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Insurance companies protect their profits by charging different people different rates for their premiums, based on the risk they represent – that is, how likely they are to get in an accident. Drivers in high-risk groups, which include inexperienced drivers and drivers with lots of tickets or previous crashes, will pay more for car insurance because they’re more likely to make a claim. The same is true for people who live in areas where their cars are more at risk to things like theft or natural disasters. People with expensive or hard-to-fix cars will also pay more because they’re likely to make more-expensive claims.
The type of car you drive matters. If you drive a vehicle that is listed as high theft, or more likely to be involved in an accident, expect to pay higher premiums. Even cars that have collision protection can actually drive up the price due to the cost of repairs. Other things that will drive the cost of repairs up is after-market installs. Things like rims, spoilers, and exterior lighting can be costly to repair. You will want to make sure that you have the right coverage to cover damage to after factory installs.
The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
We employed a methodology similar to that in our review of the best auto insurance. To start, we found the largest insurers in the state by market share. After verifying their financial strength with independent ratings agencies like A.M. Best and Moody’s, we compared their coverage limits, endorsements, and discounts to get a sense of which companies offer the most policy customization. We also took customer opinion into account by comparing scores from the latest J.D. Power and Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys. Then, we put each company’s customer service to the test by calling up local agents and getting quotes.
"After being with my insurance company for just shy of 10 years, and after having shopped at companies that everyone around my hometown swore were the cheapest (including unadvertised "bargain" companies and giant comparison shopping brands), I decided to shop here at Cheap Car Insurance and ended up saving just under $1,100 off my annual insurance bill, which is a lot more than I ever could have imagined anyone saving, especially me, an avid online shopper and extreme bargain hunter [...]