If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.
Ehhhh ... I mean, you won't face a legal penalty. (They vary by state, but usually involve hefty fines. Plus, your license could get suspended.) In terms of adequate coverage, it depends on where you live. Some states have low minimums. In fact, many only require liability insurance, which covers property damage or bodily injury you cause other people. You would need other types of car insurance if you wanted coverage for damage to your car.
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.
If you intend to alter your vehicle in any way that makes it different from the standard model, which includes adding non-standard accessories, you will have to contact the insurance company. You will have to provide your insurer with a list of the alterations and accessories along with their monetary value. You also have the option to remove alterations and accessories from your policy by contacting the insurance company.
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.”
112 locations in the Tar Heel state - from Ahoskie to Zebulon - were covered, and included places in all three regions: the Blue Ridge Mountain region through Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. Annual costs for these places spanned from $725 in Asheville, the lowest rates in our North Carolina study, to $977 in Fayetteville. Depending on where our North Carolinians sample drivers lived, auto insurance rates can vary by 26% from the most expensive to the cheapest in the set.
We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.
Car insurance rates vary greatly depending on age. Your risk profile as a driver will change throughout your life, so you may be eligible for discounts at some points in your life while other times you may see your car insurance premium increase. This is why you want to keep shopping for car insurance throughout your life so you ensure the best value.
Some insurance companies will provide their customers with a hire car for a limited period of time if their vehicle has been stolen. There is also the possibility of pre-purchasing a ‘discount hire car benefit’ or ‘comprehensive hire car benefit’, which will ensure you have access to a hire car while your vehicle is being repaired from damage caused in an accident.
Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.
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.
For instance, a moving violation affects your driving record for three years in most states. Once you know it has been three years since your ticket, there’s no need to wait for your current auto policy to expire. You can immediately quote a new policy that will no longer charge you for that violation. The same goes for an at-fault accident, which will typically affect your rate for three to five years (but can vary by state and carrier). In addition, Progressive offers discounts for being ticket- and accident-free.
Custom Parts/Equipment: This coverage is not used by everyone. But if you have after-market installations that are permanently attached to the vehicle you may want to consider this to cover your additions. The most important thing to know about this is that if you do have after-market installations, notify your insurance company or they may not be covered if you are in an accident.
OpenSecrets.org: OpenSecrets is the website of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group located in Washington DC. It's the top resource in the US for unbiased information and allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, federal agency and bills. Other resources include the personal financial disclosures of all members of the US congress, the president and top members of the administration. OpenSecrets users can also search through ZIP codes to learn how their neighbours are allocating their political contributions.
In the state of North Carolina, having car insurance is a requirement, and for good reason. Not only do you need to protect your vehicle as an investment, but you also want to make sure you and your family members have coverage in the event of an accident. At First Security Insurance, we know it can be tempting to only take on the minimum coverage, but it’s important to know that these minimum requirements may not provide all of the insurance coverage you need. That’s why we are here to help when you need to improve upon your car insurance policy, so you feel protected anytime you or your family members are on the road.
Everquote also provided checkboxes to opt out of receiving calls and emails from agents. However, under the “Show My Quotes” button, the usual legal boilerplate informed me that by clicking the above button I was providing express written consent to be contacted by Everquote and a whole laundry list of insurance companies and partners, whether or not my phone number was on the Do Not Call list.
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.
There are two other methods that come immediately to mind. First, you could pay your premiums annually or semi-annually. Some car insurers offer anywhere from a 3% to 10% discount for doing so. The other thing you can consider is increasing your deductible. That's the amount of money you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in, so you'd pay more in case of an accident, but your monthly premium would be lower.
Nationwide's insurance professionals can quickly design a car insurance quote that meets your precise needs, even for those on a budget. Rather than going with the cheapest car insurance quote, make sure the company you choose provides flexible coverage and billing options. For instance, Nationwide allows members to pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually online, through the mail or over the phone. It’s important to keep long-term flexibility in mind when deciding on an insurance carrier, not just go with the cheapest car insurance option.