Compare popular auto insurance companies' financial stability and claims satisfaction ratings to better understand the quality of service they will provide. Claims satisfaction — measured by J.D. Power — is ranked 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 running from "Superior" to "Poor" — determines an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet its policy and contractual obligations.
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.
Depending on which companies you consider, you will have to decide whether to do business with an insurance agent or to purchase a policy online. If you value face-to-face relationships and personal service, it’s hard to beat an agent. But all agents aren’t created equal. Some are “captive,” meaning they sell car insurance for only one company. Others are “independent,” meaning they can sell car insurance for multiple companies. Here are a few things you should consider for each scenario.
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.
Virginia has a 10-year lookback period for most offenses, though subsequent offenses committed within five years may lead to harsher penalties. Penalties are also enhanced for high or extremely high BAC levels or for committing a DUI offense while transporting a passenger who is 17 years old or younger. All DUI offenders must report to an Alcohol Safety Action Program for screening and review. There may be a required attendance in classes or treatment before license reinstatement.
Look at cheap car insurance companies and see if they can provide free perks like our 24-hour claims service, an 800 number with a real person at the other end, our On Your Side Review (a free consultation to see if you have the insurance you need and the discounts you deserve) and Nationwide®AutoWatch®, which lets you monitor your covered auto repair online.
When it comes to auto insurance companies, the best ones are the most versatile in their coverage options and services. To compile our list of the best car insurance companies, we scoured the most reputable industry sources to find details about customer service, shopping experience, and more. Since the best car insurance companies aren’t always available nationwide, you can also take advantage of our quotes tool to find the best coverage available in your area:
Claims and Price Satisfaction: We looked at J.D. Power’s 2018 Auto Claims Satisfaction Reports, Insure.com’s Best Car Insurance Companies for 2018, and Consumer Reports’ 2017 Car Insurance Ratings to get a bird’s-eye view of the industry across the nation. We also conducted a survey of 100 insured drivers who had filed a claim within the past 12 months.
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Finally, remember how insurance companies make money? There’s a slight chance that, through mismanagement or a sudden influx of claims, your car insurance company could be unable to meet its financial obligations. That means that they wouldn't be able to pay out your claim, or the insurance company could go out of business – leaving you uninsured and vulnerable. Make sure any car insurance company you buy from is in good fiscal health, so you don’t get left out in the cold.
Insurance comparison websites can be further broken down into sites that provide real-time insurance quotes versus those that provide estimated ones. Estimated quotes are derived from historic data and are often out of date; to get the most accurate information you should use a site that provides real-time quotes generated by the insurance companies.
Unfortunately, Liberty Mutual gave us our most expensive quote at $194 per month. It has a modest deductible range of $50 to $1,000, but there are no higher deductible options for those hoping to lower their premiums. One concession to this is the Deductible Fund endorsement, which lowers your collision deductible by $100 every year you go without an accident (up to $500). Liberty Mutual does also offer several discounts to bring premium costs down, including multi-policy, multi-car, safe driver, alternative energy, good student and new address discounts.
Grundy insures most types of vehicles 25 years old and older. We also insure modern muscle cars and exotics of all years. Not only that, we insure modified vehicles with higher performance engines, suspensions, and modified bodies. We understand custom vehicle valuations very well, and in fact Grundy is the largest insurer of hot rods in the USA!
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.
Auto-Owners Insurance is available in 26 states located primarily in the South and Midwest. It uses an agent-only model that promotes customer relationships, so if you prefer talking to a human being, Auto-Owners is a great choice. The company also scored a nearly perfect score in J.D. Power’s 2018 satisfaction report, falling short only in the realm of its rental car experience.
InsuranceQuotes is a free, online comparison tool that offers quoting processes for auto, life, health, homeowners, and other types of insurance. The site also has articles on insurance-related subjects and provides information on auto insurance by state, including average rates. It is is rated 1 out of 10, and has 9 user reviews on Resellerratings.
Step 3: Review what you found. If you are able, print out the different quotes you obtained. Make sure all the information is accurate and comparable. See if there are any differences with added no-cost features. These may be the ultimate thing that you base your decision on. Also, check on the policy exclusions (items that are not covered under the policy).
Our Travelers quote fell in the middle of the pack price-wise, but you may be able to secure a lower rate by taking advantage of the company’s 12 discounts — the second-most offered by any of our top picks. You can save for being a homeowner, being continuously insured, or enrolling in Travelers’ IntelliDrive program. There are also special discounts for students and affinity groups. Overall, Travelers is one of the highest-ranking insurance companies out there, both in terms of a straightforward claims process and variety of ways you can save.
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.
When shopping for affordable car insurance quotes, come in with a good idea of your vehicle's value via Kelley Blue Book and NADA. If you determine your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you need to save money, consider raising your deductible. Because your car insurance deductible and premium are inversely related, you can lower your bill by raising your deductible. Looking at the chart below, you can see how your premium is affected by adjusting your deductible.