The day all parents dread is finally upon you; your teenage child is old enough to drive. But before they pop in a mix-tape (those are still a thing, right?) and step on the gas, they need to learn the rules of the road. ConsumerAffairs asked dozens of driving schools across the country for advice to make the process more enjoyable and educational for you and your student driver.
So, what does the best car insurance look like? The best car insurance companies balance their rates with the amount of coverage they offer, so their customers don’t pay more than they have to and are covered when they need to make a claim. The best car insurance companies work with you to figure out how much car insurance you need and explain your policy to you. When you need to file a claim, the best auto insurance companies walk you through the process, keep you informed, and work with you to resolve any issues you have. The best auto insurers will help you understand how car insurance works and make you feel like you’ve gotten the best value for your money when you insure your vehicle. The best car insurance companies will also offer you auto insurance discounts for things like having multiple policies or a good driving record. Finally, the best car insurance companies have great customer service, keep their customers updated on the status of their claims, and make sure the customer is satisfied with the way the claim is resolved.
On average, State Farm offered us the most expensive quotes, but the company’s strong record of claims-handling and elite financial strength were enough for us to justify ranking it second. It also apparently has many satisfied customers in Texas, judging by its 16.8% market share — the largest in the state. State Farm outperformed every company on our list in both complaint index and customer service scoring by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.
We started by identifying Texas’s five biggest auto insurers by market share, and compared their financial strength, coverage options, and customer service, using methodology similar to our review on nationwide providers. Then, we checked J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to see how each company’s customers scored them, both overall and on their claims experiences. Next, we looked at the Texas Department of Insurance’s “Complaint Index” for each company — a measure of how consumer complaints filed against them compare to the state average. And finally we collected quotes for six hypothetical drivers, taking note of each company’s available endorsements and discounts.
Everything’s bigger in Texas and car insurance coverage is no exception. In fact, the Lone Star State has some of the highest minimum requirements in the nation and, even then, these may not be enough when an accident strikes. As it currently stands with Texas, in the event of an accident, there’s a 1 in 7 chance that the other driver won’t be insured. Unless you’ve purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, that’s money out of your pocket. Texas’s minimum requirements also don’t account for comprehensive coverage which you’ll definitely want to take into consideration since the state ranks first for monetary losses from “catastrophes” like hail storms and hurricanes.
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Geico: Geico is the fourth-best car insurance company, and even a cave man can see why. Geico customers say it’s easy to file a claim with the company, though some were unhappy with status updates from the insurer. That said, most Geico customers would recommend it and plan to renew their policy. Their rates may have something to do with that: Geico offers lower rates on average than most other auto insurance companies.
Bad auto insurance comes in many forms. With bad car insurance, premiums are higher than they should be, or the company offers low premiums but minimal coverage. Some car insurance companies have poor customer service and don’t effectively communicate the status of your auto insurance claim. Others require you to use only repair shops that they approve of, and those shops can be inconvenient to access, forcing you to travel across town for repairs or wait weeks for an appointment. Still other auto insurance companies don’t have a comprehensive network of adjusters, so you have to wait longer for your claim to be processed so you can get the repairs you need. In a worst-case scenario, a car insurance company may not have the financial resources to pay claims, leaving its customers high and dry.
One of the most common ways to lower your car insurance rates is by choosing a higher deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you must pay after an accident before your insurance kicks in. So, for example, if you are in an accident and there is $10,000 worth of damage done and your deductible is $1,000, you pay the $1,000 and your car insurance company pays $9,000. A higher deductible means less risk for your insurance company and lower rates for you. However, it also means that you need to have that much money on hand in case of an accident. If you go for a $2,000 deductible and don’t have $2,000 available after an accident, you won’t be able to get the repairs you need.
While laws vary from state to state, it's generally required that your teen have at least a learners permit before they can legally hit the road (with a licensed adult in the passenger seat). While they might not need their own insurance if they've only got a permit, it's wise to check with your insurer, just in case, to be sure of your local laws.
How much car insurance you need depends on how much coverage you are legally obligated to get, as well as how much coverage you need for your situation. Each state has certain legal requirements for car insurance, and not meeting them can result in negative consequences. Check out our car insurance state guides to see the legal car insurance minimums in your state.
I just switched to Geico because of these comments. I thought the whole, "save you more money, " marketing was just a gimmick, but I really did save money. My bill has gone down! I'm paying less for 2 vehicles than I was for 1 vehicle with another provider, same features! I spoke with 3 different people, and all of them were great, and personable. I didn't feel like just another number. Awesome rates, awesome service. Highly recommended.
Switching to Amica from State Farm because I reviewed my State Farm policy and found that they are no longer paying to return my vehicle to "pre-loss" condition, and instead they are only paying for what is competative in the market area. I have been with State Farm for over 12 years, and recently read my policy booklet, and found this out. Based on the way State Farm's auto policies read I am very unhappy. State Farm gets to dictate what is competative in the market area, and because the majority of the shops in my area are not good shops, State Farm will not pay to have my vehicle repaired properly because it isn't competative in the market area as my policy reads. This also means that if I hit someone and they take their vehicle to a quality shop and State Farm does not pay for the cost to repair the other party's vehicle properly, then I can be sued by the person I hit. I expect more from my insurance, and I hope others do to. After contacting Amica I have found their ...more
Plans vary greatly. But the general rule of thumb is that the less you pay per month, the higher your deductible is. Higher premiums are usually associated with lower deductibles. Generally it is beneficial for those with existing health issues to opt to pay more per month and less out-of-pocket for services. Those in good health often opt for a high deductible option in hopes that they never have to actually pay the deductible but would mostly be covered if something major happened. A prescription plan is another important consideration. If you need to take medications regularly you'll want to choose a plan with a good prescription plan. If you need to insure your entire family, you'll want to look at family deductibles and maximums. Only full-coverage options will satisfy the minimal essential health care insurance required to get around paying the fine.
Note that USAA ranked in the first or second spot in almost all cities, but we've excluded them from this table because the company only serves military and affiliated members. Below is also a deeper dive by the largest cities of the most affordable insurers by age and marital status to give drivers a further idea of the going rates for auto insurance. We've excluded USAA from the city specific tables as well.
Had GEICO in the military, switched to Allstate, for car & house. A "Common Sense" company. They stood behind us for over 2 years of a law suit, because of our good record! Some kids plowed into us with his junk heap, No insurance, No State license, & they were suing for so much, as our agent said: to set themselves up for a "life of Riley"! Great folks who work for them too & Now we get rebates, 2 x a year, for our good driving record!
Which companies have the cheapest auto insurance rates in Austin, Texas? We suggest 30 year old drivers in Austin compare quotes starting at Texas Farm Bureau, Progressive, and GEICO. Auto insurance in Austin can cost drivers $2,191 a year, which is about 6% less than average in the Lone Star state. These three companies, however, have car insurance rates 44% less than the Austin average.
It costs just $2,239 a year to insure a car in a town that has been named one of the Happiest Cities to Work In as well as one of America's Safest Cities. Annual car insurance premiums in El Paso are 8% cheaper than the state average. Keep Texas Farm Bureau and Progressive in mind if you're looking to save on auto insurance in El Paso, as these companies provided the cheapest quotes for our profile driver.
I LOVE nationwide! I previously had State farm under my parents, and switched onto my own when quoted. I received a call the next week telling me it would be 90 more a month! I called EVERYWHERE and the cheapest I could find was 4000/6 months, until I called nationwide. (I am only 18 with a new car and high coverage. ) My new agent is VERY nice and informative and I am only paying 1200/6months. One week after switching, someone totaled my car, and Nationwide was right there, helping me through everything. I would NEVER switch! Go Nationwide!
Travelers: Travelers is the second-best car insurance company. Travelers' customers report that they appreciate the customer service Travelers provides, and the company gets high marks for how it resolves its customers’ claims. Travelers' lost a few points from customers who didn’t feel like they got good value from the company, and Travelers' average annual rates are a bit higher than average among all companies on this list.
In a best-case scenario, you’ll never have to use your car insurance. After all, making a claim on your auto insurance means you’ve suffered some sort of loss, and no one wants that. However, going through life without ever having a fender bender or other damage to your car is unlikely. In some cases, you’ll be making a car insurance claim after a harrowing experience, like a serious accident. After going through something like that, you want to be sure your insurance company isn’t going to make things worse.
I shopped around for the best price for the coverage I wanted and Progressive undercut the others by around $1200. Every 6 months my monthly premium goes down. After the first six months we added another car, and the premium only went up by $6 because the policy dropped by such a significant amount. They've been good at getting my documents to me quickly, and having 24 hour customer service - which I'm coming to appreciate more and more with the odd hours I'm awake and work.
If You Have Garage – Keep your car in a locked garage. Of course it’s mores secure and saves money on your premium. One of our customers told us – they had £250 of “junk” in the garage but their £17,500 car was parked on the driveway. Another customer told us they had a “garage” sale and made enough money to pay for their premium and buy a shed to keep all the gardening equipment in!
My careers teacher at school knowing all about my fanatical money saving missions (I helped balance the books for the school play so the profits could be used for a new computer – and I learned all about computer programming) anyway she insisted that I became an Accountant. And I did – as a Chartered Accountant my job was always to save money for the companies we worked for. I was the “go to” expert. And my career went from strength to strength.
If you’re going off to school but your car won’t be coming along for the journey, you should ask your family insurance agent about a lower premium. If you’re not driving the vehicle year-round, then there’s no reason you should have to pay top dollar for year-round coverage. But definitely don’t just cancel your policy – you want to make sure that if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by an act of nature (or vandals) that you are covered.
Being in the business for a very long time, I have found that most people are clueless about insurance, even most agents who sell them. I will agree that their rates are cheap. But I wouldn’t recommend them. Inexperienced adjusters. They do not fully investigate. The policy does not cover like, kind, and quality which is bad if you have a new vehicle.