Companies like Direct Line, Aviva and John Lewis have been rated as the best car insurance providers because they have high scores for customer service and complaints handling from financial review firms Which and Fairer Finance.
To come up with our list of the best car insurance companies we also looked at the quality of the cover. For example, Aviva includes uninsured driver cover as standard and it will replace all glass in your car if it is damaged in an accident. It also allows you to set your own excess between £150 and £1,050.
Rather than rate these companies on price (you can use a comparison site like Go Compare to do that), we used expert research into the quality of both the cover and service provided by the different brands.
We’ve excluded two high-scoring companies, due to the restrictions placed on the cover they provide.
NFU Mutual insurance caters almost exclusively to drivers in rural areas, while Toyota Car Insurance seems to primarily cater for Toyota owners.
When we initially created the best car insurance list, we excluded Nationwide, as they acted as a broker for LV=. When we updated this article in September 2017, we found out that Nationwide no longer offers car insurance.
From March 2016 onwards, we have been including car insurance policies focused on older drivers, meaning that Age UK, Saga, and RIAS — all of whom focus on the Over 50s — are now eligible for the Top 10.
As a result, M&S Car Insurance and The AA, have all dropped out despite continuing to receive high scores from Which? and 5 stars from Defaqto.
If you would like more information on the individual providers, have a look at our detailed reviews at the bottom of the page. Meanwhile, this article will focus on explaining why cheapest isn’t always best when it comes to car insurance, and what you should look out for when choosing an insurer.
Car insurance premiums can vary massively depending on factors such as your age, so we’ve also written a guide to the best insurance for young drivers and a list of the eight best black box car insurance providers.
Find out about car insurance renewals here.
We’ve also written a guide to learner driver insurer.
If you’re interested in breakdown cover, check out our list of the 13 best breakdown companies.
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Pros and cons of car insurance comparison sites
With the rise in popularity of comparison sites, many people look for the cheapest price when choosing an insurance provider, believing it to be the best deal. However, that is often not the case.
We are not denying that comparison websites such as Go Compare, Confused and Moneysupermarket have brought positive changes for consumers. They’ve created competition between car insurance providers, resulting in prices coming down, and made customer reviews of the different brands more readily available.
However, the flip side of this competitive element is that it drove many companies to create cheap car insurance policies with very basic levels of cover. Keeping prices low means they end up at the top of comparison websites’ lists, but at the expense of the customer, who may be left out of pocket by the policy’s shortcomings.
It is also worth noting that policies from these car insurance companies are not on comparison sites:
Direct Line Car Insurance
Zurich Car Insurance
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«Cheap car insurance» and «best car insurance» are not the same thing!
Some providers, such as Onecall Car Insurance, offer cheap policies and discounts, but many customers have claimed they’ve been hit with extra admin charges and «surprise» extra fees they were not expecting when they tried to make a claim or just changed their car mid-contract.
It may be a cliché, but in this case, it is true – you get what you pay for. Comprehensive policies from big name companies like John Lewis Finance and Churchill may have higher premiums, but could end up much cheaper in the long run by offering a more inclusive cover.
For example, LV= comprehensive car insurance cover offers unlimited cover on windscreens, windows, sunroofs and lost keys, plus a no claims discount protection that will allow any number of claims. Additionally, don’t underestimate the importance of a good claims process, which could save you from the stress and anxiety of bad customer service.
Find out how much the average car insurance policy costs here.
The car insurance group your car is in can affect the price of your cover. We’ve written guides to the cars in group 1 and group 6.
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What makes a good car insurance policy?
The first thing to keep in mind is the level of excess. Some cheaper policies come with a very high level of excess which, in the long run, can be costlier than paying a higher premium. That said, we’ve come up with a way for you to save money by insuring your excess.
Other things to look out for include:
Windscreen cover, which is offered as standard by many of the providers in our top 10, including John Lewis Finance Car Insurance and Aviva Car Insurance, as part of their comprehensive car insurance cover.
Courtesy car – you want to make sure that, if anything goes wrong with your vehicle, you get a complimentary replacement car until yours is fixed. This is part of the comprehensive policies for many of the companies mentioned in this article as well, including AA car insurance.
Many people assume that if they have comprehensive insurance they are automatically covered to drive other people’s cars, but that is not necessarily the case. Read the terms of your policy carefully to make sure you are insured for driving cars other than your own, to avoid making a costly, and potentially illegal, mistake.
Some companies offer what they term Accelerated No Claims. This means you can claim a 12-month no claims discount after only 10 months on the road. However, the catch here is that often this only applies if you stick with the company for another year. For some, this will work out well, but it’s worth doing your research. In most cases, loyalty is not rewarded when it comes to car insurance, so, even with the no claims discount, you may be better off elsewhere.
To conclude, don’t just look for the best price when you shop around for car insurance.
We compiled our top 10 by averaging the scores from Which?, Fairer Finance and other financial services review companies to find the highest ranking brands, which reflects the providers who will most likely prove themselves to be the best value in the long run, as well as provide the best customer experience.
For other motor insurance, check out our guides to van and motorcycle cover.
If you’re buying a new car you may be interested in our guide to GAP insurance.
We’ve also created a guide to getting a quote for a Tesla electric car.
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Best multi car insurance
Here are the best multi car providers from our top 10 car insurers:
Aviva — Up to 33% multi-car discount, separate claims records, allows each car to have different levels of cover and excess
Sheila’s Wheels — up to 10% multi-car discount, matched no claims bonus, separate claims records
LV= — 5% multi-car discount, matched no claims bonus (up to nine years), separate claims records
Saga – 5% multi-car discount
Direct Line and Churchill both offer multi-car discounts but do not state how much you can save.
John Lewis Finance, Age UK, RIAS and Tesco do not offer multi car discounts.
There are a number of other providers not in our top 10 that offer discounts, for example, Admiral’s multi car insurance discount is linked to the amount of cars you add and it says 10% of respondents between 1 July 2017 and 31 December 2017, who gave a best alternative price saved £356.
The concept of multi car insurance is pretty simple; insure more than one car with the same insurer to receive a discount.
However, there are a few things to consider when selecting a multi car policy. In fact, the first thing you should do is make sure it will actually save you money because in some cases it can be cheaper to buy individual policies for each car.
The level of savings will depend on your personal circumstances but mainly relate to the age and model of the cars being insured and your driving experience.
For example, adding an 18-year-old who has just passed his test onto the same policy as a 50-year-old with a nine-year no claims bonus may not result in a saving.
It may be better for a new driver to look at companies that specialise in young drivers or black box insurance.
Multi car insurance comparison can be difficult because you may not be able to see rates for multi policies on price comparison sites. However, we recommend shopping around – first for individual policies for each car and then comparing a range of multi-car quotes.
To get you started, we have ranked the multi car policies offered by our top 10 car insurers.
To do this, we’ve looked at three key points:
Discount — the money off offered for insuring more than one car with an insurer. Sometimes this is a fixed saving or it can be linked to the number of cars you add to the policy.
Matched no claims bonus — this part of a multi-car policy allows you to apply the longest no claims bonus of a vehicle being insurers to both cars. Not all companies offer it. It can add extra savings, but check whether the no claims bonus of both cars will be affected if either car is involved in an accident.
Separate claims records — a multi-car policy with a separate claims record ensures that if a car is involved in an accident it will only be logged on that vehicle’s record. That means it won’t impact the no claims bonus of the other car on the policy.
There are a couple of other important factors that may influence your decision. First, whether you can set different cover or excess levels for each car on the policy. If all the drivers are a similar age and drive comparable models it may not be much of an issue for you, but flexibility may be desirable for some households.
You will also want to look at how insurers approach different policy start dates. It may be the case that one person already has a policy with a company and wants to add another car to receive the multi-car discount. But what happens if there is a four-month gap in when the policies renew? Some firms insist that all cars have the same policy start date, while others allow separate start dates.
If you need to have the same start date, check if your provider (especially if it’s the same company you’re starting a multi-car policy with) will provide a refund for any of the current policy you are not going to use. And make sure you never have any gaps in cover.
Be sure to check any caveats to multi-car policies. For example, Aviva says 20% of customers are expected to receive the maximum 33% discount and it is only applied to the cheaper of the two vehicle insurance prices. It goes on to say the discount does not apply to optional extras and the maximum discount is available on policies with either one driver, or two drivers who are domestic partners using their vehicles only for social domestic and pleasure.
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Best over-50s car insurance
Out of the providers in our top 10 car insurers, three are either exclusively for or designed for over 50s:
Age UK Car Insurance
All three are rated 5 Star by independent financial review service Defaqto.
A Star rating indicates where a product or proposition sits in the market based on the quality and comprehensiveness of the features it offers.
A 5 Star rated policy is «an excellent product with a comprehensive range of features and benefits».
RIAS and Saga have silver ratings from Fairer Finance, while Age UK has a gold rating.
Try these providers for specialist cover, but you should be able to get quotes from all the providers in our top 10.
There are a number of other companies not in our top 10 that offer UK car insurance for over 50s. Both 50Plus Insurance (owned by Bluefin insurance, which is backed by Axa) and the Post Office have over 50s policies.
It’s difficult to say one insurer is the best for over-50s because your quote will depend on factors such as the model of car you drive, where you live and your claims history.
However, the good news is that drivers who are over 50 should get affordable car insurance quotes wherever they get cover.
Insurers base their premiums on driving experience, which over 50s are likely to have a lot of. If you have built up a long no claims bonus you’re in a good position to get one of the top car insurance rates.
The average car insurance quote for a 51-year-old is £718, according to Confused.com. For over 60s it’s even better, the average quote for a 66-year-old is £460.
If you drive a more expensive car it may be higher than that, but don’t forget that 21-year-olds pay £1,723 on average, so you’re in a preferable position.
For those aged 70 and above prices may start to creep back up and you’ll also need to renew your licence every three years. Don’t forget to update it with any medical conditions that have occurred since the last time you renewed it.
LV= seems to offer competitive prices for drivers over 80.
When you get a quote make sure you have details relating to your driving history (including your no claims discount), the make and model of your car and any additional drivers or cars you’d like to add to a policy.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate a cheaper price and make sure you shop around.
If you’ve been diagnosed with dementia we’ve written a guide to car insurance to help you get cover.
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Best car hire excess insurance
All of these companies scored at least 8/10 on Trustpilot or 4/5 on Reviewcentre from at least 100 reviews:
Other companies that scored well or didn’t have many reviews include Insurefor and Insurance4carhire.
Big Blue, Better Safe and Reducemyexcess.co.uk were all listed on Moneymaxim but we could not find enough online reviews for them.
Excess insurance for hire cars is one way to keep costs down when renting a vehicle in the UK or abroad.
Along with the insurance that car hire firms offer, they’ll also try to sell excess cover. The excess on hire cars can range from about £500 to £1,000 and the hire companies may try to charge you hundreds for pounds of that excess for as little as a scratch.
If you cover the excess it means an insurance company will pay the excess bill if you have an accident. Car rental companies often charge over the odds for excess cover but there are third-party insurers that provide much better value.
The difference can be more than £100, even for short trips.
You can buy these policies in the UK for car hire here, in Europe or the USA. If you buy from one of these companies, you pay the car hire firm’s excess if you crash and then claim the money back from your insurer.
When you get to the car hire desk to pick up your car you’ll often have to put a «pre-authorised» amount on a credit card, which will cover the excess in the event of a crash. If you don’t have any accidents your card won’t be charged or it will be refunded. Although this can be a pain it’s still cheaper than paying for the hire companies excess policy, which is often called «super CDW (collision damage waiver ) insurance».
Like travel insurance, excess cover can be bought for a single trip or as an annual policy. Annual European excess cover can start at under £50, so if you’re hiring a car a few times in a year it may be the best value. Single-trip excess cover can start from under £20.
Unlike the businesses in our car insurance top 10, there are no car hire excess insurance ratings from review services such as Defaqto or Fairer Finance.
To find some of the best car hire excess providers we looked at customer reviews of companies listed by car hire excess comparison site Moneymaxim.
As with any insurance policy, you should shop around to get the best deal. And if you do buy excess cover from a third party, don’t let the car hire firm sell you a policy you don’t need when you get to their desk.
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How to find temporary or short-term car insurance
How does temporary car insurance work?
Temporary car insurance offers cover for between 1 and 28 days. Some companies even offer insurance for a set number of hours if you only need cover for a very short period.
It can be used for you to drive someone else’s car or for another person to use your vehicle.
There are many reasons people use temporary insurance but popular uses include for moving house, sharing a road trip or long drive, borrowing a friend’s car, adding a son or daughter to a policy while they’re back from university or driving a new car off a forecourt.
In some cases it makes more sense to buy temporary insurance than to add a named driver to an existing 12-month policy.
However, a short-term policy cannot be used to replace a full car insurance policy, even if you only use your vehicle a couple of times a year. It is illegal to keep a car that is not insured or registered with the DVLA as off the road.
You shouldn’t need it for hire or rental cars because they usually come with insurance. Read more about how you can save money with excess cover for hire cars here.
What does temporary car insurance cover?
Most short-term car insurance policies offer similar cover to longer term insurance. Temporary policies are usually comprehensive but companies do offer third party, fire and theft.
The cover is often immediate so you can buy it on the same day you need it and any claims should not affect the no claims bonus of the vehicle being driven.
Because the cover is immediate it means it can be used for test driving a car or driving a vehicle home if you decide to buy it at a dealership.
Many temporary policies allow business use and cover vans up to a certain size.
Some policies include European cover or give you the option to pay more for it. So it’s possible to have short-term cover if you’re borrowing a car to drive to France, for example.
There are a few exclusions.
Many temporary car insurance policies have an upper age limit of 75 and the lower age limit can vary. For some companies, it starts at 21, which makes it difficult for young drivers to get short-term cover. However, The AA’s lower age limit starts at 18 and InsureDaily covers drivers from 19 to 75 years old.
There are separate short-term policies for learner drivers (often 30, 60 or 90 days) offered by companies like Marmalade. Find out more about learner driver insurance here.
If you have points on your licence or motoring convictions it can make it difficult to get temporary cover. Also, some providers will not cover non-UK licences so you should shop around and compare cover levels if you’re planning on letting a visitor to the UK or an expat with a foreign licence use your car.
Which companies offer temporary car insurance?
Our list of the best car insurance companies helps you compare quality policies and get a quote. Many of the top companies also offer temporary car cover.
The AA — although it links straight to Tempcover’s site
Aviva (backed by Dayinsure)
Swinton — it also links straight to Tempcover’s site
Be aware that some well-known providers may only offer temporary cover to existing members.
A few big companies such as AXA and Tesco do not appear to offer temporary insurance.
Specialist temporary insurers include:
Cuvva is an app that allows you to get immediate cover from 1 hour to a whole day. The app is available on Android and iOS and it has good reviews online. You have to be over 21 to use it and it’s designed for borrowing a car from a friend or family member.
How much is temporary car insurance?
As with most car insurance, the cost of temporary car cover will depend on a number of factors, such as how old you are, the car being driven and where you live.
Because the cover is only for short periods it shouldn’t cost too much. Cuvva’s prices for certain cars start under £10 for a few hours of cover.
Quotes for longer periods with other providers can be well under £100. It’s always worth shopping around to compare prices and cover limits to see if you can find cheap temporary insurance.
If you think the short-term quotes you receive cost too much you could look at other options, such as adding a named driver to an existing policy. It will mean another driver can use the car anytime they want, so it may save you money over a year if you’re considering using temporary insurance more than once.
If you want the best protection money can buy, buying an auto policy from one of the best car insurance companies is essential. By buying a high quality policy from a reputable provider, you’ll gain both peace of mind and protection from life-changing financial losses.
While there are plenty of companies to choose from, the best car insurance companies offer certain features that help them stand out.
In addition to policies that can be tailored to your unique insurance needs, they generally offer superior customer service, an up-to-date website where you can pay your bill or check your policy details, and a top-notch claims process that makes recovering from an auto accident as seamless as possible.
Because car insurance has become such a competitive space, shopping around for the best automobile insurance rates is crucial. Where one company might charge higher rates due to your age or driving history, another might offer special discounts based on an entirely different set of criteria.
Most of the time, the only way to find out how much you’ll pay is to apply for several quotes and compare them side by side.
This post was created to introduce some of the best car insurance companies in the business, plus provide an overview of how each business operates.
BEST CAR INSURANCE COMPANIES IN 2018
When your goal is finding the best policy at an attractive price, it pays to compare several of the highest rated companies side by side. When figuring out which companies to highlight, we looked at several auto insurance related studies, including J.D. Power’s Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. From those studies, we handpicked several companies that received high ratings across the board.
What are the best car insurance companies of 2018?
Progressive Insurance is a well-known company with a large base of customers and strong reviews. According to a recent study by JD Power on insurance companies and how they handle claims, they came in extremely competitive when it comes to pricing, among other things.
Did you know Progressive has more than 18,000,000 drivers insured today?
This means roughly 1 in 10 drivers in America has chosen Progressive over all the others. Stack on an exquisite lineup of discounts like the safe driver discount, pay-in-full discount, a multi-car discount, their multi-policy discount, and more, and you’ve got quite a front-runner.
How about bundling your home and auto to save another 5%?
How about their Snapshot® program to let all you safe drivers take advantage of even more savings?
How about the ability to literally Name Your Price®?
Other benefits Progressive offers include plenty of opportunities to save, a solid online presence (#1 rated website), and their Snapshot program®, which rewards good driving behavior.
Why you might like Progressive:
Plenty of available discounts and highly competitive pricing
Great online presence
Loan or Lease payoff program
Strong company financial ratings
Definitely worth getting a quote when you’re comparing Car Insurance
View Rates from Progressive >>
One mistake many consumers make when they are shopping for Car Insurance is not comparing rates.
It’s often cumbersome to shop a lot of companies, which is why we suggest visiting QuoteWizard.com. QuoteWizard is the largest independent insurance lead company in the United States which offers a tool which can help you get several quotes all at once.
If you decide to use QuoteWizard, they make it extremely simple to find auto insurance plans to meet your needs. They’ll get your zip code since rates vary by location and then collect information about your car’s make and model. You’ll be able to add additional vehicles if you’d like to bundle (and save up to 20%).
Finally they’ll ask for information such as your name and email before providing you with the best providers available in your area for your vehicle(s).
Why you might like QuoteWizard:
Many people don’t take the time to properly compare rates on car insurance. Fortunately there’s a service like QuoteWizard.
Save time and money in a matter of minutes
Visit QuoteWizard >>
Founded in 1922, State Farm Insurance has a history of financial stability and customer service satisfaction. With physical offices and agents dispersed throughout the country, State Farm is also known for offering individual service that simply cannot be matched by online-only firms.
The company’s biggest benefits include its brick-and-mortar stores and agents, the many discounts it offers, and its strong mobile app. State Farm also makes it easy and painless to get quotes online, which means you don’t have to head into a local office if you don’t want to.
Why you might like State Farm:
Local offices and agents provide in-person help
Great mobile app and website
Plenty of discounts available
Visit Statefarm.com >>
One of the main advantages of buying auto insurance through Esurance (owned by Allstate) is you have the control and flexibility to build a policy which fits your needs. Esurance was one of the first companies which start selling directly to the customer instead of going through an agent.
They have made it incredibly simple to customize your plan, get a quote, and get approved for protection. The problem with all the customization and convenience is it’s going to come at a price.
Esurance says they are the “insurance for the modern world,” and they truly are. They let anyone get a quote as long as you have an internet connection. The days of going into an insurance office are long gone. Now you can get an insurance policy without having to spend hours on the phone.
Why you might like Esurance:
Quick and easy access to auto insurance
Visit Esurance.com >>
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Founded in 1912, Liberty Mutual Insurance insures more than 1.5 million vehicles and has some of the top customer service ratings.
Why you might like Liberty Mutual:
Ranked “among the best” by J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study
Great standard coverage, as well as the option to add:
Accident forgiveness: Your insurance rates won’t go up when you’re involved in your first accident.
New car replacement: If you total your car when it’s less than a year old and has fewer than 15,000 miles, they’ll reimburse you the cost of a new car, not just the depreciated value.
Better car replacement: You’ll be reimbursed for a car that is one model year newer and 15,000 fewer miles than your totaled car.
Deductible fund: Reduce your deductible by $100 when you add this feature, and then another $100 every year after that.
24-hour claims service
Why you should keep looking:
Policies can be expensive if you are purchasing a single policy.
This new company is disrupting the auto insurance industry. If you are searching for car insurance, their easy to use system will allow you to compare insurance companies without inputing your personal information.
VISIT SITE >
If you’re looking for a car insurance company that offers high quality insurance policies with the opportunity for discounts, Allstate Insurance should be on your short list. Allstate received fairly high ratings across both studies mentioned in this article, with its highest marks received from customers who reported a positive rental car experience.
Allstate Insurance offers the best of both worlds when it comes to the user experience. With brick and mortar offices and agents placed all over the country plus a user-friendly and helpful website, customers have the opportunity to get in-person help or access information online at any time.
Why you might like Allstate:
Most areas have a physical office and local agents
Multiple opportunities for discounts for bundling, anti-theft devices, and passive restraint
Why you should keep looking:
Several comparable companies received higher ratings across the board
Can be expensive if you don’t bundle policies
USAA received extremely high marks from J.D. Power’s Claims Satisfaction Survey, including 5/5 in overall customer satisfaction. In addition, USAA customers were extremely satisfied with their final settlement after an accident, which is one of the most important indicators or a high quality insurance company.
The biggest downside to USAA is that it is only available to members or former members of the United State military and their close family members. So, if you’re in the general public, you won’t have the opportunity to buy a policy from USAA.
Why you might like USAA:
Top ratings, including overall customer satisfaction
Superior customer service
Diverse policy options to meet anyone’s needs
While Auto-Owners Insurance keeps a fairly low profile, they receive extremely high marks across the board. In fact, J.D. Power awarded Auto-Owners Insurance the highest rating in their 2015 Auto Claims Study, with a 5/5 in every category except for rental car experience. That puts Auto-Owners Insurance ahead of the pack in terms of overall customer satisfaction whenever a claim is filed.
The fact that Auto-Owners Insurance has been around since 1916 should also put consumer’s minds at ease. During that time, they have exhibited financial stability consistently. Auto-Owners Insurance also has 6,300 independent agents, meaning you can buy your policy directly from an individual who understands your needs.
Why you might like Auto-Owners Insurance:
High ratings for customer service and claims experiences
Individual agents who care
Variety of discounts available
Why you should keep looking:
Policies can be expensive if you don’t qualify for discounts
Website isn’t as user-friendly as it could be
With more than 200 years of history in business, The Hartford has built an excellent reputation for customer service and claims processing. As of today, the company is still receiving high marks from companies like J.D. Power. In its 2015 Auto Claims Satisfaction study, The Hartford received excellent marks (4/5 or 5/5) in every category except for service interaction.
Although The Hartford is an old company, they still offer some of the best technology in the business. Using their website, you can shop around for and even apply for a new policy. Plus, you’ll have 24/7 access to agents either on the phone or online.
Why you might like The Hartford:
Multiple policy discounts
Top ratings for claims management
Guaranteed renewals of your policy as long as you can drive
Why you might keep looking:
Low ratings for service experiences during the claims process
The best benefits go to AARP members
Why you might keep looking:
Only available to U.S. military members, veterans, or their close family members
Who hasn’t heard of GEICO? Their lizard-like mascot is one of the most recognizable insurance company spokesmen (spokes-lizard?). Just because they are one of the most recognizable doesn’t mean they are the best option.
They have a quote tool you can use on their website to determine how much you’ll pay for your plan. You can also submit a claim or make a payment through their website as well.
There are a lot of benefits of having an auto insurance policy through GEICO. You’ll have access to several additional coverages you can add:
Emergency roadside assistance
Auto Repair Xpress
All of these benefits are going to impact your monthly premiums. Some of them are more affordable than others, but they can be a great way to get the most out of your auto insurance coverage.
Why you might like GEICO:
Excellent customer reviews
Why you might want to keep looking:
Not the most affordable option
Difficult claim process
HOW TO PICK A POLICY WITH THE BEST AUTO INSURANCE COMPANIES
Knowing which companies received the highest marks year after year is just part of the battle. Beyond researching the best auto insurance companies on the market, you’ll also need to decide which type of policy to buy – and how much coverage you really need. On top of those factors, you’ll need to consider how high your deductible should be.
Consumer Reports offers an extremely helpful guide that highlights the steps you can take to find the best policy for your needs. Even if you’re fairly happy with your policy, they suggest shopping around to compare rates at least every two or three years. That way, you have a good idea of where car insurance rates are headed and how much you could save if you switch. Plus, it never hurts to shop around. Based on your age, your driving record, and other factors, the policy you have now could be considerably cheaper if you switched firms.
Here are some tips to consider as you shop around and compare policies:
Pick a top-rated insurer
By checking auto insurance ratings, you gain insight from each company’s existing customer base. Consumer Reports suggests reading through the most recent auto insurance claims and satisfaction studies to see which companies consistently come out on top.
Set the right deductible
No matter whether you buy liability coverage or full coverage for your vehicle, you need to pick a deductible that meets you needs. Consumer Reports suggests choosing a higher deductible if you want to save on monthly premiums, but setting a lower deductible if you want to avoid a large out-of-pocket expense in the event of a car accident. “If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an at-fault accident in years, or ever, opting for a higher deductible on collision coverage might be a good bet,” writes Consumer Reports. Just remember to keep that much cash on hand in case you need it.
Don’t buy state minimum coverage if you truly want a high quality auto policy
While state minimum coverage is less expensive in the short-term, it can prove extremely costly if you have a claim that far exceeds the cap on the policy you purchased. By investing in a policy that offers more generous coverage limits, you can save yourself some heartache and protect your personal property in the event of a costly accident.
Ask friends and family for recommendations
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.
Get quotes from multiple companies
If you’ve read plenty of insurance company reviews and still can’t decide, it might help to get several quotes to compare. Depending on where you live and other factors, one company could offer a much better deal on auto insurance than the rest. In this scenario – where one company is much cheaper over all – you should figure out why the price is so affordable. Are you comparing apples to apples?
Compare similar policies
Speaking of an “apples to apples” comparison, this part of your search is crucial. To find the right auto insurance company and policy for your needs, you need to compare similar auto insurance policies among multiple providers. This means comparing policies with the same levels of coverage and a similar deductible.
HOW TO CHOOSE CAR INSURANCE COVERAGE LIMITS
While you can buy a similar level of auto insurance coverage from multiple insurers, it might be wise to tailor your policy to your specific needs. The higher your coverage limits, the more you’ll generally pay for your premiums. However, having higher coverage limits also means more security in the event of a catastrophic accident. The same is true for your deductible as well; with a lower deductible, you’ll pay a lot less out-of-pocket if an accident should occur. On the flip side, you’ll pay higher premiums to have a lower annual deductible.
As you navigate the intricacies of comparing policies among different insurers, it’s important to decide on the coverage limits you’re comfortable with as well. Consider these tips as you move forward with the purchase of a new auto insurance policy to meet your needs:
Consider your assets
If you own your home and have plenty of other assets, you should consider buying a policy with higher coverage limits than what is normally offered. For more peace of mind, consider buying the top tier of auto coverage to protect your family. With more coverage in place, you can ensure you won’t run out of coverage in the event of a catastrophic accident – or worse, get sued by someone who plans to go after your assets in court.
Of course, some people also buy a generic umbrella policy to kick in in times like these. With an umbrella policy, you’ll have additional coverage to tap into if your auto insurance policy’s limits have been reached, or if someone sues you in a court of law.
Take your car payment into account.
If you paid cash for your car or paid it off slowly over time, it’s your right to choose an auto insurance policy with any limits you desire. If you financed your car and still owe money, on the other hand, your lender might dictate the type of policy you have to buy.
Most lenders who carry auto loans will require you to add comprehensive coverage with collision benefits to your policy. This type of coverage is definitely more expensive, but it will help defray the costs if you should damage or total your car while you’re still making payments.
Gap coverage is another type of coverage that will “bridge the gap” between what your car is worth and how much you owe. Since many newer cars tend to lose value quickly, this type of coverage can be a smart purchase towards the beginning of your auto loan.
Figure out what kind of driver you are
If you’re a reliable driver who has never been in an accident, having the highest levels of coverage may be the last thing on your mind. If you’re not a great driver or have been in several accidents, on the other hand, you may be keenly aware of just how important those coverage limits are.
At the end of the day, the type of driver you are and how often you drive may play a part in the coverage limits you select. If you drive infrequently, you may be more comfortable with lower or average limits. If you drive at high risk times or commute back and forth to work, on the other hand, more or better coverage might help you sleep better at night.
Decide how much you can afford to pay if you have an accident
Coverage limits play a huge role in how much your auto insurance premiums cost, but so will your deductible. Since you’ll be required to pay your deductible in full to access your insurance benefits after an accident, it’s important to make sure your deductible is affordable enough you can cover it with your savings. The right auto policy for your needs will have the right combination of healthy coverage limits with an annual deductible you can actually afford.
WANT THE LOWEST AUTO INSURANCE RATES? DO THIS.
While auto insurance rates are extremely competitive, they still vary widely depending on the company you use and the type of policy you purchase. With that being said, there are still plenty of ways to keep your costs lower than average. If price is an important consideration in your search, consider these tips:
Ask about discounts
Some of the best car insurance companies offer discounts on anything from bundled policies to good credit, zero claims, theft protection devices, and more. Others offer discounts for paying your six-month premium in-full or installing an electronic device that lets the company monitor your driving habits over the long haul.
Allstate Insurance, for example, offers Drivewise – a discount program for customers who install a tracking device into their vehicle. By letting Allstate monitor your driving habits, you can qualify for a discount of up to 30 percent.
Take advantage of low mileage discounts
If you work at home or have a short commute to work, some car insurance firms will extend a discount. Low mileage discounts can also apply if you carpool to work and share miles and expenses.
Qualifying for a low mileage discount may require you to prove how much you drive each year. Further, each auto insurance company has their own limits on how many miles you can rack up and still qualify for this discount.
The best way to find out if you qualify for a low mileage discount is to ask your auto insurance agent when you apply for coverage – or even after you qualify.
If your goal is saving money, the most important step in your search for car insurance is shopping around. Auto insurance rates can easily vary by hundreds of dollars per year with the same car and driver. If you want the best shot at affordable rates, it’s crucial to shop around with at least 5-6 auto insurance firms.
Fortunately, shopping around online or over the phone is easy. Most of the time, a quick phone call or online inquiry is all it takes to get a handful of new auto insurance quotes in minutes. Make sure to shop with private companies and insurance brokers who may be able to offer a car insurance quote from different insurers.
Also, don’t base your decision on price alone. Where securing an affordable policy is important, the quality of your auto insurance policy is equally crucial. Buying a cut-rate policy won’t leave you better off if you get in a wreck and really need coverage. When shopping for a policy, you should focus on price and value.
Consider raising your deductible
Whether you’re shopping around for a new auto insurance policy or planning to keep the one you have, raising your annual deductible is a smart way to save on your monthly premiums.
If you want a $500 deductible to access your auto coverage, your insurance will be more expensive than if you chose a $1,000 deductible from the start. To save money, you should choose the highest deductible you can reasonably afford to pay.
If you do choose to go with a higher deductible, make sure you keep enough cash on-hand to cover it at any time. If you have a $1,000 deductible on your auto policy, for example, you should set aside at least that much in an account – or make sure you keep enough cash to cover your deductible in your regular emergency fund.
Reduce coverage on older cars
While you might consider full coverage on your cars, that doesn’t mean you need it. Where full coverage is smart on newer cars, liability insurance coverage may be a smarter move for older, paid-off models.
To find your break-even point, check out how much your car is actually worth on a website like Kelley Blue Book. If the cost of full coverage on your car is nearly as much as the car is worth itself, converting your policy to liability only can help you save money without jeopardizing your financial life.
Keep your credit in good shape
Most of the best auto insurance companies check your credit before they extend a new policy. If your credit is excellent, this will only help you get the best auto insurance rates. If your credit is poor, on the other hand, you might be asked to pay a whole lot more.
To keep your credit in good health, check your credit score and report frequently. While Credit Karma lets you see an estimate of your credit score for free at any time, AnnualCreditReport.com is a government-approved website that lets you see your full credit report from all three credit reporting agencies once per year for free.
Keep insurance costs in mind when you choose a car
The newer your car is, the more expensive your car insurance premiums will likely be. Also consider the fact that some car models with expensive replacement parts can cost more to insure regardless of age.
Consumer Reports suggests asking your car dealer to show you the “Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information Booklet,” produced annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That way, you’ll be in the best position to avoid models with insurance costs that are higher than most.
Car insurance providers
Companies like Direct Line, Aviva and John Lewis have been rated as the best car insurance providers because they have high scores for customer service and complaints handling from financial review firms Which and Fairer Finance.