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Big isn't necessarily better

You won't see any clever commercials touting Amica Mutual on TV, but customers say the company provides excellent customer service and low-hassle claims service. Amica offers policies in every state except Hawaii. Customers are happy with the variety of available plans and discounts, and the company receives solid financial ratings. While policyholders say premiums are fair, some report sudden rate hikes. Others say you'll need to have a clean or nearly clean driving record in order to land a policy in the first place.

Auto-Owners Insurance keeps a similarly low profile; coverage is available in only 26 states. Customers say the company offers a smooth claims process and personable service through its extensive network of local agents. Policyholders also say they're mostly happy with premiums and the variety of available discounts, but some complain that plans aren't as flexible as those offered by competitors. Though 24-hour service is available, customers are expected to work with agents directly when they're available, a potential drawback depending on the type of service you prefer.

Like Amica and Auto-Owners, Erie Insurance flies under the radar. Customers report high levels of satisfaction with service and claims experiences. Erie also grabs the top spot in a national survey of customers' car insurance shopping experiences, with its local agents receiving particularly high marks. However, this regional company only offers coverage in 11 states, mostly the mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

Auto Insurance Runners Up:

Auto-Owners Insurance

3 picks including: J.D. Power & Associates, Viewpoints.com…

GEICO

1 pick including: Epinions.com, J.D. Power & Associates…

Progressive

1 pick including: Epinions.com, J.D. Power & Associates…

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