The Best New Jersey Auto Insurance Companies
New Jersey’s auto insurance rates are on the higher side — on average $1383 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. 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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New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in America, but it ranks eleventh for population, packing roughly 9 million people into 8,723 square miles. This means there are a lot of drivers on the road — and a lot of opportunities for car accidents. New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means that if you are in a car accident, you’re responsible for paying your own medical expenses — no matter who caused the accident. You’ll want to be sure your insurance policy includes Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage to handle those potential bills.
But finding the best car insurance in New Jersey isn’t just about protecting yourself from car accidents. It’s also about protecting your car from environmental damage. New Jersey is a coastal state, which means it is prone to hurricanes. The best New Jersey auto insurance providers also offer coverage to help you repair or replace your car after the next big storm.
New Jersey Minimum Liability
Unlike most states, New Jersey offers drivers two minimum insurance coverage options: a basic policy and a standard policy. The basic policy is less expensive than the standard policy, but you also get less coverage (which means that if you are in an accident, you could end up paying more out-of-pocket).
Here are the minimum insurance requirements for each policy:
- $5,000 property damage coverage per accident
- $15,000 personal injury coverage per person/accident
- $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $5,000 property damage coverage per accident
- $15,000 personal injury coverage per person/accident
The State of New Jersey only recommends the Basic Policy for people with no family or assets (including income) to protect. The vast majority of residents should opt for a Standard Policy — and you’ll probably want more than the minimum coverage. Adding comprehensive coverage, for example, will help protect your car from hurricane damage.
When you start shopping for your insurance policy, make sure to compare quotes from multiple providers. Each insurer calculates premiums differently, and you want to make sure that you’re getting the right coverage package for the lowest possible rate. Use our guide to the best insurance providers in New Jersey to help you get started.
How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in New Jersey
We ranked the five largest insurance providers in New Jersey using the same methodology we applied to our nationwide auto insurance review. We checked each insurer’s ratings with companies like A.M. Best to evaluate their financial strength and ability to pay out on claims; we used customer service evaluators like JD Power and Consumer Reports to learn whether real people were happy with their experiences. We compared each insurer’s coverage options, and checked to see how many discounts they offered: Can you get a reduced rate if you purchase multiple policies with the same insurer? What about if your car has airbags or anti-theft devices?
Finally, we looked at each insurer’s online resources and educational tools — a good auto insurance provider will not only provide coverage, but also resources to help you become a better driver.
New Jersey Auto Insurance Reviews
NJM Insurance Group
The New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group has a hundred-year history of service in the state, and it’s been successful enough that it’s in the process of expanding to Pennsylvania. We’re putting NJM at the top of our list because of its impressive customer service record; it received a perfect 5 out of 5 from JD Power for customers’ overall satisfaction and their satisfaction with the claims process. Consumer Reports felt similarly, rating NJM’s overall experience and claims payment speed as Excellent. Those scores easily beat out all of our other finalists. NJM also received an A+ ranking from A.M. Best, which indicates a superior level of financial stability.
NJM claims to offer premiums that are 20% lower than the average statewide premium of $1383. This might be because NJM doesn’t offer as many insurance options as some of the other providers on our list: you can get the all-important Personal Injury Protection coverage, but you can’t get mechanical breakdown coverage, personal property coverage, or pet injury coverage — all of which are offered by other insurance providers in New Jersey.
If you want to lower your premium even further, NJM offers discounts for multi-line policies, multi-car policies, anti-theft devices, and the completion of various driver training or defensive driving programs. You can even get a discount for being a good student!
Parents of teen drivers can also sign themselves and their teens up for NJM’s Share the Keys program, an interactive, educational presentation designed to reduce teen driver crash risks. This program was developed by the New Jersey Division of Highway Safety in collaboration with Kean University, and is regularly presented at New Jersey high schools.
Geico was our top pick in our review of national auto insurance providers, and the only reason we’re ranking it second is because its customer service ratings are slightly lower than NJM’s: JD Power gave Geico a 3 out of 5 for overall satisfaction and a 4 out of 5 for claims satisfaction. (Geico does have a slight edge in terms of financial stability, however, with an A++ rating from A.M. Best.)
Geico offers a few more insurance coverage options than NJM, including mechanical breakdown coverage — which covers repairs beyond everyday wear and tear — and rental reimbursement coverage. Uber and Lyft drivers can also take out a rideshare policy in lieu of a personal auto insurance policy — this option covers you both during personal use of your vehicle and while you're driving for your rideshare company. (A personal policy typically doesn’t cover commercial use of a car, and New Jersey passed a law to regulate rideshare companies in 2017, stating that all drivers must have appropriate insurance.)
Geico offers significantly more discounts than NJM: you can lower your premium if your car includes safety features like air bags, anti-lock brakes, and daytime running lights, and you can also get discounts if you complete safe driver programs. Geico offers discounts to people associated with over 500 organizations, including the military and the federal government. And students can get discounts for completing drivers’ education programs and keeping their grades up.
The real question is whether all of those discounts will bring your premium lower than NJM’s promised rates — and the only way to find out is to contact both insurers and get quotes!
Allstate received an honorable mention in our nationwide insurance review. Its financial stability is on par with NJM, but it received slightly lower consumer satisfaction: JD Power gave Allstate 3 out of 5 points for both overall satisfaction and claims satisfaction. Consumer Reports gave it a Very Good rating for overall customer service experience and an Excellent rating for timely claims payment.
Like NJM, Allstate wants to help teen drivers become safe drivers. Allstate’s Drivewise app lets parents and teens receive real-time driving feedback and note safety violations such as speeding. Want to make sure your teen doesn’t text while they’re behind the wheel? Use Allstate’s Cellcontrol service to disable teens’ mobile devices while they drive. Allstate also offers discounts for teens who complete teenSMART driving programs.
You don’t have to be a teen to benefit from Allstate’s Drivewise app; adults can also use Drivewise to improve their driving skills and get discounts on their insurance. You can receive additional discounts for buying a new car, paying your premium in full, and for driving a car with safety features like anti-lock brakes. Allstate doesn’t offer as many discounts as the other providers on our list, but you’ll still find plenty of ways to save.
If you drive for Uber or Lyft, one of Allstate’s main draws is that, like Geico, it offers rideshare insurance. Allstate's coverage works by extending your personal policy to include the trips you make while driving for Lyft or Uber. Allstate also just announced that it was teaming up with Uber to offer commercial auto coverage for Uber drivers. This type of coverage is designed to meet the needs of small business owners. New Jersey is one of the first states to benefit from this new coverage program, which — if it is successful — will expand nationwide.
Allstate’s website includes a comprehensive set of educational resources — more than any of our other top picks. Their interactive Bumper to Bumper Basics tool helps you determine how much insurance coverage you’ll need, and its informative articles answer common questions like “How does hitting a deer impact your insurance?” Whether or not you choose Allstate as your insurer, you can still use its resources — including Drivewise and Cellcontrol — to learn more about your insurance options and stay safe on the road.
State Farm also got an honorable mention in our nationwide insurance review. However, the company closed down several of its nationwide offices, including its New Jersey office, after a $7 billion auto insurance underwriting loss in 2016, and is planning to continue closing offices through 2021. This won’t affect your ability to get auto insurance from State Farm — you can still get a quote online and connect with a local agent — but it does suggest that, unlike NJM, State Farm isn’t in a growth period.
Like Geico, State Farm earned an A++ financial rating from A.M. Best, but its customer service rankings are weaker than most of our other picks: Consumer Reports rated consumers’ overall experience as Very Good and gave State Farm an Excellent rating for speedy claims payment, but JD Power only gave State Farm 2 out of 5 for overall satisfaction and 3 out of 5 for claims satisfaction.
State Farm also offers fewer coverage options than Geico and Allstate, though it does include rideshare coverage, roadside assistance coverage, and rental reimbursement coverage.
If you do pick State Farm as your insurer, you’ll want to enroll in State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save program, which tracks your driving through your OnStar communication service or your mobile device. You get a discount just for signing up, and you can save even more if you drive safely. If you’re under 25, you’ll also want to complete State Farm’s Steer Clear program, which can net you an additional discount if you had no at-fault accidents or violations in the past three years.
Between financial stability and customer service, Progressive received the lowest overall score of our five providers: an A+ from A.M. Best, plus customer service ratings identical to State Farm: a 2 out of 5 on overall customer satisfaction and a 3 out of 5 on claims satisfaction from JD Power.
Although Progressive earned an honorable mention in our review of nationwide providers, it doesn’t offer as much as the other providers on our list. Its Snapshot app is similar to Allstate’s Drivewise app and State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save app, but unlike those other apps, Progressive only tracks your driving for a limited period before determining your discount and doesn’t reward you for continuing to improve. Progressive doesn’t offer rideshare insurance, but it is the only insurer on our list to offer pet injury insurance — though if you already have pet health insurance you’ll want to make sure you aren’t paying twice for the same coverage.
This isn’t to imply that Progressive is a bad choice; you can still get a variety of coverages, including rental reimbursement and roadside assistance coverage — as well as discounts for multi-line policyholders, homeowners, safe drivers, and good students. We’d recommending getting a quote to see how your options compare.
What to Know When Shopping for New Jersey Auto Insurance
Your insurance score will affect your premium rates.
You’re probably aware of your credit score, but did you know that you also have a separate insurance score? Here’s what an Allstate representative told NJ.com: “Elements from a driver's credit history are used to establish an insurance score, which we've found helps us better predict the potential for an insurance loss.”
Each insurer chooses different elements to include in your insurance score, and they don’t reveal how scores are calculated — although the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance clarifies that insurers cannot base scores on “race, ethnicity, sex, age, religion, income, address, unpaid medical bills, and the number of inquiries made within 30 days for home and auto loans.” As a general rule, good credit scores are associated with good insurance scores, and maintaining a good driver record is also helpful. Beyond this, it’s hard to know exactly what goes into your score, which is one reason that it’s so important to get quotes from multiple insurers. Some providers may calculate your score differently than others, affecting the price of your premium.
Have a teen driver? Look for an insurance provider with educational resources.
New Jersey is working to be one of the safest states in the nation for teen drivers; between 2001 and 2016, teen driver fatalities dropped by 56 percent.
However, the current rate rate is still 9 percent higher than the national average: 18 teen drivers were killed in auto accidents in 2016. If you have a teen driver, use your insurer’s resources to help keep them safe on the road. Sign your teen up for drivers’ education classes, install apps to track their speed and safety, and make sure your teen understands that these tools can help them become responsible drivers.