There is no such thing as a single “best” car insurance company. Different consumers all have different needs, and every company has its benefits and drawbacks. Qualities that some consumers consider to be strengths might be seen as weaknesses by people with different priorities. Therefore, it makes more sense to consider insurance companies within specific categories rather than searching for a single best insurer.

A few categories that are routinely pointed to as markers of quality: A company’s size, the cost of its policies and the quality of its customer service. There are often trade-offs between these categories. For example, the cheapest insurance companies may not have the staffing required to provide exemplary service, and a massive company can often provide better discounts than a smaller one. Here are a few of the most popular insurance companies broken down by category:

Largest Company

Far and away, State Farm is the largest insurer of automobiles in the country. It holds over 20% of all car insurance policies and continues to grow with each passing year. State Farm is very appealing to customers because it tends to have a low base cost of insurance and operates almost completely out of insurance agencies. This gives customer service a more personalized touch, which many people appreciate.

In this way, though, State Farm’s greatest strengths can also be flaws. The agency model makes it more difficult to file claims as 24-hour customer service is not always available. The company’s size has also played a role in some of its cost-cutting practices that have inspired lawsuits in recent years. One major complaint about the company is that it goes to great lengths to deny personal injury claims. This same complaint has been levied against other large insurers like Allstate and GEICO.

Cheapest Insurance

Depending on your risk level, the cheapest insurance company may be different for you than for another person. High-risk customers pay more for insurance in general than low-risk drivers, but they may get comparatively lower rates from specialty high-risk insurers than from standard companies. On the other hand, people with excellent driving records generally get the cheapest policies regardless of what company they choose.

One of the most affordable companies on the market is USAA, which provides policies to military personnel and their families. Because it serves a small niche, USAA is able to keep its costs low and provide cheap policies to its customers. Of course, not everyone can qualify or USAA, so this isn’t the best choice for all drivers. For people who can get a policy through this company, though, it’s an obvious choice for both cost and customer service.

Best Customer Service

Customer service doesn’t matter much to some customers. Unless you have a claim, you may never really need to use your insurance or communicate with your insurer. If you do have a claim, though, exemplary customer service suddenly becomes extremely important. Depending on whether you prefer a 24/7 toll-free support number or a local agent, your customer service preferences may change.

One insurer who consistently ranks highly for customer service is GEICO. It has a Smart rating of five out of five, and it’s not hard to find glowing reviews of the company online. On the other hand, some people have reported that GEICO is eager to deny claims if it can find any way to avoid paying for them, so there are plenty of complaints from a few dissatisfied customers. Other companies with a similar Smart ranking are Ameriprise, Mercury and Liberty Mutual.

Depending on what you consider to be important, different insurance companies may be better for your needs. Overall, the best insurance company for you is one that satisfies your desires and provides high-quality coverage and customer service for the lowest possible price. Some people are willing to sacrifice service for a bare-bones, cheap policy. Others are willing to pay more for a high-quality policy and exemplary service. Most people prefer to find a company in the middle that will cover all of their needs as well as possible.

When shopping for insurance online, be sure to look beyond the company’s price before choosing an insurer. You’ll want to pick a company with good customer service ratings and a strong financial health. You can find reviews of an insurer online to get a feel for what the company is like, or you can call the company directly to form your own impressions. Either way, researching the company before accepting the policy is the best way to ensure that your needs will be satisfied.What Company Has the Best Car Insurance?, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings