Best Car Insurance Companies – What to Look For

When comparing car insurance, most people look at the cost. While this is an important aspect, there are other things to consider. Do your research before buying a policy.

The phrase “you get what you pay for” can often be applied to car insurance. The first step in finding a company is knowing the rate and what is included. When you get a quote from an agent, it should show specifically what your policy will cover. Does it include comprehensive insurance along with collision and at what limits? Does it pay for a rental car in the event of an accident? How much is the deductible?

Knowing this will help you be able to compare prices among companies to know who has the best deal. If you just ask for the cheapest quote or the minimum coverage required by the state, you may not be comparing identical policies.

Convenience fees and discounts are two other things to look at with car insurance companies. Many companies charge a fee for breaking your bill into monthly payments. It can vary up to three or four dollars per month, depending on the company. They may waive the fee if you set up automatic payments, but ask to know for sure.

Also ask if there’s a discount for paying the entire bill at once. Find out if there are other discounts such as multiple car discounts or a discount for having homeowner’s or renters insurance with the same company. You can save quite a bit of money if you get several discounts.

Most insurance companies will give you a mileage discount for driving your car less than a certain number of miles per year. It varies between companies but it’s worth asking about. Safety features such as air bags can also lower your insurance premium. Most insurance companies know that offering more discounts will attract a greater number of customers because everyone like to save money.

Ask if the company takes your credit rating into consideration. While this can be a problem if you have less than perfect credit, it can be a bonus if your credit rating is high. You’ll end up paying less for your insurance than most other people and be rewarded for having excellent credit.

Customer service is another important area to research in car insurance companies. Know how to get in touch with your agent. Find out if they have a direct line or if you’ll have to call the main number and possibly be put on hold. Find out if they have email that may be a more convenient way for you to reach them during working hours. You’ll want to be able to ask a question and get an answer within a reasonable amount of time.

Asking for a quote isn’t a direct indicator because most agents will respond to those first and other questions from current customers may take longer to get a reply. The easiest way to know the answer is to call and ask a question about their fees or discounts or some other area to see how long it takes to get a response.

Claims assistance is another area to look at in a company. Find out how to contact them if you are involved in an accident and what to expect. You want to know how fast they will act on your behalf and what kind of support you’ll get. Do they have certain repair shops they deal with or will you be expected to get estimates? If so, how many? Will they send out an adjuster?

If you know the process, you will have an idea how long you’ll be without a vehicle if you’re in an accident. If you can take your vehicle to an approved repair station immediately so they can begin repairs, you’ll get your car back sooner than if you have to wait for an adjuster or get several estimates and wait for approval.

You can also go to your state’s Department of Insurance and get a complaint history on the insurance company you’re researching. This will tell you if they have had a lot of complaints filed against them or if the majority of their customers are satisfied.

The financial stability of a company is also an area of consideration. You don’t want to find a company you like and then have them go bankrupt before they can pay for a claim if you’re in accident. Independent agencies give ratings to insurance companies based on their financial strength.

Researching a car insurance company will enable you to find a company that will give you the service and satisfaction you’re looking for.

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