If you’re just starting out shopping for auto insurance, the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. To simplify the process and find the best auto insurance for you, start with the basics. Whether you want the lowest rates, reliable customer service, mobile app accessibility, or something else entirely, there’s an auto insurance company that can meet those needs for you. But how exactly should you compare auto insurance companies to choose which one is best for you? the bankrate insurance team has the answers.
how to choose the best car insurance company
Nearly all states require drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of auto insurance, but drivers can get more coverage for better protection. The company you choose, the types of coverage you select, and the levels of coverage you purchase are personal to your situation. every driver has unique needs, but insurance companies also have different strengths. When searching for the best auto insurance company for your unique circumstances, there are numerous factors to consider, and the emphasis placed on each factor depends on what you need as an individual. bankrate can show you how to navigate the auto insurance buying process.
Reading: How to pick the best car insurance
1. determine your unique needs
To choose the best auto insurance company, you must first determine your unique needs and financial situation. Evaluating your circumstances can help narrow down your provider selection and help you zero in on one that offers the coverage options you need.
For example, if you are a defensive driver, you may want to look for an operator with a telematics program. these programs track your driving and can reward safe habits with a personalized discount. As long as you drive safely, this could help mitigate the rising auto insurance rates many drivers face.
Households with teen drivers may want to look for insurance providers with discounts or programs geared specifically toward young drivers. If you prefer to keep your insurance as simple as possible to manage, finding a company that offers numerous products may help you bundle more policies. There are endless combinations of personal criteria for an auto insurance company, and understanding your unique perspective could help you figure out which companies to investigate further.
2. find insurance providers that meet your requirements
Once you know your needs, you can start looking for insurance companies that may align with your circumstances. you may find that some of the larger auto insurance companies, which may be available in much of the country, could be good options. Or you can opt for smaller auto insurance companies, which tend to be more regional. Researching the companies that offer coverage in your area can help you make sure your provider aligns with your needs.
If finding an affordable auto insurance company is one of your priorities, you may want to spend some time exploring discounts. Most companies offer at least some auto insurance discounts, but finding a company that has several savings opportunities you qualify for could help you control your premium.
3. check ratings from trusted third parties
You can use available third-party verified ratings to take the guesswork out of finding companies with strong customer service and financial strength ratings. Using third-party data in your research provides a more comprehensive approach to choosing a provider and gives you unbiased data for your review.
classifications, such as j.d. power, provide independent and unbiased ratings regarding customer experience with popular auto insurance providers. am best is another example of a third-party company taking a deeper look at the performance of an insurance company. specifically, am best reviews an insurer’s historical financial strength and health, which can give you peace of mind if an insurer has a history of paying claims.
4. consider the experience
Another aspect worth considering in your search is how you’ll interact with a company once you’re a policyholder. some people may want to use a mobile app or online portal, while others prefer to speak with representatives over the phone or visit a local agent.
If you like to handle things digitally, for example, choosing a company with a robust digital application that allows you to pay bills, request changes, and file claims could lead to your continued satisfaction with interacting with the company. wanting digital tools and choosing a company that doesn’t offer an app or online portal could lead to dissatisfaction.
5. compare insurance quotes based on coverage
The average cost of auto insurance can vary dramatically from company to company based on a variety of qualifying factors, including the type of vehicle you drive, your driving history, and the specific coverage you choose. carrier comparison highlights the difference in rates, but also shows which carriers offer the coverage options and discounts you’re looking for based on your needs. Be sure to compare quotes based on the same coverage types and levels so you know you’re getting the most accurate representation of cost. Comparing a minimum coverage policy with low liability limits to a full coverage policy with higher liability limits won’t really help you determine which is cheaper, since you’re not comparing the same levels of coverage.
If you’re not sure how much auto insurance you need, working with an insurance agent can help. A licensed insurance agent can listen to your situation, understand your circumstances, and recommend appropriate types and levels of coverage. once you’re sure of the types and levels of coverage you need, you can match those levels on all the quotes you request. Keep in mind that some companies may not offer certain endorsements, so you may not be able to get your quotes in exactly the same way.
the end result
Shopping for auto insurance can be intimidating, but it’s often a good strategy to align your coverage and company with your needs. Plus, shopping around could help you understand what a competitive rate looks like for your policy and could help you find cheaper coverage. The key to finding the right company for you is to understand your needs, research, and compare quotes across a variety of metrics. When in doubt, working with an insurance agent may help you navigate the process.