Car insurance provides much-needed coverage for your automobile and not only after an accident as many critics suggest. The best auto insurance companies account for mechanical repairs, body work, and also medical treatment if you or another party is injured.
Most states even require a minimum level of coverage, as deemed by legal statutes. On average, car insurance costs over $900 a year, so taking the time to select the best car insurance company is well worth the time. I have researched the top companies to help you decide.
The Best Auto Insurance Companies: What to Consider
There are many characteristics to consider when determining the best car insurance company for you and the type of coverage appropriate for your lifestyle. This depends greatly on what type of driver you are and the conditions you encounter day-to-day. An experienced driver may not require the same level of coverage as someone hitting the pavement for the first time, perhaps even in a new city. Here are some important factors that you should investigate before making a decision:
1. Your Record and Behaviors
Your driving record has a significant impact on what sort of rates you'll receive. Insurance companies can use even the smallest violation as an excuse to charge you more. Along with this, insurance companies assess risk by examining your daily driving behaviors in detail.
As an illustration, your distance driven in miles per day will also affect how much you pay for insurance. If you don't drive much (less than 10 miles daily), you might even qualify for a discount because you represent less risk to the insurance company. Meanwhile, if you often drive daily, you will represent more of a risk to the provider, and that might reflect on the amount of your premium.
2. Credit history
Many insurance companies will pull a copy of your credit report when you apply for a policy. This is another way they assess risk because if you have a lower credit score due to being late or failing to pay bills, it indicates to them you might not pay your policy, thus making you a riskier investment. Meanwhile, if you have a great credit score and stable payment histories with creditors, it makes you more attractive to insurance companies, and they can reward you for this with better premiums.
If you spend a lot of time driving in a rural setting out in the middle of nowhere, you will probably not have to pay as much as someone living and driving in a bustling urban setting. The location also takes into account the area where you park your vehicle. If it's a riskier area where your vehicle could be more susceptible to damage or theft, then the insurance provider might make you pay more for this risk.
Now this one is really not fair, but it's, unfortunately, how car insurance works. Teens and seniors have to pay more than everyone else, and young men have to pay more than young women.
Insurance companies often make these determinations by analyzing data such as crashes by age and gender to determine risk assessment. Once you are past your teenage years and if you don't have any accidents or points on your license from moving violations, you will qualify for the better rates.
5. Your Vehicle
You pay more if your car has a lower crash safety rating. Also, insurance providers look at your car's safety equipment, and some might offer you discounts if your vehicle comes equipped with anti-lock brakes, proactive safety features like OnStar and theft-deterrent systems. In essence, any equipment that makes you safer and minimizes the risk of damage to the vehicle, the better it will be in your favor.
Compare the Best Auto Insurance Companies
When making comparisons between insurance companies, keep an eye on important metrics like deductible, coverage options, and co-pay amounts along with other terms and conditions that depend on your car's make, model, driving history, and residence.
Along with this, a provider's reputation is of utmost importance, as you want to do business with someone who will take care of you in the unfortunate event you need them. For this reason, it's important to research insurance providers by their reputation. You can examine their grades on the Better Business Bureau's website, read customer reviews to identify common problems or even ask around to friends and family to gauge the personal experiences they have had with an individual provider.
You can also access our helpful reviews on the top auto insurance companies. We offer in-depth reviews of the top providers in the car insurance field and break down their policy offerings, the benefits you can receive by going with them, how accessible their customer service is and the tools and resources they have available for you. Our reviews are a great one-stop resource you can use to compare different providers so that you can select the right one for you.
The top car insurance companies reviewed here have demonstrated unparalleled processing speeds, customer service, helpful resources, ample coverage options and affordable coverage.
Policy Sharing with the Best Car Insurance Companies
One way to get cheap auto insurance is to share a policy with family members. If you share a policy with a family member, then your payments will be tied to their relationship to the above variables.
We put together the following ranking based on factors like:
- The value of the product based on the quality of the services offered and prices you would pay for them.
- Each insurer's reputation with credible organizations, like the Better Business Bureau.
- The reception of each insurance company with customers based on consumer reviews which can be read on sites like Yelp and Epinions.
Consider these top car insurance companies who, again, have demonstrated unparalleled processing speeds, excellent customer service, and affordable overall coverage. Our articles on car insurance offer more details as well.
The Top Rated Auto Insurance Companies
Once you know what to look for, finding the cheapest car insurance company is a lot simpler. Here I've looked at the best-rated car insurance providers in all the most relevant categories. For more info, read the full provider reviews.
Liberty Mutual Car Insurance
- 24 hour claims assistance
- Accident forgiveness
- 12 month rate guarantee
- Coverage options not available in every state
Liberty Mutual offers exceptional coverage perks like accident forgiveness and new car replacement. Along with these features, it has a 12-month rate guarantee, so you don't have to worry about any surprise increases over the first year of coverage, provided you continue to meet all its requirements. Its website also has excellent resources where you can learn more about car insurance basics, help your teen practice driving tests and learn about how aging affects senior drivers.
Esurance Car Insurance
- 24/7 claim filing
- Intuitive CoverageMyWay system
- Personalized policies
- Not as many coverage options as larger companies
- Options not available in every state
Esurance is a great insurance provider to consider if you want a quick, hassle-free way to buy car insurance. It delivers intuitive web tools that make buying a policy, managing it and even filing claims through its website or mobile app easy. Esurance also provides personalized coverage options to ensure you receive the financial protection you need while keeping your costs reasonable. It also has tools available on its website, which allows you to calculate how your premium would change if you bought a new car or had a speeding ticket.
Allstate Car Insurance
- Accident forgiveness
- Safe driving rewards
- Various discounts
- Dedicated agent
- Roadside assistance
- Coverage options not available in every state
It's no surprise Allstate earned top honors because of the myriad of great features it offers its customers. The claim satisfaction guarantee ensures you receive the best of service while tools like DriveWise will monitor your driving behaviors and reward you by reducing your premium if you exhibit safe driving practices. Allstate also offers teen driving programs, great educational resources and customer service available 24/7. When you factor up all these perks, it's no wonder Allstate is the top insurance provider.
21st Century Auto Insurance
- 24/7 online claims service
- Excellent customer service
- Rental reimbursement
- Intuitive web tools
- Some options not available in every state
- Phone claims service not available 24/7
21st Century Insurance earned the honor of being the best in website responsiveness according to KeyNote. As part of the services offered, it has claims and online support available 24/7. Moreover, this provider has ample coverage options available, including rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance. It also touts excellent premium costs, as the average customer saved $522 annually by switching to 21st Century Insurance.
GEICO Car Insurance
- Manage your policy online
- Claims processing is quick
- Customer service is available 24/7
- Get discounts by purchasing other policies
- No accident forgiveness
GEICO is one of the top insurance providers available due to its ease of accessibility to licensed agents 24/7 and ample discounts available. Along with its customer service and affordability, GEICO offers excellent tools on its mobile app and website to help you learn more about car insurance and even assist you in buying a new vehicle. All of this combines to make GEICO is a smart option to consider.
What is the Best Car Insurance?
To answer this question, it's important to consider the following:
1. How Much is Car Insurance?
Finding affordable auto insurance, and on all types of insurance for that matter, is an important goal, especially in state's where it's required. Saving money when it comes to buying insurance typically requires forethought, familiarity with insurance coverage, attention to detail and a good understanding of the risk insured, be it collision or death.
By following specific measures, you can keep some extra cash in your wallet and use it to build up your nest egg or fund that extra vacation to Bali you have been dreaming of all year long. You can reduce your car insurance premiums through carpooling, policy combination, higher deductible and tracking device implementation, among other factors.
2. How Do I Increase My Deductible?
You can lower your automobile insurance bill if you increase your deductible. Keep in mind your deductible is the amount of the check you would write to cover expenses before your insurer makes a financial gesture. So, for example, if your deductible is $1,000 and a traffic accident prompts you to send your car to the mechanic for a $900 repair, you are on your own and don't expect to hear from the insurance company. However, if the repair cost were, say, $5,000, the insurance company would dole out $8,000 and add it to your $1,000 to cover the whole repairs.
3. Can I Save Money Through Carpooling?
Carpooling is also known as covoiturage, lift-sharing, ride-sharing or car-sharing. This practice enables several people, often unrelated to each other, to share a ride to save on things like gas, tolls, and insurance bills. If you carpool, you drive fewer miles, and fewer miles translate into a lower insurance bill because the overall cost is shared by the three people with whom you're carpooling. To learn more about ride-sharing or to find carpooling options in your area, contact your city's or state's Department of Transportation.
4. Should I Purchase Only What I Need?
People often tend to buy more insurance that they actually need, out of an abundance of caution or because the insurance agent has not clearly explained things like coverage required and deductible amount. Check your car's value through Kelley Blue Book before buying insurance. If your vehicle is new, lenders and insurers would require that you get both comprehensive and collision coverage, especially if you took out a loan to buy the car and have not posted any other amount as a guarantee with the lender.
Comprehensive insurance pays for the replacement or repair of your automobile from damage that doesn't result from an accident, while collision insurance covers damages if your car is structurally disfigured. If your vehicle is old and not worth much, comprehensive coverage may not be a suitable option for you.
5. How Can I Combine Policies to Save Money?
Try to combine all your insurance policies under the same umbrella, giving that business to a single insurance company. However, make sure the insurer is a reputable player and enquire with your local Better Business Bureau branch and your state's Department of Financial Services to learn more about the insurance company.
This is important because you're putting all your coverage eggs in the same basket, and you would want to make sure that the basket is sturdy. Most major insurance companies offer clients some types of discounts if they combine multiple policies, such as homeowner insurance, car insurance, and renter insurance.
6. Drive Differently
Similar to carpooling, reduced driving takes more dollars off your insurance bill. Check your driving, keeping an eye on things like shopping patterns; how many trips to the local grocery store you make every month; whether your commute to work has increased substantially lately; and whether, say, your son's twice-a-week soccer practice has added more miles to the odometer. The goal here is not to change your lifestyle drastically but to identify patterns that invariably increase your overall mileage – and insurance bill.
7. Should I Opt for a Tracking Device?
A tracking device may result in a lower car insurance bill but talk to your insurer to see what options are available and potential discounts you could receive after purchasing such a device. The tool enables the insurance company to monitor things like your driving behavior and mileage. For example, Progressive Insurance's Snapshot mileage-based tracking device allows the company to track how many miles you drive but also how you are driving them – meaning where you go, how often you go there and how you fast you get there.
8. Can I Lower My Insurance Bill by Promptly Paying It?
As with any other bill, you need to pay promptly your insurance premium to avoid a mishmash of inconvenient events ranging from a lower credit score and nuisance collection calls to a lack of coverage and reprimanding law enforcement, especially during random traffic stops. Sending your premium checks to the insurer on time helps you build up goodwill that could prompt the company to reduce your premiums in the future.
You can save money on your car insurance through a variety of methods, from timely premium payment and carpooling to driving checks and the purchase of a tracking device. Talk to your insurance agent to see if there are other money-saving options available to a policyholder like you.
The Best Auto Insurance Company Requirements
If you insure a vehicle that you leased or financed, then it is likely you will have certain coverage options you must have on your policy. Along with this, many lenders require you to have a lower deductible (typically around $1,000.) Most will include this information in your loan documentation, but you can also contact them to find out the specific amounts as well.
Advice for Finding the Top Car Insurance Companies
One of the best ways to learn more about car insurance is to read our helpful guides. These guides touch on a wide variety of car insurance components to help you understand all the facets of this protection. Not only will this help you understand these components better, buy you will also feel more confident when it comes time for you to buy your next policy.
- Saving money on car insurance is and will continue to be a primary concern for the average consumer. However, how do you go about finding the best ways to save money? Our in-depth piece on how to save money on your car insurance investigates ways in which you can do this such as increasing your deductible, carpooling or only paying for the coverage options you need. In addition, this article also looks at some of the drawbacks of increasing your deductible to help you remain mindful of your choices.
- Understanding all the components of car insurance is essential because it will give you the confidence you need to find the right policy for you. Our article on "Car insurance 101: How much coverage do I need?' touches on everything from the coverage types offered, a consideration for the level of coverages you need and how an insurance calculator can aid you in determining coverage amounts.
- Another aspect of car insurance is dispelling all the myths out there about it. This is important to do because it will allow you to understand the insurance factors providers examine more while also discerning what it real and what is false. Our piece on 10 car insurance myths looks at the lies out there such as "Do red cars cost more to insure?" to unfounded beliefs such as, "I'm covered if anything happens to my car." By breaking down these myths, you'll have a better perspective on how car insurance works thereby making you a wiser consumer when it comes time to buy a policy.
- Your behaviors will reflect the risk you pose to your insurance provider. Whether you pay bills on time, your driving behavior, even your reliance on continuing to buy new vehicles can affect how much you pay on your insurance premiums. Our article on costly behaviors that can raise your car insurance rates examines a wide variety of ways providers can charge you more for car insurance and methods for avoiding them.
Ultimately, these pieces are comprehensive in scope, touching on a broad range of factors that go into your car insurance coverage and what affects it. Therefore, these resources will help you understand all the components of car insurance better more that way you can find the policy that is most suitable to your needs.
When shopping for the best auto insurance rates, read online reviews like this one, but also contact insurers that operate in your residence area. Don't forget, if you have time, to call your state's Office of the Insurance Commissioner to ascertain the reputation of an insurance company you want to sign up with. This is particularly important if the provider is not a major player on the national car insurance stage.
Want to see how your car insurance stacks up against the competition? Take a look at our handy compare car insurance tool and save money.
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