The Best New Jersey Auto Insurance Companies
New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in America, but it ranks 11th 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 regardless of 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.
How We Found the Best New Jersey Auto Insurance Companies
We ranked the five largest insurance providers in New Jersey using the same methodology we applied to our review of nationwide auto insurance providers. We checked each insurer’s ratings with companies like A.M. Best to evaluate their financial strength and ability to pay out on claims and used customer service evaluators like J.D. Power (Mid-Atlantic Region scores) and Consumer Reports to learn whether real people were happy with their experiences. We deviated a little from our nationwide methodology in that we allowed for insurers that had at least an 800 out of 1,000 rating from J.D. Power. We also 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 air bags 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.
The 5 Best Auto Insurance Companies in New Jersey
The New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group has a hundred-year history of service in the state, and it’s been successful enough that it recently expanded to Pennsylvania. We’re putting NJM at the top of our list because of its impressive customer service record; it received a perfect five out of five from J.D. Power for customers’ overall satisfaction and claims satisfaction. Consumer Reports felt similarly, rating NJM’s overall experience and claims payment speed as Excellent. Those scores easily beat all of our other finalists with the exception of USAA. 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 $1,383. This might be because NJM doesn’t offer as many 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.
Allstate received an honorable mention in our review of nationwide auto insurance providers. Its financial stability is on par with NJM, but it received slightly lower consumer satisfaction: J.D. Power gave Allstate three out of five 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. 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 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 it offers ride-share 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. Its 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 — to learn more about your insurance options and stay safe on the road.
State Farm also got an honorable mention in our review of national auto insurance providers. 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 it’s 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.
State Farm earned an A++ financial rating from A.M. Best, but its customer service rankings are weaker than those of 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 J.D. Power only gave State Farm a two out of five for both overall satisfaction and claims satisfaction. State Farm also offers fewer coverage options than Allstate, though it does include ride-share 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’ve had no at-fault accidents or violations in the past three years.
Between financial stability and customer service, Progressive received only slightly better overall scores than State Farm: an A+ from A.M. Best, plus ratings of three out of five for both overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction from J.D. 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 ride-share 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 recommend getting a quote to see how your options compare.
USAA has it all, from the highest possible financial strength rating of A++ to five out of five ratings in every category from J.D. Power. On top of that, Consumer Reports rated USAA an Excellent in every category, including the claims process, agent courtesy, and the timeliness of the claims payouts. So, what’s the company doing so far down our list? Well, it’s because USAA has a high barrier to entry.
The company only offers its auto insurance coverage (as well as any other insurance) to active military service members, veterans, and their families. If, however, you do fall within these categories, you’ll find that USAA offers many of the same coverages and discounts you’ll find with our other top picks. In addition to these are perks unique to military personnel, such as a chance to save up to 15% on comprehensive coverage when garaging your vehicle on base.
However, USAA is only an option for those with strong ties to the military. If you aren’t a veteran, actively serving, or married to a service member, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Guide to New Jersey Auto Insurance
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 pay more out-of-pocket).
Minimum New Jersey Auto Insurance Requirements
|For the Basic Policy|
|Property damage coverage per accident||$5,000 limit|
|Personal injury coverage per person per accident||$15,000 limit|
|For the Standard Policy|
|Bodily injury coverage per person||$15,000 limit|
|Bodily injury coverage per accident||$30,000 limit|
|Property damage coverage per accident||$5,000 limit|
|Personal injury coverage per person per accident||$15,000 limit|
The State of New Jersey recommends the Basic Policy only 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.
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 why 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%.
However, the current rate rate is still 9% 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.
New Jersey Auto Insurance FAQ
What are average auto insurance rates in New Jersey?
Thanks to dense traffic and a high cost of living, New Jersey has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. While the national average for auto insurance premiums is $1,009 per year, New Jerseyans pay an average of $1,383. Because of this, it’s important to shop around for quotes and take advantage of discount programs like State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save and Allstate’s Drivewise.
Who has the best auto insurance rates in NJ?
Finding the best auto insurance rates in New Jersey will come down to a combination of what providers are offering and what you’re looking for. Our top picks are a great place to start, but you’ll want to get as many quotes as possible in order to find the best auto insurance for your needs.
Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Auto Insurance in New Jersey
- Best Overall Satisfaction: NJM Insurance Group
- Best for Safe Drivers: Allstate
- Best for Ride-Share Coverage: State Farm
- Best for Unique Coverage: Progressive
- Best Customer Service: USAA
Start by getting quotes from these top picks, but don’t stop there. Do some searching online to find other providers operating in the Garden State until you have a sizeable list. Then you can determine who has the best auto insurance rates for your needs.
How much auto insurance do you need?
When premiums are higher, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest auto insurance available. But New Jersey has more drivers than most other states, and its coastal location makes it susceptible to hurricanes, so make sure your policy includes as much coverage as possible within your budget.