An insurance quote is an estimate of what your rate could be with a potential insurance carrier. Quotes are subject to change depending on how much information you give at the time of the quote. The more forthcoming you are with information, the more accurate your insurance quote.
01 How long does it take to get a car insurance quote?
Young man looking at car insurance on laptop
Getting a single quote should not take much of your time. A lot of factors can affect the amount of time it takes to get an insurance quote. How many drivers and vehicles you have and where you get your quote, can all affect the time it takes to actually get a quote.
Call an insurance agent: You can expect to spend five to ten minutes giving an agent your information. Then it is typical for the agent to call you back with a quote. The call back time can vary from within the hour up to several hours. Your call should be returned on the same day unless you called late in the day. The return phone call will probably take an additional five to ten minutes depending on how many questions you have about the information given to you.
Get a quote online: 15 minutes is advertised as the time it takes to get an insurance quote online. Certainly, the time varies according to your computer skills and how many vehicles you need insurance on. Online quotes require a lot of detailed information in order to get an accurate quote.
02 How many car insurance quotes should you get?
Three to five insurance quotes should give you a good look at what is available. A quick tip on getting multiple quotes at one time is to utilize independent agents. Independent agents sell insurance through multiple insurance carriers. An independent insurance agent will be able to check with each of its insurance carriers and give you their best rate. Ask an independent agent which companies they quoted you through so you do not get duplicate quotes when calling around.
A couple different online insurance websites give you the opportunity to get quotes from multiple insurance carriers too. You only need to input your information a single time to get quotes from several carriers. Getting multiple quotes at once is a huge time saver regardless if it is from an agent or online.
03 How do you select the best automobile insurance quote?
Most people pick the best insurance quote based on price. A couple of other things to consider include how efficient the agent was at getting the quote to you and explaining all the information. If you are going the online route, how did you like inputting all of the information on your own? Do you feel comfortable with all the insurance terminology?
Just as important is whether or not the quote has the coverage you need and want. When you are getting quotes on car insurance, you should have each company run the quote a similarly as possible. It is the only way you will know which carrier has the best price for you.
04 How often should you get automobile insurance quotes?
Getting quotes often is advertised frequently. But, how often should you really be getting insurance quotes? It really depends on your relationship with your insurance agency. If you love your insurance agent and trust them whole heartedly, then maybe you should never shop for a new insurance carrier. There is something to be said for good service.
Sometimes enough is enough when it comes to price though. And, there is nothing to say you can’t find good service somewhere else. If your car insurance premium increases significantly renewal after renewal, it is probably time to start inquiring about new insurance quotes.
To put an actual number on it, you should check around every two to three years unless something is happening to make you unhappy with your current carrier. Getting quotes will give you the information you need to make sure you are still receiving a competitive rate. If the price difference with the new quote is only a little bit cheaper, you should probably stick with what you have.
Automobile insurance quotes are one thing you should be comfortable with as a car owner. Insurance rates are always changing. Checking around for automobile insurance quotes could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
You’re comparing prices on Compare.com and you see some companies offering great rates, but you don’t recognize some of them. Your first thought may be: I only go with companies I’ve heard of and advertise on TV.
You can probably hum the State Farm “Like a Good Neighbor” jingle. You know Flo works for Progressive and GEICO’s pitchman is small and green. That’s because large insurance companies have millions (or billions, in GEICO’s case) to spend on advertising and marketing, while small insurance companies don’t.
But that doesn’t mean small car insurers are a bad choice. On the contrary, you may get more personal service or lower rates than the big guys can offer. We’ll take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of going with a smaller insurance company…
Advantages of Small Car Insurance Companies
Lower rates: Because small car insurers spend less on marketing and have lower overhead costs, they often can provide lower-cost policies – especially for high-risk drivers
Customer service: The largest companies insure tens of millions of drivers. No matter how many customer service representatives they hire, you’ll still be 1 customer out of 10,000,000. Smaller, regional companies often beat the big companies in customer satisfaction, offering a local, family feel
Specialty car insurance: If you’re trying to insure an high-powered sports car or a classic car, you may have better luck going with a small insurer that specializes in specialty vehicles
Disadvantages of Small Car Insurance Companies
You get what you pay for: If you choose a smaller car insurer because you want to save money with a low-cost policy, review the details carefully. The less you spend, the less coverage you’ll get – which could be disastrous if you get into an accident
Less Access: The benefit of a larger insurer? More money and more staff. This usually means longer call center hours and more brick-and-mortar stores. If you go with a smaller insurer, you may have to accept that you can only speak to someone 9-5 on weekdays.
Fewer features: Large car insurers are competing to offer all kinds of perks for policyholders, often offering a wider range of discounts and complimentary roadside assistance; small companies can’t always match these
Limited coverage area: Some small car insurance companies only offer policies in a few states. This means if you move, you’ll have to find a new insurer.
Meet Some Smaller Car Insurers
Choosing a car insurance company is a big decision. You need to consider how expensive they are, read customer reviews and research what’s covered by the policy. It’s also good to check A.M. Best Company’s ratings. They evaluate companies’ financial stability, which demonstrates a company’s strength and ultimately their ability to pay out on your claims.
Here are a few smaller car insurance companies and the special services and benefits they offer.
Founded in 1907, Amica Insurance is the oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in the country. The word ‘Mutual’ is significant. The company’s customers are also its owners, meaning the company pays dividends to policyholders. For the last 40 years, the dividends have equaled 20 percent of their annual premium. Amica prides itself on its award-winning customer service and financial strength.
Elephant Auto Insurance
Elephant Auto Insurance is a newer company, founded in 2009, but it’s no lightweight. Elephant a subsidiary of Admiral Group, plc, which has nearly 2 million policies worldwide and more than a dozen different companies scattered across the globe. Elephant offers no-hassle service, affordable rates and reliable coverage.
The General Insurance
The General primarily serves drivers who have a history of driving violations or accidents, have let their insurance lapse or have less-than-perfect credit. These drivers are seen as higher-risk, so they may be more expensive to insure. However, the General promises affordable premiums and flexible payment plans for high-risk customers. The General can also help with SR-22 filings, which some require as proof of insurance for high-risk drivers.
Infinity Auto Insurance
Founded in 1955, Infinity Auto Insurance offers affordable coverage to drivers who may be declined by other insurers because of a DUI, claims history or previous violations. While Infinity is a small company, it’s the third largest non-standard insurance agency in the U.S., operating in 44 states.
Regional Insurance Companies
These smaller car insurers operate only in specific states or regions of the US. This means that they can really focus on a core customer base and get to know the insurance risks that drivers in that area face. For example, you’re more likely to hit a deer in Montana vs California. You also probably don’t need to worry about hurricanes in New York, but it’s an annual concern in Florida.
Wawanesa is a Canadian insurance company that operates in California and Oregon
New York Central Mutual (NYCM) is a mutual insurance company in New York
PEMCO is a mutual insurance company in the Pacific Northwest
Texas Farm Bureau Insurance insures cars, as well as livestock and ranches, in Texas
Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee was founded by farmers in 1948 and is now the biggest car insurer in Tennessee
A smaller insurer has just as much to offer as a larger insurer. Just because you don’t recognize the name doesn’t mean that they are cheap, untrustworthy or a scam. If you don’t recognize their name, just do some research online.
Don’t pass up the chance to save money and consider a smaller insurance company. Studies show that drivers save an average of 32% on auto insurance when they compare prices, and there are more companies to compare when you consider local and regional insurance companies. Compare quotes today and see if a smaller insurer could save you money.