How to find the best car insurance company

By Jeff BlyskalConsumer Reports

You can be the safest driver, and bad things can still happen to your vehicle. The car shown above was simply parked in the wrong place at the wrong time when an earthquake rocked Napa, Calif., wine country in August.

Our readers often buy car insurance and forget about it for years, and thus never get a chance to assess how good the insurer is. That's why the Consumer Reports National Research Center regularly surveys our subscribers to learn how their car insurer treated them after their vehicle was damaged, because claims are where the rubber hits the road in auto insurance.

Continue Reading Below

For our latest ratings, we polled 64,872 consumers about their satisfaction with loss claims filed from 2011 to 2014 and the overall rating of customers who did not have to file any claims. Claim scores are weighted more heavily in our totals.

USAA, Amica, and NJM rated highest, a track record they've maintained in our periodic rankings dating at least as far back as 1999. Those three also earned our readers' highest individual break-out scores for claims, price, and service, with one exception: Amica was only average on price.

How does your insurance company compare? Visit our Car insurance buying guide and latest ratings (available to subscribers) to find out.

—Jeff Blyskal (@JeffBlyskal on Twitter)

Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.