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Next Time you need Auto Insurance, Consider a Leading Regional Provider such as Mercury, Erie, Auto-Owners, Elephant, or Wawanesa

There are more than 2,000 companies licensed and registered in the United States that sell car insurance.

While you may be all too familiar with your good neighbor with good hands, or your friendly little gecko and his good friend Flo, there are a surprising number of local and regional insurers that routinely rank very well for customer service, claims, innovation and even value and savings.

Here are just a few of the leading regional providers:

The insurers I am going to cover are Mercury, Elephant, Wawanesa, Erie, and Auto-Owners.

If you would like to skip to a particular company please use the table of contents to the upper right.

Mercury Insurance Group

This company was founded in 1961 and it routinely ranks well in national surveys for car insurance companies, even though it doesn’t offer product in every state.

In the most recent J.D. Power & Associates and A.M. Best surveys of insurers, it scored 95 out of a possible 100 points.

It is the third largest private auto policy company in the state of California, and it offers a full range of products and services to drivers in these states.

25 year old auto premium comparison with Mercury ins.

Note: For a 25 y/o female driver Mercury was higher than all insurers except Good2go. For a 25 year old male driver Mercury was cheaper than all of them. They have a big presence in California and quotes are cheaper out west then in the north east when obtaining quotes.

Mercury Premium Comparison

Below I have compared quotes from other insurers against Mercury. When I queried for quotes I did it for New Jersey and then California.

The sample quotes in the table below are for both states.

In the sample quotes where Mercury is more competitive is for the state of California.

When you are in the market for an auto premium be sure to get at least quotes from two other reputable companies.

Driver ProfileMercuryProgressiveAllstateFarmersGood2GoState Farm
25 y/o female$1,531$1,209$1,365$1,421$1,590$1,341
25 y/o male$1,839$1,890$2,020$2,004$2,143$1,903
30 y/o female$1,322$1,286$1,387$1,190$1,462$1,440
30 y/o male$1,490$1,398$1,438$1,505$1,611$1,399
25 y/o male (1 driving violation)$2,311$2,289$2,219$2,611$2,744$2,121
30 y/o female (1 driving violation)$1,610$1,512$1,573$1,638$2,052$1,532
40 y/o male$1,032$980$1,045$1,090$1,089$966
45 y/o female$766$754$801$824$976$742
55 y/o male$689$632$711$690$832$633
55 y/o female$590$511$529$580$652$592

States Available, Claims Satisfaction, & Average Quote

Mercury is available for coverage in 13 states. Included in the table below is each state average quote and how Mercury compared against it.

It appears Mercury is slightly higher than average in the New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Otherwise they are well below the state average.

The average percentage rate hike is the norm. The claims satisfaction is the base on J.D. Power & Associates and reviews taken from other reputable websites.

StatePercentage Rate Hike 2017*State Average QuoteMercury QuoteDifferenceRideshare CoverageSatisfaction Out of 5
Illinois 5%$1,452$1,376-$76Y4
New Jersey5%$1,987$2,033+$46N4
New York6%$2,332$2,411+$79Y4
Texas 6%$1,990$1,876-$114Y4


45 y/o female and 55 y/o male quote comparison.

Note: Mercury is cheaper than Allstate, Farmers, and Good2go for a 45 year old female driver. For a 55 year old male Mercury is on par with Farmers. They are less than Good2go and Allstate, but Progressive and State Farm are nearly 5% cheaper than Mercury.

Find out more about them at Mercury.

Elephant Insurance

This regional insurer scores an 88 out of 100 on the J.D. Power/A.M. Best annual survey.

Perhaps most impressive, the company is one of only a few to have a perfect score when it comes to customer complaints (5 out of 5) and a 4.5 out of a possible 5 for overall value.

It also has some of the highest percentages of current customers who say they will renew policies when the time comes.

Comparing Elephant premiums to other providers for a 25 year old driver.

Note: For a 25 y/o male driver Elephant is approximately 15% higher than larger competing carriers. They may be able to offer more tailored coverage being a smaller provider of auto policies.

Elephant Premium Comparison

Below I have compiled a table for quotes I obtained for the state of Texas.

For a lesser known insurer they were fairly competitive stacked up against the top carriers.

Elephant was more expensive every time, however I expected that too.

Although they are more expensive Elephants touts their customer service and claims handling.

If you resided in a state which they can offer premiums and prefer service over price then Elephant is for you.

Driver ProfileElephantProgressiveLiberty MutualFarmersTravelersState Farm
25 y/o female$1,644$1,432$1,489$1,528$1,573$1,333
25 y/o male$1,918$1,623$1,811$1,832$1,843$1,721
30 y/o female$1,390$1,273$1,311$1,263$1,376$1,329
30 y/o male$1,521$1,393$1,441$1,501$1,496$1,496
25 y/o male (1 driving violation)$2,456$2,054$2,032$2,309$2,421$2,188
30 y/o female (1 driving violation)$1,839$1,654$1,738$1,711$1,843$1,560
40 y/o male$989$893$904$931$879$909
40 y/o female$832$721$733$749$711$786
55 y/o male$790$629$685$690$694$704
55 y/o female$707$590$587$589$604$616

States Available, Average Quote, & Claims Satisfaction

The states you can get a policy through Elephant are Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

They are rated fairly good for customer service satisfaction in all states. Compared to the state average Elephant is higher every time.

By more than 10% percent in some instances.

StatePercentage Rate Hike 2017State Average QuoteElephant QuoteDifferenceRideshare CoverageSatisfaction Out of 5
Illinois 8%$1,452$1,598+$146N5
Texas 9%$1,990$2,134+$144N4.5


Compare Elephant premiums for a 40 year old female.

Note: For a 40 y/o female driver Elephant is approximately 12% higher than top insurers. This is to be expected since they are a smaller carrier trying to compete.

Find out more by visiting them at Elephant

Wawanesa Insurance

This insurer limits its market to two states, California and Oregon, but it still scores well on national surveys.

The J.D. Power/A.M. Best survey scores the company an 85 out of possible 100 overall.

This is another regional insurer with a perfect 5 out of 5 for customer complaints. It also scores perfect 5’s for flexibility and selection, value, and customer service.

Comparing Wananesa premium quotes with other insurers for a 30 year old driver.

Note: For a 30 year old driver quotes are the most expensive with Wawanesa. They are 18% more than the cheapest insurer and approximately 6% more than top carriers.

Wawanesa Premium Comparison by Age

I created a table list of quotes from comparable and top insurers compared against Wawanesa.

In all they were the most expensive for a 30 and 55 year old driver. For a 45 year old they are the 3rd cheapest compared against 6 other insurers. 

However, Wawanesa has excellent customer service and I certainly would not count them out when you are shopping for quotes in California or Oregon.

CompanyAvg Ann. Rate for 30 Y/O DriverAvg Ann. Rate for 45 Y/O DriverAvg Ann. Rate for 55 Y/O Driver
Grange $1,167$965$690
State Farm$1,300$1,167$765

Comparing premium choices with Wawanesa for a 45 year old.

Note: This is probably one of the main reasons to compare quotes. Wawanesa was the 3rd cheapest for a 45 year old driver. And the most expensive for a 30 and 55 year old driver.

Find out more by visiting them at

Erie Insurance

One of the larger regional insurers in the country, Erie is loved by its customers and ranks well in national surveys.

The J.D. Power/A.M. Best survey scores the insurer 84 of a possible 100 points. It earns 4.9 of a possible 5 points for customer complaints.

When asked if current customers would recommend the company to family and friends and if they plan to renew a current policy when the time comes, 90-plus percent say yes to both.

The company also boasts an impressive array of premium discounts it offers customers. For a more thorough review of Erie please go here

25 y/o driver premium prices compared with Erie's.

Note: Erie is competitive for all ages including young drivers. They are the 3rd cheapest and approximately 4% more than Progressive. And only 8% more than USAA. If you are in the market for cheaper rates then get quotes from Erie.

Erie Premium Comparison by Insurer

For every age of driver, even those with poor driving history, Erie was competitive across the board.

They were no more than 10% expensive than their competitors. In some cases they are cheaper than top carriers for their region.

In cases where Erie is more expensive many of the customers are satisfied with claims handling and customer service.

Driver ProfileErieProgressiveAmeripriseFarmersUSAA
25 y/o female$1,432$1,278$1,299$1,390$1,265
25 y/o male$1,701$1,655$1,754$1,789$1,587
30 y/o female$1,208$1,127$1,190$1,238$1,095
30 y/o male$1,402$1,354$1,464$1,487$1,287
25 y/o male (1 driving violation)$2,087$2,003$2,143$2,198$1,976
30 y/o female (1 driving violation)$1,555$1,532$1,576$1,590$1,412
40 y/o male$987$965$970$1,032$914
45 y/o female$787$776$798$811$743
55 y/o male$623$611$674$659$601
55 y/o female$543$532$521$576$497

State Comparison, Average Quote, & Customer Service

Erie’s average rate hike is lower than competitors in the region. For most policy-holders this should be negligible or less than 1%.

Erie does have rideshare coverage for all states it offers a policy.

Before the policy had an exclusion for “business use” which didn’t properly cover drivers using Uber or Lyft.

Now they have coverage exclusively for those type of drivers.

For each state they offer coverage, Erie is cheaper than the state average. In most cases at least 10% cheaper. 

StatePercentage Rate Hike 2017State Average QuoteErie QuoteDifferenceRideshare CoverageSatisfaction Out of 5
Illinois 2.3%$1,452$1,321-$131Y4
New York3%$2,332$2,121-$211Y4
North Carolina3%$1,260$1,054-$206Y4.5
West Virginia2.3%$2,518$2,176-$342Y5
Washington D.C.4.3%$2,165$1,921-$244Y4

Note: For a 45 year old female driver the quotes cluster near $800 for all insurers. In all cases, Erie was competitive with all other carriers no matter the driver profile. With any discounts you should be able to get a decent quote from them.

You can learn more about Erie here.

Auto-Owners Insurance

One of the largest regional insurers, this company receives a middling score of 73 out of a possible 100 overall, but it ranks high for few customer complaints, for its claims and customer service and for its wide range of coverage and discount innovations.

Premium price comparison for Auto-Owners 25 y/o female

Note: Auto-Owners is the 4th cheapest carrier when compared to the five illustrated for a 25 year old female driver. When I did the comparison it did not include discounts. You may be able to get a lower quote with available discounts offered through Auto-Owners or any carrier for that matter.

Auto-Owners Premium Comparison

Auto-Owners is competitive against any of the major carriers such as Progressive and Farmers.

For younger drivers they are within 10 to 15% of any of the providers in the table below.

For older drivers quotes are within 5% percent of the average. Making Auto-Owners competitive across the board for all drivers. Including drivers with a history of infractions.

Some customers claim the rates are lower for those with major infractions such as DUI or reckless driving.

Auto-Owners appears to be more competitive in south-eastern states such as Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Driver ProfileAuto-OwnersProgressiveLiberty MutualFarmersTravelersState Farm
25 y/o female$1,612$1,531$1,465$1,698$1,612$1,554
25 y/o male$1,832$1,812$1,854$1,912$1,809$1,776
30 y/o female$1,290$1,243$1,312$1,217$1,253$1,175
30 y/o male$1,498$1,342$1,476$1,555$1,432$1,310
25 y/o male (1 driving violation)$2,111$2,099$1,954$2,111$2,008$1,932
30 y/o female (1 driving violation)$1,632$1,611$1,559$1,490$1,743$1,307
40 y/o male$876$832$879$903$900$843
40 y/o female$801$776$787$799$813$743
55 y/o male$612$611$599$580$594$551
55 y/o female$521$497$555$543$587$482

Available in 24 states, Claims Satisfaction, & Percentage Rate Hike

You can compare a quote from Auto-Owners if you live in any of the following states in the table.

Rideshare coverage is available in most of the states where Auto-Owners can offer a policy.

In all but one state they are cheaper than the state average. At times nearly 15% lower.

The claims and customer service satisfaction is from J.D. Power & Associates.

As an insurer they can offer more than the average amount of discounts bringing rather high premiums lower and more affordable for most drivers. 

StatePercentage Rate Hike 2017State Average QuoteAuto-Owners QuoteDifferenceRideshare CoverageSatisfaction Out of 5
North Carolina3%$1,060$974-$86Y4
North Dakota1.5%$1,710$1,653-$57Y4.5
South Carolina3%$1,316$1,254-$62Y3.5
South Dakota1.8%$1,557$1,479-$78Y4.5


Comparing premium prices for Auto-Owners for a 40 y/o male driver.

Note: For a 40 year old driver Auto-Owners was the 3rd cheapest when compared to the five illustrated. When compared against the top insurers Auto-Owners was competitive for all driver profiles.

Learn more about this insurer by visiting them at

Final Thoughts

Next time you need to get a quote, broaden your horizons by including a local or regional insurer in your considerations.

One of the best ways to find some of these companies is to contact an independent agent or to use any of the growing number of online research tools available for finding good and affordable policy.



(Note: this article is designed and intended to be informational only and is in no way meant as a solicitation or promotion of any of the insurers named in the article. The author has no affiliation with any of the companies listed herein, nor with any other provider.)

Jeffery Davidson

Jeffery Davidson

Jeffrey Davidson is a writer and consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He currently writes on auto policy and related topics for Reply!.

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