USAA stands for United Services Automobile Association. USAA is a bit different from other large insurance companies in that not just anyone can get a policy. To work with USAA, you need to be an active member of the military, a military veteran with an honorable discharge, a cadet or midshipman at a U.S. service academy, or an eligible family member. Eligible family members are spouses, widows, unremarried ex-spouses of USAA members, and children of USAA members. So, for example, if your grandfather served in World War II and had an honorable discharge, he could join USAA, as could your parents. Then you could join, and your children and spouse could join as well.
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Unlike your education level or gender, your credit has a big impact on your insurance rate. Drivers with poor credit (524 or below) pay more than twice what those with excellent credit (823 or more) pay for auto insurance. Again, this has to do with how insurance companies view drivers with poor credit in terms of risk. A driver with poor credit is more likely to file a claim than a driver with excellent credit. Moreover, when a claim is filed by a driver with poor credit, the claim payout by the insurance company tends to be higher. Insurance companies cover this risk by charging those with poor credit scores higher rates.
Sometimes the bet will pay off in your favor, and you’ll get more in claim money than you’ve paid in. Even if it doesn’t, however, you benefit from having an auto insurance policy on your vehicle. If your car is damaged, you won’t have to come up with the money for repairs on the spot. Sure, it’s a pain to pay for car insurance every month, but unexpectedly having to come up with several thousand dollars for car repairs because a deer decided to dart out in front of you, or because you hit a patch of ice, is a big pain too.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women for 10 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
You might wonder how auto insurance quotes are calculated. It's important to understand the primary goal of an insurance company is to effectively predict risk and assign premiums based on the risk a particular driver may pose. Car insurance companies assess your entire driving profile to estimate this risk, including factors such as location, demographics, insurance history, driving record, and vehicle.
At Erie Insurance, our classic car insurance takes this into consideration and values your car on a “stated amount” basis. That means we determine the value of your vehicle up front, before a loss happens. For vintage cars valued at $30,000 and up, our professional material damage appraiser will even inspect and value your vehicle. You’ll know ahead of time what your vehicle has been valued at so there are no surprises should a partial or total loss happen.
Like a DUI, a reckless driving citation can raise your car insurance rates. If you’ve received a reckless driving citation, your best bets for cheap car insurance are Nationwide and Liberty Mutual, despite the latter being one of the more expensive insurance options if you don’t have a violation. This shows the importance of comparing car insurance rates carefully — your driving profile will be handled differently by every company.
Different people can pay drastically different prices for car insurance at the same company. Compare car insurance companies that can offer you the best deal for you individually, not across the board. You can also compare local insurance companies, which tend to have higher customer satisfaction rates than their big-name counterparts and could potentially have lower rates.
When you get an insurance quote, an agent might add extraneous coverage. Unlike your home, your vehicle will rapidly depreciate in value, meaning the coverage you once had might not be necessary after a few years. For example, collision and comprehensive coverage are designed to protect your vehicle from damage. But if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, the value of insurance payout you would receive may not justify the cost of your insurance premium.
Nationwide's insurance professionals can quickly design a car insurance quote that meets your precise needs, even for those on a budget. Rather than going with the cheapest car insurance quote, make sure the company you choose provides flexible coverage and billing options. For instance, Nationwide allows members to pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually online, through the mail or over the phone. It’s important to keep long-term flexibility in mind when deciding on an insurance carrier, not just go with the cheapest car insurance option.