UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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The remarkable growth of online auto insurance services has streamlined the entire process of shopping for auto insurance. What used to eat up an entire day can now be managed in just under an hour. The increased convenience also means that we now have access to thousands more auto insurance companies than before. This can make choosing the right auto insurance company rather difficult.
In order to help you make your decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of, what we believe to be, the best criteria to judge an auto insurance provider by. We suggest you narrow down your choices by going through our list, cutting companies as you go.
Your primary concern should be obtaining adequate coverage for any situation. Not everyone can afford the bells and whistles that are available with some policies, but collision and comprehensive coverage should be top priority.
Don’t underestimate the amount of coverage you need. Take a deep analytical look at your needs and decide what you need. For help with this process, check out our article here.
Familiarize yourself with the different coverage types. You should learn what words like liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, etc. mean. For help with this, read our article explaining the types of insurance coverage.
This is the determining factor for almost everybody, and it should be yours too. If you can’t afford it, turn to another company. There is literally an auto insurance policy for every person and budget.
Don’t forget, you can easily offset the premium costs by selecting a higher deductible. By careful, however, you do not want to be stuck with a deductible you cannot afford in case of an accident.
To help you find auto insurance with the lowest price imaginable, we compiled a guide on finding budget auto insurance.
The influx of new auto insurance providers also caused a surge in the number of fly-by-night insurance providers. You can check insurance complaints in your state to determine if the company you choose is one you will want to do business with.
Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family if they are familiar with the company in question. This is usually one of your best sources for information. You can also ask for suggestions, you may discover a company you didn’t know about previously.
I’ve personally come across the best deals in auto insurance and other purchases through my friends and family. I highly recommend this tactic. If you don’t have any friends, or you don’t trust their judgement, you can always read reviews online.
4) Claims Service
How an auto insurance company performs when filing a claim can make or break a company. The amount of money you are paying for coverage warrants the best of service.
When the day comes that you have to file a claim, a slow or unresponsive claims agent is the last thing you want to deal with.
Again, asking friends and family for recommendations is the best way to gauge this characteristic, but if this isn’t an option for you, you should check out JD Power and Associates’ Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
To set themselves apart from the competition many companies are offering free bonuses to entice potential costumers. Bonuses such as “accident forgiveness” can really help you out in your time of need. Many insurance companies also offer bonuses for good drivers or for drivers who do not file claims. Check with your insurance company to see if any of these bonuses are available for you.
Additional Things You Should Look For In An Insurance Company
6) Check for Other Insurance Products and Bundling Opportunities
Does your prospective insurance company have other insurance products? If so, then you may find bundling opportunities. You may be able to save a considerable amount of money by bundling your home insurance, life insurance, and other policies with a single provider. Some car insurance companies specialize exclusively in car insurance, while other insurance companies offer a wide selection of insurance products.
7) General Customer Service
Some insurance companies will file your claim quickly – but they won’t have good customer service otherwise. Call your prospective car insurance company. Or, download the insurance company’s mobile app. Speak with an insurance salesperson. Gauge how responsive they are to your questions. Ask hard questions and see how honest the representative is. Can you understand the representative? Did you have to wait on hold for very long? Remember: companies might make it easy to file a claim, but make it hard to get in touch otherwise. Is the insurance company available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Does their mobile app make getting in touch easy?
8) Look for Discounts – Like Military or AAA Discounts
Some car insurance companies are particularly friendly with discounts, while others hardly give any discounts. A company like USAA, for example, is best-suited for members of the military and their immediate families, because of the steep military discount. Meanwhile, other insurance companies offer discounts for AAA members, veterans, nurses, first responders, and more. Make sure you pick an insurance company that gives you a discount, if applicable.
9) Check an Insurance Company’s Financial Stability
You might be tempted to pick the car insurance company with the cheapest quote. However, this isn’t always a good idea: if a car insurance company goes bankrupt, then you might be left without coverage. Car insurance companies can go bankrupt when they expose themselves to too much risk relative to their insurance pool. Check an auto insurance company’s financial stability online today using the A.M. Best search form, which allows you to check the financial status of major companies in the United States.
Finding the right car insurance company can be tough. Wherever you are in the United States, you have dozens of major car insurance companies to choose from – including larger nationwide providers and smaller, more regional providers. By comparing quotes online today, you can choose the ideal car insurance company for your unique needs and coverage while still paying a competitive price. Start shopping online today simply by entering your ZIP code in our car insurance comparison form.