The day all parents dread is finally upon you; your teenage child is old enough to drive. But before they pop in a mix-tape (those are still a thing, right?) and step on the gas, they need to learn the rules of the road. ConsumerAffairs asked dozens of driving schools across the country for advice to make the process more enjoyable and educational for you and your student driver.
Wendy Connick is the founder and owner of Connick Financial Solutions, a provider of tax and bookkeeping services and a QuickBooks Online Certified ProAdvisor. A long-time freelance writer, she specializes in business and finance articles on subjects including taxes, investing, and retirement. Wendy is an Enrolled Agent (EA), the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. She is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and a certified volunteer for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), an IRS-sponsored program to provide free tax help for low-income individuals and families.
The cheapest car insurance, period, will likely carry the minimum coverage required in your state. In most states, this is liability insurance only, which covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Some states also require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which pay for your injuries or damage if an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance.
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.
While it’s easy to get lured in by insurance providers offering extremely low auto insurance rates, try to remember that price is not the only factor to consider when you’re choosing a car insurance company—in fact, it’s probably not even the most important factor. In normal circumstances, the most noticeable aspect of your auto insurance policy is your premium payment, so it’s easy to focus solely on price. However, when something goes wrong—you get in an accident, your car is stolen, etc.—the other aspects of your insurance policy and the quality of your insurance company will suddenly become a lot more important. If you’ve chosen wisely, your car insurance carrier can make the claims process an easy and relatively pleasant experience; if not, your carrier can make an already miserable situation even worse.
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.
I have been a GEICO customer for about least 15 years. Claims and customer service are not the issue with them. After said years of faithfully paying my insurance on time and renewing each year I accidently back into a car in my driveway. The cars were repaired without incident. However, GEICO penalized me by taking away my good driver discount and increase my monthly insurance rate by nearly $100.00 ; leving a hefty penalty for making a claim. I can’t imagine the money they made off of me during the 15 years I’ve faithfully paid auto insurance. I am hunting for a new auto insurance carrier since GEICO obviously thinks driving is perfect and accidents never happen.
The best auto insurance companies provide a variety of coverage and service options, great customer service, and a smooth claim resolution process, all at an affordable rate. Since virtually every state requires its drivers to have a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage, you might as well get a policy—and an insurer—you can be happy with in both good times and bad.
Results: Compare produced seven quotes ranging from $148 per month to $329 per month. The quotes were all from fairly obscure companies; I didn’t see any of the big-name providers. The site allowed me to customize coverage, but only by going back to the coverage selection part of the process—meaning that I had to wait for the quotes to re-load each time. It also didn’t allow as many customization options as Insurify. Only one of the quotes permitted online checkout; all the others required speaking on the phone with an agent. I did like that the quotes all let you choose between a pay-as-you-go policy (with a down payment) or a pay upfront policy (at a slight discount).
Auto-Owners Insurance is available in 26 states located primarily in the South and Midwest. It uses an agent-only model that promotes customer relationships, so it’s a great choice if you prefer talking to a human being. The company also scored a nearly perfect score in J.D. Power’s 2018 satisfaction report, falling short only in the realm of its rental car experience.
Personal injury protection coverage pays for any bodily injury-related medical bills that you and your passengers incur from a car accident, and usually will cover any lost wages as well. Twelve states require drivers to carry a minimum level of personal injury protection insurance. In other states, this coverage is strictly optional, but recommended. One of the biggest benefits of personal injury protection coverage is that it will pay the bills regardless of who is at fault in the accident; for that reason, it is also known as no-fault insurance.
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The General is known for insuring high-risk drivers who may face high premiums or have trouble finding insurance elsewhere. This makes it attractive for customers with poor credit or an extensive accident history. Choosing such an insurer comes with some significant drawbacks: While most drivers will be able to get coverage, they’ll likely face steep rates with minimal protection.