Compare Best Ohio Auto Insurance Companies With Lowest Rates

by Edward Harris on January 31, 2013

Who are the best companies in Ohio to buy your auto insurance from? Although rates are low here in the Buckeye State, the answer is not simple since many of the carriers offer affordable rates, handle your claims efficiently, and give you plenty of perks and premium reductions if you are loyal to them.

We judge companies based on expert ratings, costs and claims, complaint ratios, and our observations, based on more than 34 years as one of  Ohio’s most experienced and recognized car insurance brokers. Additional details and specific rates can be provided once you have completed the quote request.

The Companies…

Cheap Ohio Progressive Car Rates Ohio

Flo And Progressive Offer Competitive Rates In Ohio

Progressive. Any discussion about rating the top companies should include Progressive. And not just because they are headquartered here in Ohio, but because they charge competitive rates in most areas because of lower expenses and state-of-the-art underwriting software. Their offices are efficiently run and they handle claims quickly and usually without a hitch. As the fourth-largest insurer in the US, they also offer one of the top workplaces in the state (recognized by Cleveland Plain Dealer and other organizations).

You also may have heard about Progressive’s new “Snapshot” program. It’s a very interesting concept designed to save you money (and the insurer too!). The small gadget is inserted below your steering wheel and it keeps track and monitors your driving habits. If you drive too fast, it will know. If you come to screeching halts at stop signs, it will know.

But if you avoid driving after midnight, and driving excessively fast, you may see your premium reduce, especially if you don’t put a lot of miles on your vehicle. There’s no waiting period to set up the device and you can remove it any time. We also believe that by simply being aware the device is installed and tracking your habits (both good and bad), you’ll come away with a lower premium.

Recently, a new “Classic Car” class of rating was established, that offers very low premiums to vehicles worth less than $5,000, along with some less costly newer models. A new partnership with “Hagerty” ( an industry leader in classic cars) has been established. Qualifications include parking the car in an enclosed garage at night and limited driving.

Local Ohio Employment

One final observation about Progressive, partly because they are domiciled here in Ohio, they provide many local employment opportunities. The Northeastern portion of the state is hiring more than 300 persons for their corporate, administrative and customer service positions. Analyst, developers, and IT positions may also be available.

Also, perhaps since they are based in Cuyahoga County, they offer cheap Cleveland car insurance rates. It seems to be the practice of many large carriers to offer extremely competitive prices in their home territory. Nationwide, for instance, typically features very attractive pricing in Columbus and Franklin County.

 

LOwer Ohio Auto Insurance Rates

Shopping Different Companies Saves Money

Nationwide is also based here in Ohio. With its headquarters in Columbus, they are truly on your side! Typically, wherever an insurer has its home office, you can count on rates being extremely competitive in that state. With hundreds of local locations conveniently located in large and small cities, both price and service are among the best in the state.

Although there may not be as many offices throughout the state as there were 20 years ago, the sites are more efficient and can handle claims issues far better than before. And of course, they will cover your home and many other items such as boats, rental property and classic automobiles.

Some of the largest discounts offered are “New Vehicle” (10%),  “Home And Car” (10%), “Member Of Farm Bureau” (10%), “Prior Coverage” (Up To 15%), “Accident-Free 5 Years” (Up To 10%), “Good Student” (Up To 20%), “Quote In Advance” (Up To 10%), and  “Passive Restraint” (Limited 30%). Several of these reductions do not apply to the entire premium.

 

Esurance is a relatively new kid on the block. Virtually all transactions, quoting, correspondence and claims are handled online. That’s not such a bad thing, depending if you prefer “old school” face to face meetings or not. You can print your policy, ID cards, declarations page, proof of insurance and just about everything needed. And yes, they do answer the phone too and have an A+ rating from A.M. Best Co.

But what about Esurance car insurance rates in Ohio? They’re not bad, although it depends where you live. Typically, their prices are lower than popular carriers such as Titan, 21st Century and Safeco. However, other major companies are usually very competitive with Esurance. And don’t forget that they are owned by Allstate. Their prices in the Cincinnati area are very attractive and can be viewed here. Of course, Columbus or Toledo will have a different set of rates.

Their mobile app software is among the best of all major carriers, although we still recommend applying for coverage through a major website like ours. Although most transactions and communications take place online, they do have 17 actual offices throughout the US.  Also, although they “offer” life and healthcare products, quote requests are directed to “trusted partners,” so stick with property and casualty coverage only.

NOTE: Esurance’s purchase price was $1 billion from Allstate in 2011. And still, they are not a profitable company. Premiums and policies sold are increasing, but excess claims are keeping the numbers in the red. Market share should continue to slowly grow, which should bring profits to the company within five years.

 

Erie. No, not the lake. They are actually an insurer here in Ohio with very low auto insurance rates. They don’t advertise and you may not have heard of them. But this Pennsylvania-based company has been around for a while and offers no-frills policies that are easy on your wallet. They cover homes, boats and a few other items, and are the 12th-largest auto insurer in the US. Claims seem to be settled  in a timely manner although the local agent can make or break your experience in that process.

Erie does earn a few extra points for hosting their annual teen safe-driving tops contest. Young drivers earn points through participating in various activities, making their own videos, and posting related messages on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Prizes are awarded to individuals and their schools that end up with the most points.

Cheap Erie Auto Insurance Quotes

Erie Car Insurance Is Not Just For Pa Residents

Some of the discounts they offer are a bit unique and not available with many other carriers. These include reductions for completing an accident prevention course, owning an Erie Life insurance policy, and reduced usage of your vehicles. Availability of some discounts will depend upon where you live and age of drivers in the household.

Customers also appear to be satisfied. In the 2015 US Insurance Shopping Study, Erie policyholders were the happiest with their shopping experience compared to other major carriers. This was the third year in a row they claimed the top spot.

 

State Farm. Everybody knows who they are. I know this sounds a bit trite, but customers seem to love them or hate them. Certainly, far more policyholders are satisfied with the service they get. Agents seem to be established, although some young brokers have been recently making their mark. There is always a State Farm office close by and their administrative staff seems loyal and friendly. Cleveland seems to have an extremely large number of SF locations.

But what about their prices? If you have been a long-time customer with an exemplary  record and additional lines of business, then you’re probably happy with your rates. However, even State Farm can’t be competitive in all parts of the state, so while we don’t exclude them from our shopping list, we also recommend comparing other carriers as well.  Their rates for secondary homes and rental property are typically very competitive, with additional reductions when you bundle different products.

Although you are able to obtain medical and Medigap coverage through a State Farm office, plans are underwritten by a different company (Assurant) and often, prices are not competitive with other carriers, such as Anthem Blue Cross, Humana, or Medical Mutual. Even during Open Enrollment, stick to a reputable resource such as Ohioquotes.com if you need healthcare coverage.

 

Geico doesn’t have “local” offices but they do seem to offer that local feel with many of their services. While it’s true that most of their business is conducted  on the phone or online, Geico is a very well-organized company with a good feel about how to run a company.

The like to streamline tasks whenever possible, but as long as you don’t need constant servicing, it’s not too big of an issue. Rates will dramatically vary in different parts of the state, so while we include them in all quote requests, there will be instances where they aren’t an option to consider.

Geico is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway, so Warren Buffett is on your side.  His propensity to streamline business operations and cut the “fat” from his holdings helps keep Geico prices low in many areas. They also continue to be awarded strong financial ratings from A.M. Best Company (A++ Superior). With strong operating results and steady growth in the number of policies issued, safety and reliability is definitely not a concern.

 

Rates Go Up With Accident

Your First Accident Is Often Forgiven

Farmers is not the same as State Farm. Although they have many locations and offer similar products, Farmers has created a niche for themselves here in Ohio. Their prices are solid. But a funny thing happened in 2009. Farmers purchased 21st Century Insurance Group, which wrote much of its coverage online. AIG policies (auto) were also included in the deal.

Some of their rather innovative discounts include  an “alternative fuel” reduction when driving a hybrid or electric car, and an “early shopping” reduction if you request a quote more than a week before the effective date of the policy. You’ll also save money when you switch from your policy from another carrier, although many other companies have similar offers.

Farmers also utilizes  a “Risk Assessment Indicator,” which provides credit information that is partially used to predict future accident and claims activity. Reports from the largest credit bureaus, including late payments and collection history, give underwriters an extra tool to determine how much to charge. However, data is not collected on age, income, disability, religion, creed, ethnicity, nationality, or income.

 

21st Century uses websites like ours (and their own marketing) instead of the typical agent with an established office. It’s ironic because even though they are the same company, often 21st Century rates are lower than Farmers’ prices. We believe both carriers are reputable, although there are cheaper alternatives to consider.

21st was created in 1958 and although they don’t have a large share of the Ohio market, their prices are fairly low for certain vehicles and age groups. When you file a claim, you can choose any body shop (licensed and bonded). And like most other carriers, if you let them choose where the vehicle is repaired, the work is guaranteed as long as you own the vehicle.

A unique aspect of 21st Century is the variety of products they offer, Included in their portfolio are coverages for flood, mechanical breakdown, antique automobiles, manufactured and mobile homes, and all-terrain vehicles.

 

USAA started in the 1920s when several officers in the military started providing coverage for their own vehicles since no other company would insure them. The  concept of loyalty, trust and integrity is still there as evidenced by their high customer and claim satisfaction reviews. Just recently, the Disabled American Veterans Organization selected USAA as their choice for home and auto coverage.

However, there are eligibility requirements. You must be a retired, active or honorably separated office or actively enlisted in the Military. Cadets and midshipmen are eligible along with any applicant whose parents have or had USAA coverage (widows and former spouses are also accepted). Upon request, we will furnish the complete guidelines.

 

Although we didn’t list all of the major companies (we did not forget about Prudential, Travelers, Liberty Mutual and others), we tried to focus on some of the more prominent carriers that in most areas, offer good prices on their auto insurance in Ohio.

UPDATES:

October  2014 – If you own a boat in Florida and are covered by Progressive, you now have several additional options. “Sign And Glide” provides towing, gas and other items for your disabled boat on the water. “Propulsion Plus”  replaces or repairs the lower portion of an outboard motor. Amazingly, “wear and tear” is a covered expense.

May 2015 – The Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights (NCACI) is working with Ohio State University Fisher College of  Business on several industry issues, including predicting consumer behavior, improving customer retention and satisfaction, predicting claims patterns, and marketing products. And why shouldn’t they collaborate?  They’re located in the same city!

Participating students in OSU’s advanced degree programs work part-time to help analyze data and make recommendations that will improve the insurer’s loss ratio. The students often work away from the campus and directly with Nationwide employees.

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