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.
In a recent survey, we found that our readers’ biggest complaints about their current insurance company related to customer service and their final settlement amount. So, we used J.D. Power’s 2017 claims satisfaction study to find out which insurers had done the best job settling claims for their customers. Scores are assessed on a 1,000-point scale, and all of our final contenders ranked above 850.
Liberty Mutual actually tied Erie insurance for this category, but since we already called Erie the best overall company, we'll describe how Liberty Mutual is well known for a strong shopping experience. Customers of Liberty Mutual report in the study they were particularly satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by Liberty Mutual, as well as their relationship with Liberty Mutual agents. If Erie is not located in your state, Liberty Mutual can be a good alternative if you can get a competitive rate.
Auto insurance isn’t only great protection for your vehicle, it’s also the law. All states require some degree of insurance for your vehicle to protect you and other motorists. Coverage requirements will vary based on your financial responsibility for your car and your state’s requirements. Some states even require you to have liability insurance before you even get a license.
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.
Auto-Owners Insurance is available in 26 states located primarily in the South and Midwest. It uses an agent-only model that promotes customer relationships, so if you prefer talking to a human being, Auto-Owners is a great choice. The company also scored a nearly perfect score in J.D. Power’s 2018 satisfaction report, falling short only in the realm of its rental car experience.
Grundy Insurance has specialized in protecting collector cars since 1947! Specifically designed for collector vehicles, Grundy insurance saves you at least 50% of the cost of regular car insurance while delivering better protection! With Grundy Agreed Value Insurance you get 100% of your car’s value in the event of a total loss. Grundy’s coverage is never reduced – not in 1 year, not in 50 years, not ever – for as long as you maintain your policy!
It is incredibly easy to get in touch with State Farm. You can call one of the company’s 18,000 agents, go online, or even send a picture of your damaged car with your smartphone using the Pocket Agent mobile app. Compare that to Amica, which doesn’t allow you to connect with an agent via an app, or file a claim through an agent. State Farm also gets high marks for a pain-free shopping experience that lets prospective customers call their local agent or chat with a representative online if they have any questions.
If you have a clean driving record — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably pay less for car insurance. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 29% after a DUI, 33% after an at-fault accident, and 15% after a speeding ticket in Virginia. The post-citation penalties assessed by car insurance companies after speeding tickets and at-fault accidents in Virginia align with nationwide averages, but drivers receive lower-than-average rate hikes after DUI violations. If you have a clean driving record, be sure to check for good-driving discounts from your insurer.
Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
While reading auto insurance provider reviews and ratings is a smart move, you can also ask family and friends for their recommendations. General ratings can help you gauge the quality of any company; however, personal reviews tend to hold more weight. Ask friends and family members whether they have had a good experience with their auto insurer before you purchase a policy. You may be able to nail down the best insurer for your needs based on the suggestions of others.
Nationwide pulls lower customer ratings than our top picks. The company scored an 88 from Consumer Reports (putting it in 22nd place out of 27 companies), and an “average” rating from J.D. Power. In other words, Nationwide doesn’t knock it out of the park for either customer service or claims process — which are both crucial for a great insurer. It also missed our financial stability benchmark by a hair, with S&P Global and Moody’s ratings just below the “very strong” or “excellent” benchmarks that we look for.
Progressive offers a unique discount through a program called Snapshot, a usage-based insurance plan that transmits real driving data to the company. Using a telematic device installed in your vehicle, Snapshot monitors your driving behaviors — such as how rapidly you accelerate or how often you stop abruptly — as well as the miles and times you drive, which can increase your risk of an accident.
You can save money by having a continuous insurance policy (with no gaps in your history) and by starting the quote process online. Like State Farm, Progressive offers an app that turns safe driving into discounts. Snapshot tracks your driving in real time and can reduce your premium if you practice good driving habits — but unlike Drive Safe & Save, you could also see your premium increase as a result of fast starts, hard brakes, or late-night drives.
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.
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.
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