Keep an eye on your credit score: Maintaining a solid credit score is recommended no matter what, but it’s especially important when your score is being referenced to develop your auto insurance policy. Just as you investigate a car’s accident history before purchasing, insurers are investigating your payment history before doing business with you. The higher the risk, the higher the policy costs.
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.
Amica was the strongest company overall in our research, and ranked number two in J.D. Power’s 2018 customer satisfaction report — that means out of 44,622 surveyed drivers, it had the second highest satisfaction rating among more than 20 different companies. It also received the highest Consumer Reports rating among auto insurance providers — as it has every year since at least 1999. Consumer Reports even noted that an overwhelming number of customers reported “relatively few” problems during the claims process.
The type of vehicle you insure will impact your car insurance rate. Insuring a large truck or luxury vehicle is more expensive than insuring a sedan with standard trim. This is because collision and comprehensive coverage are designed to replace your vehicle in the event of an accident. The more it costs to replace your vehicle, the more it costs to insure it. Simple as that.
We have compiled all the car insurance requirements on a state-by-state basis so you can see at a glance what the minimum coverage is―and what other regulations you may need to comply with in your home state. This information can be especially useful when you are new to a state, or if you are a newly licensed driver. Choose your state below for car insurance requirements in your neck of the woods.
With conventional automobile insurance, your car is typically covered only up to its actual cash value, which is equivalent to its replacement cost minus depreciation. For example, if you purchased a brand-new Dodge Challenger in 2010 for $22,000 but got in an accident that totaled the car today, your insurance company may only reimburse you an actual cash value of approximately $14,000.
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 are controlling. Such terms and availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.
Geico is the insurance company with the gecko mascot and the funny name. Geico stands for Government Employees Insurance Company, a name that dates to when Geico only served employees of the federal government and people in the military. Now, however, anyone can get an insurance policy with them. Geico insures 27 million vehicles each year with 16 million policies, giving it a 13 percent market share. Geico is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, making it a stock insurance company.
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.
USAA stands for United Services Automobile Association. USAA is a bit different from other large insurance companies in that not just anyone can get a policy. To work with USAA, you need to be an active member of the military, a military veteran with an honorable discharge, a cadet or midshipman at a U.S. service academy, or an eligible family member. Eligible family members are spouses, widows, unremarried ex-spouses of USAA members, and children of USAA members. So, for example, if your grandfather served in World War II and had an honorable discharge, he could join USAA, as could your parents. Then you could join, and your children and spouse could join as well.
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.
Naturally, insurance companies use your driving past as an indicator of how you will drive in the future. It can be difficult to find affordable car insurance if you have a checkered driving history. While it’s very unlikely you will find an insurance company that won’t increase your premium after an at-fault accident or other violation, the degree of the rate increase will vary by company. Let’s compare rate increases for some common violations across major insurance companies.
During our research, we interacted with several independent agents who refused to give us a single detail about higher-priced plans. Despite our persistence, we were repeatedly asked, “Why would you want to consider something that costs more?” and we did not get the information we wanted. On the flip side, if your rates go up after committing to a policy, independent agents are best-suited to help you negotiate a lower price.
There are two other methods that come immediately to mind. First, you could pay your premiums annually or semi-annually. Some car insurers offer anywhere from a 3% to 10% discount for doing so. The other thing you can consider is increasing your deductible. That's the amount of money you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in, so you'd pay more in case of an accident, but your monthly premium would be lower.
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.
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.
Step 4: Narrow the field. As you examine each quote, go back online and read customer reviews of the company. If ratings matter to you, check rating companies like J.D. Power and A.M. Best. They can give you a good idea of what other customers have gone through when dealing with filing claims and customer service. Once you have looked over everything, narrow down your decisions. Eliminate one or more of your quotes.
It’s easy! Simply tell us what you believe the value to be, send us a few photos of your car, and our experts who have decades of experience will consult with you to reach the agreed value. Once determined, that value will never be reduced unless you want it to be. Given the rapid increases in collector car values we are experiencing, it is a good idea to periodically review and adjust the value to remain fully protected.
Also, we accept most cars and drivers. (Yes, that means you too!) We offer free auto insurance quotes for drivers that have had a history of driving violations or accidents (in most cases considered high-risk drivers), have let their insurance expire, or have less than perfect credit. We always offer the same flexible rate plans and outstanding customer service, regardless of your driving record.