There are tons of different car insurance companies out there, and it can be confusing to figure out which is the best option for your specific needs. Some drivers are on their own while others have families and young drivers to consider. Companies like Safeway, BTIS, State Auto, Safe Auto and Mercury are smaller than the big players, but offer top quality coverage, too. Larger insurance companies like AAA, Geico, Progressive and State Farm are much bigger and also offer a wide range of services to every area of the country.
So, which car insurance company is the right option for you and your family? We can’t tell you which is best for your personal situation, but here are some things to consider when choosing your car insurance company.
Big Names Vs. Smaller Ones
There are tons of companies that offer car insurance, both large and small. Some of these companies are nationwide and others just offer their services to a specific region of the country. Here’s a quick rundown of just a few.
AAA was founded in 1902 as a non-profit and offers vehicle insurance, trip planning, repairs, and general advice on travel. With 50 million+ members, they are one of the most highly respected insurance companies in the United States today.
State Farm was founded in 1922 and offers insurance and banking to their clients. State Farm is one of the largest in the market today, with millions of customers all around the country.
Progressive Insurance was founded in 1937 and offers all the common forms of insurance, including auto, home, and life insurance policies. Progressive was the first insurer to offer 24/7 claims support, showing that they have been known to be ahead of the curve within the industry.
These are just 3 of the largest options available for car insurance coverage. There are countless other organizations, including many regional and one-state insurance companies that offer their own mix of coverage and service.
While the major companies offer their services nationwide, a lot of the smaller companies only offer policies in certain areas of the country. Smaller companies only have the resources available to operate in one area, such as the northeast or the southwest. Some even smaller car insurance organizations only cover one state. Fortunately, these smaller companies will cover damage to your vehicle if you are in an accident outside of their area.
If you want to use a smaller company as your insurer, keep an eye out to see if they are available in your area. There’s nothing more irritating that finding the perfect coverage for you, only to discover than the company does not operate in your region and you have to choose someone else.
Most car insurance companies offer the same services, but at different levels. Liability coverage, comprehensive and collision coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, medical coverage and personal injury coverage are the main types available through a car insurance company. Generally speaking, all car insurers offer these and will allow you to choose how much coverage you want to have. Federal and state laws also dictate the minimum amount of coverage you are required to have on your policy, and insurers know to not offer less than those figures.
Naturally, the higher the amount of coverage, the higher the amount of cost. Depending on your personal situation, you may be able to receive a discount, however. One thing to be wary of is a surprisingly low insurance quote. Sometimes, companies can reel in customers with a great rate only to never pay out in the event of an accident. A great rate may look enticing, but sometimes it’s just not worth the risk.
Don’t forget about additional convenient services that are offered by insurance companies. Most organizations offer roadside assistance, where the company will work with local tow truck companies and shops to obtain discounts on towing and repair. If you break down or have a flat tire at any hour, a service like this will help you out, day or night. Each company offers different levels of coverage, from full coverage to partial coverage of towing and repair costs. Options like this can be very useful if you break down while driving and need immediate assistance.
Reviews of car insurance companies
Fortunately, we live in the information age and can quickly find reviews of every car insurance company out there before we buy. Looking at customer reviews can be a great way to learn more about any company before doing business with them. See what other customers have dealt with, how many people enjoyed their experience and how many did not have a happy ending to their car insurance story.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers a lot of useful information on many major companies throughout the United States, including car insurance companies. According to their website, AAA, State Farm, Progressive and State Auto have an “A+” rating. Some organizations are not rated by the BBB, however, such as Allstate and The General insurance. This is not a failed rating, just a rating of “Not Available”. No matter the company rating, the Better Business Bureau is a great resource to consider when looking for information on your car insurance company choices.
Websites like Yelp also offer customer reviews and ratings for car insurance companies. Users can go on the website and explain the situation they experienced, along with details of the outcome. Take a look at the experiences of other customers and see what they have been through and consider these when making your choice. Also remember, most people will share their bad experiences more often than their good ones, so if a company looks “just okay”, they may be a good choice, after all.
Special Services and Discounts
Every auto insurance company offers standard coverages such as liability, comprehensive and collision, but each company also offers their own special services and discounts to their customers. Be sure to look into the various special options that are offered so you can potentially save money or gain more coverage for your vehicle.
Progressive Insurance offers a “snapshot” tool which tracks your driving habits and uses them to potentially offer you a lower rate when you renew your policy. The driver training discount from State Farm Insurance offers savings when any driver under the age of 21 has completed a qualifying driver’s education course.
Most auto insurance companies offer safe driver discounts that lower the cost of premiums for those who do not get into an accident for a certain amount of time. Many companies also offer bundled discounts for customers who buy additional policies, such as home or boat insurance. Military or public service status can also be a common factor used when applying a discount on car insurance from many companies. Customers that stay with the same insurer for many years can also get a loyalty discount for not leaving the company for so long. When shopping around for coverage, be sure to ask about these types of discounts.
Dealing with cost
One of the biggest factors that stops people from choosing a good car insurance company is the cost of the bill. Even if the reviews are bad, some people would rather take the chance with a bad company than pay for good service. Fortunately, there are many ways to handle the high cost of insurance.
As mentioned earlier, nearly every car insurance company offers discounts for various reasons. Be sure to dig into the company websites and speak directly with an agent to see what you qualify for in terms of savings. Choosing a lower amount of coverage can also reduce the overall cost of your policy. Obtaining a quote is also a great way to gain an advantage, as you can share the quote with a competitor to negotiate for a better rate. Remember, they are trying to gain a new customer just as much as you are trying to search for an insurer.
So, which car insurance company is the best?
It really depends on your unique needs and situation. Dealing with an independent broker that offers several different carriers can minimize the amount of effort that you have to make to shop amongst many different companies. They can also give you feedback on their client’s claims experiences.