Finding a good balance between cost and reliability of a policy is the key to full satisfaction. There are two points to finding the right auto insurance company for each individual applicant’s circumstances. First of all, every motorist has a totally different combination of driving and claim history, financial position, vehicle, listed drivers and zip code affecting rates. Secondly each insurer has different rating criteria, which favors certain drivers.
Also, everyone reacts to the same set of information differently that leads to independent policy decisions and at times they may not even be based on reason. Personal and political views, background, education and many other factors influence motorists’ choices. Yet, there are common points to consider when choosing a vehicle insurance company for each requirement. Here are the key considerations;
Reliability & Financial Security
Most automobile insurers are licensed in multiple states. This means that they pass scrutiny from each state with different legislations to be allowed to conduct business. Many of them are about hundred years old businesses with substantial funds and expertise. Also, should they suffer a large and sudden loss that they could not foresee they get help from re-insurance.
Furthermore, each state charges a premium to each insurer licensed within their borders. These funds are accumulated in a pool known as insurance safety nets. Each state would do its best to compensate policyholders from these funds should one of the participants fail. They try to pay all the claims and return unused portions of the premiums back to customers.
Of course, you never know what happens and you should do your best to make sure the car insurance company you choose is financially secure before agreeing to sign up with them. There are firms that study financial position and customer satisfaction of carriers and report. One of those reports lists top 10 automobile insurance companies for claims. There are other parameters like size and competitiveness. And state insurance departments publish complaint details on each company as well to help motorists to make the right choice.
First of all, you do not have to accept any quote you have been given if you are not fully satisfied with anything. You are in the driving seat when it comes to making the final decision. So, you should not hesitate to look under the hood and see who offers affordable rates and overall comfort for you.
There can be large premium gaps between not only two apparently similar auto insurers but even between a company and its subsidiary. For example, Esurance is backed by Allstate and mainly operates online. If you get a quote from those two for exactly the same driver, car and coverage you are likely to get different prices.
When this is the case, we can conclude that there are factors other than the security offered by the carrier that determine premiums. Underwriters’ willingness to accept certain risks, desire to be competitive or conservative and current portfolio are some of those factors. When they are happy with the current position, they are not willing to lose profit margins so that they can win over a few more new customers.
It is all about finding the right company which will offer you the best overall discounts and the lowest quote as a result. Here is how you should go about finding the cheapest car insurance company for your circumstances.
- Always Shop around: Getting a few quotes from a few carriers is probably the most powerful tool a vehicle owner can have to sort large numbers of companies and eliminate them to just one because it allows a quick price comparison.
Motorists can start with the top 5 vehicle insurers to see how much the premiums can be different among them even though each of these is as good as the other. This goes to show that price fluctuations have very little to do with reliability or security of the provider. Just check the prices before making any judgement.
- Maximize Discounts and Minimize Surcharges: Essentially finding affordable auto insurance is about finding all the discounts you can qualify for. Proposal forms will help you on this by asking the relevant questions. Each answer may qualify you for another discount or lead to surcharges. You may have strong and weak points and paying close attention to them may help you stir towards insurers who are more lenient to your imperfections and more rewarding for your strong points.
- Look at Different Combinations and Alternatives: There are so many different ways of insuring automobiles and you can find the best way for you by trying different combinations and seeing the cost for each of them. For example, you can try to bring all the vehicles in a household with one and see if they would offer a good discount for multiple policies. You can also see if they would offer you multiple line discounts if you include home as well. You can increase deductibles to see how much it will make a difference. There are a few more of them you can try and test before settling for one brand.
- Don’t Be too Trusting: Most people assume brokers and agents will always check and offer the best rates at each renewal. But this is proven not to be the case many times. They are known to have a way of penalizing trusting policyholders who don’t shop. In the same way, don’t let the agent get too comfortable with you. As soon as they realize that you aren’t going to leave, they feel they don’t need to work hard to keep the business. In fact, they can even try to make a little bit more money from you. Now you can get a few quotes of your own online just like any broker or agent. Take advantage of these platforms.
Quality of Service
Digital solutions like serving policyholders efficiently through websites increased the choices motorists have. If you are a person who prefers the convenience, speed and impersonal nature of the Internet and a savvy operator online, you may be happy with an online only auto insurance company, which may be cheaper as well. Otherwise, you may look for companies with high street agents.
Some motorists may be less concerned with the price of a policy and more interested in quality of service. They would probably go with brands they know. Many vehicle owners choose their insurers based on association. For example, many drivers like AAA because they are already very satisfied with their roadside recovery service and confident that the company would be very helpful if they ever have claims. They choose the Hartford because of its association with over 50 or USAA because they are from the military.
Car insurance companies essentially sell a promise to be there when you need it. So, you need to trust and be comfortable with a provider. Luckily, there are many choices available today. You can get quotes, buy a policy, communicate with the carrier and make a claim online, by phone and through an agent. Also, companies are large, small, local, nationwide, online only or with a wide national agency network.
There are many economical and all-round solid auto insurance companies. However, there is a scaremongering going on in the market. Most agents would prefer to try and put motorists off better-priced packages instead of competing with them. But most motorists are capable of separating a cheap and good policy from useless but low-cost one.
You need to take advantage of having a competitive and efficient marketplace for most things in most regions to find some savings easily. It is the same here and you have nearly hundred car insurers in each state competing to sell policies. That is why it may be a wise move to eliminate the ones that are out of your budget first by getting a few quotes. Then, you can apply the other measures discussed above to pick the best auto insurance company for your needs.