You may have heard that men pay more than women for car insurance. This is true, because statistically men are more likely to engage in risky driving practices like speeding and driving under the influence, which results in more accidents. Massachusetts, Hawaii, and North Carolina do not allow gender to play a role in auto insurance rates, so drivers in those states don’t have to worry.
Unlike quote comparison sites, lead generation sites simply sell your information to their advertising partners—typically insurance companies. These sites are not built to provide you with personalized quotes and are not much help when trying to compare car insurance rates. Avoid these sites unless you’re eager to receive tons of cold calls from insurance phone banks and desperate agents.
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Liberty Mutual is a full-line insurance company that offers both personal and business insurance. Liberty Mutual car insurance has a 5 percent market share and underwrites $11.6 billion in policies. It’s a publicly owned company, so profits go to shareholders. Liberty Mutual offers a full suite of insurance policies but doesn’t offer banking services.
Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
Comprehensive coverage: This covers things that could happen to your car not related to an accident that might not be covered by standard insurance, such as weather damage, running into an animal or other factors. It’s a good idea to opt for comprehensive coverage if you can afford it, but it can get costly and might not be worth it if you drive an old or inexpensive car.
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If you intend to alter your vehicle in any way that makes it different from the standard model, which includes adding non-standard accessories, you will have to contact the insurance company. You will have to provide your insurer with a list of the alterations and accessories along with their monetary value. You also have the option to remove alterations and accessories from your policy by contacting the insurance company.
Liability insurance covers you if you’re in an accident deemed to be your fault. It will cover repairs to damaged property, as well as medical bills resulting from injury to the other driver and his or her passengers. Most states require at least a minimum amount of liability insurance, but it’s a good idea to purchase extra protection if you can afford it.
Another consideration when choosing between a large and small auto insurance company is availability, coverage options and discounts. While you’re likely to have a better experience with a small insurance company, it may not have the availability, benefits and discounts that large insurance companies do. For example, the major insurance companies in the U.S. often have representatives that are available 24/7. Additionally, small insurance companies don’t typically offer the long list of discounts and coverage options that national insurers, like Allstate and State Farm, offer. If around the clock availability or having discounts and coverage options are important to you, consider a large insurance company.
If you own a newer car, are leasing one or you purchased it with a loan, full coverage is likely the best option for you. This way, if you’re in an accident, both your car and the other drivers will be protected based on the limits you choose on your policy. Full coverage includes collision and comprehensive coverage, along with standard liability protection. Most loans and leases require full coverage.
Allstate is a publicly traded company that has a 9 percent market share for auto insurance and underwrites $21.4 billion in premiums each year. Allstate does most of its business through local agents, but the company provides support services online and over the phone as well, so if you have a wreck after-hours, you can still file a claim. Allstate is the parent company of Esurance and Encompass. Esurance is sold primarily online, while Encompass insurance products are sold primarily through independent insurance agents. Allstate was once part of Sears but became independent in 1995.
At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in Texas, while also getting an insider view of the Lone Star State.