For years I knew that one day my Dad would kick me off the car insurance. That day has come, and I have been doing diligent shopping, quality, and price comparisons to help me make a decision.
The first thing that most people look at when shopping for insurance is the price. Obviously that is a major factor, and you should compare several companies to find the best price.
From commercials, we know about companies like Geico, Aflac, AllState, State Farm, e-surance, and a handful of others. Some claim to save you “15% or more” with one call. Others will compare your rate with other companies.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. You can call in and get a quote or you can do it yourself online. Either method has its own advantages and disadvantages regarding time, speed, and discounts.
One caution, however, is your credit. One of the major factors in determining your rate is your credit score. To get your score, some companies use a ‘soft hit,’ which does not impact your credit report, and some use a ‘hard hit,’ which impacts your report and can lower your score. If you get a lot of quotes, ask about how they pull your credit first.
All insurance companies are not equal. If you read customer satisfaction surveys and check Consumer’s Report, you will find that some of the older, high service companies like Liberty Mutual and All State score higher than the low price focused sites.
Make sure that your plan gives you extensive coverage. I have only taken quotes for low deductible (about $250), high coverage plans that include uninsured motorist, medical, and comprehensive vehicle coverage.
Some companies are able to offer a lower rate because they do not offer as extensive coverage. You have to decide for yourself which is more important, but I would rather err on the side of having better coverage.
If you have ever had to file a claim, you know it can be a miserable process. Dealing with approved shops, quotes, rental cars, repair schedules, surveys, deductibles, and customer service representatives can be a nightmare.
Again, read online customer satisfaction reports and certain trends emerge. You will easily find which companies have good service and coverage and which will leave you angry, upset, or frustrated.
I have not made the final choice yet, but two companies are the frontrunners. What companies have you been happy with? Which left you with a bad experience? Any other tips that I missed? Please give your thoughts in the comments.
Photo by Dospaz.