Claims and Price Satisfaction: We looked at J.D. Power’s 2018 Auto Claims Satisfaction Reports, Insure.com’s Best Car Insurance Companies for 2018, and Consumer Reports’ 2017 Car Insurance Ratings to get a bird’s-eye view of the industry across the nation. We also conducted a survey of 100 insured drivers who had filed a claim within the past 12 months.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, we may receive compensation from our partners for featured placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site.
Depending on which companies you consider, you will have to decide whether to do business with an insurance agent or to purchase a policy online. If you value face-to-face relationships and personal service, it’s hard to beat an agent. But all agents aren’t created equal. Some are “captive,” meaning they sell car insurance for only one company. Others are “independent,” meaning they can sell car insurance for multiple companies. Here are a few things you should consider for each scenario.
Holy cow, car insurance quotes, amiright? To say they’re confusing is a massive understatement. There are just so many numbers. And acronyms. And terms no non-insurance expert should expect to understand. (PIP, anyone? Anyone?) And, while you can get a sense of how much your car insurance would cost — that number is usually prominently displayed right up top — understanding the rest of the quote, like how much protection you get and what you’re still on the hook for, is … well, something else.
All insurers base their rates on risk. We're talking car insurance, so the company is primarily trying to determine how likely you are to get into an accident. Obviously, if you have a poor driving record or you're on the road all the time, the odds are less in your favor. But statistics show women get into fewer accidents than men as do married individuals versus single ones. Younger drivers, conversely, get into more accidents than older drivers. All that data on your demo can influence what insurers charge.
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.
There are many reasons you may be seeking the cheapest auto insurance option. Your household finances may be tighter than usual. Or maybe you don't drive a lot. Whatever the reason, a low-cost policy doesn't have to mean a no-frills experience with the insurance company. As you compare quotes from cheap car insurance companies, consider more than just price. Policies from leading carriers, such as Nationwide, may be exactly what you need. Here's what to look for:
Insurance companies protect their profits by charging different people different rates for their premiums, based on the risk they represent – that is, how likely they are to get in an accident. Drivers in high-risk groups, which include inexperienced drivers and drivers with lots of tickets or previous crashes, will pay more for car insurance because they’re more likely to make a claim. The same is true for people who live in areas where their cars are more at risk to things like theft or natural disasters. People with expensive or hard-to-fix cars will also pay more because they’re likely to make more-expensive claims.
Many well-known insurers – including State Farm, Progressive, Farmers, Safeco, GEICO, and Esurance – as well as specialty carriers (many of which underwrite for the aforementioned companies) like Hagerty, J.C. Taylor, Condon Skelly, Grundy, and American National, offer coverage for collectible vehicles. A good place to start your search for the right provider is with your existing auto insurance carrier, who may be able to kick in a discount for insuring multiple vehicles.
In contrast, a Stated Value policy (sometimes called “stated amount” or “maximum limit of liability”) does not promise to pay the full vehicle value that’s indicated or “stated” on the policy. With regard to a covered total loss, you may receive less than that stated amount, because the insurer has the right to pay either your vehicle’s depreciated actual cash value OR the cost to replace your vehicle -- whichever is less. Also, many insurers that offer stated value policies (typically standard insurers) require periodic appraisals to affirm the insured amount, adding cost and inconvenience to the client.
Commercial auto insurance provides liability and physical damage coverage for vehicles used by your business. This includes cars, vans, commercial trucks, and other types of vehicles. Commercial auto policies offer different levels of coverage than personal policies. This is because business vehicles tend to need higher limits to help protect the business in case of accidents. With affordable rates, outstanding customer service, and experience you can count on, GEICO can help you with your commercial auto insurance needs.
As with any credit check, a record of this search will remain on your file – and your credit rating will affect the amount of APR that you’re charged. If you have a poor credit rating, you may be charged up to 20% APR. And if you’ve struggled to pay credit in the past, or if you have a CCJ to your name, then you may be denied the option to pay monthly. If you think you’ll have issues with your credit rating, you can read our guide on improving your credit score.
While JD Power-recommended companies above aren’t among the cheapest of the insurance companies we’ve examined, they might suit your needs. It’s important to think beyond price to find a comfortable middle ground between claims satisfaction and affordability. Use The Zebra’s side-by-side insurance comparisons to avoid some of the legwork involved in insurance shopping.