Auto insurance companies attempt to predict and price the risk you and your vehicle pose in order to reduce their exposure. Keeping in mind the factors we just covered, the more risky you appear to your insurance company, the more you will be charged. Factors like age, marital status, and homeowner status, are less easy to change. Avoiding unnecessary claims, being smart with your coverage needs, and shopping around for car insurance quotes every so often are great ways to save on car insurance.
Let’s say you live in Florida and cause an accident that injures another person to the tune of $40,000. If you only have the state’s minimum bodily injury protection ($10,000 per person, $20,000 per accident), you’d be responsible for the remaining $30,000. But, if you had purchased more than Florida’s minimum — say $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident — you wouldn’t have to pay a single dime out of pocket.
Oh, there are a whole bunch. The big ones include good driver discounts (for going long enough without a moving violation); affiliation discounts (for belonging to a group, like AAA or AARP, that partners with the insurer); low-mileage discounts (for, you know, low mileage) and car safety feature discounts (for installing stuff like emergency break assistance or collision avoidance systems). You can find a full list of common car insurance riders and discounts here.
State Farm operates as a mutual insurance company, meaning that it’s owned by its policyholders. State Farm is the largest auto insurance company in the U.S. and possesses 18% of the total available market share. Nearly one in five dollars spent on private passenger auto premiums in the U.S. is paid to State Farm. The company currently employs approximately 70,000 employees and has nearly 19,000 agents. In accordance with its large market share, State Farm’s latest annual report shows a net gain of over $1.7 billion.
The best way to prevent falling victim to this practice is to shop for a new policy every one to two years. Even if you like your current car insurance company, they’re likely aware of your online activity, so the more quotes you get, the less likely you are to be tagged as someone who won’t jump ship for a better deal. Plus, it helps you find a policy rate that reflects you as a person and isn’t based on predictive analytics.
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.
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.
When you choose antique or classic car insurance with us, you and State Farm will agree on the value of the car. If the car experiences a total covered loss, we will pay the agreed-upon value, rather than the actual cash value of the car as long as there is no prior damage to the car, parts have not been removed, and the car's condition has not deteriorated because of abuse or neglect.*
Between 7/1/15 and 9/30/15, the average estimated savings off MSRP presented by TrueCar Certified Dealers to users of TrueCar powered websites, based on users who configured virtual vehicles and who TrueCar identified as purchasing a new vehicle of the same make and model listed on the certificate from a Certified Dealer as of 10/31/2015, was $3,279. Your actual savings may vary based on multiple factors including the vehicle you select, region, dealer, and applicable vehicle specific manufacturer incentives which are subject to change. The Farmers Car Shopping Service website is owned and operated by TrueCar, which is not affiliated with any of the companies comprising the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.
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.
GEICO, well known for its animated gecko, has served as an underwriter to more than 16 million auto policies, which insure more than 24 million vehicles. The company’s size allows it to employ more than 36,000 people across nine regional offices, three service centers and three claims centers. GEICO’s original customer base consisted of U.S. government employees and military personnel. Today, the insurance company’s customer base has expanded to include people in the private sector.
Every added coverage will cost you a little more in your premium, though — and Shelter Insurance offers a list of discounts comparable to that of its competitors, with standard options like multi-line, multi-car, and safe driver discounts. It doesn’t have many unique discount options, but it’s still possible that Shelter could offer you a better baseline premium than its competitors. As always, we recommend gathering quotes from multiple providers before making your decision.
Depending on which companies you consider, you will have to decide whether to do business with an insurance agent or to purchase a policy online. If you value face-to-face relationships and personal service, it’s hard to beat an agent. But all agents aren’t created equal. Some are “captive,” meaning they sell car insurance for only one company. Others are “independent,” meaning they can sell car insurance for multiple companies. Here are a few things you should consider for each scenario.
While most collectible automobile insurance policies are relatively similar, the way carriers classify different types of collectible vehicles, including some types they exclude coverage for, is important to understand. Although definitions, years and descriptions can vary from insurer to insurer and state to state, the most common collectible auto categories are below. We generally will use classic and collector car insurance interchangeably for the purposes of simplicity.
In contrast, a Stated Value policy (sometimes called “stated amount” or “maximum limit of liability”) does not promise to pay the full vehicle value that’s indicated or “stated” on the policy. With regard to a covered total loss, you may receive less than that stated amount, because the insurer has the right to pay either your vehicle’s depreciated actual cash value OR the cost to replace your vehicle -- whichever is less. Also, many insurers that offer stated value policies (typically standard insurers) require periodic appraisals to affirm the insured amount, adding cost and inconvenience to the client.
It's hard to say. You might see rates change as you age, but they don't always go down, so much as they level out or increase at a lower rate. (Remember, the rules of inflation are in effect.) And that assumes you don't incur any red marks on your driving record. As for a change in marital status, you generally have to contact your insurer to get a rate decrease — and if your spouse has a less-than-stellar driving record, well, again, you mind wind up paying more.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to supplemental coverage, Travelers is hard to beat. It consistently met our marks for what we considered “the essentials” and it offers unique coverage, too. That includes accident forgiveness, GAP insurance, and special coverage for drivers employed by ridesharing operations like Uber and Lyft (though this add-on is currently only available in Colorado and Illinois).
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.
Look at cheap car insurance companies and see if they can provide free perks like our 24-hour claims service, an 800 number with a real person at the other end, our On Your Side Review (a free consultation to see if you have the insurance you need and the discounts you deserve) and Nationwide®AutoWatch®, which lets you monitor your covered auto repair online.
As with any credit check, a record of this search will remain on your file – and your credit rating will affect the amount of APR that you’re charged. If you have a poor credit rating, you may be charged up to 20% APR. And if you’ve struggled to pay credit in the past, or if you have a CCJ to your name, then you may be denied the option to pay monthly. If you think you’ll have issues with your credit rating, you can read our guide on improving your credit score.
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEICO and American Family.