Cheap auto insurance doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. You just need to know where to look and what to look for in an auto policy. Savvy auto insurance customers can benefit from the regular price adjustments and the introduction of new discounts by an auto insurance carrier, if they shop. So, are you getting the best value at the best price?
Results: Nerdwallet returned three quotes ranging from $154 per month to $315 per month and six “estimated rates” ranging from $153 per month to $330 per month, from mostly name-brand insurance carriers. Each quote/rate included a little information about the company, a company rating, and a summary of Nerdwallet’s review (accessed by clicking on the “view details” link). The quotes had a button to click in order to buy the policy over the phone, but only one quote offering the option to purchase online. The estimated rates included a button to click to access the company’s website and get an actual quote from them.
Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, state law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance study).
Beyond that, the additional coverage you requested should be listed on the quote (known in insurance-speak as the “deck” or “declarations page”), along with any deductible associated with that portion of the policy. You might also see a list of any car insurance discounts you can or already have qualified for and all the personal information you inputted, along with the make and model of your car (which is worth a scan, just to make sure everything is accurate).
Results: Once I typed in the requested zip code I was immediately taken to a page with links to four actual insurance quote comparison websites. Rather than create a quoting tool of its own, ValuePenguin has apparently chosen to guide visitors to other comparison websites. All in all, you’d be better off just skipping ValuePenguin and going straight to a site that will produce quotes for you.
Compare major insurers' financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings to better predict the level of service you will receive. Claims satisfaction — assigned by J.D. Power — is rated on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being "among the best" and 2 being "the rest." Financial strength — calculated by A.M. Best and ranging from "Poor" to "Superior" — assesses an insurance company's financial strength and ability to satisfy its policy and contractual obligations.
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.
State Farm has an 18 percent market share of car insurance and underwrites $41.8 billion dollars in policies each year. State Farm also offers homeowners, renters, life, and other insurance products, including health, disability, and small business. It also offers banking products, like loans, retirement and college savings, and checking and credit card accounts. If you’re looking for a full suite of services, from banking to car insurance, State Farm can cover you. Having one company handle many services for you may make things more convenient. You may also get small discounts by keeping all your business with State Farm. On the other hand, if you’re not happy with the service you get from State Farm, you probably don’t want them handling all your business.
It is one of the three highest-rated automotive insurers in the country. The only downside is its limited availability: USAA only services the immediate families of active and former members of the military. Given those restrictions, the quote process is a bit more intense compared to its competitors, but that’s a small price to pay for its exemplary service.
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.
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.
The best way to prevent falling victim to this practice is to shop for a new policy every one to two years. Even if you like your current car insurance company, they’re likely aware of your online activity, so the more quotes you get, the less likely you are to be tagged as someone who won’t jump ship for a better deal. Plus, it helps you find a policy rate that reflects you as a person and isn’t based on predictive analytics.
How it works: Compare’s shopping process asked me to enter the same general information that other auto comparison websites did. Entering the information was fairly straightforward. Most of the fields were drop-down menus or pre-filled based on information I had submitted on previous pages. The questions were detailed, including some about my current policy limits that required retrieving my insurance documents to answer. I did like that Compare asked if I was willing to accept paperless documents and/or e-signing
Although it’s not hugely impactful, drivers with a Masters or Ph.D. save $44 per year on car insurance premiums, compared to those without a degree. Car insurance companies see clients with higher education levels as less risky and reward that decreased risk with a lower premium. The only states that do not consider education when determining rates are California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Hawaii, and Montana.
Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Homeowners, renters and condo coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2018 GEICO
On average, an at-fault property damage accident with a claims payout exceeding $2,000 will raise your premium by an average of $726 per year. Over three years, that adds up to $2,178! If you’re thinking of filing a claim, consider the overall cost of the claim versus what the claim would cost to pay out of pocket. Compare this $2,178 penalty — plus your deductible — to the out-of-pocket expense. While this is nice information to know before filing a claim, it won’t help if you’ve already filed a claim. If you have an at-fault accident on your insurance history, consider Nationwide or Farmers.