Auto insurance seems like just another monthly expense — until you actually need it. Fortunately, drivers in the Keystone State can expect to pay premiums slightly below the national average, largely due to Pennsylvania’s low minimum liability requirements. Finding the best auto insurance in Pennsylvania isn’t just about getting the cheapest rates, though — it’s also about finding the right coverage for you, your family, and your car. In this article, we’ll help you find the best provider for your unique situation.
How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania
To find the best auto insurance providers in Pennsylvania, we used the same methodology as our review on the best national car insurance providers. We started by pulling the five largest auto insurance companies in the state based on market share. Next, we visited each provider’s website in order to evaluate the overall user experience, educational resources, and customer service.
Finally, we evaluated the claims process and overall customer satisfaction by examining their J.D. Power and Consumer Reports ratings, and looked into each provider’s financial stability ratings with Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard and Poor’s. (If you’re in an accident, you want your auto insurance provider to be financially solvent enough to pay out.) And even though premiums are based on a host of driver traits and vary wildly, we also obtained sample insurance quotes for a 2012 Subaru Outback with 65,000 miles for a 30-year-old single female driver to see how each company stacked up.
The 6 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Companies Reviews
Erie Insurance Group
Erie Insurance was our top pick for Pennsylvania auto insurance with its positive ratings and user experience. It was the only Pennsylvania auto insurance company to earn 5 stars from J.D. Power for overall customer satisfaction in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company also received a distinguished “94” rating from Consumer Reports with “Excellent” ratings in six out of seven categories, including “simplicity of the process” and “timely payment.”
As far as websites are concerned, Erie’s was our standout favorite. We were able to quickly punch in our information and receive a quote in a matter of minutes. During the quote process, a photo popped up introducing us to our would-be insurance agent, and that was after only entering our address. Erie also offered a host of discounts including:
- Safe driving
- Young drivers
- Annual payment plan
- Car safety equipment
- Reduced usage
State Farm accounts for more than 20 percent of the Pennsylvania auto insurance business, but it wasn’t our top pick for a few reasons. First, the claims process was considerably more cumbersome than Erie’s. We had to enter our Driver’s License Number or Social Security Number, then provide a detailed account of any at-fault accidents, tickets, major violations, or license suspensions in the past six years just to get a quote.
While the website is comprehensive enough, it felt a bit outdated (think large blocks of small-print text). It makes for a good resource, but not the best user experience. Still, we appreciate that it lays out all of the discounts we may be eligible for and supplemental coverages offered. On the plus side, Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best rated the company’s financial stability as “very strong” and “superior,” respectively, so you can be confident that State Farm will be able to pay out on any claims.
Allstate insures 11.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s drivers. We found it to be a solid option, with a quick and painless quote process and a wealth of information on its website. When it came to clearly spelling out supplemental coverage options, Allstate was the best we saw. The site had each discount (such as smart student and responsible payer) and endorsement (from personal umbrella policy to roadside coverage) clearly delineated, with a small definition beneath each term for at-a-glance comprehension. That said, we found the website to be a little overwhelming — it was easy to get lost while navigating all the options.
J.D. Power gave Allstate 3/5 stars for overall customer satisfaction in the Mid-Atlantic region. Consumer Reports awarded it a similarly average rating of 88/100, with “excellent” scores for ease of reaching an agent, agent courtesy, and timely payments. Allstate also received top marks from financial institutions like Moody’s, which bestowed the company with its highest rating for having “exceptional financial security.”
Nationwide takes care of nearly 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s auto insurance needs. While the company doesn’t offer as many discounts as some of the other providers (we counted nine listed on the website compared to Allstate’s 11), it did offer a decent amount of endorsements. Its ratings from financial institutions ranged from “good” (from Moody’s) to “superior” from A.M. Best. However, J.D. Power rated its overall customer satisfaction at 2 out of 5 stars.
Nationwide’s home page made a great first impression with its sleek design and easy-to-read headlines. However, because the company handles more than just insurance (they also do investing and retirement), it’s a bit tricky to navigate to auto insurance. The quote process was also a little disconcerting. Some of the questions were tough to answer accurately, like when we were asked to estimate the value of our car when it was new, regardless of whether or not we owned it then. When we finished the process, we received a message saying our quote couldn’t be fulfilled before being redirected.
Overall, it was an underwhelming and unsatisfying customer experience. We’d recommend calling to get a quote — you may have a better experience reaching out by phone.
Progressive is responsible for 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s auto insurance. Both the auto quote and overall website experience are clean, simple, and intuitive. A robust FAQ section called “Ask Progressive” — our favorite educational tool out of all five companies — handled the high-level insurance questions a customer may have, as well as the nitty-gritty logistics (“I just hit a deer. What do I do next?”). This brand is also the only one of our top auto insurance providers in Pennsylvania that offered a live chat option. Progressive has a wide array of discounts (including an average discount of 7 percent for starting your quote online, something none of our other providers offered).
Progressive fared a little better than Nationwide, receiving 3 stars from J.D. Power for its overall customer satisfaction. Additionally, Consumer Reports gave it an 87/100 overall, with an “Excellent” score for its timely payouts.
Honorable mention goes to USAA for being an excellent option for members of the U.S. armed forces and their immediate family members. USAA occupies a little over 3% of the auto insurance market share in Pennsylvania, but it scores impressive ratings across the board for its service. Although you have to be a member of the military to receive a quote for their car insurance (so our staff didn’t have access to pricing information firsthand), the process itself seems straightforward based on their website.
USAA scores the best rating the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study for Overall Customer Satisfaction (Mid-Atlantic Region) – a whopping 896/1000. Our other top pick, Erie Insurance, scored the next best rating behind USAA at 854/1000. USAA also scores A++ in their financial ranking, according to A.M. Best. Last, but certainly not least, Consumer Reports gives it a 95/100 based on their reader’s score. If you have the opportunity to sign up for USAA, we encourage you to compare your quote to other providers to get a full scope of the available benefits and pricing.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies In Pennsylvania
Average Annual Premium by Company
|Car Insurance Companies||Average Annual Premium|
|Penn National Insurance||$571|
|Atlantic State Insurance Company||$963|
Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 07/01/2019.
Average Annual Premium by Credit Tier
|Credit Rating Tier||Average Annual Premium|
|Average Across Credit Rating Tiers||$969|
Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 07/01/2019
Top 3 Cheapest Companies
- USAA: $552
- Penn National Insurance: $571
- GEICO: $635
Top 3 Most Expensive Companies
- Allstate: $1,199
- Esurance: $1,064
- Atlantic State Insurance Company: $963
The cheapest auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania are USAA, Penn National Insurance, and GEICO. The prices for most insurance companies in the state are on the low end, with the Insurance Information Institute ranking Pennsylvania 18th for average auto insurance expenditures. Sitting in the middle of the Appalachian Mountain Range, Pennsylvania is home to a healthy mix of rural and urban areas. Its proximity to the mountains and mid-atlantic portion of the east means a variety of weather events such as heavy rain and snowfall can occur. This can increase the chances of weather-related accidents and risk, especially considering Pennsylvania is the fifth largest state by population.
Guide to Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Companies
Understand Pennsylvania’s minimum liability requirements
In the auto insurance industry, liability roughly translates to “responsibility.” There are two main kinds of liability when it comes to auto insurance: 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 Pennsylvania requires you to purchase. (Sometimes, liability coverage is shown in the following shorthand: 15/30/5.) Pennsylvania’s minimum liability coverage breaks down as such:
- $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $5,000 property damage coverage per accident
Purchase more than the minimum
So what happens if you only purchase the minimum liability coverage for Pennsylvania? Well, if you cause an accident, the property damage to the other car may very well exceed the minimum liability of $5,000 per accident. You’d be on the hook to pay the rest of the money out of pocket. A good rule of thumb is to purchase the highest amount of auto insurance you can afford.
Don’t take the first offer
Much like shopping for a car or even a house, you should not settle on the first quote you receive when looking at auto insurance companies in the Quaker State. While our top five picks are a great place to start, you should consider as many providers as possible. Some may offer unique discounts and perks that appeal to your specific needs. The only way you’ll know for sure if you’re getting the most bang for your buck is to shop around.
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Companies FAQ
What Pennsylvania auto insurance company has the lowest premiums?
The answer will vary. There are many things that factor into auto insurance premiums (your safety record, what neighborhood you live in, what kind of car you drive, and so forth). In our research, we used a 2012 Subaru Outback with 65,000 miles for a 30-year-old single female driver. Your experience will obviously differ so it’s important to compare quotes from a few providers.
What is Personal Injury Project (PIP)?
Pennsylvania, like all other no-fault states, requires drivers to have Personal Injury Project or PIP for short. (In a no-fault state, policyholders can recover financial losses from their own insurance company, regardless of who’s at fault.) This includes coverage for medical, rehabilitation, lost wages due to missed time at work, and even funeral expenses. In some states, PIP also includes essential services such as childcare.
Will my premiums be lower if I live in rural Pennsylvania?
Generally, yes. The more urban an area you live in, the higher premiums you have to pay on your auto insurance, due to increased population density, more congestion, and a higher likelihood of crime. The inverse is true for more rural counties.
The Best Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Companies: Summed Up
We worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide data on auto insurance rates by company and credit score. Quadrant makes this information available using rate data insurers are required to file with state Departments of Insurance. Rates are based on sample profiles created by Reviews.com for comparative purposes.