Gianetta Palmer is a writer for, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2020

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When comparing auto insurance providers, it can be easy to assume that all insurance is the same. While coverages are pretty consistent from one company to the next, cost can vary tremendously. Additionally, some companies can offer more features than others, and some consumers may be interested in the corporate mentality or political activities of a particular insurer.

Two companies that are fairly similar in may regards are Esurance and Progressive. Both companies offer direct sales policy over the phone or online, and both offer numerous discounts. They’re also socially progressive companies that might appeal to a younger generation of savvy buyers. If you’re not sure which company you would prefer, here is a comparison guide that might help make up your mind.

Esurance and Progressive: Company Origins

Esurance has been around since 1999, when it was one of the first companies to offer purely online insurance coverage. Since then, the company has grown substantially, and as of 2011 it is owned by Allstate. One of the primary reasons Allstate acquired the company was to spread out into the online insurance niche which has so far been dominated by Progressive and Geico. Although Esurance offers many very competitive discounts, it’s still relatively unknown to many consumers and holds a relatively small number of policies.

Progressive is one of the better-known providers of auto insurance. It was founded in 1937 but didn’t become well-known until it began offering policies directly to consumers over the Internet. Since its inception, Progressive has been particularly well-known for its cutting-edge technology and features. Many common insurance features in recent years, like pay-as-you-drive insurance and pet injury coverage, were initially pioneered by Progressive.

On the whole, Progressive has a higher customer satisfaction ranking than Esurance; in fact, Progressive has one of the highest customer satisfaction scores of any insurance company, ranking just behind Geico and USAA in several categories according to the JD Powers annual auto insurance survey. Since Esurance has only recently been acquired by Allstate, its customer service may change for better or worse in upcoming years.

Features of Each Insurance Company

Progressive sponsors many sports programs, and the field for the Cleveland Indians has been renamed to Progressive Field in the company’s honor. It also provides sponsorship for the Automotive X PRIZE, which is an international competition for concept cars operating at 100 mpg. The person who designs the most fuel-efficient and sustainable vehicles can enter for a chance at the $10 million prize.

Esurance is the first company to begin offering discounts to same-sex couples. Since then, it’s expanded its support of the LGBT community through various corporate sponsorships, including the Trevor project. It’s also an active supporter of several sports teams, and has partnered with the program “Save a Windshield, Plant a Tree,” which plants a tree for every windshield that’s repaired rather than replaced.

Progressive insurance offers several discounts and features such as:

  • Accident forgiveness after four years of safe driving
  • A $50 one-time discount for e-signing your policy
  • Multi-policy discounts for homeowners
  • Multi-car discounts for people with more than one vehicle
  • A discount to customers who pay their premiums in full
  • A discount to people who enroll in the Snapshot program for usage-based insurance
  • Young driver discount when added to an existing policy
  • Pet injury protection coverage
  • Loyalty rewards to reduce the rates of people with long-term policies

By comparison, Esurance offers discounts such as:

  • Claim-free discount after five years of safe driving
  • Multi-car discount
  • Homeowner’s discount
  • “Switch and save” discount for drivers changing from another company
  • Save 5% by signing up online
  • Get a discount for paying in full
  • Alumni discount for students of PAC-12

Several other discount options are available to certain drivers through both insurance companies. Be sure to ask to see what else you may qualify for based on your age, driving history and type of car your drive.

Cost Comparison

On the whole, Progressive ends to have cheaper policies than Esurance according to some reports. This may be due to the size of the company, which allows Progressive to offer more discounts than its smaller competitor. However, published premiums are not always a good comparison since many different factors influence your premiums and most published rates are based on a profile that may not be anywhere close to resembling yours. Before choosing any car insurance company always make to sure to get several quotes from different companies. Both Esurance and Progressive have millions of happy customers who renew every year so focus on finding coverage right for your family versus spending sleepless nights trying to choose a provider based on the company’s name.