From deductibles and payment plans to rental reimbursement and roadside assistance, there’s a lot to consider when purchasing auto insurance. Coupled with the high rates of auto theft in Albuquerque and the fact that roughly one in 10 New Mexico drivers are uninsured, choosing the right provider — and the right amount of coverage — can seem daunting. Fortunately, we’ve taken the time to research and break down the best New Mexico auto insurance.

New Mexico Minimum Liability

Before shopping for car insurance, you should know your minimum liability requirements. Minimum liability insurance is the portion of an auto policy that covers drivers and property outside of your car, including damages to the other car, occupants of another car, or property.

In New Mexico, the minimum liability insurance requirements are as follows:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident

Although you are required to obtain this 25/50/10 level of insurance, you’d do well to purchase more — accidents can be expensive. In fact, the average claim for bodily injuries was $16,110 in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That’s why we — and the dozens of insurance agents and lawyers we've spoke to over the years — recommend purchasing as much car insurance as you can afford.

But car insurance should fit your needs without breaking the bank, which is why you should compare quotes from several car insurance companies to see what types of coverages and discounts they’ll offer you. Our look at New Mexico’s top auto insurances providers should provide you with a good starting place for your search.

New Mexico Auto Insurance Reviews

USAA

USAA is only available to military members and their families. But for those who qualify, USAA is an excellent place to start searching for car insurance.

To begin with, USAA was the sole insurance provider ranked among the best for claims and overall experience in J.D. Power and Associates’ regional evaluation. Similarly, Consumer Reports gave USAA a score of 95 along with excellent ratings across the board from Consumer Reports. In addition to customer satisfaction, USAA boasts the strongest financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and S&P.

USAA’s full coverage not only includes standard offerings such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, but rental reimbursement, something most insurers charge extra for. We also liked USAA’s optional offerings. Take USAA’s extended vehicle protection through Assurant. It places all of the extras — including 24-hour roadside assistance and coverage for more than 1,000 parts across your vehicle — in one add-on. If you’d prefer, however, you can opt for separate coverage for policy elements such as accident forgiveness and roadside assistance.

In addition to its coverage choices, we like USAA’s payment flexibility: you can pay your premium in one fell swoop, set up a six- or 12-month plan, or pay on a military pay schedule.

State Farm

We consider claims experience and financial strength — essentially, the ability to make a claim and have it quickly and easily resolved — to be the two principal elements of a good auto insurer. So, placing State Farm near the top of the list is a no-brainer.

Next to USAA, State Farm received the highest ratings from JD Power and Associate’s regional evaluation, along with high praise from Consumer Reports. State Farm also boasts strong grades from Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s for financial solvency.

The auto insurance provider’s standard and supplemental coverage are on par with other insurers, but its rental car reimbursement coverage stands out. Rather than simply reimbursing you for your car rental, State Farm will cover your meals, lodging, and transportation in the event that your vehicle is disabled more than 50 miles from your home.

We’re similarly impressed with the auto insurer’s discounts. You can earn up to 20 percent off for insuring multiple vehicles or earning good grades, plus up to 17 percent off for holding multiple policies. These discounts are common, but the percentage of savings that State Farm provides is higher than most.

GEICO

GEICO is our favorite auto insurer for most people, but it fell in the middle of the pack for New Mexico residents. Although the auto insurer’s financial solvency are top notch, its customer satisfaction and claims experiences are not. Because it provides a better look at area policyholders’ experiences, we paid special attention to JD Power and Associates’ regional evaluation. Here, GEICO received an average overall score, along with a subpar rating for claims experience.

GEICO still has plenty of redeeming qualities, though. In particular, we like Auto Repair Xpress, which reduces the time and stress involved in the claims process. After filing a claim, this service lets you arrange to meet GEICO adjuster at a nearby repair shop. Here, the adjuster will evaluate your car’s damage, explain the process, and answer any questions, all while you wait for your car to be repaired.

We can also understand why GEICO’s app was ranked was ranked No. 1 in Forrester’s 2017 U.S. Mobile Auto Insurance Benchmark. We're impressed with the app's features, which include access to your insurance card, roadside assistance, and a virtual assistant.

GEICO also provides plenty of discounts. Those include standard ones for anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, airbags, and daytime lights, along with unique savings options for members of the military, federal employees, and drivers 50 and older. And like State Farm, many of these discounts yield high percentages, with the multi-car and five-year accident-free offerings earning you up to roughly 25 percent off.

There are a few spots where GEICO is lacking, though. We were less than impressed with the online quote tool, which we didn’t find intuitive. We were also disappointed to find that GEICO doesn’t offer gap coverage. This common offering — GEICO and Farmers were the only ones that did not offer it in some form — pays the difference between the value of your totaled vehicle and the amount you still owe on its loan.

Progressive

Progressive is a great option for car insurance, but it doesn’t stack up next to USAA, State Farm, and GEICO. Take Progressive’s financial solvency ratings. They're good, just not as high as the top three. Similarly, it received solid ratings from Consumer Reports, but the insurer didn’t fare quite as well on a regional level. Yes, the JD Power and Associates evaluation gave Progressive an average rating for claims experience. But its overall rating iss decidedly below average.

We also had difficulty differentiating between standard and supplemental coverage options. Still, we like many of the coverages available. In particular, Progressive’s collision coverage stands out. Although this is a standard coverage, Progressive takes it a step further by covering your injuries, as well as your pets’ injuries if they are hurt in an accident.

Progressive markets itself as budget-friendly, and we can see why. The site’s online quote tool provides multiple coverage choices based on your budget, and you can experiment with changing the cost of your monthly bill with the Name Your Price tool. In this vein, Progressive offers lots of discounts, including ones that are easy to obtain, like savings for starting an online quote. You’ll also earn a discount by maintaining insurance continuously, signing documents online and enrolling in automatic bill pay.

However, it’s important to examine quantity as well as quality. And that’s another spot where Progressive doesn’t match up next to its counterparts. For instance, GEICO offers a 25 percent multi-car discount, and State Farm’s is 20 percent multi-car discount. Meanwhile, Progressive’s multi-car discount is 10 percent.

Progressive’s lenient qualifications for these discounts are worth mentioning. Take the homeowners discount. You need to have a homeowners insurance policy with most insurers to qualify for this, but Progressive will award you a discount for owning a home, condo or mobile home, regardless of who insures it.

Likewise, Progressive will give you a multi-car discount as long as those cars are part of your household, which extends beyond family members to include anyone living in your home.

Farmers

Farmers had the lowest financial ratings of the bunch. As a result, it immediately fell to the bottom of our list. After all, when you’re filing an insurance claim, the last thing you want to worry about it whether or not your provider can foot the bill.

We should note, however, that while its Moody’s financial strength rating indicates Farmers is subject to moderate credit risk, the insurer received A’s from A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s. Similarly, Farmers’ JD Power and Associates’ customer satisfaction ratings were subpar. Despite the discrepancy, Farmers is still worth looking into.

We like Farmers mainly because of its robust coverage. We were pleased to learn that Farmers offers accident forgiveness, whereby Farmers forgives one accident for every three years you drive without one plus incident forgiveness, which means your premiums won’t increase as a result of a citation, provided no claim is filed.

Other add-on coverages are notable, too. For example, with Loss of Use coverage, Farmers will reimburse you with a flat sum for any travel expenses you incur while your car is repaired. And Farmers’ Extended Customized Equipment Coverage ensures your new stereo system, subwoofers, rims, and any other optional gear not permanently installed in your vehicle is covered in the event of damage or theft.

We also like Farmers’ website, which is home to FAQs on auto insurance, claims, and discounts, plus tips for saving on auto insurance.

While Farmers doesn’t stack up next to the other four New Mexico auto insurers, its coverage options, as well as the opportunity to talk to an agent in person or over the phone make it worth considering.

Key Coverage Options for New Mexico Drivers

We outlined the 25/50/10 minimum liability coverage above, but bodily injury and property damage aren’t the only things New Mexico drivers need to look out for. There are several coverages that, while optional, are wise investments. Chief among these optional coverages are comprehensive coverage and uninsured and underinsured coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage

Collision coverage is pretty self-explanatory; it covers you in the event you hit another vehicle or object, like a tree, mailbox, or guardrail. But what about situations that don’t involve collisions? That’s where comprehensive coverage comes in.

Comprehensive coverage covers damage caused by incidents other than collisions — think earthquakes, floods, fires, hail, falling trees, vandalism, and theft.

That last one is particularly important for Albuquerque residents, as the city was ranked No. 1 in the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Hot Spots Report. Here, vehicles are usually stolen to be sold for parts, taken on a joyride, or driven across the border for resale, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

Of course, there are many preventative measures you can take to prevent auto theft, such as locking your doors and keeping valuables out of sight. However, these measures are not always enough, which is why it’s crucial to invest in comprehensive coverage.

Uninsured coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is divided into two categories: property damage and bodily injury:

  • Property damage coverage pays for the repairs to your vehicle if someone without car insurance hits your car.
  • Bodily injury coverage pays for your injuries when someone with little or no insurance crashes into you.

While we think both uninsured motorist coverage a wise purchase for all drivers, it’s especially smart for New Mexico drivers. At a whopping 20.8 percent, That’s because New Mexico ranks third in the nation for most uninsured drivers at a whopping 20.8 percent, based on data from the Insurance Information Institute.

That number is significantly lower than in the past, though, which can be attributed to the state’s use of an electronic database system to cross-reference driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations with insurance records.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Institute, New Mexico had the second highest uninsured motorist rate in the country at roughly 30 percent before the implementation of this insurance identification database. After the database’s 2002 implementation, that number dropped to 24 percent.

Even with rates decreasing, the number of uninsured motorists is high, so insured New Mexico drivers would do well to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.

The bottom line

Auto insurance is crucial for drivers in New Mexico. And not just the minimum 25/50/10. Due to the high rate of auto theft and a large number of uninsured drivers, New Mexico drivers should also invest in comprehensive coverage and uninsured and underinsured coverage. To help you get the best price possible, you should request quotes from multiple providers and regularly review your policy to ensure you’re taking advantage of all available discounts.