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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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What car insurance is best? This is an extremely common question that consumers who are buying insurance for the first time ask.
Finding the best car insurance can be overwhelming, especially if you are shopping for a comprehensive policy on a budget. One thing that many first-time car insurance buyers do not understand is that car insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product.
With so may different coverage options and limits to choose from, you can customize your plan to suit your budget and to meet your own needs. This is why you need to really understand the product before you begin shopping.
Buying an insurance policy from a reputable insurer is a must. If you build the best policy possible and then select a subpar carrier, there is a good chance that you will not receive the benefits that you are paying for even if you need them.
There are several different top-name car insurance providers that hold a great deal of market share, but there are also less well-known companies that offer quality service that should not be overlooked.
All insurers offer perks, services, discounts, and policy features that will differentiate themselves in the market.
You need to consider what is important to you and what you value the most before you pay your first month’s installment to bind your coverage.
Read this guide to choosing the best insurance and find out what differentiates insurers and also what you need to consider before you choose a policy. Be sure to use the FREE comparison tool at the top of this page!
What Differentiates the Big Name Companies in the Market
There are hundreds of companies that offer insurance coverage in each state. Some companies are very well known and others do not have a great deal of brand recognition. Just because you recognize the brand of an insurer does not make it the best insurer to do business with.
Learn more about companies that advertise regularly and you can narrow down your choices to companies that offer consumers what you would like. Here are some of the top reviewed companies with Consumer Affairs:
The Hartford specializes in offering insurance for mature drivers who are AARP members. As the exclusive writer of insurance for AARP members, Hatrford has gained a huge reputation of offering customers a great experience.
Founded in 1906, the insurers has a strong financial rating with A.M. Best and a wide range of product offerings that include auto, home, condo, renters and more.
Some of the unique features of Hartford car insurance include:
- Annual terms
- Recover Care claims service to provide help with home services following an accident
- New car replacement when vehicle is totaled in a covered accident
- Disappearing deductibles for seniors who maintain a good driving record
Esurance brought something new to the industry in 1999 when it became the first writer of insurance to sell exclusively online. While it is now a subsidiary of Allstate, it still offers the highest quality online tools for prospective clients and existing policyholders.
You can file your claims through a mobile app, monitor claims repairs, and purchase new policies. Some of the unique features of Esurance policies include:
- Switch and Save discounts of 5%
- VIN etching discount
- Discount for having Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Pay in full discount of 10%
- Usage-based savings for installing the telematics device as parts of the DriveSense program
- Accident forgiveness
Allstate holds the second largest amount of market share and is available in all 50 states. They have a solid history being founded in 1931 and also an A+ financial rating with third-party financial rating agencies like A.M. Best.
The company operates with an exclusive agent structure where clients will work with an agent in their area.
For customers who want to buy more than one line of insurance, the company itself sells 13 lines of insurance but may not offer property insurance in some riskier states.
Here are some features of Allstate car policies:
- Accident forgiveness
- Bundling discounts
- New car discounts
- Utility vehicle discount
- EZ pay plan discounts
Geico is the largest writer of insurance as well as the most well-known insurer in the nation. With a wide range of coverage options and extremely low-priced premiums, the company is a popular choice for value-priced shoppers. You can also buy property insurance to bundle and save on each plan.
Geico is a great option for military members because the company has special features to help personnel going on deployment. Here are some features you should know about:
- Discounts of up to 15% for military and government employees
- Affiliation discounts
- Accident forgiveness
- Towing service
- Usage discounts
- Multi-car and policy discounts
- New car replacement
These are not all of the top-rated insurers, but these are several of them. Keep in mind that brand does not always signify a company is the best. You will need to compare companies and do your own homework on each option to really make the right choice.
How To Decide Which Insurer Offers the Best Car Insurance For You
Now that you see what differentiates some of the well-known companies, it is time to learn what to consider when you do you rate an insurer on your own.
There is a lot more to choosing an insurance company than just comparing premiums and how these rates compare to those of another provider. Here are some other factors that you should always consider:
Check the Company’s Licensing Status
You should only buy insurance from a company that is licensed by your state’s department of insurance.
You are required by law in most states to buy insurance, and only coverage from a company that has a valid license will satisfy the law.
Unfortunately, there are subpar companies that may not even have a license.
This is why you should check with your state’s department to see if the insurer has a provider license. You can find all of the department websites by going to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners page.
Check the Financial Ratings
One reason people trust companies with a solid history in the marketplace is because these insurers have proven that they know how to set rates that are sufficient and competitive. If a company does not set sufficient rates, they will quickly go out of business.
A financial rating will show you just how solid the financials of an insurer are. You can find these ratings through sites like AM Best and Moody’s. These agencies review financial statements and credit information to see if the company has the money that it needs to cover claims and to stay profitable.
Check the JD Power Ratings
JD Power is a reliable rating agency that considers more than just financial ratings. It also considers coverage options, claims handling, customer service, price, and customer satisfaction.
If you want to see which companies are making the cut in an overall sense, you should check the providers ratings on this website.
Talk To Big Name Body Shops
Body shops are where all of the repairs for collisions are done.
The larger companies have a lot of experience with insurers and their claims procedures.
They may be able to recommend companies that make the process easy and help you avoid companies that are known to low-ball the repair coverage or delay the filing.
They can also tell you which companies pay for genuine parts and which companies will only pay for aftermarket parts that breakdown more quickly.
How you can make changes to your policy and how you can contact someone to ask questions is important.
If you prefer to go to see someone in person, you probably do not want to do business with a company that only has phone and Internet contact options.
If you want the convenience of making changes online, buying insurance from a company with no online tools that requires you to speak with an agent may not be a practical option.
Look into the company’s contact options and how accessible they are online before you even consider buying a policy.
Some companies exclusively offer auto insurance. Other companies have a more broad vision and have expanded their product offering to include other types of insurance. If you plan on buying several lines and you want to service your policies in a convenient manner keep this in mind.
Now that you know how to decide which insurance is best, it is time to start comparing auto insurance quotes. For many, the best insurance is the insurance that is competitively priced. Coverage is important, but a policy will only help you if you can afford it.
Start to compare the rates with several insurers by using the FREE online rate comparison tool below and you can decide who is the best insurer for yourself.