27 October 2020

How to Choose Between USAA and Progressive Car Insurance


Get great auto insurance coverage at an even better price.

It’s smart to shop around for car insurance every so often. You should make sure you have the coverage you need and that your rates are good for your situation. It also pays to shop around a bit to make sure you aren’t paying too much.

Average annual car insurance rates can vary quite a bit from company to company. Even for drivers who are seemingly the same – with the same gender, age, and driving record – rates can be very different from company to company. How each insurer treats its customers also varies quite a bit. You don’t want to go with the cheapest company only to be unhappy with the customer service when you need to make a claim.

We’ve collected average representative rates from the nation’s largest car insurance companies so you can see which company might give you the best deal for your situation. We also asked real customers who’ve made a claim with their car insurance company how they felt about the process, which will help you find a company that treats you right. USAA and Progressive are two large car insurance companies that are probably on your shopping list. Let’s take a look at how they compare.

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1. USAA
  2. Geico
  3. Allstate
  4. State Farm
  5. Farmers
  6. Progressive
  7. American Family
  8. Nationwide
  9. Travelers

Read more about the Best Car Insurance Companies »

USAA does not offer car insurance to everyone. It specializes in insuring military members, veterans, and qualifying members of their families. That’s still a pretty big pool of Americans, and it’s enough to give USAA 5.7% of the auto insurance market. That makes it the fifth largest car insurer in the country.

Not only does USAA offer the cheapest rates in our study, but it also has a great reputation among its policyholders. Customers gave the company the highest scores of any insurer in our survey. It earned the highest marks for customer service and for the way it resolved claims. More than 80% said that they were likely to recommend USAA car insurance to others, and that they were likely to renew their own policies with the company.

Read more in our USAA Review »

Progressive is known for two things: giving shoppers the rates of other car insurance companies along with its own rates, and commercials with the ever-friendly character of Flo. The strategy is working, because Progressive surpassed Allstate in 2017 to become the third largest auto insurer in the country, with 9.88% of the market.

Progressive is in fifth place for car insurance cost and sixth place for customer satisfaction. Respondents gave it high scores for the ease of filing a claim and customer service, but they were less satisfied with the value they felt they were getting from their car insurance. About 60% of respondents were likely to renew, and the same number was likely to recommend Progressive car insurance to others.

Read more in our Progressive Review »

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When we looked at the average representative rates of the largest auto insurance companies in the United States, we found that USAA had the cheapest representative rates. Its average auto insurance rate in our analysis is $885 overall, putting it at the top of our list for the cheapest car insurance.

Progressive was in the middle of our list at No. 5, with an average overall car insurance study rate of $1,373 per year. That’s $43 lower than the national average of $1,416 in our analysis.

This head-to-head comparison focuses chiefly on rates offered by USAA and Progressive, but we also looked at how satisfied car insurance customers are with their auto insurance company. For more information, check out our full ranking of the best car insurance companies and find out what real customers say about USAA, Progressive, and their competitors.

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our rankings in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Best Car Insurance Rankings. 

We surveyed 2,732 consumers who filed a car insurance claim in the last five years, asking questions about their car insurance company. Of the survey respondents, 288 filed a claim with USAA and 201 filed a claim with Progressive. These questions covered satisfaction with the ease of filing a claim, customer service, claim status communication, claim resolution, and overall value. We also asked whether they’d recommend the company and if they planned to renew their policy. We used their responses to build our Best Car Insurance Companies Rankings and this head-to-head comparison.

To get comparative insurance rates for this study, U.S. News also worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state. Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

To get the study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60 who drive 12,000 miles per year and have medium coverage, good credit, and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

USAA is cheapest, with a study rate of $884.70, while Progressive has a representative rate that’s 55% higher at $1,372.51.

Average Annual Rates:

Read more about the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies »

Company

25-year-old male

35-year-old male

60-year-old male

USAA

$1,094

$818

$768

Progressive

$1,670

$1,274

$1,174

For our 25-year-old male driver profile, the average car insurance study rate with Progressive is $1,670. At USAA, it’s $1,094, which is less than Progressive’s rate by more than $550. With Progressive, 35-year-old male driver profiles have an average representative rate of $1,274. The average with USAA is $818, about a third less than the study rate from Progressive for this profile. 

The 60-year-old driver profile pays the lowest representative rates of any age group in our survey. Progressive’s average study rate for this profile is $1,174, and USAA’s is $767. That’s a difference of about $400. Both of these insurers have average study rates that are lower than the national average of $1,267 for all 60-year-old male driver profiles.

To find the average rates in our study based on gender and age, we created driver profiles for males in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

 

25-year-old female

35-year-old female

60-year-old female

USAA

$1,038

$823

$768

Progressive

$1,627

$1,353

$1,137

For 25-year-old female driver profiles, the average car insurance study rate is $1,627 with Progressive and $1,038 with USAA. Again, the difference for this profile is slightly under $600.

As driver profiles age, USAA’s average representative rates for female profiles are nearly identical to its rates for male profiles, while Progressive’s average study rates for the female profiles can vary compared to its rates for the male profiles. At 35 years old, female driver profiles with Progressive have an average car insurance representative rate of $1,353, which is higher than its study rate for the male profile of the same age. USAA’s average rate in our analysis is $823 for the 35-year-old female profile. The average study rate for the 60-year-old female profile is $1,137 with Progressive and $768 with USAA. The profiles for female drivers at any age are about 35% less expensive with USAA than with Progressive.

We created driver profiles for females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles have a clean driving record, 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

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12,000 miles annually

USAA

$885

Progressive

$1,373

Driving 12,000 miles annually is not uncommon in America. The average auto insurance study rate for driver profiles with that many miles on the odometer each year is $1,373 with Progressive. It’s nearly $500 cheaper with USAA, which has an average study rate of $885 for this mileage.

To find the average rates in our study based on annual mileage, we created driver profiles for customers who drove 12,000 miles per year. The profiles have a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

 

6,000 miles annually

USAA

$829

Progressive

$1,368

Driving half as much does not mean paying half as much for insurance. In fact, most insurance companies’ representative rates are very close, whether a profile drives 6,000 or 12,000 miles. That’s very much the case with Progressive, where the average study rate for 6,000 miles per year is $1,368. That’s only a few dollars less than its study rate for driving twice as much.

USAA’s average auto insurance representative rate for 6,000 annual miles is $829, which is about $50 less than its average for higher mileage. USAA’s average study rate saves this driver profile about 40% compared to Progressive’s average.

To find the average rates in our study based on annual mileage, we created driver profiles for customers who drove 6,000 miles per year. The profiles also have a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

 

Good credit

USAA

$870

Progressive

$1,365

Driver profiles with good credit see some of the lowest auto insurance rates in our study. At Progressive, the average representative rate for these profiles is $1,365. USAA’s average for driver profiles with good credit is about $500 lower, at $870.

Our study reviewed the effects of credit score on car insurance rates using male and female driver profiles aged 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis.

 

Poor credit

USAA

$1,653

Progressive

$2,308

Driver profiles with bad credit usually pay much higher study rates than those with good credit. Interestingly, USAA has an average auto insurance representative rate of $1,653 for those with poor credit, which is almost double its rate in our study for driver profiles with good credit. Progressive’s average representative rate of $2,308 is still higher than USAA’s by about $650.

To compare the effects of credit score on car insurance rates, we used male and female driver profiles aged 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis.

 

Clean record

USAA

$885

Progressive

$1,373

Insurance companies like good drivers with clean records and no claims, and they reward these drivers with lower insurance rates. The average study rate for a driver profile with a clean record is $1,373 with Progressive and $885 with USAA. That’s a difference of almost $500.

We compared driver profiles including those with a clean record, those with one speeding violation, those with one accident, and those with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of driving per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

 

With 1 speeding violation

USAA

$1,041

Progressive

$1,803

Insurance companies do not like speeding, as it can lead to accidents. Having a speeding ticket on your record will almost definitely result in high premiums. USAA’s average study rate for a driving profile with a speeding ticket goes up by about $150, to $1,041. Progressive’s average representative rate after a speeding ticket goes up by $430, to $1,803.

To analyze these rates, we particularly looked at driver profiles with one speeding violation. These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of driving per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

 

With 1 accident

USAA

$1,229

Progressive

$2,324

An accident will likely wipe away any accumulated good driving discounts you’ve accrued and raise your auto insurance rates. The average auto insurance study rate with USAA after an accident is $1,229, which is about $320 more than its study rate for driver profiles with a clean record. Progressive is harder on driver profiles after an accident. Its average representative rate goes up to $2,324, which is almost $1,000 higher than its study rate for the profile with a clean record. This Progressive driver profile saves 70% by keeping a clean driving record. USAA’s study rate for the profile with one accident, however, is about half of Progressive’s average rate for the same profile. 

We analyzed driver profiles with one accident to find these average rates. These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of driving per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

 

With 1 DUI

USAA

$1,683

Progressive

$1,793

Driving under the influence is another easy way to raise your car insurance rate, no matter which insurer you choose. The average auto insurance study rate for profiles with a DUI is $1,683 with USAA, which is nearly double the company’s representative rate for good driver profiles.

Progressive’s average study rate for a DUI is $1,793. That’s only $420 higher than its representative rate for a driver profile with a clean record and one of the lowest average rates for this profile in our study. It’s only about $100 higher than the study rate for USAA. The rates of both companies are below the national average of $2,464 for driver profiles with a DUI on their record.

We compared driver profiles with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI) to arrive at these average rates in our study. These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

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