintenance guides. And its new “Fast Quote” process took nearly half the time of a standard online quote form, making the process feel more like a Facebook quiz than a daunting insurance document.

Travelers Insurance

Travelers is a close match to Farmers on coverages and discounts, missing some that those top tier companies have, but also offering some options that the others don’t. Like Auto-Owners, Travelers is the only company offering gap loan/lease payoff coverage, beating out other top contenders like Farmers and Farmers Mutual of Nebraska. It also matches Farmers as the only other insurer with accident forgiveness plans that will protect your rates from going up should you have an accident.

Travelers offers unique discounts to match comprehensive coverage. It’s the only insurer alongside Farmers to offer a hybrid car discount, and a new car discount for vehicles less than three years old. Another discount you’ll only find with Travelers is its affinity programs savings: If you’re a member of certain businesses or associations, like a credit union or professional group, you may be eligible for extra savings.

Travelers also receives high ratings from JD Power and Consumer Reports, squeaking into the top 10 car insurers in Consumer Reports' claims experience survey. The company was awarded some of the highest financial rankings by firms like Moody’s, Standard and Poor's, and A.M. Best.

Travelers’ online experience is decent, but nothing exceptionally better than the competition. A small collection of auto-oriented articles make up its Travelers Garage, and a smattering of auto insurance FAQs round out its resource center, but cannot stand up to Farmers’ variety. Travelers’ online quote experience is also a bit dated, but does the job just fine and is superior to being forced to call an agent like some insurers require (Auto-Owners and Farmers Mutual of Nebraska included).

Farmers Mutual of Nebraska

Farmers Mutual is a smaller, local insurance firm that actually owns the largest market share of property and casualty insurance — auto insurance included — throughout the Nebraska. While this local insurer is too small to garner financial ratings from major financial institutions or customer ranking data from large scale evaluators like JD Power or Consumer Reports, it does hold an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Personal testimonies and client reviews have also given it a glowing 4.5 stars out of 5 on Clearsurance.com. That puts Farmers Mutual above some national insurers like GEICO or Progressive, and quite nearly on par with customer service powerhouse USAA.

Farmers Mutual of Nebraska offers only the basic types of auto insurance: liability, medical, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured & underinsured coverage. Without many extraneous coverages, Farmers Mutual of Nebraska is able to focus more clearly on making its service system a better experience, culminating in many happy customers. It does, however, have a number of great discount options matching many of the large scale providers, including safe-vehicle, good student (full-time students receiving A’s or B’s), and driving training discounts.

Farmers Mutual of Nebraska has a small resource center, but no FAQ section. Its online experience is very basic, but does walk you through the most important actions you’ll need to know in the event of a wreck and how to start the claims process.

Quote Analysis

We don’t harp on prices and premiums in our review of the best auto insurance, because we believe it’s a mistake to make your choice of provider solely on this metric. As mentioned before, every company evaluates risk and risk factors differently. It is impossible to say who will have your best premium because of the vast differences in personal situations and backgrounds. That being said, let's look at an excellent example of why you should shop around for quotes.

Travelers Farmers
Liability coverage (injury per person / injury per accident / property damage per accident 100/300/50 100/300/50
Comprehensive $1,000 deductible $1,000 deductible
Collision $1,000 deductible $1,000 deductible
6-month Premium $821 $1,607

Quote for: 26-year-old single male; 2010 Toyota Camry; Omaha, NE.

Note: Auto-Owners and Farmers Mutual of Nebraska both require phone interviews to complete a quote, which takes a bit more personal and sensitive information than we can replicate. We certainly advise giving them each a call before making your final purchasing decision.

The difference is shocking, Farmers coming in at nearly double Travelers’ quote. This is a prime example of how each company evaluates your individual situation differently, and how you could find major savings simply by checking a few different places for quotes. You’ll also notice that we priced out coverage well above Nebraska's minimum requirements. We wouldn’t want to be on the hook for an extra $5,000, let alone $25,000, should we find ourselves in claims situations dealing with multiple injuries or damages. This coverage amount is often the recommended level when going through an online quote for auto insurance in Nebraska.

Nebraska on the Cutting Edge

Some Nebraska lawmakers are working with the auto industry to open up the roads of their state to a very high-tech market: autonomous cars. The first proposal, made by Senator Tyson Larson, would open all roads in the state to be used by this experimental technology. “I want a statute that not only allows it, but allows the technology to grow,” Senator Larson explains. Indeed, the technology is growing. Some estimates say there will be around 10 million driverless cars on the road by 2020, and if Nebraska is at the heart of that revolution, that could mean big changes for the average Nebraskan driver.

The second proposal in favor of inviting the automation revolution to Nebraska comes from Senator Anna Wishhart, who proposed that only the roads of Lincoln, NE be opened up to the robotic cars. Of course, regardless of how these recent bills pan out, the reality of driverless cars on Nebraska highways (and nearly all highways for that matter) is a growing trend that will affect auto insurance across the board as insurers bend and change to accommodate new factors and risks. The true nature of what car insurance will look like in 5, 10, or 20 years is highly unknown, but as Nebraska reaches out its hand to the future, you can be sure that it will be very near the heart of that change.