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Who are the best car insurance companies in California?

There are two correct answers to who is the largest car insurance company in California. The largest individual auto insurance provider in California is State Farm. However, the largest insurance group operating in the state is the Zurich Group.

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In the past few years, the Zurich Group has acquired or taken over the operations of a number of large, previously independent insurance providers. These companies include 21st Century, Mid Century, and Farmers Insurance.

There are more than 254 million registered motor vehicles in the United States, and 13% of them can be found on the highways of California! According to the San Jose Mercury news, by 2007 there were more than 32 million registered cars in California, making the Golden State a land of opportunity for car insurance companies.

There are more than 100 insurance companies actively doing business in the State of California. In 2010, the Zurich Group, through its network of subsidiaries, wrote a combined total of $1.6 billion in premium business, a full 15% of the state total. State Farm alone, accounts for 13% of California’s auto business.

The Top 10 Car Insurance Companies in California

The California Department of Insurance lists the following companies as the top ten, (without considering the Zurich Group).

  • State Farm
  • Automobile Association of America (AAA)
  • California State AAA Inter-insurance Bureau
  • Mercury Insurance
  • Allstate
  • Mid Century
  • 21st Century
  • Farmers Insurance
  • Infinity Insurance
  • Progressive

Are these the best car insurance companies in California?

The largest doesn’t always mean the best, and the best company isn’t always the largest. One of the most famous ad campaigns of the 1960s was designed for the Avis Rent a Car company, at the time a distant second in business volume, behind industry leader Hertz.

“Avis is only number 2, so we try harder!” This slogan helped reverse the fortunes of the ailing rental agency and within three short years, Avis increased their market share from just 11% to more than 35%!

Large can mean several things in the insurance industry. A company can be judged the largest, based on the number of policies in force, or the total dollar volume of premiums it collects each year. A given company can have the largest number of employees or the most agents in the field.

Insurance companies can be compared by their total assets or other holdings. Insurance organizations, as financial service providers, are most often compared on the quality of their service.

J.D. Power and Associates Rates and Ranks Auto Insurers Based on Service

In their 2011 United States auto insurance study, J.D. Power and Associates surveyed the customers of the top 35 U.S.-based auto insurance companies. Based on the results of this study, J. D. Power then assigned a customer satisfaction score on a 1000 point index.

A score of 790 is considered the industry average. Only nine companies scored higher than the industry average. The top California insurer, State Farm, came in at number 6 in the 2011 study, Progressive finished 13th with Allstate right behind, 14th on the list.

AAA of Southern California was 15th and California State AAA was 21st. Farmers Insurance was ranked 30th in the 2011 study. Finally, Mercury and 21st Century placed 33rd and 34th respectively.

While seven out of California’s top 10 were included on the J.D. Power list, only State Farm, 804, had a customer satisfaction rating higher than the industry average. Progressive finished just below the 790 average with a score of 785. Allstate’s score was 781.

At the bottom of the list was Mercury with a rating of 754 and 21st Century with just 741 points. The highest rating in the survey belonged to Amica Mutual with a total point score of 843.

What car insurance company should I choose?

While viewing a list of the top car insurance companies in any state can certainly help narrow down your choice no one can say which provider is right for you. Every driver has a unique profile with different needs and service expectations. California is home to a very competitive car insurance market and most drivers have plenty of comparable options to choose from. Spend some time and compare at least a handful of companies before settling on a provider.

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