Two Decades of Consumer Reports' Car Insurance Survey Results

Our findings show that the same companies consistently rank high on customer satisfaction

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Consumer Reports has published six car insurance ratings since 1992, based on national surveys of our readers. The results reflect their overall satisfaction with auto insurers, as well as factors such as service and claims handling. Over those years, we’ve learned several important things.

For one, car insurance companies tend to perform consistently over time, with their scores usually varying by only a few points from survey to survey. And while the companies generally tend to perform well—typically earning scores of 80 or higher on our 100-point scale—some regularly appear near the top.

That’s important, because many people stay with their insurance companies for years. Knowing where an insurer typically appears in our ratings can help you decide whether to stick with your company. And when you do shop around for price, as we recommend doing every few years, a company’s long-term record on customer satisfaction can help you make a wise choice.

Over Time, Scores Don't Change Much

To give you a sense of an insurer’s performance over time, we looked at all the insurance company groups in our most recent ratings, in 2014. We then averaged their reader satisfaction scores from that year’s survey with their scores from all other surveys in which they appeared since 1992. (Companies are ranked by their unrounded scores.)

In some cases, the averages include scores of subsidiaries that we rated separately in the past. For example, the average score for The Hanover Insurance Group includes scores for Citizens Insurance Company, a subsidiary we rated three times in the 1990s.

Notably, we found that the long-term scores typically varied by only a point or two from our 2014 results.

In that year’s survey, we asked 64,872 readers about their experiences with car insurers, giving greater weight to responses from the nearly 19,000 people who had filed claims. In previous years, we only surveyed people who had filed claims.

Insurance Ratings Chart

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Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Tobie Stanger

I cover the money side of home-related purchases and improvements: avoiding scams, making sense of warranties and insurance, finding the best financing, and getting the most value for your dollar. For CR, I've also written about digital payments, credit and debit, taxes, supermarkets, financial planners, airlines, retirement and estate planning, shopping for electronics and hearing aids—even how to throw a knockout wedding on a shoestring. I am never bored. Find me on Twitter: @TobieStanger