Be aware of certain terminology, and ask that your insurance company explain things in a careful and concise manner to avoid confusion. For instance, normal cars are insured for Actual Cash Value - the "book" value that depreciates with age. Classic cars might be insured for their Stated Value or Agreed Value. In those cases, you would state a value for your car and your car insurance company would agree to pay up to that amount.
Custom Parts/Equipment: This coverage is not used by everyone. But if you have after-market installations that are permanently attached to the vehicle you may want to consider this to cover your additions. The most important thing to know about this is that if you do have after-market installations, notify your insurance company or they may not be covered if you are in an accident.
Regular car insurance usually covers automobiles used for daily activities. These vehicles are used daily to go to the store, work or home and need basic auto insurance policies which includes comprehensive or collision coverage to pay for damage sustained in an accident or a theft. For an older vehicle, you might forgo these coverages since the vehicle might not be worth the cost of repairs.
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No matter whether you buy liability coverage or full coverage for your vehicle, you need to pick a deductible that meets you needs. Consumer Reports suggests choosing a higher deductible if you want to save on monthly premiums, but setting a lower deductible if you want to avoid a large out-of-pocket expense in the event of a car accident. “If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an at-fault accident in years, or ever, opting for a higher deductible on collision coverage might be a good bet,” writes Consumer Reports. Just remember to keep that much cash on hand in case you need it.
Southern Farm Bureau, a division of the Farm Bureau insurance company, earned a solid A+ financial stability rating from A.M. Best. However, that’s where the ratings end; the insurance company division was too small to be rated by J.D. Power or Consumer Reports. That being said, the broader Farm Bureau insurance company is rated Very Good in both claims process and claims payment speed on Consumer Reports, an indication that you’ll be in good hands with the company’s smaller divisions.

The trade-off between large insurance companies and small ones typically involves giving up competitive rates for an improved customer experience. When using a small insurance company for your auto insurance, you’ll likely communicate exclusively with one insurance agent. While you generally lose a personal connection when selecting a large national insurance company, the large auto insurance companies tend to have more financial stability. In fact, the top insurance companies in the country underwrite and pay out billions of dollars per year. Additionally, the large insurance companies are able to leverage their resources to offer drivers lower insurance rates.
With more than 200 years of history in business, The Hartford has built an excellent reputation for customer service and claims processing. As of today, the company is still receiving high marks from companies like J.D. Power. In the 2018 Insurance Shopping Study Auto Claims Satisfaction study, The Hartford received excellent marks (4/5 or 5/5) in every category but having a local agent.
Many insurers state that their policies offer ‘full coverage’ without detailing what that means, because, well, it doesn’t really mean anything. According to Jonathan O’Steen, personal injury attorney and partner at O’Steen & Harrison LLC, “Some insurance agents use ‘full coverage’ as a shorthand way to describe auto policies that only meet state minimum limits for coverage. True full coverage would provide unlimited protection for all losses arising from an automobile accident.”
Of the biggest auto insurers in the U.S. - State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Progressive and Farmers - State Farm ranks as the greatest overall. State Farm was rated 4/5 stars by customers and policyholders in a JD Power survey on companies shopping experience. State Farm is best known for its large agent network; they boast over 18,000 across the nation. It shouldn't be surprising then that State Farm gets 5/5 stars for how its agents interact with customers. As well, State Farm is great when it comes to offering discounts. If you go with State Farm you will have up to 15 discounts to be eligible for which can equal hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in Virginia, while also getting an insider view of the Old Dominion State.
Full Agreed Value Guaranteed, No Deductible in Most States, Full Comprehensive and Collision, Liability With Limits Up To $1,000,000, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, State Required PIP As Medical Benefits, Inflation Guard Value Protection, Spare Parts Inventory Coverage up to $500, Trip Interruption up to $600, Towing and Labor up to $250, Automatic Coverage on Newly Acquired Vehicles, Uninterrupted Coverage During Repairs when your car Is in a shop, and More!  In addition, just one low liability payment covers all your cars!
Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.

We can help you figure out if you need rental car insurance. The short take: If you don't have auto insurance, yes, you most likely need coverage. If you have robust car insurance, you might simply need a collision damage waiver as it’s the only way to ensure you won’t pay the rental company any damages in case of an accident. Of course, it gets more complicated from there. For the long take on car rental insurance, head here.


Auto-Owners Insurance Group is another powerful contender for customer ratings. In terms of claims satisfaction, Consumer Reports gives Auto-Owners a 93 (eighth place out of 27 companies rated), and J.D. Power dubs the company “better than most.” It also took first place for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s survey of the North Central region. To top it off, Auto-Owners matches the coverage selection at other top companies. Add-ons like roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, GAP insurance, new car replacement, and accident forgiveness can help to round out your policy.
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We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.

Standard discounts include those for new cars, anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes, and good grades. While Allstate doesn’t have the same volume of discounts as other providers, there are easy options for saving money, like signing up for Allstate’s ePolicy paperless billing system or Deductible Rewards coverage. This coverage reduces your deductible by $100 for every year of accident-free driving, up to five years or $500.


The biggest benefit to captive agents is that many aren’t primarily motivated by commission. That means they have less of a reason to “sell you” and more of a reason to spend quality time educating you. That being the case, going with a captive agent makes sense if you’re already committed to a particular company. These agents will know their company’s policies and coverages from top to bottom.
Step 4: Narrow the field. As you examine each quote, go back online and read customer reviews of the company. If ratings matter to you, check rating companies like J.D. Power and A.M. Best. They can give you a good idea of what other customers have gone through when dealing with filing claims and customer service. Once you have looked over everything, narrow down your decisions. Eliminate one or more of your quotes.
Uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) covers costs associated with an accident involving uninsured or underinsured motorists, or hit and run drivers. You can’t control the coverage of other drivers on the road, but if you get in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance — or who has insufficient protection — you’ll be forced to deal with the costs yourself. We know it’s frustrating to have to pay for someone else’s negligence, but opting for UM / UIM coverage will be well worth it when you need it.

Beyond the standard protections, supplemental (or “add-on”) coverage will keep you protected against the additional costs that often come with accidents. Features like car rental coverage may not seem essential when you view them as just another added cost, but the increase in your rate could still be lower than the cost of renting a replacement vehicle if your damaged car is in the shop for a while. The options offered by providers vary widely in both availability and cost. Our favorites offer supplemental coverage options that can build a policy for every profile.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Ratings Program provides consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles, with more stars equaling safer cars. We examined 2016 model year vehicles for which ratings are available to compile the list of most affordable to insure for teen drivers.
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