GEICO vs. Progressive: Car Insurance Comparison Tips

June 12, 2014

GEICO or Progressive?

GEICO and Progressive are two of the big boys in the car insurance world. Ranking as the second- and fourth-largest car insurers, respectively, they both claim to offer solid customer service, low rates and abundant discounts. If you’re considering switching to GEICO or Progressive, here are some facts to help you make an informed choice.

About GEICO Auto Insurance

GEICO was founded in 1936 as the Government Employees’ Insurance Company. Today, the company serves all kinds of drivers and insures more than 20 million vehicles. In 2013, it overtook Allstate to become the second-largest car insurance company in the United States. GEICO is owned by multibillion-dollar conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, so its financial strength is unquestioned.

Advantages of GEICO

Low prices have always been GEICO’s number-one attraction. The company says its new customers report saving $500 or more each year on their car insurance.

Low prices don’t mean bad service, GEICO hastens to say. The company prides itself on its prompt customer care. The secret to the company’s success, auto insurance analysts say, is  spending vast amounts on advertising — $1.1 billion in  2012 — and nothing on agent commissions. GEICO is a direct writer, meaning the company issues free insurance quotes and policies from its central office. GEICO did, however, score poorly for its overall purchase experience in the 2013 Insurance Shopping Study conducted by J.D. Power.

GEICO’s top discounts

  • Air bags: Up to 40 percent off medical payments/personal injury premiums
  • Anti-theft systems: Up to 25 percent on comprehensive premiums
  • Military discounts: Up to 15 percent, or up to 25 percent for emergency deployment
  • Safe driver: Up to 26 percent if you’ve been accident-free for five years

About Progressive Auto Insurance

Progressive was founded in 1937, just a year after GEICO, and has long been known as an innovator in auto insurance. Progressive was the first insurance company to offer lower rates for low-risk drivers and the first to let customers compare free insurance quotes on its website. From 2008 to 2010, Progressive sponsored the Automotive X Prize, a competition to develop the first vehicle to get 100 mpg or its equivalent.

Advantages of Progressive

Progressive touts its customer-friendly web features, such as Name Your Price — a tool that allows users to enter their desired car insurance expenses and then suggests policies that fit their budget. However, like GEICO, Progressive scored below average for its overall purchase experience in the 2013 Insurance Shopping Study conducted by J.D. Power. Progressive uses a system of independent agents, which many customers like because they offer personal attention. However, the agent system also “absorbs dollars that could product greater return in ad spend and lower prices,” one insurance analysis reports.

Like GEICO, Progressive says new customers save $500 on their car insurance, on average. One major advantage Progressive offers is its Auto Insurance Loyalty Rewards program, which gives longtime customers benefits such as large accident forgiveness after five years (including three years of safe driving.)

Progressive’s top discounts

Unlike GEICO, Progressive does not list the percent savings for the discounts it offers. You can see how much you’ll save when you get a quote.

  • Snapshot safe driving discount: Discounts for safe driving habits, tracked by a small device that’s installed in your car for 30 days. Customers report saving up to 30 percent.
  • Online discount: You get an immediate car insurance discount simply by buying your policy and signing the documents online.
  • Multiple policies discount
  • Good student discount

Which is the right insurance company for you?

Now you have a better idea of what distinguishes Progressive and GEICO, but how do you choose? When you’re weighing the benefits of GEICO vs. Progressive auto insurance, it helps to carefully read the companies’ own descriptions of their offerings as well as recent customer reviews.

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