GEICO vs. Progressive: Car Insurance Comparison Tips

October 12, 2016

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GEICO or Progressive?

GEICO and Progressive are two of the biggest insurance companies 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 an average annual savings of $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. New 2016 J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study.

GEICO’s top discounts

  • Airbags: 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
  • Seat Belt Usage: Up to 15 percent if you and your passengers make sure to always wear your seat belts while driving
  • Lights Running During Daytime: This is a small 1% discount for having automated daytime headlights on while driving
  • Full-Time Student Discount: If you are a full-time student with great grades, you may qualify for up to a 15 percent discount
  • Eagle Discount: If you are a federal employee or you’re retired from a federal job, you could qualify for up to an 8 percent discount
  • Multi-Car Discount: If you have another car you want to add to your current plan, you can save up to 25 percent

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. Click to view the New 2016 J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study.

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 produce greater return in ad spend and lower prices,”

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 produce 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 of up to 7 percent simply by buying your policy online and a $50 deduction by signing the documents online.
  • Multiple policies discount: this can save you anywhere from 5 to 12 percent
  • Good student discount
  • Paying your policy in full discount
  • Using automatic bill pay discount
  • Multiple Car policies can help save in upwards of 10 percent

Geico or Progressive: Who Has Better Customer Service?

When looking for the right auto insurance policy, great customer service is usually on the top of everyone’s list. To compare Geico vs Progressive customer service, we looked at J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. All the data collected was from 44,681 car insurance customers across the United States.

The Different Territories in the Study:

  • California
  • Central
  • Florida
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • New England
  • New York
  • North Central
  • Northwest
  • Southeast
  • Southwest
  • Texas
  • Virginia

 

Geico Takes the Lead in New York

There was only one region in the U.S. in which GEICO took the lead and that was New York. They achieved a rating of 828 out of 1000 in the J.D. Power circle rating scale. Progressive sites 9th with a rating of 793.
 
geico vs progressive new york
 

Customer Satisfaction Ratings in Texas

In Texas, we see that GEICO drops to 7th with a score of 804 and Progressive in 5th with a rating of 818. One thing to note here is that the smaller insurers are beginning to surface with Texas Farm Bureau at the #1 position with a rating of 836.
 
Geico vs progressive Texas
 

Smaller Insurers are Surpassing Geico and Progressive

J.D. Power states, “this year marks the first time in the past 6 years that small insurers achieve a higher satisfaction score than large insurers (815 vs. 814, respectively)”. This is largely due to the positive perceptions of price to where the smaller insurance agencies have an advantage with lower, competitive rates. We see a large jump in customer satisfaction ratings for smaller insurers in California. The chart below projects Ameriprise, Wawanesa, and Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group in the top 3 positions.
 
geico vs progressive California
 
With smaller insurers on an upward trend of customer service excellence, it would benefit you most to spend 5 minutes comparing their rates against the big guys at Geico and Progressive. See how much you can save on your auto insurance policy below.
 

Which Insurance Company is the Right for You?

Compare Car Insurance Quotes from Small & Large Insurers

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

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Based on a survey of 100 California Residents. Average savings determined via a comparison of their selected policy against their self-reported annual premium.