When you’re looking at car insurance quotes, it can be easy to get stuck reading the fine print without really knowing what type of coverage you would receive with your new policy. At First Security Insurance, we can alleviate some of the hassles of trying to find car insurance quotes that match your budget and your needs in Hickory, North Carolina.
Liability insurance: Consider this the cornerstone of all car insurance policies, given it’s the type of coverage required by nearly every state. Liability insurance actually falls into two buckets. Bodily Injury (BI) covers the cost of any injuries (or death) that result from an accident you caused, while Property Damage (PD) covers the damage made to another vehicle or piece of property your car crashes into.
To decide which companies were the best rated, we decided to take a look at which ones received the least complaints relative to their business size. Using data from the North Carolina Department of Insurance, we calculated a complaint index that compares the number of complaints to the number premiums in dollars. Below is a table ranking the insurance companies in North Carolina by the lowest index numbers (best) to highest (worst) complaint index. If the index is less than one, the insurer is better than the average, and if it is greater than one, it is worse than the average. For example, if the company’s complaint ratio is 1.15, the company has a 15% higher share of complaints compared to its market share.
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEICO and American Family.
The type of car you drive matters. If you drive a vehicle that is listed as high theft, or more likely to be involved in an accident, expect to pay higher premiums. Even cars that have collision protection can actually drive up the price due to the cost of repairs. Other things that will drive the cost of repairs up is after-market installs. Things like rims, spoilers, and exterior lighting can be costly to repair. You will want to make sure that you have the right coverage to cover damage to after factory installs.
Collision and comprehensive only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for it—and new cars depreciate quickly. If your car is totaled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. Note that for leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.
The amount of coverage is another big factor in determining your premium. If you're comfortable with a high deductible and the possible out-of-pocket expenses that might occur, you can lower your premium. Similarly, lower liability limits can also decrease your premium. But always remember that means you may pay more in the long run. For more detailed information, check out all of the great resources that netQuote has to offer to help you understand your car insurance comparison.
Oh, there are a whole bunch. The big ones include good driver discounts (for going long enough without a moving violation); affiliation discounts (for belonging to a group, like AAA or AARP, that partners with the insurer); low-mileage discounts (for, you know, low mileage) and car safety feature discounts (for installing stuff like emergency break assistance or collision avoidance systems). You can find a full list of common car insurance riders and discounts here.
In arriving at the relative cost of car insurance between cities in North Carolina, we obtained auto insurance quotes for our sample driver across in 112 locations in the state. The driver we used as our benchmark was a single 30 year old male to have a standard comparison across the 100+ places. Our benchmark driver owns a 2011 Toyota Camry vehicle - no renting or financing. He averages 12,000 miles a year on the road for daily commute to and from work, and in the most recent five years, have not had any accidents or traffic violations. Quotes were obtained for a policy with basic liability protection for the Camry from companies such as State Farm, GEICO, and the North Carolina Farm Bureau.
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).
While you might want to finish shopping for car insurance as quickly as possible, it’s important to do your due diligence and find the right company. At the end of the day, car insurance is designed to protect and benefit you. If you were to be injured or have your car totaled in an accident, your insurer’s customer service and claims satisfaction would be vital.
Part of why car insurance quotes are so confusing is because car insurance itself is confusing. For starters, there are different types of coverage. Some are required by law; some are not. And the specifics vary by state. We’ve got a full explainer on how car insurance works right here. But, since it’s so crucial to understanding your quotes, here’s an overview of the major components of an auto insurance policy — and what they cover.
Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
Results: After a short wait, the quoting tool produced two quotes, for $299 per month and $971 per month, plus links to two other insurance sites. SmartFinancial allows you to narrow down the results further by selecting desired features such as local agents and low down payment, but given how limited the results were in the first place, that particular option isn’t much help.
Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.