How to Choose a Financially Stable Insurance Company

November 21st, 2011 Chad Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Auto insurance is required by law in every state. Protecting your property and your family, it’s a sound investment. It’s also a product that you hope you will never have to actually use. You want to choose a company that will actually pay the claim and take care of you should the need ever arise. Here are some tips to help you choose a provider that is financially sound, solid and likely to be around in a few more years.

Rating Services

There are several rating services available for auto insurance agencies. Not every company has been rated by these services, but the information offered by them can help you make an informed decision. Look for information on most providers with these groups:

• JDPower – Offering information on customer satisfaction, pricing and policy offerings, the one to five star ratings can help you decide if a company is worth further investigation.

• A.M. Best – Providing financial ratings on companies for more than a hundred years, A.M. Best rates insurers based on their long-term debt, short-term debt and outlook. Ratings of A or higher for long-term debt are desirable. The best ratings for short-term debt are a 1+ or 1.

The outlook indicates if there may be a change in ratings over the coming months. A stable company has a low likelihood of their financial status changing. A negative rating indicates that they may be downgraded and a positive rating indicates the group may be upgraded.

• Standard & Poor’s – It’s important to know that your insurer is able to meet all credit obligations. This is one of the top indicators that can help you determine if a company will actually be able to pay claims when the time comes. Standard & Poor’s also offers ratings based on a company’s financial strength. Look for ratings of A or better for a solid agency.

Better Business Bureau

Most insurance agencies are members of the local Better Business Bureau. Give the organization a call to see what kinds of complaints have been filed against the provider you are considering. In addition to learning about the various complaints, find out if the problems were resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. You can also check with your state Department of Insurance to see if there have been any problems with the company.

Reviews

The Internet is an incredible source of customer information. Google the insurance company you are considering along with a request for individual reviews. Please remember that every agency, especially larger ones, will have some complaints against them. It is a normal part of doing business. However, the unhappy customers should be the exception rather than the norm. You can also seek reviews on insurance comparison sites as well as by talking to friends and family members.

Annual Reports

One of the best ways to see determine a company’s financial stability is to look at their growth. This is an era of transparent accounting and most agencies now post their financial reports on the Internet. Visit the provider website and do a search for the annual report. Look for financial highlights showing revenue, earnings and sales comparisons from the previous year to the current one. This information can help you see if the group you are considering is growing or shrinking.

History

Some of the highest rated companies have been in business for well over a century. However, there are excellent companies that have only been around for the last twenty years or so and are financially sound. When looking at the history of a company, look for growth and expansion in addition to the date they were founded. The agency you choose should have a track record of growth and stability over the course of its existence.

Licensure

Every insurance company must be licensed by any state they are operating in. Using the Internet to find the best price is an excellent idea, but make sure the agency you select is properly licensed in your state of residence. If you have any doubts about the licensure, or can’t find the information on the company website, contact your state Department of Insurance to verify the information.

Choosing a financially solid company is as important as finding one with great prices and excellent customer service. The process can be a little time consuming, but it will allow you to make an informed decision. You want to choose a company that will be there for you when they are needed. Taking the time to research different agencies will allow you to find the right one.




Discount Coverage with Auto One Select Auto Insurance

November 19th, 2011 Chad Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

AutoOne Select Car Insurance offers coverage to assigned risk drivers. Customers that most insurance agencies will not cover, Auto One specializes in keeping them legally covered. Working through independent agents in the state of New York, AutoOne can help those drivers who have been turned away by countless other companies. While drivers can’t specifically choose AutoOne, here is what you can expect if you are assigned to AutoOne.

Understanding Assigned Risk

The insurance industry has three tiers for determining the level of risk involved with insuring a person. Preferred drivers have the safest, cleanest record. Standard drivers have average records and non-standard drivers have records that are spotty and littered with accidents or tickets. However, not all drivers fall into these tidy categories.

There are many drivers who find that even companies who specialize in SR-22 policies can’t help them. They can legally drive in the state they live in, but they can’t find a company to provide them with the necessary insurance. Fortunately, these drivers can still get on the road through a risk pool.

Limited Features

As an insurance provider who is willing to cover drivers with the most troublesome records, AutoOne does not have an extensive list of products to choose from. They offer a basic insurance plan that will keep drivers legal and allow them to stay on the road. The insurance period with AutoOne or another assigned risk provider is the perfect time to improve driving habits and clean up the permanent record.

Pricing

Don’t look for great prices with a company that specializes in covering high risk drivers. Rates are typically based on past driving record, so you can expect your costs with AutoOne to be higher than they would with other companies. However, since most other companies aren’t willing to offer insurance to assigned risk customers, you will probably have to pay the fees that are presented to you.

Non-Cancel

The great benefit of AutoOne, however, is that your coverage cannot be cancelled for fresh driving offenses. You will be required to sign up for a set number of years and the company will only be able to cancel your policy during this time for non-payment of premiums. This makes it the perfect opportunity for you to clean up the driving record. Lose the lead foot, learn how to obey the traffic laws and then patiently wait for your official record to improve. When your policy ends it should be easier for you to find affordable insurance with a record that is clean and presentable.

Getting a Policy

A non-traditional company, getting a policy with AutoOne isn’t as simple as it might be with other insurance providers. The best solution is to go through an independent agent in your area. They can step you through the special paperwork that must be completed and help you submit the application. It is important to note that drivers who are in an Assigned Risk plan are placed with insurance companies throughout the state on a random basis.

Coverage States

In addition to providing coverage in New York, AutoOne also offers coverage in several other states including:

• Arizona
• California
• Colorado
• Connecticut
• Delaware
• Idaho
• Maine
• Montana
• Nebraska
• Oregon
• Pennsylvania
• South Carolina
• Texas
• Utah
• Vermont
• Washington
• West Virginia
• Washington D.C.
• Wyoming

A special company for drivers with challenging records, AutoOne can provide you with coverage when every other company has turned you away. Landing in the assigned risk pool can be embarrassing and frustrating.

Take advantage of the non-cancellation aspect of the policy to improve your driving record. In a few years, you can be enjoying low rates and great coverage as a result.




Cost Insurance Rates for Army Families

November 17th, 2011 Chad Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

The military lifestyle is a unique one that many businesses don’t understand. When choosing auto insurance for your family, you want to make sure you are working with a company that can meet the special needs of the military. Here are the key factors to consider before signing a contract with any provider.

Overseas Deployment

It’s common for military families to be sent overseas for a few months or even a few years. The ideal solution is to choose a company that can offer you insurance around the globe. Designed for military families, the best option for global coverage is USAA. Founded by a group of officers, this company understands the unique needs of military personnel and can provide you with coverage in several different countries.

Leaving the Car Behind

There are times when your car can’t go with you to the next duty assignment. Whether you are being stationed in a remote area or you know that you won’t be driving while overseas, you will still require insurance for your parked vehicles. Letting the insurance lapse will leave you without coverage if something happens to your car in storage.

The lack of coverage for any period of time can also make it difficult to buy a new policy when you are ready to get behind the wheel again. Look for a company that can provide you with drastically discounted rates for periods when your car will be not be on the road.

Transfers

Moving is a regular part of military life. It’s normal for military families to move every few years. The easiest way to ensure continuous coverage is to choose a company that operates in all fifty states. Rather than trying to find a new company with every move, you simply have to contact your agency and give them your new address.

Customer Service

Insurance agents can be incredibly helpful. They will help you decide on the right coverage and can give you assistance should you need to file a claim. However, they will also have to be left behind when you are transferred. Moving is difficult enough and the military isn’t known for giving soldiers a lot of notice when they will be relocating. Focus on finding a company that has top-notch customer service representatives and deal directly with the company instead.

Prices

While rates are not going to rise just because you’re in the military, they necessarily drop, either. Most insurance providers don’t offer discounts specifically to military members, although you can find some that are less expensive. Visit comparison sites to locate insurance companies with the best rates for the coverage you need.

Easy Payment Options

Preparing for a deployment or permanent move is stressful. Choose an insurance company that can ease some of the burden by providing you with easy ways to make the payments. Many insurers now take payments online as well as offering direct withdrawal services. Having these abilities can help you stay on track financially and avoid a lapse in coverage when you are focused on an upcoming move.

Providers

Here are a few of the companies who understand the unique needs of our country’s defenders and will work with you. They have the lowest rates and special programs that can prove valuable to you and your family.

• USAA – Founded by military officers in the early part of the 20th century, this insurance company specializes in providing insurance policies to members of the military.
• Geico – Their special military program offers you overseas coverage, a special storage protection program and support services to help you stay on track even when you are preparing for deployment.

The military has a unique job and they need the right kind of insurance company to take care of them. You need to look at more than just the price that is quoted to you. Look at the states they operate in, the availability of overseas coverage and their customer service record. With a little research, you can choose a company that understand the different aspects of military life and will work to meet your needs.




Save with Assurant Car Insurance Specials

November 15th, 2011 Chad Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

There’s more to protecting your car than simply purchasing auto insurance. Assurant has several policies that will provide additional coverage for your auto. The extended protection programs available through this company can help save you money over the life of your vehicle. Lower repair costs, enjoy your auto for a longer period of time and enjoy substantial savings over the long run.

Extended Service Contracts

When the factory warranty runs out on your auto you are typically on your own with repairs. However, the extended service contract from Assurant gives you additional protection against mechanical breakdowns and other problems.

Sold through dealerships, these warranty programs are available for new and used vehicles including RV’s, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and boats as well as passenger automobiles. You can even purchase coverage for your collectible or antique car with Assurant.

Covered Items

Much like the bumper-to-bumper coverage on a new car, the Assurant extended service contract covers a wide range of items. Parts and labor coverage can be customized to meet your needs. Choose a plan with a low deductible or choose one that will cover your vehicle at 100%. Accidental damage is covered as well as normal wear and tear. Drive your car with confidence knowing that you will be covered if something should break. You will be able to keep the auto longer because the expense of repairs will not force you to trade it in or sell it before you are ready to.

Customizable

Assurant believes in offering products that will suit their individual client’s perfectly. That’s why their extended service policies can be customized. Decide on the deductible level you are interest in. Different program choices may feature various benefit start periods, “no lemon” coverage and even the ability to transfer the contract. When purchasing an auto through a dealer, discuss the extended service plan and find out what all the options are. Consider how long you plan on keeping the vehicle before making a final decision on which program will work for you.

Nationwide

It doesn’t matter where you live or where you buy your next vehicle, Assurant can provide you with the extended protection you need. Offering products in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, Assurant Specialty Property insurance will cover your new or used car and allow you to enjoy it longer.

Other Products

Assurant doesn’t just provide you with extended warranty programs for autos. They also offer additional protection for homeowners, manufactured houses and farms. The agency can even provide you with insurance through the Federal Flood Program. In addition to covering the structure, they will also cover the contents. An excellent supplement to your regular insurance, it can easily bridge the gaps that are often left between what the damage actually is and what your regular insurance will take care of.

Ratings

Highly regarded by the ratings agencies, Assurant enjoys high marks across the board. They have a rating of Excellent, or A, with A.M. Best and a Good rating with Moody’s. Standard & Poor’s also gives them a high rating of Strong.

History

Assurant has a strong history. Founded in 1892, it was originally known as the LaCrosse Mutual Aid Association. Over the years the company has merged with other agencies and continued to expand its product offerings. The company is now a large, publicly traded agency with a strong commitment to the communities it operated in.

When you are ready to make a big purchase, consider adding Assurant specialty product insurance to the package. Offering you valuable coverage for your auto, home or other big purchase, this protection will allow you to get more years of service out of your investment. The insurance is affordable and will allow you to save a great deal of money in the long run.




Automatically Renewing Your Car Insurance May Be Costly

June 9th, 2011 Tammy Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Once most drivers have gone through the work of finding an automobile insurance provider and securing a policy, they aren’t in any hurry to do it again. As such, most drivers tend to stick with their current insurance policies, with an estimated 9 million drivers (27%) using auto renew. This means that, at the end of the policy period, the policy simply renews itself, often with additional charges in tow. Many drivers think they don’t have to worry about this, often believing that they’re still getting the same great deal or that their “loyalty” discounts will circumvent any additional charges. Unfortunately, many policy deals are only for the life of one policy, and those discounts often don’t make a dent in the additional fines that some providers will bill you if you let them. In fact, many people are unaware of just how much of their money is being sucked out of their bank accounts by their car insurance providers.

Studies indicate that approximately 39% of drivers in the United States have been using their car insurance providers for a period of at least three years. 5% of these drivers have even been with their providers for ten years or longer. Unfortunately, the number of drivers who check their renewal prices before renewing is a small 45%. Even fewer drivers, approximately 24%, bother to check any changes to their coverage or to the policy itself.

When questioned about why they chose to renew their car insurance policies automatically, 26% of drivers said they believed that their current provider would continue to offer a good deal or that their policy rate would remain the same. 29% felt it was important to be loyal to their providers. 16% didn’t want to deal with the work of finding a new provider or checking up on their current one, and 13% simply found the whole process intimidating and didn’t feel they knew enough to make an effective provider switch.

Sadly, it appears that laziness and ignorance are the most common reasons behind not switching providers when necessary or, at the very least, checking up on policy changes before renewing. This is unfortunate, because this can end up costing drivers an arm and a leg, often for coverage that isn’t even really adequate to keep them protected in the event of an accident. To avoid this, drivers are encouraged to, first and foremost, educate themselves about automobile insurance. They should know about the minimum coverage requirements in their state, the average premium amounts, and they should also gather and compare free rate quotes each time they wish to renew or change their policies. If drivers can do this and can commit to doing it diligently, even though it does take a bit of time and effort, they will likely be shocked at how much money they can save on car insurance each year. Remember, the average person will pay for car insurance for a period of fifty years, so you can’t afford to overpay even once!




Chrysler Lebaron Auto Insurance

June 8th, 2011 Tammy Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

If you own a Chrysler Lebaron, then you should know that you own both a luxury car and a classic car, both of which can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket if you’re not careful and don’t know what to do to lower insurance rates. Whether you own the original 1930s model, the 1977-1981 m-body m-size, the 1982-1988 K-body compact, the 1985 to 1989 H-body mid-size, the 1987-1995 J-body personal luxury, or the 1990-1994 AA-body mid-size, there are things you’ll need to do to make sure your car insurance rates aren’t through the roof and more than you can afford to pay or should have to pay just to drive your vehicle.

First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure that you are dealing with an honest, affordable insurance provider. You’d need to do this no matter what car you were driving, but it’s especially important for those who own expensive to insure vehicles like the Chrysler Lebaron. You’ll want to start your search by compiling a list of all of the licensed insurance providers in your area. In order to make sure it’s thorough—since you’ll want to see all of your options to end up with the most affordable policy—include both the bigger name providers, like GEICO and All State, and smaller, more local providers. These smaller providers, which are often overlooked, will offer great insurance rates and special deals to owners of classic and luxury vehicles in many cases.

With your list in front of you, start going through and researching each provider. A good way to get basic information about a provider is to visit its website. If you run across a provider that doesn’t insure classic cars (somewhat common) or that doesn’t insure luxury vehicles (rare), you can be sure to cross that one off your list. Most of your eliminating, however, will come as you do more in depth research. For example, you might cross providers off your list who have overwhelmingly negative customer reviews, especially if complaints deal with rising insurance rates, poor claims handling efficiency, or bad customer service. You might also cross off providers who have had several complaints with the Better Business Bureau or whose websites are unprofessional.

Your list should be narrowed down at this point, which will make it easier and less time consuming for you to request free rate quotes from all of the remaining providers. Make sure that you automatically discount any provider that asks you to pay for a rate quote, as these should always be offered free of charge. When you have your rate quotes, you should go through and choose the provider that offers you not just the lowest rate, but also the best coverage. Sometimes, it’s better to pay just a little bit more for your insurance and be better protected.

When you have your insurance for your special vehicle squared away, now it’s time to start trying for all of the discounts that you can! These discounts will help to counteract the slightly higher insurance rates you’ll be expected to pay as the owner of a luxury and classic vehicle. The good news, however, is that if you’ve chosen your provider carefully as described above, you likely won’t have to worry about qualifying for quite so many discounts to get your costs down. Good discounts that can be helpful for car owners like yourself include anti theft feature discounts, applied when you install approved anti-theft features, like a car alarm or steering wheel lock, on your vehicle; safety feature discounts, applied when you install approved safety features, such as airbags, on your vehicle; good driver discounts, awarded after a set amount of time in which you remain accident free and ticket free; multiple policy discounts, given to drivers who insure more than one vehicle through the provider or who also have home or renter’s insurance through the provider; and many other discounts as well.

Do be aware that not all providers will offer all discounts, and each will likely have different requirements for receiving the discount. As such, make sure that you discuss any plans to qualify for a particular discount with your insurance provider ahead of time.




Report: 1 in 7 Drivers Not Insured

June 6th, 2011 Tammy Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Recently, the Insurance Research Council conducted a study to determine the amount of drivers who had insurance, as well as the number of drivers who did not. The results were rather shocking, showing that approximately one in every seven drivers does not have any kind of insurance. This means that a vast 13.8% of the drivers you may come into contact with on the road will not have any kind of automobile insurance. If you live in a tort state and are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver who is found to be at fault, you may have to go through litigation and many other lengthy, time consuming, and often unrewarded hassles to have the damages to your vehicle and/or injuries to yourself or your loved ones paid for. Or, if you yourself drive without insurance, you can face some very serious consequences depending on the state in which you live.

The 1 in 7 drivers who is uninsured is actually a national figure. In some states, the number and percentage of uninsured drivers is even higher! Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Florida are among the worst states for dangerous, uninsured drivers with approximately 24% of drivers being uninsured. Mississippi is even worse with 28% of drivers uninsured. In New Mexico, it’s 26%. Of course, just as there are states that are worse for having uninsured drivers, there are also some that are safer. Vermont has only 7% of its drivers uninsured; the same is true for Pennsylvania; New York has 5% of its drivers uninsured; and Massachusetts and Maine have only 4.5% of drivers uninsured. Whether you live in a “good” or “bad” state for uninsured drivers, however, you need to make sure that you have insurance and that you adequately protect yourself from the risks of uninsured drivers. 

First and foremost, if you are one of these dangerous uninsured drivers, then you need to change this right away. The most common reason that people do not have automobile insurance is because they think that they cannot afford it. However, there are so many different automobile insurance providers out there that if you are truly willing to put forth the effort, you can find a provider who will offer you an affordable policy with adequate coverage. This doesn’t come easily, though. You have to be willing to research all of the licensed providers in your area thoroughly and to request free rate quotes from each one that looks promising. Then, it’s your job to compare these quotes and go with the most reasonably priced provider. Do keep in mind as well that some states have special programs for low income drivers that can help them to secure automobile insurance. If you don’t qualify for such a program or if your state doesn’t offer one, then it may be time to cut back on spending in other areas. If you absolutely cannot afford car insurance, then it’s time to rethink whether or not you can afford the privilege of driving at this point in your life; unfortunately, not everyone can.

If you do have automobile insurance, then it’s a good idea to further protect yourself from uninsured or even underinsured drivers. Almost all providers will offer the option for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Some states, in fact, even require drivers to carry minimum amounts of it. If your state does not require this type of coverage, then it’s up to you to determine the amounts you will realistically need and can afford and then to add them to your policy. If your state does require this type of coverage, then you should know that the minimum amounts really aren’t enough to actually protect you in the event of an accident. As such, you’ll want to be sure to raise your coverage as much as you can afford to.

The road is a very scary place, no matter where you live. Not only do you have to worry about inclement weather conditions, driving as safely as possible, and keeping your car running well, you also have to worry about the other drivers on the road, especially the ones without adequate insurance or who don’t have insurance at all. Protect yourself by having the right coverage at all times.




Top 4 Reasons You’re Getting Ripped by your Auto Insurance Company

June 3rd, 2011 Tammy Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

There are a lot of people out there who, unfortunately, are paying way too much for their automobile insurance without even realizing it. Automobile insurance is something that the average person will have and pay for for fifty years, on average, or longer. When you’re going to be paying a bill for that long, it’s important that you don’t overpay even once. To avoid overpaying, we suggest reading our list of the four reasons people overpay for car insurance. If you find yourself making any of these faux pas, then follow our helpful tips to turn things around.

4. Not Enough Coverage:  If you’re paying next to nothing for car insurance, then you probably think you’re getting a pretty sweet deal. If you’re paying next to nothing, however, and not really getting anything in return, then this is a big problem. Many people skimp on coverage in order to pay a lower rate for car insurance, but what are they paying for exactly? Without adequate protection in the event of an accident, you are basically paying your car insurance company for nothing. Your policy is useless and won’t help you in the event of an accident, thereby defeating the very purpose of auto insurance and keeping you throwing your money down the drain. Even if it costs a little more upfront, always make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when it comes to coverage.

3. Not Getting Discounts You Qualify For: Unfortunately, a lot of drivers are unaware of just how many discounts there are out there. There are good driver discounts, awarded to drivers who have not had any accidents or ticketable offenses within a set time period; safety and anti-theft feature discounts for drivers who install such features on their cars; low mileage discounts; hybrid vehicle discounts; and even discounts for being married, adding a domestic partner to a policy, or having more than one policy. Discounts are everywhere, but if you don’t know if they exist and aren’t demanding to receive the ones for which you’re eligible, then you’re just paying money you don’t really have to pay. Make sure you know and keep on top of what policies are offered by your insurance provider and that you always demand what’s owed you.

2.Not Reading the Fine Print: Many people get cheated out of their money simply because they don’t read the fine print before they sign. A great deal on insurance, for example, might come with a time limit, after which rates increased, that is only discussed in the fine print. Likewise, some providers keep it in small letters that they will automatically raise your rates and/or coverage a certain amount each policy term. To avoid paying extra, hidden fees and fines, make sure you read and understand everything you put your name on.

1.Not Having the Right Provider: Finally, the number one reason people overpay for their car insurance is because they’ve chosen poor providers from the get go. Always make sure you take the time to shop around for car insurance and to compare rate quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.




How Much is Chevy Aveo Car Insurance?

June 2nd, 2011 Tammy Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Everyone knows that Chevy Aveos, especially the newer models, are exceptionally nice cars and that they are worth quite a hefty sum of money. Unfortunately, it’s not just good, honest every day drivers that know just how much these little cars are worth; car thieves know this as well, and Chevy Aveos are very likely to get stolen. Another piece of bad news is that car insurance providers are also aware of just how likely it is for a Chevy Aveo to be stolen and, as such, they tend to charge higher premium amounts to owners of these and other expensive, newer vehicles. This might not seem fair on the part of the insurance provider, but you must remember that they have to protect themselves and insuring owners of expensive vehicles is taking a risk on the insurance provider’s part.

There is some good news, however. First and foremost, know that you don’t have to give up your dream of owning a Chevy Aveo. Instead, you just have to do a little work to find a good, reliable, affordably priced provider to start with. And then it’s up to you to go the extra step and to make efforts at getting your premium reduced as much as possible. All it takes is a bit of effort and dedication on your part. In short, if you really want to own a Chevy Aveo and to avoid paying insane amounts for car insurance, then you’ll do what it takes to make that happen.

As mentioned above, your first and most important step is to obtain a car insurance policy through a fairly priced automobile insurance provider. After all, even if you qualify for all of the discounts in the world, you’ll still end up overpaying if your provider bills you at every opportunity and charges exorbitant rates to begin with. So, take extra care when choosing an insurance provider. Take the time to research all licensed providers—both large and small—in your area. Sometimes, those smaller insurance providers can offer surprisingly great deals, customer service, and special offers to try and sway customers in their favor. Make sure you read online customer reviews of providers you are considering using, being careful to note any complaints about rapidly raising premiums, hidden fees and charges, poor claims handling efficiency, bad customer service, or other issues that are important to you. Finally, compare rate quotes, choosing the provider that offers you the most adequate protection at the most affordable price.

Finally, once you’ve settled on a policy, it’s up to you to talk to your provider about different possible discounts. You can better protect your car and save money on your car insurance premium by adding anti-theft features to your Chevy Aveo. Adding on a car alarm system or a steering wheel lock can save you big bucks with many providers. Choosing to park your car in a secure parking garage during work or overnight can also save you money.




Which States Cost the Most to Insure My Automobile?

June 1st, 2011 Tammy Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

It is no surprise that some states are simply more expensive to live in. What you might not know, however, is that some states are also guaranteed to be more expensive for insuring your vehicle. The top most expensive states in which to insure your automobile include Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Montana, and California. In Louisiana, the average premium rate is a shocking $2,510.87. In Michigan, $2,098.29; in Oklahoma $1,869.39; in Montana $1,857.96; and in California $1,774.41. Despite these high average rates, this does not mean that you will have to pay anywhere close to these amounts. No matter where you live, but especially if you live in one of the more expensive states, you can lower your premium rate by being smart about choosing your coverage.

Far too many people, both in and out of these states, make the mistake of simply going with the first provider they find or with signing up for a short lived too good to be true deal that quickly peters out to higher coverage rates. It is your responsibility as a driver to take the time to research all of your car insurance options and to seek out the best possible coverage at the most affordable price. To do this, of course, takes time and effort. If you’re willing to put that forth, however, it won’t matter at all where you live; you can still get a great deal on your car insurance.

Your first step as a responsible driver is to compose a list of all of the licensed insurance providers in your area. Sometimes, insurance bureaus or the local Chamber of Commerce will maintain such a list and give it to you for free. If this is not the case in your area, then you can compile your list by searching through the phonebook or by browsing online. Make sure that you include both the larger, well known providers, like GEICO and All State, as well as the smaller, more local providers. These smaller providers, which are all too often overlooked, will usually have great deals and affordable coverage in an effort to keep up with the competition.

Once you have your list, you’re ready to begin the research process. You can start small by simply going to the website of each provider. Though you won’t be doing a lot of crossing off at this point, you can easily eliminate those providers that don’t cover your specific type of vehicle or that don’t offer policies that you feel suit your needs. After passing this initial phase of research, it’s time to get down and dirty! Read online reviews, written by past and current clients of each insurance company. While one or two or even a few bad reviews is normal, do take note if a particular provider receives overwhelmingly negative reviews, especially if it’s due to raising premium rates, poor customer service, or inefficient or unfair claims handling. Check the status of each provider with the Better Business Bureau, noting any complaints filed, and if possible, talk to others who have used the provider in the past. The information you learn from the process should help you to narrow down your list quite a bit and will make the rest of the process much simpler and much more manageable for you.

Your final step is to collect insurance rate quotes from each of the remaining companies. Quotes should always be provided to you free of charge; if a company tries to bill you for a rate quote or requires a “deposit” or credit card information, this is a big red flag that this is not a legitimate or honest company and definitely not one you should have any dealings with. When you have all of your rate quotes, put them in front of you and honestly assess them. Though it can be tempting to simply go with the provider that offers you the lowest cost automobile insurance, what you’ll really want to do is to look for the one that offers you the most adequate protection at the most reasonable rate. After all, cheap car insurance won’t do you a bit of good if it won’t keep you covered in the event of an accident.