When researching an auto insurance policy, the sheer number of options available in the market–Geico, State Farm, Progressive, and Esurance. It can make anybody’s head spin. We should know! We’ve spent more than 2000 hours researching car insurance rates.
The good news is comparing prices and coverages has never been easier, giving customers an advantage when it’s time to choose a car insurance policy.
In this post, we’re going to compare two of the most well-known insurance coverage brands in the country, Progressive and Esurance.
Progressive vs. Esurance: Which Car Insurance is Best?
Remember, what works better for some might not work for you and vice versa. The best insurance coverage will always depend on your particular needs and requirements.
To get a better sense of the full cost and coverage limits of a policy, you will first have to complete the quote process with each insurance company.
Progressive is an Ohio-based corporation that was established in 1937 and currently insures over 18 million drivers across the country. The provider specializes in auto insurance and is one of the largest vehicle insurers in the United States.
Founded in 1999, Esurance is a pioneer in the online insurance industry. It was acquired by The Allstate Corporation in 2011 and now operates as its subsidiary.
As such, it is part of one of the largest insurance providers in the country, with all the financial stability that entails. However, even though it has a considerably large coverage area, Esurance is currently only available in select states.
Esurance vs. Progressive
To help you make an informed decision about which company might better suit your needs, we’ve compared tow auto insurers–Progressive Insurance and Esurance based on the following elements:
- Policy Offerings
- Claims Satisfaction
- Overall Customer Satisfaction
- Financial Strength
Shopping around is always key, and you can learn more about the process by reading our article on how to compare car insurance quotes.
Car insurance policies are typically broken down into these insurance products, mainly:
- Vehicle Protection
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
Let’s go over these categories and what they mean and then dive into each company’s policy offerings.
Liability serves as financial protection for when you are at fault in an accident.
There’s bodily injury liability (BI), which covers any medical bills and lost income for the affected party, and property damage liability (PD), which covers damage to vehicles or property.
Liability can also cover any legal fees that may arise from lawsuits.
This type of coverage is mandatory in most states, each having specific legislation regarding minimum coverage requirements.
Vehicle Protection covers damages to your car.
Be it from an accident (comprehensive and collision coverage) no matter who’s at fault, or events out of your control (comprehensive coverage) such as vandalism, theft, glass breakage, and other random acts of nature. Also look at companies that offer accident forgiveness, helping your premiums stay low, despite any filed claims.
These two coverages are not required by law but may be required by your auto loan or lease provider.
Regardless of legal requirements, the substantial protection afforded by combining collision and comprehensive coverages should be a no-brainer for cautious drivers seeking greater peace of mind.
Medical Payments Coverage insures against any accident-related medical bills for you and passengers.
It may also cover lost wages or funeral expenses.
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is required in several states (referred to as no-fault states) and typically covers what your health insurance does not.
To get the proper coverage, we recommend you verify whether you live in a no-fault state and, if you do, what type of PIP coverage is required there, and how your health insurance provider handles medical coverage for accidents.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This protects you against having to fix your car or pay for medical bills out of pocket.
Unfortunately, there may be instances where you are involved in a collision and the at-fault driver does not have car insurance or has insufficient coverage.
It is available for bodily injury and/or property damage.
Almost every insurance company offers other types of optional coverages.
Some are common among most companies (roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement), while others are very company-specific in their coverage details.
Since liability (BI and PD), collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and medical payments (including PIP) are essential or mandatory coverages in most states, both Progressive and Esurance offer them without exception.
Customers choose the coverages and the policy limits they want or are required to have.
As an example, the state of Michigan has minimum liability limits of $20,000 for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage.
This means the coverage you choose must account for those limits, at the very least.
Be aware that the higher the coverage limits, the higher the premiums you need to pay.
When it comes to additional coverage, even though Progressive offers several more options than Esurance (rideshare insurance for Lyft and Uber drivers, custom parts and equipment value coverage, etc.), both offer similar alternatives for the following:
- Roadside Assistance: includes towing, tire changes, refueling, and other emergencies.
- Loan/Lease Payoff: also known as gap insurance, covers the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and what it’s actually worth in the event of a total loss.
- Rental Car Reimbursement: refunds money for a rental car while your vehicle is in the repair shop due to a covered accident
Prospective customers should always review coverage options on the company website or by calling an agent or representative to make sure the information is correct and up to date.
Claims servicing is one of the top drivers of customer satisfaction in the insurance market.
As it happens, most consumers interact with their insurance provider for the first time after purchasing a policy when it’s time to file a claim.
Therefore, a relatively painless claims process scores highly in customer satisfaction studies.
And really, who wants to slog through a complicated process when their money is at stake?
In J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, both Progressive and Esurance received a 3 out of 5 rating in satisfaction with the initial claims reporting process and satisfaction with the representative handling the claim.
However, Progressive outscored Esurance in satisfaction with the repair process and satisfaction with the rental car process.
Nonetheless, both companies received a 3 out of 5 rating in overall satisfaction, a score that means “about average” according to J.D. Power’s assessment.
This tier includes most car insurance companies of the same relative size, including Esurance’s parent company, Allstate.
|Overall Satisfaction||3 out of 5||3 out of 5|
|Satisfaction with Initial Claims Reporting Process||3 out of 5||3 out of 5|
|Satisfaction with Representative Handling the Claim||3 out of 5||3 out of 5|
|Satisfaction with the Repair Process||3 out of 5||2 out of 5|
|Satisfaction with the Rental Car Process||4 out of 5||3 out of 5|
When focusing on J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study for 2018 by state, we find the same basic results.
Progressive scores a 3 out of 5 rating under the Claims factor in 6 out of the 11 regions.
Meanwhile, Esurance only appears in 3 regions, receiving ratings of 2 out of 5 in the North Central region, 3 out of 5 in California, and an excellent 5 out of 5 in Florida.
In general, both companies handle claims processing in an average manner.
Although there might be room for improvement, their processes seem standard and not unlike most companies their size.
Overall Customer Satisfaction
While handling claims quickly, efficiently, and fairly is paramount in customer satisfaction as far as insurance companies are concerned, many other elements affect that relationship.
Some of these include:
- The Buying Experience
- Ease of Communications with the Company
- The Availability of Information
Using the same 2018 J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study we used to compare claims processing by state, we looked at overall customer satisfaction with car insurance companies.
In addition to the aforementioned claims factor, customer satisfaction was measured for areas such as policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, and interaction.
The study finds Progressive has a 3 out of 5 rating in most of the 11 regions, while Esurance has the same rating in 2 of the 3 covered regions.
As previously discussed, this corresponds to an “about average” grade.
Another measure of customer satisfaction is the number of claims filed against a company with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
According to the information available through their database regarding complaint ratios for private passenger auto insurance in 2017, Progressive’s complaint ratio is 1.32 with 15 complaints, while Esurance has a complaint ratio of 1.64 with 59 complaints.
The ratio is calculated based on a national median of 1.00.
The more complaints registered, the higher the ratio, which means that both Progressive and Esurance are above the national median.
It should be noted that companies that handle larger volumes of customers tend to receive a higher number of complaints.
Finally, we looked at the California Consumer Complaint Study for 2017.
“Why California?” you might ask.
Since it’s the most populous U.S. state, it offers a good overview of how complaints are reflected nationwide.
The study finds that, of the 50 companies selected, Esurance and Progressive are in the middle of the pack in the justified complaint ratio.
All this conveys is that, when it comes to customer satisfaction, studies have found that both companies meet the basic expectations of consumers even if they’re not among the highest-rated.
In general, figuring out pricing can be a predicament since there are so many elements that go into determining a customer’s premiums.
These can include several different things such as:
- Credit Rating
- Driving Record
- Vehicle Make
These are just a few of the many factors that influence what you will pay, not to mention the numerous discounts that can be applied to lower your insurance costs (we’ll get to that later.)
For this comparison, we will look at two fictional customer profiles for Esurance and Progressive:
- A single male, licensed 9 to 15 years with no violations and driving a Toyota Highlander for 12,600-15,000 miles a year in San Francisco County, California.
- A single female, age 25, with one car violation and one no-fault accident in the preceding 3 years, driving 12,000 miles a year for work, and living in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
|Annual Premium (CA)||$2,290 Standard||$3,335 Standard|
|Annual Premium (FL)||$6,864 All Coverages||$3,720 All Coverages|
The annual premiums shown are not actual quotes and do not include any applicable discounts offered; for those, you’ll have to contact each company.
Additionally, we decided to research insurance policies beyond the basic coverage required by the state.
Let’s begin with the California scenario and then move on to Florida.
The insurance type referred to as “Standard” has no specific details regarding the coverage included.
However, it does contain additional coverage beyond simple liability and the minimum requirements for the state of California.
In this case, 45 companies charged annual premiums ranging from $1,392 to $7,698, with most of them settled in the $2,000-$3,000 range.
Progressive is in the top half in terms of affordable premiums ($2,290), while Esurance is in the bottom third ($3,837).
For this hypothetical, we looked at the “All Coverages” option, which includes all possible coverage options that a company offers, including PIP, PD, collision, comprehensive, and all other specific coverages.
This skews the numbers a bit since some companies offer more coverage options than others, thereby causing the price to increase.
Keep in mind that not all of these options would apply in your case.
Of the 20 companies that appear, the lowest premium is $2,442, and the highest is $9,036, with the majority of companies within the $3,500 to $5,000 range.
In this case, Esurance ($3,720) ranks in the top third, while Progressive ($6,864) is in the bottom third, respectively.
What this exercise demonstrates is that the multitude of factors that determine premium costs for policyholders will generate a broad range of price points.
It bears repeating the premiums shown here are not actual quotes and customers are encouraged to complete the quote processes with each company to get a better sense of how their individual circumstances affect coverage costs.
Since Esurance and Progressive are both large companies, they offer a substantial amount of discounts.
Just as credit scores or driving records can raise auto insurance premiums, discounts can lower them.
And there are a lot of discounts available from both Esurance and Progressive.
Discounts are not a given, in that not all companies provide them.
But, when available, they are extremely useful for lowering insurance costs without compromising coverage.
Many companies have discounts based on similar parameters (good driver discount, multi-car discount, online quote), while others have more specific ones.
Of course, some discounts are more attainable for some customers than for others; you’ll not enjoy a Good Student discount if there are no students under your insurance policy.
Many of these are automatically applied when you complete the information requested during the quote process.
As always, we urge shoppers to visit each provider’s website or contact customer service to receive detailed information regarding available discounts and how these can reduce insurance premiums.
The table below organizes the more common discounts for each company, but it is by no means an exhaustive list:
|Good Driving Record Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Air Bag Discount||No||Yes|
|Anti-Lock Brake Discount||No||Yes|
|Anti-Theft System Discount||No||Yes|
|Good Student Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Pay in Full Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Online Quote Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Continuous Insurance Discount||Yes||No|
Financial Strength determines whether or not a company is solvent enough to pay out claims to its policyholders.
Another important factor to consider when choosing an insurance provider is their financial strength.
Financially unstable companies might have difficulties with the disbursement of funds, which defeats the purpose of having car insurance in the first place.
There are several financial rating agencies with varying degrees of prestige that, through market research and analysis, determine a company’s financial stability.
It would serve potential customers to seek out a company’s rating in three to four of these agencies.
Among the most trustworthy are Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Fitch, and A.M. Best.
All these institutions rate companies on different grade scales, so shoppers should familiarize themselves with what the ratings mean.
Progressive’s Financial Reputation
Progressive has a sound financial reputation, given its position as the third-largest insurance company in the nation.
Correspondingly, rating agencies award Progressive some of their most favorable grades.
Although these ratings are continually being re-evaluated, the company has consistently been highly rated by the above-mentioned agencies.
Esurance Financial Reputation
As with Progressive, Esurance enjoys a solid financial standing that results from being part of the fourth biggest auto insurance provider in the United States, Allstate.
Even as a separate brand in the corporation, Esurance enjoys Allstate’s strong financials.
Founded in 1931, Allstate has been favorably rated by all major credit rating agencies for most of their history.
Which Provider is Best for You?
The best insurance company will be the one that meets your requirements in terms of pricing and coverage.
Progressive’s position as the third-largest car insurer, with their diverse group of agents and brokers available throughout the U.S, and their broad scope of coverage options, fits customers looking for a personalized experience.
On the other hand, as one of the first online insurance companies, Esurance brings proven expertise in the digital and mobile realms to technologically-inclined consumers.
By researching each company and the options they offer, we’re confident you’ll make the right choice for your needs.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.