“A huge percentage of people never shop their car insurance needs. Auto insurance is something nobody thinks about until they have an accident,” Brad says. The best company for you is the one that provides you with appropriate recommendations, products and prices, has a record of outstanding customer service, and the financial capacity to meet its obligations to you and your beneficiaries when they come due.
These are the things to consider when making your decision.
What Kind of Coverage Do You Actually Need
Before you can get a quote from the insurance company, you need to decide on the kind of coverage you need. While every state has minimum car insurance requirements, basic coverage is usually just liability insurance. For added protection you may want to consider collision or comprehensive coverage, as well as underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance.
What Deductible Should You Choose
Depending on the nature of the accident, you may have to weigh the pros and cons of either paying your deductible or covering the damage yourself out-of-pocket while forgoing an insurance claim. While your deductible can be a big expense at the time, you have to consider whether filing a claim will raise your rates going forward — resulting in you paying more over time to your insurance company. Knowing the implications of paying a deductible versus out-of-pocket could save you more money in the long run.
How Will My Insurance Rate be Determined
There are two factors to determine what you pay for auto insurance. The first is underwriting and the second factor is rating. Insurance companies underwrite to assess the risk associated with an applicant, group the applicant with other similar risks and decide if the company will accept the application. Based on the results of the underwriting process, the rating assigns a price based on what the insurer believes it will cost to assume the financial responsibility for the applicant’s potential claim. The single greatest influence on the rating process is claim frequency.
Other Factors That Affect Your Rate
- Driving record
- Geographic territory
- Gender and age
- Marital status
- Prior insurance coverage
- Vehicle use
- Make and model of your vehicle
Are You Eligible for Discounts
Discounts are awarded because the insurance company sees you as a lower risk. Here are some discounts you should look for: multiple vehicles, driver education courses, good student, safety devices, anti-theft devices, low mileage, good driver/renewal, auto/home package and dividends. Not all states offer all discounts, so check with your agent to see if you qualify.
Types of Discounts
- Low mileage
- Winter storage discounts
- Professional, university degree, occupational or association discounts
- Good driver discounts
- Environmentally friendly discounts
- Alarm or tracking device discounts
- Retiree discounts
- Student discounts
How Should You Shop Before You Buy
When asking for price quotes, it is important that you provide the same information to each agent or company. The agent will usually request the following information: description of your vehicle, its use, your driver’s license number, the number of drivers in your household, the coverages and limits you want. Brad says, “Ask your neighbors, relatives and friends for recommendations on insurance companies and agents. Remember to shop around to get the best price and service.”
Why Should You Read Everything Carefully
“It’s very common for clients to have no idea about the type of coverage they have,” Brad says. You should be aware that an auto insurance policy is a legal contract. It is written so your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the insurance company, are stated clearly. When you purchase auto insurance, you will receive a policy. You should read that policy and make certain you understand its contents. If you have questions about your insurance policy, contact your insurance agent for clarification.
Best and Worst Car Insurance Companies in the Nation
The most recent survey, conducted between 2014 and 2018, asked more than 90,000 readers about their satisfaction with the claims process, the cost of premiums and the overall customer experience with a number of insurers. Here are the winners and losers:
Consumer Reports: 10 TOP-Rated Auto Insurers
- USAA Group
- NJM Insurance Group
- Amica Mutual Group
- PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
- Automobile Club of Southern California
- Erie Insurance Group
- California Casualty Group
- Chubb INA Group
- West Bend Mutual Insurance Company
- Electric Insurance Company
Consumer Reports: 10 LOWEST-Rated Auto Insurers
- Esurance Property and Casualty Insurance Company
- Nationwide Group
- Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies
- Allstate Insurance Group
- Kemper PC Companies
- MetLife Auto & Home Group
- Farmers Insurance Group
- Horace Mann Insurance Group
- Hanover Insurance Group Property & Casualty Companies
- National General Companies
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.