At its core, car insurance is a bet. You pay your premium, betting that if something happens to your car, you’ll get that money back to pay for repairs, medical bills, and other costs. The car insurance company takes your premium, betting that if you do have an issue with your car, the cost of paying for it will be less than the premiums they’ve collected from you and other policyholders over the years. Insurance companies do lose money on occasion. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, as many as 500,000 total loss car insurance claims were filed in response to the damage. Those claims cost the insurance industry billions of dollars – money that could have otherwise been profits.
The Zebra didn’t allow me to customize coverage preferences, forcing me to choose one of four pre-assembled packages. It also didn’t list which companies allowed which discounts, making their earlier list of pre-qualified discounts less useful. On the right side of the page, the site provided an “Insurability Score” listing the factors that insurance companies use to set rates and grading the information I’d provided during the quoting process, which could help drivers looking to improve their rates in the future.
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.
Rather than opting for less coverage, it’s possible to save on your premiums by shopping around with a variety of companies. Each company has its own formula for calculating premiums, which is why each gives you a different quote. Beyond cheap rates, it’s also important to find a company that offers ideal add-ons, discounts, and specific coverage options for your situation. Our top picks are a great place to start your search.
Although we’re sure that you’re probably an excellent driver (you would never speed or cut someone off, would you?), and an even better parent, how are you as a teacher? Many driving school instructors have been teaching student drivers for decades, and we all know teenagers are more likely to listen to literally anyone else than take instruction from their parents.

American Family Insurance (sometimes shortened to AmFam) only has a 2 percent market share for car insurance, but that small slice still translates to the company underwriting $4.4 billion in policies. American Family originally offered insurance to farmers, but now its policies are available to anyone. American Family is the parent company of The General car insurance. While The General car insurance is sold primarily online, American Family insurance is sold mainly through local insurance agents, with support from American Family’s online resources and call center.
Car insurance is required in every state (and Washington DC) with three exceptions: New Hampshire, Missouri (uninsured drivers must submit “proof of financial responsibility” to the Department of Revenue), and Virginia (where drivers must pay a $500 fee to drive uninsured). These states still require at-fault drivers to pay for any bodily injury and property damage.
Once you've decided on the amount of coverage you want, you’ll need to look at the insurance companies that offer it in your area, and see what they charge for it. You can get car insurance quotes by checking online or calling insurance agents or brokers in your area. Usually, an insurance agent works for one insurance company and only sells their policies, while an insurance broker sells insurance policies from many different companies. Insurance brokers are also sometimes called independent insurance agents. While a broker can help you compare prices and coverage options across many companies, they also receive commissions from those companies, so be careful you’re not talked into working with a company that’s not the best fit for you. By the same token, insurance agents are measured on the number and size of policies they sell, so make sure they aren’t trying to get you to buy more insurance than you need.
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.
Progressive insures over 18 million drivers, and we're the third largest auto insurance company.** Why do millions of drivers trust us? It's simple: our unmatched value. We offer plenty of coverages, 24/7 service, and discounts such as safe driver, sign online, multi car, and more.†† Get a car insurance quote today and we'll automatically add your eligible discounts.
Oh, there are a whole bunch. The big ones include good driver discounts (for going long enough without a moving violation); affiliation discounts (for belonging to a group, like AAA or AARP, that partners with the insurer); low-mileage discounts (for, you know, low mileage) and car safety feature discounts (for installing stuff like emergency break assistance or collision avoidance systems). You can find a full list of common car insurance riders and discounts here.
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.
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