Large insurance companies analyze a huge amount of customers’ personal data, such as social media posts, credit scores, and even your web shopping habits. Then, they churn the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around or just renew your existing policy each year. By doing so, they can increase your premium just enough to raise their profit margins without attracting your attention and prompting you to shop for a new policy.
If you have a healthy balance in your savings account, you may be able to get away with a higher deductible and save significant money on your premiums—but don’t try this if you have little or no money saved. In that case, if you have a high deductible and get in a serious accident, you’ll either end up buried in debt or unable to pay your car repair bills. Stick to a deductible that’s equal to, or preferably less, than the amount you have tucked away in savings.
If you can’t imagine the idea of driving a less-than-luxury vehicle while your car is in the shop, Chubb also offers rental coverage of up to $15,000, anywhere in the world. Like many things in life, you get what you pay for: Chubb has above average customer satisfaction ratings and fewer than average complaints, as well as “superior” financial backing for their white glove service.
Insurance comparison websites can be further broken down into sites that provide real-time insurance quotes versus those that provide estimated ones. Estimated quotes are derived from historic data and are often out of date; to get the most accurate information you should use a site that provides real-time quotes generated by the insurance companies.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
Liability insurance covers you if you’re in an accident deemed to be your fault. It will cover repairs to damaged property, as well as medical bills resulting from injury to the other driver and his or her passengers. Most states require at least a minimum amount of liability insurance, but it’s a good idea to purchase extra protection if you can afford it.
Owners of brand-new vehicles might consider getting gap coverage to protect themselves in case of an accident early on in their car ownership. New vehicles lose a huge amount of their value the moment you drive them off the dealership lot, but you still owe your lender however much you purchased the vehicle for in the first place. However, if you get into a major accident a week after buying your new car and the vehicle is totaled, standard auto insurance policies will only pay you up to the car’s current value—which will likely be much less than you owe on it. In such a situation, gap coverage will “fill in the gap” between the car’s current value and how much you still owe on it.
The General is intended for drivers who may face steep rates from other insurers, but that doesn’t mean it will be able to provide those drivers with the protection they need. Few coverage options and a history of complicated claims resolution keeps us from recommending The General. Even if it offers lower rates than the competition, you might eventually get hit with unexpected fees that drive up the price of your coverage. If you can avoid it, you should — there are better insurance options out there.
There are two types of insurance comparison websites: quote comparison sites and lead generation sites. Auto quote comparison websites present users with rates based on information submitted during the shopping experience. You can then decide which quote to pursue, and the data you entered is transferred to the agent or company website, greatly shortening the purchasing process. These sites do not sell your information to insurance carriers or agencies.
The General also has some red flags when it comes to its financial solvency. While A.M. Best awards an “Excellent” financial strength rating to The General's parent company, American Family Insurance, The General itself isn't rated by agencies like like S&P Global and Moody’s. In fact, it has no ratings of its own — from any agency. The Insurance Information Institute recommends choosing providers with multiple financial strength evaluations, so this complete lack of evaluation gave us pause. While The General may still have the ability to pay out on claims, it isn’t backed with the same confidence as companies with many financial strength ratings.
Auto Insurance is required by law for drivers in most states. Drivers who own a car and drive it often should definitely have auto insurance to cover the risk of damages to their car and personal injury and the liability of harm to other people and property. Otherwise, repairs and medical costs, particularly when you’re liable for an accident, can be very expensive.
How it works: Compare’s shopping process asked me to enter the same general information that other auto comparison websites did. Entering the information was fairly straightforward. Most of the fields were drop-down menus or pre-filled based on information I had submitted on previous pages. The questions were detailed, including some about my current policy limits that required retrieving my insurance documents to answer. I did like that Compare asked if I was willing to accept paperless documents and/or e-signing
Product highlights: The Hartford offers a number of special benefits to their policyholders, including RecoverCare, which provides reimbursement for home services if you’re injured in an accident, and lifetime renewability. With the Hartford, you also have the option to buy into the Advantage PLUS package, which provides first accident forgiveness, an annual reduction in collision deductibles, and more. If you’re an AARP member, you also get the chance to unlock policy discounts specifically designed for drivers over the age of 50.
If you only drive for part of the year, you may want to consider a plan that is designed for those who drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year. Plans from Metromile are often much cheaper than a standard policy because they are broken into a base fee per month and a per-mile rate that only kicks in if you drive your vehicle. Do not worry, you won’t have to calculate your mileage – the policy comes with a plug-in device. That same device can also help you find your parked car and calculate your gas mileage, and the app that it comes with can give you alerts on no parking times so that you can avoid getting unnecessary tickets!
Claims and price satisfaction: We looked at J.D. Power’s 2018 Auto Claims Satisfaction Reports, Insure.com’s Best Car Insurance Companies for 2018, and Consumer Reports’ 2017 Car Insurance Ratings to get a bird’s-eye view of the industry across the nation. We also conducted a survey of 100 insured drivers who had filed a claim within the past 12 months.
We first looked for companies that received an "A-" or better (“strong”) from A.M. Best, a rating agency specifically focused on the insurance industry. Then, because the III recommends getting ratings from more than one agency, the best needed to earn at least an "AA-" (“very strong”) from S&P Global or an "Aa3" (“excellent”) or higher from Moody’s.
Unfortunately, some older drivers might be disqualified from standard insurance policies simply because of their age. If you are unable to get a standard insurance policy, Dairyland insurance might be a good option. The company also has pay-as-you-go plans, perfect for elders on a tight budget who could not otherwise afford to drive under a high-risk plan. Of all the nonstandard car insurance companies, Dairyland consistently has the fewest number of customer complaints, making it a good option if you need this type of coverage.
GEICO offers a unique contract for seniors 50 years or older that could guarantee policy renewal. Their Prime Time contract can be added to new policies or to renewal policies. Qualifying for a Prime Time contract is relatively easy: you must be at least 50 years old, your policy can’t have anyone under age 25, you must not have had any violations or accidents within the past 3 years, and the vehicle can’t be used for business.
If multiple people drive your car, or if you have friends or family riding with you, you need extra protection. Your insurance policy from The General may help provide for your passengers’ health care needs, too. An auto insurance policy from The General also helps protect you if you’re in a car accident that involves other drivers who don’t have insurance.