How To Find The Best Car Insurance Company For You Or Your Family
Getting the best car insurance for you and your family’s requires a highly individualized selection process. The best car insurance company depends not just on the kind of coverage and prices you want, but also which insurers recognize your unique advantages and challenges as a driver. What’s best for you and your family can also vary depending on where you live and what you drive.
Follow these tips to find the best auto insurance solution for you:
Step 1. Assess your profile
This is actually two steps because you can’t know exactly what details and features to look for until you know what car insurance companies care about. So start your search for the best car insurance by filling out a few online forms for insurance quotes from major providers. This will mainly help you identify the questions various insurers ask so you can figure out what qualities distinguish you and your family as drivers.
If you are insuring more than one driver, you need to evaluate the profiles for everyone to be insured including children who are just starting or are about to start driving. It can also be helpful because it offers baseline quotes so you know the cost of and options for straightforward coverage.
While you’re assessing your profile is also the time to think about specific benefits you might be eligible for, such as for being a member of the armed services, working in a specific industry, or belonging to a specific club or organization such as a fraternity or sorority.
Step 2. Figure out how much coverage you want
Based on your risk adversity and state coverage level requirements, determine exactly what coverage options you want and at what levels.
Liability coverage is required by almost every state at set minimum levels and whenever possible, you should exceed these levels. Consider your need for options like comprehensive and collision and the deductible levels you are most comfortable with. Would you and your family benefit from an option like emergency roadside or towing assistance?
Especially consider personalized needs such as if you require special coverage for an uncommonly old or expensive vehicle, if you have multiple types of insurance you want to purchase and bundle, or if you have a driver in your family (perhaps you) with a specific blemish that will cost more. With the info from steps one and two, you can easily embark on the next step…
Step 3. Shop around
Get multiple quotes and talk to multiple agents. This step can actually cover two important elements. First, you can get a good cross-section of what insurance is going to cost you. In the process, you can experience what it will be like to deal with various agents in a range of circumstances and this can give you a sense of how it will be to deal with them when you’re in a frustrated state of mind such as after an accident or when you forget about your renewal date approaching.
When getting quotes and speaking to prospective agents, consider three things:
- Whether the coverage itself matches your needs
- What other features of the policy do or don’t appeal to you (such as length of policy term or payment options)
If you are highly risk averse and very reliant on your vehicle, you may want to include looking at reliable options for an affordable rental car in the event your car needs a repair covered by insurance.
If you don’t have a lot of free capital, you might need a company that processes claims very quickly so you can take your car to an authorized dealer and have the claim processed and paid sooner. If you’re cash-flow poor, you may also want to avoid insurers that require you to pay an claims-related expenses up-front and await a reimbursement payment, as opposed to insurers who pay claims directly on your behalf.
Consider providers other than big names, such as regional providers like the Automobile Club of Southern California or Erie Insurance. Also consider those insurers with special affiliations like USAA car insurance. Many people find better customer service, more peace of mind, and savings when they can identify a niche characteristic and find a provider that caters to that niche.
Step 4. Check reviews
Although online review sites are notoriously suspect, your state’s Department of Insurance website and J.D. Power & Associates offer two highly respected, reliable sources for customer reviews and unbiased evaluations of the quality of service and value for the money you can expect from any prospective insurer.
Take the companies at the top of your list and run them through your state’s Insurance Division or Office of Insurance Commissioner to see if they have any complaints filed against them or actions taken for misleading or unethical practices. See the complaint ratio and if your state’s sites allow, read some of the comments or complaints.
Run your top choices through the search functions for J.D. Power or even for Consumer Reports and see what you find.
Friends and family are also great resources for getting referrals for things like claims and customer service experiences for any given car insurance provider.
Finding the best car insurance for you and anyone else you want to insure can be daunting. Just keep in mind that you can and should shop around every few years so you aren’t stuck with your decision forever. When in doubt about a decision or comparison, just ask an agent point-blank for the terms of the plan and the price. If they won’t give you all the hard facts without any window dressing, you don’t want to deal with that company anyway.
About the Author: Jeffrey Davidson is a writer and consultant. He has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, working with lines ranging from personal, business and property-casualty. He currently writes on insurance and related topics for Reply!. You can find his article on ways to get the best car insurance for your money.