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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Conducting an auto insurance quote comparison is essential when you want to find a low-cost policy from a highly reputable car insurer. By taking the time to compare premium quotes and coverage options, you can look at the big picture and select a value-priced plan that has fair pricing.
Comparison shopping is a must, but many times consumers are not sure which factors should be a priority and which factors should be secondary in your decision to buy a policy.
If you believe that price should be put first, read this guide and learn why you should put your protection first and price second.
Use our FREE tool above to start searching for and comparing car insurance quotes instantly!
Why No Consumer Should Put Price Before Everything
Buying insurance as a consumer is not the same as buying a consumer good at the store. One of the worst mistakes that you can make is selecting a policy and an insurance company on price alone.
Owning a car can be a very big responsibility that gets expensive, but saving money on the ownership costs by cutting corners and buying a basic policy is not the answer.
By choosing to look at only pricing and not coverage options and limits, you risk leaving yourself and your family vulnerable if you are ever in a situation where you need to file a claim.
The entire purpose of carrying personal automobile insurance is to protect both your finances and your family, and paying those premiums for a policy from an insurer that will not be there for you defeats the purpose.
You will be left to pay for your own damages, you may have to pay for third-party damages, and recovering from a loss can feel nearly impossible.
You may only need minimum liability limits to legally drive, but it is a myth that minimum limits will protect you.
You will not regret building a policy with optional coverage types and higher limits if you are in a traffic collision or if someone hits your vehicle and fails to leave a note.
What You Should Consider Before You Consider Pricing
You need to know what to put before pricing before you can start to conduct a comparison of cheap quotes. It is more than just a single factor that you will need to look into before you create a list of reputable carriers to trust.
Here are the most important factors every vehicle owner needs to research before they are truly ready to choose an insurance company that has bargain pricing:
Would you trust a company that was not financially healthy to pay for repairs to your car or liability damages? Most drivers would steer clear of a company that they found out was on the verge of filing bankruptcy, but the problem is that many consumers just do not know that they have access to the financial records of all licensed insurers.
In the finance industry, any company that offers services and products to the public has to file their statements and records so that consumers can protect themselves.
The records may be difficult to understand, but they are available every time they are filed.
To make assessing the financial health of a company easier, there are legitimate consumer agencies that grade insurers based on creditworthiness and financial strength.
A.M. Best and Moody’s are two of the most popular agencies that do this today. Access the rating charts, and then see how insurers in your area rank on the list. If companies are weak or are at-risk of going insolvent, they should be avoided.
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
When you call your carrier to ask questions, make changes or file a claim, you want the representative to do whatever they can to make you feel comfortable. Insurance may be advertised as a product, but it is also a service.
This is why satisfaction ratings are important. An insurer cannot be completely honest and show positive and negative testimonials, but third-party agencies like JD Power and Associates will.
This agency conducts studies to find out what the company is succeeding at and what the company needs to improve upon.
Find any company you are interested on the list, and see what customers who have spent their money with the carrier have to see.
Official Complaint Records
You should always check your state’s department of insurance to verify that the company has an active license filed to do business in the state. Some insurers will sell insurance in states where they are not licensed to make profits.
The problem with buying coverage through these companies is that the department cannot protect you when you have an issue.
State departments are in charge overseeing the companies doing business within the state lines. They can only accept and investigate complaints that are filed against insurers with a license that are held to a certain standard.
The complaints filed, whether founded or unfounded, will be on the company’s permanent public record. Be sure to review the complaint index, read the findings, and avoid the companies that do bad business and do not live up to their obligations.
Some companies only offer basic insurance and others offer a long list of products. If you want more than just the standard policy and you want to bundle coverage, you should find an insurer with the lines of insurance that you need and the added features you expect.
If the company does not have property insurance or online servicing options, scratch them off of the list.
How to Choose the Right Coverage Limits and Options
Now that you have qualified the insurer, the next step is to qualify the policy that you are building. The last thing that you want to do is customize a policy that is not going to be of any help to you when you need it the most.
You may be required to buy insurance that pays for third-party damages, but you may need help paying for your own medical and property damages as well. In addition to liability, here are some of the coverage options to consider adding on to your quotes strictly to price the cost:
Your medical bills will not be paid by your liability coverage. Instead, you will need to have Medical Payments coverage which covers medical expenses for you and your passengers. For this coverage to pay, no fault will be considered.
This is why it is a great coverage when you are in any accident, even if you cause it. If you do not have insurance, your insurance restricts some treatments, or you have a high deductible, this is something to consider.
If your car is leased or financed, your lender will make you sign a contract that says that you will always have physical damage cover that protects the car.
You should also consider this cover when you own a car that is valuable and you could not replace on your own.
Physical damage includes comprehensive and collision cover.
Comprehensive pays for damages when the covered car is damaged by fire, theft and vandalism.
Collision coverage pays for repairs, and maybe replacement, when you collide with an object or if your car is hit in a hit and run.
Both coverage plans have deductibles that you must pay before the policy will pay out for a claim.
Uninsured Motorist Protection
No one imagines being hit by someone without insurance, but it happens on a daily basis. If you are injured in an accident with a driver with no insurance, you are left to pay for your medical bills on your own while you pursue litigation.
When you have uninsured motorist protection, your policy will pay for your medical expenses even though the other party was at fault.
Rental Car Reimbursement
How will you get to work or school when your car is in a shop after an accident? If you do not have a second car or a car that you can borrow, a rental is the last option. Instead of paying for a rental out-of-pocket, you can buy a coverage that will pay for the cost.
This is only a few dollars each month but makes a huge difference when you are just trying to live a normal life following an accident.
After you decide which coverage options are must-haves and which can be rejected, the next step will be to compare price.
There are a few ways that you can compare price. You can call agents, go to brokerages, visit sites direct or call 1-800 numbers.
These options will work, but the most efficient way to conduct a cheap auto insurance quote comparison is to use an online rate comparison tool. This tool is much like those on direct sites except you can instantly compare rates on a single platform.
Start entering your information, select limits and options, and then you can find the best priced plan without wasting your valuable time. Use our FREE tool below now!