Insurance experts suggest that you compare car insurance policies every time your current policy is up for renewal (typically every six months to a year). Before you launch your quote hunt, review your existing policy and see if your needs have changed. For example, many auto lenders will require you to have no more than a $500 deductible in comprehensive/collision coverage—but once you pay off your car loan, you can increase this deductible and save a considerable amount on your insurance premiums.
For the full list of insurers, see below, where they're ranked from most affordable to most expensive. Rates are based on the average of our two drivers, who haven't had any traffic violations or accidents in the past five years. Based on your experience as a driver, and the types and amounts of coverage you choose on your auto insurance policy among other factors, your quotes will differ.
Quotes that are given through agents or brokers often include their own commission that is being paid by the insurance carrier as a percentage from the premium itself. While some captive agents receive salaries, most agents and brokers rely on their commissions for their income and this is how they make money. Their commission can range anywhere from 0-1% for some annuities policies, 8-20% for car and home insurance to 40-100+% for some life insurance policies, on the first year of the policy. They also earn their money every time you renew your policy, mostly from 1-2% for life insurance renewals (zero after three years) to 2-5% (some even receive up to 15%) for car and home insurance renewals. However, going for the cheapest premium is not something that we always recommend, sometimes it is better to pay more for a premium that covers you well and answer all of your specific and personal needs.
One note on price: Not all insurers will quote based on what you’ll pay each month. Some might list the annual or even semi-annual cost of a policy. (Why? Who knows? Insurance will never get accused of being easy.) Point is, here, too, you’ll want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. (Prices vary widely enough where it’s easy to get confused on the actual price.) That way, you know what insurer is truly offering the best price.
Compare popular auto insurance companies' financial stability and claims satisfaction ratings to better understand the quality of service they will provide. Claims satisfaction — measured by J.D. Power — is ranked on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being "among the best" and 2 being "the rest." Financial strength — calculated by A.M. Best and running from "Superior" to "Poor" — determines an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet its policy and contractual obligations.
A company that specializes in the most basic coverage options may have the cheapest auto insurance rates. However, they may also lack some customer service benefits of more established companies. These benefits may include 24 hour customer assistance and claims tracking. Consumers should always be aware of these trade-offs as they make their decision.
It’s also helpful to do a quick Google search for online reviews or to see if there have been any major complaints against an insurer in recent years. And, if the insurer has a designated customer service line, go ahead and give the number a call (or two). That’ll give you some insights into response times. We’ve got more on the finding the best car insurance and best car insurance company for you here.