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.
Third-party claims occur with less frequency in no-fault car insurance states, where you first look to your own insurance company to recover, regardless of who is actually at fault for an accident or injury. Generally, no-fault states have mandatory minimum insurance requirements, meaning that every driver carries a statutorily dictated minimum amount of insurance. If, after you’ve made the appropriate claims to your own insurance company, your claim meets your state's monetary threshold or "serious injury" threshold for stepping outside of no-fault, you may be able to initiate a third-party claim.
Let's use the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as an example to illustrate the differences between collision and comprehensive. Within that storm, let's consider two events that might have happened: 1) a heavy tree branch fell on your car, or 2) you swerved to avoid a falling tree branch and wound up crashing into a tree. In the first event, you had no control over when or why a tree branch would fall on your car. This kind of accident would get reimbursed under your comprehensive policy. In the second situation, you were driving the car and ultimately swerved into the tree, which makes it a collision, and collision insurance therefore pays for the damages. Events like the hypothetical ones stated above are why it's important to differentiate between the two types of coverage.
The cheapest car insurance, period, will likely carry the minimum coverage required in your state. In most states, this is liability insurance only, which covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Some states also require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which pay for your injuries or damage if an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance.
The biggest downside to Erie is that it is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. As well, Erie still relies strongly on its agent network; which isn't always a bad thing. A strong agent network is usually key to ensuring a smooth claims process. If you want to quickly buy car insurance without speaking to anyone though, Erie may not be the company for you. While you can start the process online, you ultimately will have to speak with an agent to finalize your quote. Erie will be ideal for any customers within its market, who do not mind putting in some extra effort to get quality and cheap auto insurance.
One of the most common third-party claims in no-fault states is the “mini-tort” claim. In no-fault states such as Michigan, “mini-tort” laws allow you to claim a small, statutorily-mandated amount of money from “the other driver’s” insurance company. Most no-fault insurers will require you to collect the mini-tort amount to offset whatever they are obligated to pay. Another common instance of a third-party claim in a no-fault state is an employment-related claim. Injuries or damages sustained in the course of your job or in a company vehicle often result in third-party claims.
You can then select from third-party only cover, third-party fire and theft cover or comprehensive cover to filter the results. It’s also a good idea to filter and compare by monthly and annual costs, because a monthly payment cycle could see you pay more than you might with a one-off yearly payment – once you factor in the interest that gets added on to your repayments.
Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features on this page are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.