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.
Sure, upgraded coverage means a higher monthly premium. But would you rather pay a bit extra each month, or wind up owing a lump sum of $30,000 out of pocket? The average American will file a collision insurance claim about every 18 years, according to insurance industry statistics. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a fender bender, but if the worst should happen, you’ll appreciate being fully covered.
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.
That’s also hard to say. Beyond how much coverage you’re looking to buy, the cost of car insurance is affected by driving record, place of residence, type of car, how much you drive and your personal details (age, gender, marital status, etc.) But just so you have a frame of reference for what types of prices to expect, the average annual cost for car insurance was about $900 back in 2014.
To determine how much auto insurance is best for you comes down to understanding your current economic circumstances and how the different types of coverage work together. If you own a car, buying car insurance is inevitable, so it is really important you are getting the right amount for the right price. The following table gives a quick summary of what types of insurance you should have.
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.
No matter which company you quote or what state you live, all auto insurers will want to know your driving history. In most cases, it will be hard to forget a ticket you received or accident that you were involved in. Many insurers will accept estimated dates if you are close. However, if you want more exact numbers, then then you can always call your local Department/Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Liability insurance covers you if you’re in an accident deemed to be your fault. It will cover repairs to damaged property, as well as medical bills resulting from injury to the other driver and his or her passengers. Most states require at least a minimum amount of liability insurance, but it’s a good idea to purchase extra protection if you can afford it.
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Type of car: If you have an expensive or powerful car then you are seen as a higher risk for a number of reasons. If it’s expensive, it has a higher risk of being stolen. If it’s powerful, it’s deemed more at risk of getting into an accident driving at speed. If you want to see how your car impacts your insurance, you can check which insurance group it’s in for an indication.
With a good driving record — devoid of at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably enjoy relatively cheap car insurance rates. On the other hand, a bad driving record will cause your costs to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 28% after a DUI, 33% after an at-fault accident, and 4% after a speeding ticket in Texas. The post-violation penalties assessed by car insurance companies in Texas are substantially lower than nationwide averages — especially for speeding tickets. If you have a clean driving history, be sure to inquire about your insurance company's safe driver discount.
Like we said earlier, comparing car insurance quotes gets a lot easier if you establish how much coverage you’re looking for before you shop around. You’ll want all the quotes you pull to have the same coverage types, limits and, of course, deductibles. How else will you know what insurer is, in fact, offering the best price? Here’s a quick rundown of how to figure out what type of policy you need.
Second, research your car. If it is an older model, then you may not need some of the add-ons such as comprehensive or uninsured motorist. It is not recommended to omit these coverages, but if your ultimate goal is to save money on your monthly payment, then you may want to consider it. Keep in mind that you will have to pay out of pocket later if you have an accident with an uninsured driver or if a tree falls on your car.
With its roots in insuring farmers, American Family offers farm and ranch insurance in addition to other types of business insurance, as well as home, renters motorcycle, snowmobile, and classic car insurance. American Family car insurance discounts include multi-policy discounts, family discounts, safe driver discounts, low-mileage discounts, auto-pay discounts, and a full-pay discount when you pay for insurance upfront, instead of in monthly payments.
It’s possible that you’ll have to worry about solvency if you choose a policy from a small company. If you manage to find a small insurance company with a base level of financial stability that you’re comfortable with, consider how much in price you’re willing to pay for better service. If you value great service, you might prefer a small insurance company. Below, we compared the ten largest auto insurance companies according to their financial strength rating by A.M. Best.
The trade-off between large insurance companies and small ones typically involves giving up competitive rates for an improved customer experience. When using a small insurance company for your auto insurance, you’ll likely communicate exclusively with one insurance agent. While you generally lose a personal connection when selecting a large national insurance company, the large auto insurance companies tend to have more financial stability. In fact, the top insurance companies in the country underwrite and pay out billions of dollars per year. Additionally, the large insurance companies are able to leverage their resources to offer drivers lower insurance rates.
Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which control coverage determinations. Such terms may vary by state, and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.