Not all luck is good, and that’s precisely why you need to select your car insurance company carefully. When things go wrong unexpectedly, you shouldn’t have to worry your carrier will try to nickel and dime you on your claim. The insurance company you select will be your first line of defense against the financial fallout from an automobile accident.
Even if you’re a careful driver, you could still find the odds are against you when it comes to how likely it is you’ll someday be involved in an accident. In 2017, there were 6,452,000 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, resulting in 2.7 million injuries.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a reliable company with a proven track record on your side in your time of need. It can mean the difference between financial security or ruin if an accident happens to you.
How To Find the Best Car Insurance
If you’re new to car insurance or you’re not happy with your current provider, a few tips on how to select the best insurance will help you get on the right track.
First off, you need to become familiar with some common terms you’ll hear.
- Deductible: When you’re in a car accident, you have to meet your deductible, which is how much you’ll have to pay on your own before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest of your expenses. Deductibles can vary – with some companies you can set it at zero. It’s common to see deductibles set at $500 or $1,000.
- Premium: This is the amount you have to pay for your insurance coverage. You might choose to pay your premiums monthly, every six months, or once a year.
- Coverage: When you hear an agent talk about coverage, it means what kinds of losses would be allowable under their contract. It can also refer to the maximum of how much they’ll pay for a certain type of incident.
When you’re searching for a great insurance company though, you don’t want to take their word for it. You should do some legwork as well.
A good starting point is looking up your potential insurer’s financial health and complaint index with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners under their Consumer Insurance Search tool. That information can help you determine if a company will have the financial stability to cover a significant amount of losses if they have a bad year. You can also compare a particular company’s complaint index to a national average.
Additionally, you can look up a company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. When you do see online complaints or reviews about a business, it’s important to consider those with a critical eye because they can be misleading about the company’s overall service.
They might have millions of happy customers and only a small number of complaints. But what you see online might be overwhelmingly negative because happy customers don’t generally leave reviews. So while you can consider online reviews in your decision, you may want to give more weight to the NAIC and BBB ratings, as well as the coverage and quotes that the company is offering you.
The Top 8 Car Insurance Providers
We understand you have a busy, full life and that spending hours researching the best car insurance companies in the U.S. might not appeal to you. You still need to find a company you can rely on though – and that’s where we come in.
We’ve looked at all the information available and have considered all angles — the ratings, the financial health, how long each company has been in existence, customer service, and premiums — to identify the best eight U.S. car insurance companies.
We’ve also only looked at the companies that are available in most states and to most citizens. While USAA offers impressive automobile insurance rates, coverage, and customer service, it is only open to military members and their eligible family members. NJM, while it offers great auto insurance, only is open to residents in a few states. For that reason, we’ve left them off our list. If you meet the criteria for these companies though, they are worth a look.
Here are the companies that made our exclusive list:
- State Farm
- Farmers Insurance
- Amica Mutual Insurance Company
A Closer Look at the Top 8
- State Farm: State Farm earns top financial ratings, and its complaint index is lower than the national median. It’s best for people looking for affordable premiums with a fast payout on claims.
- GEICO: Although it gets good ratings and has decent customer service, GEICO’s biggest draw is low-cost premiums. It’s good for those concerned about saving money.
- Progressive: Progressive is financially strong and has average customer satisfaction. It’s best for those focused on low premiums.
- Farmers: A bit pricier, Farmers is for customers who don’t mind paying a bit more for quality. Farmers has great service, a strong financial position, and quickly handled claims.
- Nationwide: Its complaint index was under the national median in 2018, and it has a strong financial position. Nationwide is best for families with multiple plans they can bundle for a discount to make policies more affordable.
- Travelers: Travelers is best for drivers with great driving habits that land them the company’s potential 20-percent IntelliDrive discount. They process claims slowly though and can be pricier without discounts.
- Allstate: This company is best for outstanding drivers because of the money-saving rewards they offer — deductible savings and a bonus check for being accident-free. While their financial situation is strong, their complaint index is higher than the national median.
- Amica: Amica excels at customer satisfaction. Financially strong, they offer lower premiums. Plus, they reward loyalty with points you can redeem to save money. If you like to stay with a company long-term, this is a good pick.
Compare Quotes to Score the Right Deal
Before locking into a policy with an auto insurance company, you need to compare coverage and get multiple quotes to review.
While it might be tempting to select the company that has the cheapest sample quote on their website, that’s not a good way to decide. Their sample quotes will all use different circumstances and criteria, so you’ll be comparing apples to oranges.
You should contact each company and give them your specific details to see what the quotes are after they’ve plugged in your unique circumstances. Many factors go into determining what your quote will be, including:
- Age: If you’re under 25, you’ll likely pay more for your premium than you would if you were over that age. If you’re past the age of 65, your rates might also increase.
- Gender: Males usually pay more for auto insurance because they generally have more accidents.
- Marital status: If you’re married, you will likely pay less for insurance than a single person will.
- Location: Location, including your state and city, can influence how much you pay.
- What kind of vehicle you drive: Expensive cars or newer models will increase your insurance premiums.
- Driving record: The past three-to-five years of your record will be crucial toward deciding your premium.
- Discounts: If you bundle your other insurance policies, such as your home policy, with your auto insurance, you’ll typically get a discount. Many insurance companies offer discounts for other things, like passing a defensive driver course, as well. Check with the companies you’re considering to see what discounts they offer.
- How many miles you cover: Many insurance companies will give you a premium break if you don’t drive often or far. They may ask about your annual mileage to come to that determination.
- How many claims you’ve had: It stands to reason that if you’ve had a lot of past claims, insurance companies will charge you more.
- Deductible: If you have a high deductible, your premium will be lower. If you opt for a low deductible, your premium will be higher.
- How much coverage you want: If you elect for add-ons or higher amounts of liability coverage, you’ll pay more.
Because there are so many factors that go into a quote and each insurer may offer different discounts, getting multiple quotes from reliable companies with solid reputations will be the number one thing you can do to save money on your car insurance.