Step 6: Make your choice. Now that you have weighed your choices, make your purchase. Be sure that you make all the choices that you made when you ran your quote. Make sure that there is nothing you have to do at the onset of your policy that will matter later on in your policy life, such as signing up for a safe driving tool that would give you a discount at a later date. Remember, your unique situation will determine which company is best for you.
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.
Unlike your education level or gender, your credit has a big impact on your insurance rate. Drivers with poor credit (524 or below) pay more than twice what those with excellent credit (823 or more) pay for auto insurance. Again, this has to do with how insurance companies view drivers with poor credit in terms of risk. A driver with poor credit is more likely to file a claim than a driver with excellent credit. Moreover, when a claim is filed by a driver with poor credit, the claim payout by the insurance company tends to be higher. Insurance companies cover this risk by charging those with poor credit scores higher rates.
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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.
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.
Below is a table with the three companies with the lowest auto insurance rates for ten of the biggest cities in the state. This will help motorists see a local view of who has the cheapest rates in their hometown. However, these rates are for our single male sample driver, so it is important to remember that your rates will differ based on your vehicle, driving record, and other factors. Auto-Owners, Allied, and North Carolina Farm Bureau dominated as the top three cheapest car insurance companies across the 112 cities we surveyed.
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.
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.”
Property and casualty insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company, based in San Antonio, TX; USAA Limited (UK) and USAA S.A. (Europe) and is available only to persons eligible for P&C group membership. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products.
Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we personally found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won't see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver among others.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.