#insurance auto insurance
Auto Insurance Reviews
Auto Insurance Review
Finding the Best Auto Insurance
Finding good, affordable auto insurance requires some searching, but it’s worth the effort. By law, anyone who drives needs to have the minimal level of state required insurance, and those who have a vehicle loan are required to carry more than minimal coverage. If you are involved in a serious accident, you’ll be glad to have as much coverage as possible to handle medical bills and car damage. Generally, the more coverage you have, the higher your premiums will be, although this is not always the case. That’s why it pays to compare quotes.
We compared the 12 largest auto insurance companies that provide coverage for individuals in most areas of the U.S. Even though USAA is one of the largest companies, it was excluded since its plans are only available to those with military connections. AARP was also excluded because its plans are provided by The Hartford Financial Services Group, which we have reviewed separately.
While comparing insurance companies keep in mind that premium rates vary greatly based on numerous factors, and some services might not be available in your area. In addition, while it is rather straightforward to find upfront information about insurance companies, it’s difficult to discover details about how well claims are processed and paid.
What Affects Car Insurance Rates?
Insurance rates are carefully calculated based on numerous factors. Personal factors include age, location, average miles driven, gender, marital status, education and driving record. Financial factors include the replacement cost of the car, repair costs, claim history, insurance history and credit score.
To give you an idea of what a low-risk insured person might look like compared to a high-risk person, see these two extremes:
Low-Risk: A 40-year-old married female who is college educated and lives in a low-incident area. She also has a better than average credit rating, a good driving record, steady previous insurance and no claims in over five years. The car has low repair costs and is not tied to a bank loan. She might only be required to pay $60 to $90 per month for insurance.
High-Risk: A 23-year-old unmarried male without a college education who lives in a high-incident area. He would have spotty or bad credit, a DUI or other major moving vehicle violation, has been without insurance in the past and has recently submitted claims. The car is expensive to fix and a there is a loan on the vehicle. This person’s premium may be over $300 per month. In this case, some insurance companies may even deny coverage.
As you can see, numerous factors contribute to your premium. In addition, there are no protections in respect to gender, education, location or credit discrimination. Insurance companies are allowed, to the best of their ability, to calculate the risk of insuring individuals. If you are in the high-risk category, you might have to take a higher rate until you can build up a better history and or perhaps trade to a lower-priced, paid-off car. To learn more about the basics of auto insurance see our articles about auto insurance .
If you are in the low-risk category, you may save some money by bundling your auto insurance with other plans such as homeowners or umbrella insurance. Some insurance companies also offer discounts to those who pay premiums in advance or by automatic payment. Discounts aren’t always listed on the company’s website, so you’ll want to ask about discounts before you enter a new contract so you can get the best possible rate.
Obtaining Auto Insurance Quotes
First and foremost, get more than one quote. We recommend that you obtain three quotes from three different insurance agencies. In our research, we learned that in most cases you can obtain ballpark quotes with just your basic information. However, eventually you will have to submit your social security number, VIN and other personal information to actually obtain the insurance coverage. Most will check your credit reports and driving status as well before they will provide coverage.
You can obtain a quote by visiting the insurance company’s website. On the website, you can enter your zip code or state information and obtain a quote in only a few minutes. You’ll need to enter your basic information such as name, address and car make. You will also be asked about your driving history, credit and average driving distances. The company will most likely mention a few discounts, but you should also ask about additional discounts before you sign up.
Possible discounts you might be eligible for include: good driver, good student, senior, hybrid vehicle, safety features, security features, multiple auto, defensive driving course discounts, farm vehicle, automatic payments, pay in advance, teen discounts and more. We noticed that Allstate specifically seems to offer a wide range of discount options. Many also offer discounts to military personnel or government employees, so it is worth asking about if you are associated with these organizations.