We all know that auto insurance is important. In fact, it’s mandatory, that is unless you are from New Hampshire or Virginia. Although you can get away without auto insurance, in these states, you are still liable for damages up to $ 50,000 if you hit someone or damage their property when driving. That explains why more than 90 percent of the residents of these states have auto insurance.
Ironically, despite the resounding agreement that auto insurance is crucial, only a few people know the basics of auto insurance. In fact, according to a survey by the Nation’s leading Auto Insurance market comparison place, The Zebra, most Americans wouldn’t score a “C” on a basic test about car insurance.
The best car insurance deal is not just about the lowest premium, it’s also the coverage that takes care of risks you are most likely to encounter, and is not a hassle to purchase or process a claim. Having insufficient coverage can put you in a potentially financially devastating situation.
But insurance is also complicated. There are diverse types of coverage, diverse state legal requirements, and multiple insurance companies, each with its own unique method of assessing risk and determining rates.
So, we’ve simplified the search and helped you find out exactly how you can assess different auto insurance offers to select the best car insurance deal.
What Kind of Coverage do I need?
For starters, you need auto insurance that is mandatory in your state. Most states require liability coverage which covers anyone hurt or any death due to a crash you have caused. Also, most states require that you get coverage for any damage you (or any other person driving your vehicle) may cause to another party’s vehicle or their property.
However, you may want to go beyond the mandatory coverage and include optional covers that are beneficial.
Collision cover in your auto insurance package takes care of the costs of repair to your vehicle whenever you are involved in an accident no matter whose fault it is. However, the cover often carries along a deductible. A deductible is a preset figure which you agree with the insurer to pay before the insurance company meets their part of their bargain if there’s loss or damage.
Collision cover works best on a newer car with a higher value. However, if the car is much older, with a lower value, say $ 4,000, an annual premium of $ 200 and a deductible of say $1,000 you’ll not save much. You’ll get a payment of only $ 2,800 in case your car gets wasted in a crash which isn’t much. However, if your car’s value is about $ 30,000, you’ll get a payment of $ 28,800 factoring in the deductible and premium.
A Comprehensive cover, on the other hand, meets the cost of damages to your car arising from incidents that are not related to automobile accidents such as vandalism, theft, fire or natural calamities. However, this coverage carries a deductible; and just like the collision cover, the value of your vehicle is what will determine whether it’s worth purchasing it.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection is popularly known as UM and UIM. You may need to check the requirements by your state because these types of covers are mandatory in some states. The cover essentially meets the cost of repairs if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or an under-insured driver. They are generally less expensive than collision and comprehensive covers and carry no deductible. However, most insurance companies place a limit to this type of cover. You can find out the different limits by comparing on The Zebra
A Personal Injury Protection covers any medical expenses and lost income if someone hits you. Also, the cover will apply even if you were riding in someone else’s car, so it is not vehicle specific.
Working out an Ideal Figure (what to consider)
If your vehicle is new, it goes without saying that a collision and a comprehensive cover is crucial. Even with the deductible clause, these covers are indispensable for any new car owner. The underinsured and uninsured motorist covers provide a safety net from all those crazy drivers out there, and besides, they are inexpensive and mandatory in several states. So, there’s no escaping that. The personal injury protection cover is a pretty important cover to have. Even if you already have a disability policy, go ahead and include the cover even if it’s just the bare minimum.
Once you’ve settled on the coverage, compare different quotes for your vehicle. The Zebra and Bestautoinsurance.com insurance comparison is an excellent way to get started. After that, you can work out an average from the three to five lowest quotes.
Your vehicle model is an essential determinant of how much the insurance company will charge. If it’s a pricey car, you’ll part with more cash for comprehensive and collision coverage. However, be aware that the insurance company will only pay the market value in the event of loss or irreparable damage. There could be a disparity between your expectations and the actual amount that you receive.
Also, high-value vehicles attract higher insurance costs because they often have high-cost parts which are expensive to repair and drive up the cost of the claims.
If you seldom drive and want to minimize the cost of auto insurance, you may consider companies like Metromile which will give you insurance quotes based on how much you drive.
Looking for a Good Auto Insurance Company
Now that you know a little more about auto insurance and what affects the cost of your cover, you need to narrow down to a good insurance company. Below is a criterion that you can use to identify an ideal company.
What do Your Family and Friends Recommend?
Charity begins at home, as well as good business. With over 90 percent of all US households owning a vehicle, it’s highly likely that you’ll get a reference for an auto insurance provider from family or a close friend. You’ll come across stories of excellent deals in auto insurance that later turned into complains of horrible coverage and support. Also, you’ll hear stories of amazing support, service and claims processing.
In auto insurance, just like any other business, real experiences by clients are significant; and there’s no better place to get such reviews than trusted friends or family.
Look for a Company with Stellar Business Rating
Whenever you consult family or friends about auto insurance it’s probably because you reckon that you don’t know much about auto insurance but would like to get the best deal. Just like several other vehicle owners (including your family and friends mentioned above), you could ignore some insurance companies because they are little known.
Whereas such a move makes some sense (you only want to deal with known and reputable firms), a little research wouldn’t hurt; especially when you have a professional to guide you.
An ideal insurance company should be able to meet claims payments comfortably even when hit by several claims. That means that the company should not just have a good image but also have stellar business performance.
Check out the company’s business ratings from authorizes such as Better Business Bureau who give companies ratings from A+ (highest) to F (lowest) based on their business performance. You can also check out a company’s rating on A M Best who is more specific to the insurance industry and gives a global outlook.
Look for a Company That is Efficient in Processing Claims
If you’ve never been involved in an auto accident, fast processing of an insurance claim may not be at the peak of your desires. However, the efficiency of claims processing becomes crucial when you need to use your insurance coverage.
For starters, look out for insurance companies that have a reputation for slow processing especially for simple damage claims. Ideally, such claims should be processed and approved effortlessly. Preferably, the entire process should be automated and approved online.
Look for a Company Reputed for Excellent Customer Satisfaction
Close to the opinions of your friends and family is how an auto insurance company performs in terms of customer satisfaction ratings.
Online review is an excellent place to start. But you won’t get a comprehensive picture of how customers rate the company and you are likely to get confused by the divergent views. However, you can complement the information from online reviews with professionally tested customer satisfaction ratings such as the annual customer satisfaction ratings by JD Powers and Associates.
Check for Companies with personalized Service
Auto insurance may seem like a vast industry with large insurance companies taking center stage. However, it is not a “one size fits all” product for the client.
You’ll know how personalized your insurer is whenever your policy comes up for renewal.
A good auto insurance company personalizes its relationship with the clients as well as prospects. For instance, the insurance rep may ask personal questions that may affect your premium as well as the kind of coverage that may suit you.
A Company that’s Competitive in its Pricing
Lastly, but most relevant, the company should be competitive in pricing. This doesn’t mean that they should offer cheap products. In most cases, cheap insurance is often cheap in terms of quality of coverage and also low in support and customer satisfaction.
Competitive pricing simply means you get the most value for your money.
If you are finding it hard to choose an auto insurance company, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 car insurance companies for you to pick from. However, if you’ve already picked the types of cover that you need, evaluated the quotes and examined the companies, you’ve just one last step to get the best car insurance deal:
Negotiating for the Best Car Insurance Deals
Before you approach the insurer, you need to already know how much coverage you need and be clear on your current plan.
Then you can shop around and find out what the best companies have on offer. With an offer at hand, check for or ask for discounts. Remember a good auto insurance company includes discounts as part of its pricing structure.
Examples of discounts include when you bundle your auto insurance along with other types of insurance needs such as homeowners. Other companies offer discounts on basis of age, prudence in driving, or through customer loyalty programs.
Conclusion, Why is it Important to Have a Good Car Insurance
First of all, it is the law! At least in 50 states and other US territories, it is illegal to drive without auto insurance. Initially, auto insurance may seem like an uncomfortable hit on your budget. However, the penalties for driving without auto insurance would cause a deeper wedge in your wallet. So, start checking out rates and pick out an auto insurer.
Auto insurance helps you to safeguard your wallet from unexpected shocks and save thousands of dollars should an accident occur. And if you’re thinking that “I’m a safe driver, I don’t need auto insurance,” you’re wrong because the best car insurance deal covers you even when your car is stolen, damaged by floods or vandalized.
Here are the 10 best car insurance companies according to a poll done by bestautoinsurance.com