The Best New York Auto Insurance Companies
New York’s auto insurance rates are on the higher side — on average $1,361 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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As is the case with most types of insurance, auto insurance is something motorists buy with the hope that they will never need it — but even if you go months or years without having to make a claim, there may come a day when you’ll need to. We set out to learn all we could about New York’s top auto insurance providers in order to parse out the differences between them. Along the way, we also uncovered a slew of useful information for New York drivers to be aware of before shopping around for auto insurance.
New York Minimum Liability
In auto insurance jargon, liability essentially means “responsibility.” There are two main kinds of liability: bodily injury and property damage. If you are at-fault in an accident, your auto liability insurance will pay the other driver’s medical and vehicle repair costs.
Minimum liability refers to the minimum amount of insurance coverage the state of New York requires you to purchase before you can legally drive your car. (Sometimes, liability coverage is shown in the following shorthand: 25/50/10.) New York’s minimum liability coverage breaks down in the following manner:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $10,000 property damage coverage per accident
A $10,000 minimum liability for property damage coverage per accident is on the lower side. In fact, 35 other states require higher minimum liability. You never want to purchase solely the minimum liability coverage. If you’re involved in a serious car accident, the crash might very well exceed the the minimum liability of $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident. You’ll be left paying the rest out of pocket. That’s why DMV.org advises purchasing the highest amount of auto insurance you can afford.
One other interesting thing about New York state laws regarding auto insurance: policyholders must also have 50/100 for wrongful death coverage. This means $50,000 coverage for a wrongful death claim for any single person and $100,000 for a wrongful death claim for multiple people in a single accident. (We delve more deeply into this at the end of the review.)
There are many factors that determine auto insurance premiums (if you rent or own your home, how long you’ve been a licensed driver, your driving safety record, your ZIP code, and so on). This is why we highly recommend shopping around to find the most affordable premium and in-depth coverage for your specific situation. This review on the top auto providers in New York is a great place to start.
How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in New York
When we set out to learn more about the top auto insurance providers in the Empire State, we went about it in much the same way we found the best nationwide auto insurance providers. To begin, we found the five largest auto insurance providers in New York by market share. We then evaluated each company based on their website tools, educational offerings, and customer service. For example, was the quote process a breeze or needlessly difficult?. We evaluated the overall claims process and company reputation by examining the J.D. Power score and Consumer Reports ratings, and analyzed each provider’s financial stability — after all, it’s vital that a company is solvent enough to pay out in the event you have to make a claim. We also put each company through its paces by nabbing sample insurance quotes; we used a 2012 Subaru Outback with 65,000 miles with a 30-year-old female driver.
New York Auto Insurance Reviews
Progressive is our top pick for auto insurance in New York, hands down. We found its auto quote process and overall website user experience to be clean, simple, and intuitive. Progressive offered the second-highest amount of supplemental coverages (12 compared to State Farm’s eight), as well as a wide array of discounts, ranging from having multiple cars on one policy to having teen drivers in the household. The website also mentioned taking an average discount of 7 percent for starting your quote process online — an awfully enticing offer none of our other providers had.
Progressive is also only one of two top auto insurance providers in NY that offers a live chat option. That’s super convenient when you’re trying to quickly find an answer. But, its best feature is its incredibly comprehensive FAQ section called “Progressive Answers,” which handles top-level insurance questions (“what actually impacts your auto insurance price”) as well as the more specific (“Red cars and other insurance myths”). It had the second highest amount of supplemental coverage options out of our top providers, offering endorsements for even smaller things like roadside assistance and pet injury.
For all of our fawning, Progressive received only 2 out of 5 stars a piece from J.D. Power for its overall customer satisfaction and claims process. Still, Consumer Reports ranked it as “Very Good” in regards to its simplicity of process and “Excellent” for its timely payouts.
Our second pick for top auto insurance providers in New York is Travelers, covering 4.1 percent of the market. The company received the highest ranking of all our top picks from Consumer Reports, scoring a 90. J.D. Power gave 3 out of 5 stars (“about average”) for overall satisfaction and 4 out of 5 stars for the overall claims process (“better than most”). The quote process is seamless, spitting out a quote in a matter of minutes.
The website is clean and a great resource of information, with sections clearly spelling out “Ways to save” and “What’s covered.” It also features a nifty Tools and Resources section linked to blog posts covering common auto insurance-related topics, such as “A Timeline for Getting Your Teen Driver on the Road Safely.” Travelers offers the second-highest amount of discounts, including one for low mileage and another for having a safe driving history, which may translate to real savings in your premium. If Travelers received any dings, it’s that it doesn’t offer quite as many endorsements as its top competitors do (Traveler’s has 11 areas of supplemental coverage to Allstate’s 14).
Allstate provides insurance to 14.5 percent of New York’s motorists, making it the second largest insurer in the state. The company’s website is a great resource for all things auto insurance. It clearly lists all 14 of its endorsements (it had the most of any of our top providers) and discounts (you could save money by paying for your auto insurance in full or having anti-lock brakes, for example). Plus, the website provides an at-a-glance definition beneath each supplemental coverage and discount, which we suspect would be highly useful to someone bouncing from website to website trying to quickly compare quotes.
Customers gave Allstate 3 out of 5 stars (“about average”) for overall satisfaction and 3 out of 5 stars for timely payouts on J.D. Power. Allstate received high marks from financial institutions like Moody’s, which granted the company with its highest rating for having “exceptional financial security.”
State Farm is the third-largest auto insurance provider in the state, covering roughly 13.2 percent of the market of insured drivers. The website isn’t quite as comprehensive as Progressive or Allstate, and it feels a bit outdated, with huge blocks of small-print text. Still, it does a fine job delineating all of the discounts you may be eligible for (including having airbags in your car and going through a safe driver course) and all of the endorsements you can receive (like rideshare driver coverage and emergency road service).
One thing we didn’t love about State Farm? Its online quote process. We had to enter our Driver’s License Number or Social Security Number and then provide a detailed account of any at-fault accidents, tickets, major violations, or license suspensions in the past six years. Seemed like a lot of work just to get a quote when you’re shopping around.
The other two main financial institutions, Standard & Poor’s, and A.M. Best, rated the company’s financial stability as “very strong” and “superior,” respectively; this made us feel good about recommending State Farm, regardless of its quote process. The company earned only 2 out of 5 stars from J.D. Power in both categories: overall satisfaction and claims process.
Liberty Mutual is the fifth-largest auto insurance provider in New York with just 5.9 percent of the market share. The website is easy to navigate, and we got exactly where we wanted to go in just a few clicks.
That being said, Liberty Mutual’s online quote tool requires a Social Security Number, which isn’t ideal if you’re just shopping around for a quick quote. No other auto insurer required this information to produce a free quote. There are two ways to obtain a free quote on its website. You can either choose to receive a “quick estimate” which meant answering a few quick questions, or a “personalized quote,” which meant answering much more detailed questions. Both required your SSN.
Liberty Mutual received positive ratings from all three financial institutions (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and A.M. Best), varying from “good” to “very strong.” J.D. Power rated its overall satisfaction as 3 out of 5 stars, meaning “about average.” Its claim satisfaction ratings were a bit lower at 2 out of 5 stars.
New York has the second-lowest rate of uninsured motorists in the U.S.
New York is one of only 17 states that requires drivers by law to carry both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This means that if you are in an accident and the driver at fault is not insured or underinsured, you still will be covered. The Insurance Institute lists New York with just 6.1% of its drivers as uninsured (Maine is the lowest with 4.5%). It calls mandatory underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage “an effective remedy” for providing compensation to drivers hit by an uninsured motorist, but that the policy does little to reduce the number of uninsured motorists on the road overall.
New York is the only state to require wrongful death coverage.
All New York state drivers are required by law to purchase liability insurance for wrongful death. A wrongful death claim is typically filed by a close family member of someone who has died due to negligence or misconduct. The claim is intended to compensate the bereaved for financial losses incurred after their loved one’s death.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is not an easy process, and can be filed after a criminal trial. The New York state wrongful death statute includes financial loss such as funeral expenses, loss of earnings, and loss of pension, but you cannot recover compensation for emotional grief.