Good Consumer Reviews is the 2nd Biggest Factor when Drivers Pick a Car Insurance Company
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UPDATED: Jun 24, 2020
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A car insurance policy covers more than just your vehicle.
It provides the financial protection needed to fix or replace your car and helps pay for medical bills resulting from an accident.
A policy will protect you if you’re involved in an accident with another motorist who happens to be uninsured or underinsured.
Fact: every state requires car insurance by law, with the exception of New Hampshire.
The bottom line is that having the right car insurance policy can be integral to helping you recover financially after an accident.
And get your car back on the road all that much faster.
Much like other types of auto insurance policies, wading through the details of what each company offers can be extremely time consuming.
Note: The most obvious reason drivers change companies is price. However, the 2nd most common reason a driver changes insurers is because of customer service or the lack thereof. In this article I am going to show you a company which aggregates insurers by customer service ratings from around the web.
Clearsurance Ranks Auto Insurance Companies by Reviews
By far the most effective way of judging a car insurance company and its policy offerings is to talk to someone who has already gone through the process of researching, purchasing, and using their policy.
That’s precisely why Clearsurance has taken a whole lot of information collected just this way and built an advanced database for auto insurance buyers.
Here is a link to Clearsurance.
One of the cool features for me personally is the search by rating on their website.
Image Credit: Clearsurance.com
Note: Illustrated above is a screenshot of Clearsurance’s listings of each insurer by consumer rating. For this illustration I used zip code 45208 which is Cincinnati. The top companies are USAA, California Casualty, and Amica.
I have looked around and I haven’t been able to find similar features which is offered at Clearsurance.
Yes, there is Google and their ratings.
I have to say this may be a little better for those who want to focus solely on vehicle insurance.
Clearsurance offers an aggregate by best consumer rating for each company in your zip code.
Pretty cool in my opinion.
Being able to sift through customer experiences and past lessons learned makes selecting your company that much easier.
Image Credit: Clearsurance.com
Note: Here is another listing for New York City by best consumer rating provided by Clearsurance.com. The top three vehicle insurance companies are USAA, Amica, and Erie. Again, these are the best companies by consumer rating and nothing else. It doesn’t mean they are the cheapest.
How to Choose a Car Insurance Company
Before doing anything else, take the time to decide what kind of auto insurance coverage you need.
Basic coverage is typically liability insurance in most states.
When looking for a car insurance policy, here are a few factors to take into consideration.
Cost is the Biggest Factor when Choosing a Car Insurance Policy
Many people begin their car insurance research by checking out the cost, and rightly so.
Factors that will influence your car insurance policy premium include, but are not limited to:
Your driving history
The make and model of your vehicle
How much you drive
Note: Illustrated above is the cost of an average policy for a 20-year old and 55-year-old driver. Your age is a primary factor when insurers determine the price of a premium for you. This is something that is obviously out of your control. There are other ways you can lower your monthly premium.
Any coverage that is required by your state as well as additional coverage you may opt for.
While cost is an excellent place to start, other factors should also influence your decision.
You want to pick a car insurance policy that fits your budget, while also ensuring that your car insurer will be reliable if you need them!
Keep in mind that it may be beneficial to pay a little bit more for additional coverage options that provide you with more thorough and reliable protection in the long run.
Note: Your credit score is another contributing factor to determine how much you pay for a premium. Your credit score shows the insurer how financially responsible you are. Which shows you may be responsible about filing claims. In some states a low credit score can cost you thousands of dollars. California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts ban the use of credit scores.
Customer Service & Availability
How a company treats its customers is a key factor that always plays a role in determining how long they retain those customers.
Be sure to choose an insurance company that will treat you as a valued asset.
Questions to ask yourself to help assess this:
Is your car insurance company available at any hour?
Does the website or call center allow you to reach the person you need to speak to quickly and easily?
Are the staff helpful and knowledgeable about the products they are selling?
Find a company with convenient customer service hours as well as positive reviews from other policyholders.
Clearsurance ranks auto insurance companies by customer reviews similar to JD Power & Associates.
They allow you to see how other consumers rate companies and read reviews to learn from the experiences of other drivers.
A good place to start: the top-ranked car insurance companies list according to consumers.
Below I have outlined the top 10 insurers with the best overall consumer satisfaction.
|Company||Rating||Best Coverage Area|
|NJM Group||4.4||New Jersey & Pennsylvania|
|Auto-Owners||4.4||Southeast and Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.|
|Travelers||4.3||West and Southwest|
|State Farm||4.2||All states|
|The Hartford||4.2||All states|
|California Casualty Group||4.2||Most states. Offers coverage for firefighters, teachers, and law enforcement.|
*Insurers like USAA offer coverage in all states. They do not have a specific area where they offer the best coverage. Only an overall from consumer ratings and surveys. USAA only offers coverage to military, former military, and their families.
If you must file a claim with your insurance policy, you want to know that the claims process will be simple and hassle-free.
Your insurance company of choice should:
Make it very clear what type of documentation is needed to file a claim.
Provide fast and efficient service so your claim is processed without delay.
Be empathetic to your situation.
Once again, review each company for accounts of how other customers’ claims have been handled in the past.
Below I have outlined the best insurers for claims.
|Company for Best Claims Service||Consumer Rating||Region|
|Amica Mutual||4.6||New England|
|Auto-Owners||4.4||North Central & Southeast|
|Auto Club of California||4.1||California|
|The Hartford||4.2||Mid-Atlantic & New England|
|Travelers||4.3||West and Southwest|
|State Farm||4.2||All states|
Source: JD Power & Associates
Many insurers offer coverage outside the region. This is to show which insurers has the best claims process for the region. State Farm and Nationwide have good claims process overall and not specifically to one region.
Other Car Insurance Considerations
Every state has different requirements for how much and what type of car insurance a driver needs.
There are 12 no-fault states that require drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
PIP coverage pays for any medical treatment required following a car accident, regardless of who’s found at fault.
Below I have outlined the 12 states which require PIP.
And depending on the state the cost of PIP coverage can be from 9% to 17% of your total coverage.
|No Fault State||Minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||Tort Claims Limits|
|Minnesota||$20,000 for medical expenses, $20,000 for non-medical expenses||$4,000|
And while the state minimums are enough to trip you up legally if you fail to respect them, keep in mind that in the event of a costly accident, being underinsured is a risk worth avoiding all on its own.
In other words, even if collision and comprehensive insurance are not required by your state, without these coverages you won’t be protected from damage to your car resulting from factors like weather or accidents where you are found at fault.
Here are the main optional car insurance additions you might also choose from when assembling an auto insurance policy that works best for you:
Collision insurance repairs damage that results when two vehicles collide with one other, any damage incurred when you hit ice and/or slide into an inanimate object, as well as sudden damage caused by a pothole.
Comprehensive insurance can be added to your basic car policy for coverage from damages that are not the result of a collision, such as theft, vandalism or hail.
These make sense to have if you are driving a newer vehicle since it will be more expensive to fix or replace.
If you do get comprehensive, collision, and other optional coverage which is sometimes called “full coverage” you will see a big difference in price.
Below I have outlined the cost of a liability policy compared to full coverage in various metropolitan cities.
|City||Basic Coverage||Full Coverage||Difference|
|New York City||$1,875||$3,870||$1,995|
Umbrella insurance protects those at risk of being sued for damages to other people’s property or injuries caused to others in an accident, and protects against libel, vandalism, slander and invasion of privacy.
Rental coverage protects drivers using a rented vehicle.
Not a bad protection to have when the car doesn’t even belong to you.
Roadside assistance coverage covers everything from towing services, to gas delivery, a jump start, unlocking doors, tire changes, vehicle transportation, and pulling out your vehicle if it happens to be stuck.
Gap insurance covers the difference between how much you owe on your car, and how much it happens to be worth at the time of an accident.
The average driver will spend over $100,000 on car insurance over the course of their life.
Choosing an auto insurance company that will benefit you long term can be a difficult task.
Bottom line is you cannot control the company nor the premiums.
What can you control?
Your driving habits and credit score.
Maintaining a clean driving record and proper coverage while you drive is the best way to keep your lifelong auto insurance premium as low as possible.