Results: Once I typed in the requested zip code I was immediately taken to a page with links to four actual insurance quote comparison websites. Rather than create a quoting tool of its own, ValuePenguin has apparently chosen to guide visitors to other comparison websites. All in all, you’d be better off just skipping ValuePenguin and going straight to a site that will produce quotes for you.
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.”
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.
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Results: Once I submitted my information, the site produced one quote, along with six links to other insurance companies. “View my quote” buttons next to each quote took me to the beginning of the insurance website’s own quoting tool, making it clear that these were strictly hypothetical rates. Everquote provided a blurb of marketing text about two of the companies and no helpful information whatsoever to guide my decision.
State legislators set limits on how much a company can increase your rates after a crash. Our hypothetical accident resulted in only $2,000 worth of damage. That caused average annual rates to spike by $1,000 or more in some states, while others jumped by far less. One thing’s for sure: Your rates will definitely increase after an at-fault accident, so be sure to compare car insurance rates if you have one on record.
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.
Compare.com is another online car insurance comparison tool that generates real-time quotes from multiple insurance providers. In addition to car insurance, Compare provides quotes for home, health, and small business insurance, as well as tools to help you choose car loans and mobile phone plans. The site is rated 4.5 out of 5 on eKomi, based 640 user reviews.
If you have an anti-theft device, Progressive offers a discount for that too. The company also offers pet injury coverage — which is included with collision and comes standard in most states. However, Progressive’s scores across the board were only average, and we couldn’t justify recommending it over our top picks. Also, its mobile app ratings average out to just under 3 out of 5 stars.
I was with Liberty Mutual for about 15 years and was very satisfied with their prices and service, although I never filed a claim. When I retired and moved from California to Florida, my auto rate went up a ridiculous amount, to almost $10,000 a year even though I had no accidents and one minor moving violation in the last ten years. On top of that, Liberty Mutual screwed up my umbrella policy and told me it was “unenforceable,” whatever that means, but I had to pay for the policy anyway up to the time I canceled and switched to Progressive, which cost about one third the cost of Liberty Mutual for an identical policy. Even good companies change over time.
TheGeneralAutoQuotes.com offers insurance products and services from The General® and its affiliated insurance companies (Permanent General Assurance Corporation, Permanent General Assurance Corporation of Ohio and The General Automobile Insurance Company, Inc.) through Clear Link Insurance Agency, LLC in the following states: (AL – 662369), (AR – 416243), (AZ – 10394470, (CA – 0i22561), (CO – 419732), (CT – 2424421), (DC – 3041371), (DE – 1326873), (FL – L088857), (GA – 172259), (IA – 1002207278), (ID – 439793), (IL – 100640719), (IN – 869503), (KS – 461715304), (KY – DOI-805173), (LA – 582580), (MA – 1930638), (MD – 2112735), (ME – AGN213175), (MI – 100259), (MN – 40325516), (MO – 8287507), (MS – 15021382), (MT – AP770689), (NC -1000341544), (ND – 2000115021), (NE – 100196040), (NH – 2268499), (NJ – 1515723), (NV – 947846), (NV – 876621), (OH – 985962), (OK – 100151491), (OR – 100213920), (PA – 666488), (SC – 193263), (SD – 10016345), (TN – 2238715), (TX – 1821698), (UT – 436588), (VA – 133866), (VT – 873256), (WA – 828648), (WI – 2609707), (WV – 100149165), (WY – 238959).