When your life changes, your insurance needs may change as well. Life events like a change of residence or a new driver on your policy are a few of the things that can make your insurance premiums rise. That's why we offer members a free On Your Side® Review every year to make sure your insurance is keeping up with your life. We also want to make sure you’re taking advantage of the many benefits we offer, including discounts.
Car insurance extras are coverage options that usually do not come with a standard policy. Examples include roadside assistance and accident forgiveness. These coverages can be added to a policy for an extra cost. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if they are worth it. By carefully assessing your coverage needs, you can come to a conclusion whether the extras are worth the cost or not.
To figure out how much car insurance you need, start by looking at what’s required in your state. Most states require some basic car insurance coverage to cover your liability in an accident. Your liability is the amount of money you must pay as a result of damages you caused to someone’s property, or injuries you caused. Even in the few states that have no car insurance requirement, liability insurance is a good idea, as medical bills from a car accident can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and you’re not likely to have that kind of money on hand. If you don’t have the money to pay and you don’t have liability insurance, you can be forced to sell your assets, including your house, retirement funds, or collection of “Full House” memorabilia, to pay for those expenses.
Your auto insurance rate depends on who you are as a driver, as well as your age, your credit, your vehicle, and your location. How insurance companies weigh these attributes is reflected in your premium. For example, having a limited driving history or a poor credit score can raise your rates dramatically. Our analysis of major rating factors shows how premiums shift from company to company.
If you’ve ever compared car insurance rates, you know how many options are available. Depending on a variety of individual rating factors, certain companies will price your insurance differently. You could end up paying more by choosing the wrong company or failing to compare enough companies. We've outlined the factors that go into your car insurance premiums, as well as some tips for how to find the best possible rates. Let’s get started.
Be aware of certain terminology, and ask that your insurance company explain things in a careful and concise manner to avoid confusion. For instance, normal cars are insured for Actual Cash Value - the "book" value that depreciates with age. Classic cars might be insured for their Stated Value or Agreed Value. In those cases, you would state a value for your car and your car insurance company would agree to pay up to that amount.
Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
Virginia has a 10-year lookback period for most offenses, though subsequent offenses committed within five years may lead to harsher penalties. Penalties are also enhanced for high or extremely high BAC levels or for committing a DUI offense while transporting a passenger who is 17 years old or younger. All DUI offenders must report to an Alcohol Safety Action Program for screening and review. There may be a required attendance in classes or treatment before license reinstatement.
Safeco is not the best, but if you have a classic car you want to drive as your regular vehicle, Safeco is the insurance for you. Safeco allows you up to 10,000 regular use miles which is similar to what someone may drive on a normal policy. Most collector of cars are not looking to drive them regularly, but if it happens your 1968 Ford Mustang has to be your premier car, Safeco is your best bet. The limitation to Safeco is its stricter list of vehicles it will insure, including a ten year required minimum.
The biggest benefit to captive agents is that many aren’t primarily motivated by commission. That means they have less of a reason to “sell you” and more of a reason to spend quality time educating you. That being the case, going with a captive agent makes sense if you’re already committed to a particular company. These agents will know their company’s policies and coverages from top to bottom.
If you rent or drive other people’s cars frequently, then, yes, you should look into a non-owner auto insurance policy, which provides basic liability coverage. Non-owner policies don't include collision or comprehensive coverage, because you don't need it. Remember, collision and comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car and, in this scenario, you don't have one.
Drivers with good driving records typically enjoy lower car insurance costs than drivers with histories of speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUI citations. Unfortunately, Tennessee state drivers without a recent at-fault accident save only 26% on their car insurance premiums, on average — well below the US average of 32%. In addition to earning a cheaper premium for driving incident-free, you may qualify for a safe-driving bonus through your car insurance company. The amount of these discounts may vary, but they typically run between 5 and 10%.
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.
But according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, newly licensed drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes in their first six months than more experienced drivers. The takeaway? Experience counts. The Center for Disease Control suggests that increased education programs and parental involvement in instruction are associated with reductions of as many as 40% of fatal and injury crashes among 16-year-olds.
We identified the auto insurance companies with the cheapest rates, but, as with anything, you want to be sure you are getting high quality service from your insurance company. Reliable car insurance companies are critical in ensuring a smooth customer-insurer relationship. There are a few factors we deemed most important to evaluate a company on which affect policy holders' satisfaction, such as, the average shopping experience, customer service, ability to resolve complaints, and quote filing process.
The biggest downside to Erie is that it is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. As well, Erie still relies strongly on its agent network; which isn't always a bad thing. A strong agent network is usually key to ensuring a smooth claims process. If you want to quickly buy car insurance without speaking to anyone though, Erie may not be the company for you. While you can start the process online, you ultimately will have to speak with an agent to finalize your quote. Erie will be ideal for any customers within its market, who do not mind putting in some extra effort to get quality and cheap auto insurance.
Of the biggest auto insurers in the U.S. - State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Progressive and Farmers - State Farm ranks as the greatest overall. State Farm was rated 4/5 stars by customers and policyholders in a JD Power survey on companies shopping experience. State Farm is best known for its large agent network; they boast over 18,000 across the nation. It shouldn't be surprising then that State Farm gets 5/5 stars for how its agents interact with customers. As well, State Farm is great when it comes to offering discounts. If you go with State Farm you will have up to 15 discounts to be eligible for which can equal hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
Established in 1931, Allstate is the second largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company in America. Similar to State Farm, Allstate has a roster of local agents ready to serve your needs. The company currently employs over 79,000 people. Esurance, a subsidiary of Allstate, operates in the same space. According to Allstate, the Esurance brand is targeted towards self-directed and brand-sensitive customers while Allstate is geared for customers who enjoy local and personal service.
Consumer Reports offers an extremely helpful guide that highlights the steps you can take to find the best policy for your needs. Even if you’re fairly happy with your policy, they suggest shopping around to compare rates at least every two or three years. That way, you have a good idea of where car insurance rates are headed and how much you could save if you switch. Plus, it never hurts to shop around. Based on your age, your driving record, and other factors, the policy you have now could be considerably cheaper if you switched firms.
Traveler’s insurance is a publicly traded company that offers business and personal insurance. They do not offer financial products or banking. Though Traveler’s insurance has just a 2 percent market share for car insurance, it does have one major distinction: In 1897, it offered the nation’s first automobile insurance policy. It’s also the only insurance company that’s part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, though most people know Traveler’s from its sponsorship of the Traveler’s golf championship.
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.
Remember, price is just one piece of the car insurance policy puzzle. You also want to make sure you feel good about the insurer you’re doing business with. Do they have a good track record when it comes to paying out claims? Are they known for their customer service? Are they financially solvent? Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get answers to these questions. In fact, sometimes, some important signifiers will be included with your auto insurance quote. The big stats to check when vetting an insurance company include:
Classic cars call for special protection. When it comes to protecting your classic car, American Family Insurance has you covered. We’ll help you build a unique combination of liability, medical expense, uninsured/underinsured motorist, comprehensive and collision coverage that match your needs and your car’s value (determined by evaluation of vehicle’s worth through N.A.D.A. Guide).
If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.