Even if you have had insurance for years, it may be time to take a moment to compare car insurance companies. If you don’t, you may be paying more each month than you really need to. If this is your first time buying insurance for a car, it’s particularly important to shop around and choose the right company for you and your needs.
In order to make a decision about where to buy your car insurance, you will first need to gather quotes from several companies. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you get quotes from at least three different companies. Once you have the quotes, you will need to look beyond just the dollar amount. Compare what is being offered under each policy. Such factors as the type of insurance, coverage amounts, deductibles, and other factors can all impact the final amount.
Just as the lowest quoted price doesn’t necessarily mean that it is actually the best overall deal, the bigger the company doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a better policy. There have been cheap insurance rates that offered very little and large companies that ended up having poor customer service ratings when it comes to filing a claim.
What to Compare
When it is time to compare car insurance companies, you should keep the following tips in mind:
- Research the company. You will want to make sure the company is licensed to provide insurance in your state. You can do this by contacting your state’s department of insurance, either online or by phone. They should also be able to provide you with information about the number of consumer complaints they have received about the company.
- Ask who others recommend. Sometimes, the best way to find a reputable car insurance company is simply to ask around. Find out who your family and friends have had good experiences with. You could also speak with a trusted body-shop mechanic to see who they have had a good working relationship with.
- Consider their history and reputation. You will want to know how long the company has been in business and what their reputation is like.
- Look at their claim-filing process. See if you can find out what their process is for filing claims, and how long it usually takes. You want to make sure that, if you need to file a claim, it be handled in a timely manner.
- Go with the gut. If you feel particularly comfortable with one of the companies, you should consider that in the overall decision. Your own instinct and level of comfort may be the best factor to consider when choosing a company you will be working with.
Choosing an auto insurance company can be a challenge at any stage of your driving experience. But doing a little homework before selecting a company can go a long way toward saving you time and money later on. It’s well worth the effort to compare the companies.