Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
All insurers base their rates on risk. We're talking car insurance, so the company is primarily trying to determine how likely you are to get into an accident. Obviously, if you have a poor driving record or you're on the road all the time, the odds are less in your favor. But statistics show women get into fewer accidents than men as do married individuals versus single ones. Younger drivers, conversely, get into more accidents than older drivers. All that data on your demo can influence what insurers charge.
Customers aren’t very impressed by Liberty Mutual’s claims process or payouts. It’s ranked among “the rest” in J.D. Power’s survey, which falls at the bottom of the scale. It also earned a relatively low Consumer Reports score of 88 (or 23rd place out of 27 companies scored). Finally, Liberty Mutual didn’t quite meet the bar we set for financial stability. Its “A” from S&P Global and “A2” from Moody’s come up a little short of our requirements. These scores are still respectable — indicating an ability to pay out on claims — but mean that Liberty Mutual has a slightly poorer credit outlook in the event of a financial downturn.
We first looked for companies that received an "A-" or better (“strong”) from A.M. Best, a rating agency specifically focused on the insurance industry. Then, because the III recommends getting ratings from more than one agency, the best needed to earn at least an "AA-" (“very strong”) from S&P Global or an "Aa3" (“excellent”) or higher from Moody’s.
It’s easy! Simply tell us what you believe the value to be, send us a few photos of your car, and our experts who have decades of experience will consult with you to reach the agreed value. Once determined, that value will never be reduced unless you want it to be. Given the rapid increases in collector car values we are experiencing, it is a good idea to periodically review and adjust the value to remain fully protected.
Since stockholders benefit from the stock’s appreciation, people argue that the short-term interests of investors don’t always align with the long-term interest of the company. Many feel that mutual insurance companies are better because the policyholders’ interests align well with what’s best for the company, specifically lowering insurance rates and paying out dividends to attract more customers. Below, we list the top ten auto insurance companies by type, excluding USAA, which is an insurance exchange for military personnel.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women for 10 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
Drivers with good driving records typically enjoy lower car insurance costs than drivers with histories of speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUI citations. Virginia drivers without a recent at-fault accident can save 33% on their car insurance premiums, on average — nearly matching the 32% US average. In addition to earning a cheaper premium for driving incident-free, you may qualify for a safe-driving bonus through your car insurance company. The amount of these discounts may vary, but they typically run between 5 and 10%.
Type of car: If you have an expensive or powerful car then you are seen as a higher risk for a number of reasons. If it’s expensive, it has a higher risk of being stolen. If it’s powerful, it’s deemed more at risk of getting into an accident driving at speed. If you want to see how your car impacts your insurance, you can check which insurance group it’s in for an indication.
Ehhhh ... I mean, you won't face a legal penalty. (They vary by state, but usually involve hefty fines. Plus, your license could get suspended.) In terms of adequate coverage, it depends on where you live. Some states have low minimums. In fact, many only require liability insurance, which covers property damage or bodily injury you cause other people. You would need other types of car insurance if you wanted coverage for damage to your car.
The best way to find this out is to complete some research on your own. Look at some of the recent studies completed and read through them, then read as many online reviews as you can find. Also, make sure to shop around and compare rates among the handful of companies you feel comfortable with. The more you shop around and compare, the better off you’ll be.
The price of car insurance can vary greatly between states. One company may be expensive in Utah, but inexpensive in New York. In some states, a small, local company could even offer the best price. Below, click through to your state to see which company and cities have the least expensive car insurance based on the numerous studies we've conducted.
Amica was the strongest company overall in our research, and ranked number two in J.D. Power’s 2018 customer satisfaction report — that means out of 44,622 surveyed drivers, it had the second highest satisfaction rating among more than 20 different companies. It also received the highest Consumer Reports rating among auto insurance providers — as it has every year since at least 1999. Consumer Reports even noted that an overwhelming number of customers reported “relatively few” problems during the claims process.
It’s important to consider how your previous auto insurance record reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in insurance — or periods spent with bare minimum coverage — can increase your quote, as insurance companies see you as financially unstable and more risky to insure. A lengthy insurance history with high limits and fewer claims can lead to cheap car insurance quotes.
Another consideration when choosing between a large and small auto insurance company is availability, coverage options and discounts. While you’re likely to have a better experience with a small insurance company, it may not have the availability, benefits and discounts that large insurance companies do. For example, the major insurance companies in the U.S. often have representatives that are available 24/7. Additionally, small insurance companies don’t typically offer the long list of discounts and coverage options that national insurers, like Allstate and State Farm, offer. If around the clock availability or having discounts and coverage options are important to you, consider a large insurance company.
2 Subject to deductible. See policy for restrictions. Not available in all states. Identity Protection Services are not available to auto customers in NC or NH nor with all policy forms. Identity Protection Services are available in NC homeowner policies with the optional “Identity Theft Expense and Resolution Plus” endorsement for an additional premium.
Like regular car insurance, there are several parts with classic and collector car insurance. Some insurers like J.C. Taylor require your classic car be at least 19 years old, while others like Grundy will insure a car of any age. Availability of discounts should also be a consideration, as Safeco gives you a percent off your premium if you bundle your classic car policy with a regular auto policy. Another underrated feature is an inflation guard, which will increase your protection limits as your car appreciates in value. You can see a full list of each company's benefits below.
Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, state law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance study).
Sure, upgraded coverage means a higher monthly premium. But would you rather pay a bit extra each month, or wind up owing a lump sum of $30,000 out of pocket? The average American will file a collision insurance claim about every 18 years, according to insurance industry statistics. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a fender bender, but if the worst should happen, you’ll appreciate being fully covered.
This unfortunate situation is a reminder that accidents can be very expensive — and getting more than the minimum 25/50/25 policy will benefit not only you, but also anyone else who might be involved in an accident. You don’t want to be the person sued for excess damages, and you don’t want to be the person stuck paying damages out-of-pocket. To avoid this, we recommend purchasing as much coverage as you can afford.
Virginia has a 10-year lookback period for most offenses, though subsequent offenses committed within five years may lead to harsher penalties. Penalties are also enhanced for high or extremely high BAC levels or for committing a DUI offense while transporting a passenger who is 17 years old or younger. All DUI offenders must report to an Alcohol Safety Action Program for screening and review. There may be a required attendance in classes or treatment before license reinstatement.
Quite simply, Travelers didn’t inspire enough confidence with its claims satisfaction. We know one survey doesn’t paint an entire picture, but Travelers was the lowest-scoring insurer of our top picks. Its J.D. Power score of 851 out of 1,000 is below the industry average, and since our research consistently pointed to claims satisfaction as the best indicator of customer experience, we couldn’t give Travelers the top spot in confidence.
Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which control coverage determinations. Such terms may vary by state, and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.