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.
Insurance companies in the U.S. are an outgrowth of mutual aid societies. Prior to insurance companies (and cars, for that matter) community members would band together, often based on religious or ethnic affiliation, to provide funds in case of an emergency. Each member of a mutual aid society would pay a small amount into a fund that members could draw on in case of certain events, like a death in the family. The money the members pulled out of the fund could be used for things like burial expenses – and because everyone paid a little bit, no one person or family had to bear the full cost of an emergency when one struck.
Auto insurance companies attempt to predict and price the risk you and your vehicle pose in order to reduce their exposure. Keeping in mind the factors we just covered, the more risky you appear to your insurance company, the more you will be charged. Factors like age, marital status, and homeowner status, are less easy to change. Avoiding unnecessary claims, being smart with your coverage needs, and shopping around for car insurance quotes every so often are great ways to save on car insurance.
Example (Comprehensive): You park your car outside during a major hailstorm, and it's totaled. If you have comprehensive, we'll pay out for the full value of your car (minus your deductible amount). Example (Collision): You back out of your garage, hit your basketball hoop, and cause $2,000 worth of damage to your vehicle. If you have collision, we'll then pay for your repairs (minus your deductible amount).
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