Product highlights: Esurance is well known for bringing the car insurance claims process into the 21st century and has been lauded for providing a simple, user-friendly mobile and web experience for online users. Its Photo Claims program allows customers to snap a smartphone photo of any property damage rather than setting an appointment with an appraiser. This can allow claims to be settled in as little as one day. Digital natives: this could be the insurance provider for you.
The best car insurance companies have a few things in common: They have straightforward shopping experiences, take good care of policyholders after a crash and treat their customers with respect and courtesy. That means only insurers with high customer satisfaction scores and relatively few complaints to insurance commissioners make it to the top of our list of the best auto insurance companies.
If you don’t have the cash to cover a high deductible, yet can’t afford to pay a great deal in auto insurance premiums, don’t panic—there are plenty of other ways to reduce your rates. Because different carriers use slightly different factors to determine how they’ll set the rates for your policy, simply shopping around and comparing rates from different companies can result in substantial savings. And choosing a carrier that offers numerous discounts that you’re eligible to claim can reduce your insurance costs even further.
How it works: The quoting process was similar to that of other comparison websites, although it offered me the option of connecting my Google or Facebook account to speed up the process. After I entered the requested information, the Zebra announced that it had matched me up with nine possible discounts, although it warned that not every insurance company offered all of these discounts.
You can sometimes get auto insurance quotes on lead generation sites, but expect them to be far less reliable than quotes from comparison sites. Using lead generation sites most likely means that you’ll end up wandering from one auto insurance website to another in pursuit of the best rate, which rather defeats the purpose of using a quote-generating site at all.
"Many companies offer discounts for good grades and for completion of an approved driver’s education or defensive driving course," continued Doreen Haughton-James of 123 Drive! Driving Academy. "Some also have their own discount programs. State Farm, for example, has a program called 'Steer Clear' where students receive discounts for logging driving hours and completing a program."
Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of cheaper insurance. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.
If you are smart though, it does not have to be this way. Many insurance companies offer discounts to mature drivers, as well as those who use drive tracking apps, take defensive driving courses, and have up-to-date safety features on their vehicles. If you’ve recently retired and have stopped commuting to and from work every day, you also might be eligible for a discount for driving less.
But according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, newly licensed drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes in their first six months than more experienced drivers. The takeaway? Experience counts. The Center for Disease Control suggests that increased education programs and parental involvement in instruction are associated with reductions of as many as 40% of fatal and injury crashes among 16-year-olds.
Product highlights: As a mutual insurance company, Amica can afford to offer much lower rates than standard insurance carriers. Amica is consistently ranked as a favorite among consumers for their excellent customer service and a high record of auto claims satisfaction. Amica’s Car Connection program allows customers to get special pricing on new and used cars through the program’s dealer network. Furthermore, Amica’s Platinum Choice Auto option allows you to add other perks to your policy, including an Advantage Rewards system that adds points to your profile for good driving and referring friends. These points can go towards accident forgiveness or even lowering the price of your deductible.
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!
How it works: Once I launched the quoting tool for auto insurance, I was greeted by a large-print brag that “Drivers Pay As Low As $29.32/Month for Car Insurance.” When I began filling in my vehicle information, the site offered to save me time by looking up the information for me—a frightening reminder of how much of our personal information is available online. The contact information fields were accompanied by text stating that “we respect your privacy” and “NO SPAM, privacy guaranteed.”
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.