At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in the Tennessee area, while also getting an insider view of the Volunteer State.

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:


If you are or were in the military, or if your parents, parent-in-law, or spouse was in the military you are eligible for USAA auto insurance, and they may just be the best company for you. USAA scores 5/5 stars for the both shopping experience, and claims handling process in the J.D. Power study. They do particularly well on how you can report your claims to the company. You should also be highly satisfied with their final settlement claims. For more information, read here.
A company that specializes in the most basic coverage options may have the cheapest auto insurance rates. However, they may also lack some customer service benefits of more established companies. These benefits may include 24 hour customer assistance and claims tracking. Consumers should always be aware of these trade-offs as they make their decision.
Whether you can get a cheap car insurance quote may come down to your zip code. If you live in a densely populated area, with a high number of auto insurance claims, your premium will be more expensive than that of a person living in a less dense and less claim-laden part of town. Even if you haven’t filed any claims, you could pay more based solely on your neighborhood.
Shopping for car insurance? You've come to the right place! State Farm keeps you and your family covered with great auto insurance that's also a great value. Get an online auto insurance quote, or find a car insurance agent or representative, any time, day or night. Either way, you'll learn how competitively priced auto insurance from the industry leader can be.
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver's premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.
Progressive—the third biggest insurance company in the country—was established in 1937. The company offers the ability to purchase auto insurance directly, online or by phone. Alternatively, customers can sign up through independent insurance agents. The company employs over 33,000 people and has over 400 offices. Progressive is a publicly traded company.
While you might want to finish shopping for car insurance as quickly as possible, it’s important to do your due diligence and find the right company. At the end of the day, car insurance is designed to protect and benefit you. If you were to be injured or have your car totaled in an accident, your insurer’s customer service and claims satisfaction would be vital.
After our analysis of 2,700 cities and 128 companies, we found that Erie was the most affordable major insurer in the country with an average yearly rate of $1,052 based on our sample driver - about 31% cheaper than the national average across every insurer. The very largest of the five is GEICO, the second largest auto insurer in the U.S. by market share.
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Auto Insurance is required by law for drivers in most states. Drivers who own a car and drive it often should definitely have auto insurance to cover the risk of damages to their car and personal injury and the liability of harm to other people and property. Otherwise, repairs and medical costs, particularly when you’re liable for an accident, can be very expensive.

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.
All insurers base their rates on risk. We're talking car insurance, so the company is primarily trying to determine how likely you are to get into an accident. Obviously, if you have a poor driving record or you're on the road all the time, the odds are less in your favor. But statistics show women get into fewer accidents than men as do married individuals versus single ones. Younger drivers, conversely, get into more accidents than older drivers. All that data on your demo can influence what insurers charge.
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