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All insurers base their rates on risk. We're talking car insurance, so the company is primarily trying to determine how likely you are to get into an accident. Obviously, if you have a poor driving record or you're on the road all the time, the odds are less in your favor. But statistics show women get into fewer accidents than men as do married individuals versus single ones. Younger drivers, conversely, get into more accidents than older drivers. All that data on your demo can influence what insurers charge.
If you have a clean driving record — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably pay less for car insurance. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 29% after a DUI, 33% after an at-fault accident, and 15% after a speeding ticket in Virginia. The post-citation penalties assessed by car insurance companies after speeding tickets and at-fault accidents in Virginia align with nationwide averages, but drivers receive lower-than-average rate hikes after DUI violations. If you have a clean driving record, be sure to check for good-driving discounts from your insurer.
Holy cow, car insurance quotes, amiright? To say they’re confusing is a massive understatement. There are just so many numbers. And acronyms. And terms no non-insurance expert should expect to understand. (PIP, anyone? Anyone?) And, while you can get a sense of how much your car insurance would cost — that number is usually prominently displayed right up top — understanding the rest of the quote, like how much protection you get and what you’re still on the hook for, is … well, something else.
There isn’t a definitive answer to the question, “which company is the cheapest?” Some companies are cheaper than others, plain and simple, but individual details of your driving profile can affect which companies offer you the cheapest rates. For example, while Liberty Mutual wasn’t the cheapest for a driver with a clean record, it was the cheapest for a driver following a DUI. The best way to find cheap car insurance is to compare as many companies as possible using your driving profile.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety: IBHS is an independent nonprofit scientific research and communications organization that provides real-world solutions for home and business owners with a mission to identify and promote the most efficient and effective ways to strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss, and by that create a world with more durable and resilient communities
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.
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.
The moral of our analysis is pretty straightforward: the only way to find the absolute best rate for you is to shop around frequently. By frequently, we are referring to any time your driving profile changes. Whether that's because of the driving factors we listed above but also if you had a birthday, if you moved, changed vehicles, got married, or even bought a house. Because you’re not locked into a contract with your insurance company, if you find a better rate elsewhere you are able to cancel your insurance and move on to a cheaper company. Use our insurance calculator here to see which company best fits your driving profile.
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