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Reviews on car insurance companies

Few insurers are good enough to be Which? Recommended Providers - they have to combine good cover with great customer service.

Car insurance comparison ny post

Which? experts scrutinised 31 car insurers’ standard car insurance policies, and we surveyed thousands of policyholders. We've rated each policy on its key aspects to produce a Which? policy score, and our customer score is based on how the insurers were rated by their customers.

We reviewed some of the biggest insurers in the market including: Axa, Direct Line, Aviva, Saga, Admiral, Esure, the AA, Tesco Bank and More Than.

To qualify as a Which? Recommended Provider, an insurer must:

  • Be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Be available to the general public
  • Have received responses from 30 or more customers in our customer survey
  • Have received an average or above policy score (see table for current average score) and a customer score of 70% or above

This review reveals which insurers came out best for cover and customer service, and which scored the worst. To access this review and thousands of others, sign up for a £1 trial. Or if you're already a member, log in to see our reviews.

Best and worst car insurance
Provider Customer service Handling queries and complaints Transparency of charges Value for money Customer score Policy score Total
Average car insurance rates toronto Car insurance deductibles definition of capitalism Legacy pacific car insurance Igo car insurance cancellation Self insure car uk sale 77% 85% 81%

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- - - - 74% 78% 76%
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25 plus car insurance reviews - - - Car insurance credit card rental coverage 69% 83% 76%
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Sanborn mexican car insurance tucson 19 dollar car insurance model Credit union car insurance uk cheap Maxi car insurance conyers ga movie 70% 73% 72%

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Ad valorem tax texas car insurance Aa car insurance dublin ireland 1 year car insurance policies Gun shop insurance uk car 67% 77% 72%

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Car insurance estimate nj What's the minimum car insurance in florida Dr car insurance hyderabad sindh Get car insurance now and pay later 72% 69% 70%

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Insurance older car Least expensive cars to insure 2006 gmc Usaa car insurance claim address More than car insurance contact number uk 64% 74% 69%
Very cheap car insurance in uk for americans All cars insurance military trail Cheap car insurance in manchester Cheapest cars to insure for young drivers in ontario Languedoc grenache syrah carignan sainsbury's car insurance 69% 70% 69%
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How much does enterprise car insurance cost Specialist car insurance for modified cars The aa car insurance claims line Archambault insurance associates putnam ct car Real car insurance claim 67% 69% 68%
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Yes car insurance customer service number Affordable health insurance essex junction vt car Aig car insurance uae Dejvi car insurance Lordshill sainsbury's car insurance 67% 65% 66%
Australian car insurance for travelers - - - Ny car insurance no fault state 66% 65% 65%
Colorado rental car insurance laws What cars get cheaper insurance Trade car insurance under 25 Part year car insurance uk saga Car deals with free insurance over 21 days 61% 70% 65%
Aaa auto club classic car insurance Car rental insurance credit card mastercard Baltic car insurance south boston Affordable car insurance in columbus ohio Insurance right off cars for sale uk ebay 65% 64% 65%
Car insurance nj comparison chart - - - Damage waiver rental car insurance 63% 65% 64%
Car insurance companies explained further Leaking roof covered by insurance uk car - Forrie car insurance Dalaman car hire no excess insurance 70% 55% 63%
Bajaj allianz car insurance renewal chennai flood Chris knott classic car insurance American car collector insurance Nfu mutual car insurance newtownards county Car insurance blida 2016 63% 64% 63%
A affordable car insurance brockton ma restaurants How can i find my car insurance details in the fabric 30 day car insurance 18 year old Gas heating insurance uk car Pay by the month car insurance aami standards 69% 55% 62%
Car insurance michigan calculator Tips on purchasing car insurance Buy car insurance california Can i park my car on the road without insurance New york no fault car insurance law 63% 56% 60%
Racq car insurance policy - - - Red cars insurance 60% 57% 59%
Affordable car insurance miami Innovation car insurance - - Direct line telephone number car insurance 58% 58% 58%
Average - - - - 66% 69% 68%

Table notes:
Customer score data based on a survey of 4,312 policyholders in December 2016. Policy scores are based on the provider's standard policy. All policies are available to the general public.
Customer score is calculated using a combination of overall satisfaction and how likelihood to recommend the provider to a friend. '-' represents where we have insufficient sample size (less than 30) to generate a star rating. Insurers must have a minimum sample size of 30 for inclusion in the table.

How we calculate customer and policy scores

We calculated the customer scores and claims satisfaction scores using a combination of overall customer satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the provider to a friend.

We calculated the policy scores by rating the most important elements of the policy including personal belongings limit, renewal fees and interest charged on payment by instalments.

The total score combines both the customer score and policy score.

Source


We’ve looked at ratings from independent, professional financial services review firms (including Which? and Fairer Finance) to come up with this list of...

Top 10 Car Insurance Companies in 2017

  • Aviva
  • Direct Line Car Insurance
  • Saga Car Insurance (Over 50s only)
  • John Lewis Finance Car Insurance
  • Hastings Direct
  • Churchill Car Insurance
  • More Than Car Insurance
  • LV=
  • Tesco Bank
  • RIAS (Over 50s only)

Read on to learn more about:

  • How we came up with our Top 10 Car Insurance
  • Pros and cons of car insurance comparison sites
  • Why "Best Car Insurance" and "Cheap Car Insurance" are not the same thing
  • What makes a good car insurance policy?
  • Best multi car insurance
  • Best over-50s car insurance
  • Best car hire excess insurance
  • How to find temporary or short-term car insurance
  • Car Insurance Reviews

Payless car rental insurance rates

How we came up with our Top 10 Car Insurance Companies list

Rather than rate these companies on price (you can use a comparison site like Go Compare to do that), we used expert research into the quality of both the cover and service provided by the different brands.

We’ve excluded two high-scoring companies, due to the restrictions placed on the cover they provide. NFU Mutual insurance caters almost exclusively to drivers in rural areas, while we were unable to get a quote from Toyota Car Insurance for any models that were not Toyotas (contrary to what Which suggests in their review). We also excluded Nationwide, as they act as a broker for LV=.

However, from March 2016 onwards, we have been including car insurance policies focused on older drivers, meaning that Age UK,Saga, and RIAS - all of whom focus on the Over 50s - are now eligible for the Top 10. As a result, M&S Car Insurance, The AA, and Sheila's Wheels have all dropped out despite continuing to receive high scores from Which? and 5 stars from Defaqto.

If you would like more information on the individual providers, have a look at our detailed reviews at the bottom of the page. Meanwhile, this article will focus on explaining why cheapest isn’t always best when it comes to car insurance, and what you should look out for when choosing an insurer.

Car insurance premiums can vary massively depending on factors such as your age, so we've also written a guide to the best insurance for young drivers and a list of the eight best black box car insurance providers.

We've also written a guide to learner driver insurer.

If you're interested in breakdown cover, check out our list of the 13 best breakdown companies.

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Pros and cons of car insurance comparison sites

With the rise in popularity of comparison sites, many people look for the cheapest price when choosing an insurance provider, believing it to be the best deal. However, that is often not the case.

We are not denying that comparison websites such as Go Compare, Confused and Moneysupermarket have brought positive changes for consumers. They’ve created competition between car insurance providers, resulting in prices coming down, and made customer reviews of the different brands more readily available.

However, the flip side of this competitive element is that it drove many companies to create cheap car insurance policies with very basic levels of cover. Keeping prices low means they end up at the top of comparison websites' lists, but at the expense of the customer, who may be left out of pocket by the policy’s shortcomings.

It is also worth noting that policies from some car insurance companies are not on comparison sites. Here is a list of them:

  • Direct Line Car Insurance
  • Aviva
  • Zurich Car Insurance

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"Cheap car insurance" and "best car insurance" are not the same thing!

Some providers, such as Onecall Car Insurance, offer cheap policies and discounts, but many customers have claimed they’ve been hit with extra admin charges and "surprise" extra fees they were not expecting when they tried to make a claim or just changed their car mid-contract.

It may be a cliché, but in this case, it is true – you get what you pay for. Comprehensive policies from big name companies like John Lewis Finance and Churchill may have higher premiums, but could end up much cheaper in the long run by offering a more inclusive cover. For example, LV= comprehensive car insurance cover offers unlimited cover on windscreens, windows, sunroofs and lost keys, plus a no claims discount protection that will allow any number of claims. Additionally, don’t underestimate the importance of a good claims process, which could save you from the stress and anxiety of bad customer service.

Find out how much the average car insurance policy costs here.

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What makes a good car insurance policy?

The first thing to keep in mind is the level of excess. Some cheaper policies come with a very high level of excess which, in the long run, can be costlier than paying a higher premium. That said, we’ve come up with a way for you to save money by insuring your excess.

Other things to look out for include:

  • Windscreen cover, which is offered as standard by many of the providers in our top 10, including John Lewis Finance Car Insurance and Aviva Car Insurance, as part of their comprehensive car insurance cover.
  • Courtesy car – you want to make sure that, if anything goes wrong with your vehicle, you get a complimentary replacement car until yours is fixed. This is part of the comprehensive policies for many of the companies mentioned in this article as well, including AA car insurance.
  • Many people assume that if they have comprehensive insurance they are automatically covered to drive other people’s cars, but that is not necessarily the case. Read the terms of your policy carefully to make sure you are insured for driving cars other than your own, to avoid making a costly, and potentially illegal, mistake.
  • Some companies offer what they term Accelerated No Claims. This means you can claim a 12-months no claims discount after only 10 months on the road. However, the catch here is that often this only applies if you stick with the company for another year. For some, this will work out well, but it’s worth doing your research. In most cases, loyalty is not rewarded when it comes to car insurance, so, even with the no claims discount, you may be better off elsewhere.

To conclude, don’t just look for the best price when you shop around for car insurance. We compiled our top 10 by averaging the scores from Which?, Fairer Finance and other financial services review companies to find the highest ranking brands, which reflects the providers who will most likely prove themselves to be the best value in the long run, as well as provide the best customer experience.

For other motor insurance, check out our guides to van and motorcycle cover.

We've also created a guide to getting a quote for a Tesla electric car.

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Best multi car insurance

Here are the best multi car providers from our top 10 car insurers:

  1. Aviva - Up to 33% multi-car discount, separate claims records, allows each car to have different levels of cover and excess
  2. More Than - 15% multi-car discount, matched no claims bonus, separate claims records
  3. LV= - 5% multi-car discount, matched no claims bonus (up to nine years), separate claims records
  4. Saga – 5% multi-car discount

Direct Line and Churchill both offer multi-car discounts but do not state how much you can save.

John Lewis Finance, Age UK, RIAS and Tesco do not offer multi car discounts.

There are a number of other providers not in our top 10 that offer discounts, for example, Admiral’s multi car insurance discount is linked to the amount of cars you add and it says 10% of multi car customers saved £318 between October 2015 and March 2016.

The concept of multi car insurance is pretty simple; insure more than one car with the same insurer to receive a discount.

However, there are a few things to consider when selecting a multi car policy. In fact, the first thing you should do is make sure it will actually save you money because in some cases it can be cheaper to buy individual policies for each car.

The level of savings will depend on your personal circumstances but mainly relate to the age and model of the cars being insured and your driving experience.

For example, adding an 18-year-old who has just passed his test onto the same policy as a 50-year-old with a nine-year no claims bonus may not result in a saving.

It may be better for a new driver to look at companies that specialise in young drivers or black box insurance.

Multi car insurance comparison can be difficult because you may not be able to see rates for multi policies on price comparison sites. However, we recommend shopping around – first for individual policies for each car and then comparing a range of multi-car quotes.

To get you started, we have ranked the multi car policies offered by our top 10 car insurers.

To do this, we’ve looked at three key points:

  • Discount - the money off offered for insuring more than one car with an insurer. Sometimes this is a fixed saving or it can be linked to the number of cars you add to the policy.
  • Matched no claims bonus - this part of a multi-car policy allows you to apply the longest no claims bonus of a vehicle being insurers to both cars. Not all companies offer it. It can add extra savings, but check whether the no claims bonus of both cars will be affected if either car is involved in an accident.
  • Separate claims records - a multi-car policy with a separate claims record ensures that if a car is involved in an accident it will only be logged on that vehicle’s record. That means it won’t impact the no claims bonus of the other car on the policy.

There are a couple of other important factors that may influence your decision. First, whether you can set different cover or excess levels for each car on the policy. If all the drivers are a similar age and drive comparable models it may not be much of an issue for you, but flexibility may be desirable for some households.

You will also want to look and how insurers approach different policy start dates. It may be the case that one person already has a policy with a company and wants to add another car to receive the multi-car discount. But what happens if there is a four-month gap in when the policies renew? Some firms insist that all cars have the same policy start date, while others allow separate start dates.

If you need to have the same start date, check if your provider (especially if it’s the same company you’re starting a multi-car policy with) will provide a refund for any of the current policy you are not going to use. And make sure you never have any gaps in cover.

Be sure to check any caveats to multi-car policies. For example, Aviva says 20% of customers are expected to receive the maximum 33% discount and it is only applied to the cheaper of the two vehicle insurance prices. It goes on to say the discount does not apply to optional extras and the maximum discount is available on policies with either one driver, or two drivers who are domestic partners using their vehicles only for social domestic and pleasure.

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Best over-50s car insurance

Out of the providers in our top 10 car insurers, two are either exclusively for or designed for over 50s:

  • RIAS
  • Saga

Both are rated 5 Star by independent financial review service Defaqto.

A Star rating indicates where a product or proposition sits in the market based on the quality and comprehensiveness of the features it offers.

A 5 Star rated policy is "an excellent product with a comprehensive range of features and benefits".

RIAS and Saga have gold ratings from Fairer Finance, while Age UK has a silver rating.

Try these providers for specialist cover, but you should be able to get quotes from all the providers in our top 10.

There are a number of other companies not in our top 10 that offer UK car insurance for over 50s. Both 50Plus Insurance (owned by Bluefin insurance, which is backed by Axa) and the Post Office have over 50s policies.

It’s difficult to say one insurer is the best for over-50s because your quote will depend on factors such as the model of car you drive, where you live and your claims history.

However, the good news is that drivers who are over 50 should get some of the best car insurance quotes wherever they get cover.

Insurers base their premiums on driving experience, which over 50s are likely to have a lot of. If you have built up a long no claims bonus you’re in a good position to get one the best car insurance rates.

The average car insurance quote for a 51-year-old is £628, according to Confused.com. For over 60s it’s even better, the average quote for a 61-year-old is £418.

If you drive a more expensive car it may be higher than that, but don’t forget that 21-year-olds pay £1,430 on average, so you’re in a preferable position.

For those aged 70 and above prices may start to creep back up and you’ll also need to renew your licence every three years. Don’t forget to update it with any medical conditions that have occurred since the last time you renewed it.

LV= seems to offer competitive prices for drivers over 80.

When you get a quote make sure you have details relating to your driving history (including your no claims discount), the make and model of your car and any additional drivers or cars you’d like to add to a policy.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate a cheaper price and make sure you shop around.

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Best car hire excess insurance

All of these companies scored at least 8/10 on Trustpilot or 4/5 on Reviewcentre from at least 100 reviews:

  • Protectyourbubble.com
  • Carhireexcess.com
  • 2Gether Insurance
  • Questor Insurance
  • Icarhireinsurance
  • Worldwideinsure.com

Other companies that scored well or didn’t have many reviews include Insurefor.com and Insurance4carhire.

Big Blue Cover, Better Safe and Reducemyexcess.co.uk were all listed on Moneymaxim but we could not find any online reviews for them.

Excess insurance for hire cars is one way to keep costs down when renting a vehicle in the UK or abroad.

Along with the insurance that car hire firms offer, they’ll also try to sell excess cover. The excess on hire cars can range from about £500 to £1,000 and the hire companies may try to charge you hundreds for pounds of that excess for as little as a scratch.

If you cover the excess it means an insurance company will pay the excess bill if you have an accident. Car rental companies often charge over the odds for excess cover but there are third-party insurers that provide much better value.

The difference can be more than £100, even for short trips.

You can buy these policies in the UK for car hire here, in Europe or the USA. If you buy from one of these companies, you pay the car hire firm's excess if you crash and then claim the money back from your insurer.

When you get to the car hire desk to pick up your car you’ll often have to put a "pre-authorised" amount on a credit card, which will cover the excess in the event of a crash. If you don’t have any accidents your card won’t be charged or it will be refunded. Although this can be a pain it's still cheaper than paying for the hire companies excess policy, which is often called "super CDW (collision damage waiver ) insurance".

Like travel insurance, excess cover can be bought for a single trip or as an annual policy. Annual European excess cover can start at under £50, so if you’re hiring a car a few times in a year it may be the best value. Single trip excess cover can start from under £20.

Unlike the businesses in our car insurance top 10, there are no excess insurance ratings from review services such as Defaqto or Fairer Finance.

To find some of the best car hire, excess providers we looked at customer reviews of companies listed by car hire excess comparison site Moneymaxim.

As with any insurance policy you should shop around to get the best deal. And if you do buy excess cover from a third party, don’t let the car hire firm sell you a policy you don’t need when you get to their desk.

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How to find temporary or short-term car insurance

How does temporary car insurance work?

Temporary car insurance offers cover for between 1 and 28 days. Some companies even offer insurance for a set number of hours if you only need cover for a very short period.

It can be used for you to drive someone else’s car or for another person to use your vehicle.

There are many reasons people use temporary insurance but popular uses include for moving house, sharing a road trip or long drive, borrowing a friend’s car, adding a son or daughter to a policy while they’re back from university or driving a new car off a forecourt.

In some cases it makes more sense to buy temporary insurance than to add a named driver to an existing 12-month policy.

However, a short-term policy cannot be used replace to a full car insurance policy, even if you only use your vehicle a couple of times a year. It is illegal to keep a car that is not insured or registered with the DVLA as off the road.

You shouldn’t need it for hire or rental cars because they usually come with insurance. Read more about how you can save money with excess cover for hire cars here.

What does temporary car insurance cover?

Most short-term car insurance policies offer similar cover to longer term insurance. Temporary policies are usually comprehensive but companies do offer third party, fire and theft.

The cover is often immediate so you can buy it on the same day you need it and any claims should not affect the no claims bonus of the vehicle being driven.

Because the cover is immediate it means it can be used for test driving a car or driving a vehicle home if you decide to buy it at a dealership.

Many temporary policies allow business use and cover vans up to a certain size.

Some policies include European cover or give you the option to pay more for it. So it’s possible to have short-term cover if you’re borrowing a car to drive to France, for example.

There are a few exclusions.

Many temporary car insurance policies have an upper age limit of 75 and the lower age limit can vary. For some companies, it starts at 21, which makes it difficult for young drivers to get short-term cover. However, The AA’s lower age limit starts at 18 and InsureDaily covers drivers from 19 to 75 years old.

There are separate short-term policies for learner drivers (often 30, 60 or 90 days) offered by companies like Marmalade. Find out more about learner driver insurance here.

If you have points on your licence or motoring convictions it can make it difficult to get temporary cover. Also, some providers will not cover non-UK licences so you should shop around and compare cover levels if you’re planning on letting a visitor to the UK or an expat with a foreign licence use your car.

Which companies offer temporary car insurance?

A range of mainstream insurers and specialist companies offer temporary car cover:

  • The AA - although it links straight to Tempcover's site
  • Admiral
  • Aviva (backed by Dayinsure)
  • LV
  • RAC
  • Swinton - it also links straight to Tempcover's site

Be aware that some well-known providers may only offer temporary cover to existing members.

A few big companies such as AXA and Tesco do not appear to offer temporary insurance.

Specialist temporary insurers include:

  • Tempcover
  • Cuvva
  • Insure4aday
  • Insuredaily.co.uk

Cuvva is a new app that allows you to get immediate cover from 1 hour to a whole day. The app is available on Android and iOS and it has good reviews online. You have to be over 21 to use it and it’s designed for borrowing a car from a friend or family member.

How much is temporary car insurance?

As with most car insurance, the cost of temporary car cover will depend on a number of factors, such as how old you are, the car being driven and where you live.

Because the cover is only for short periods it shouldn’t cost too much. Cuvva’s prices for certain cars start under £10 for a few hours of cover.

Quotes for longer periods with other providers can be well under £100. It’s always worth shopping around to compare prices and cover limits to see if you can find cheap temporary insurance.

If you think the short-term quotes you receive cost too much you could look at other options, such as adding a named driver to an existing policy. It will mean another driver can use the car anytime they want, so it may save you money over a year if you’re considering using temporary insurance more than once.

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Car Insurance Reviews

Read our expert, independent reviews to learn more about the car insurance companies featured in the Top 10 - and the ones who missed out:

  • John Lewis Finance Car Insurance Review
  • Privilege Car Insurance Review
  • Endsleigh Car Insurance Review
  • Go Skippy Car Insurance Review
  • eCar Car Insurance Review
  • Aviva Car Insurance Review
  • Admiral Car Insurance Review
  • Marmalade Car Insurance Review
  • More Than Car Insurance Review
  • RAC Car Insurance Review
  • Churchill Car Insurance Review
  • Ingenie Insurance Review
  • The AA Car Insurance Review
  • Saga Car Insurance Review
  • Hastings Car Insurance Review
  • Octagon Insurance Review
  • Age UK Car Insurance Review
  • M&S Car Insurance Review
  • Debenhams Car Insurance Review
  • Bell Car Insurance Review
  • AXA Car Insurance Review
  • Allianz Car Insurance Review
  • Direct Line Car Insurance Review
  • Elephant Car Insurance Review
  • 1st Central Car Insurance Review
  • Carrot Car Insurance Review
  • One Call Car Insurance Review
  • Quote Me Happy Car Insurance Review
  • Diamond Car Insurance Review
  • Sure Thing Car Insurance Review
  • Go Girl Car Insurance Review
  • Drive Smart Car Insurance Review
  • Wise Driving Car Insurance Review
  • Covea Car Insurance Review
  • Esure Car Insurance Review
  • Sheilas' Wheels Car Insurance Review
  • Sainsbury's Bank Car Insurance Review

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This article was independently written by Bought By Many. We were not paid to write it, but we may receive commission for sales that result from you clicking on a link to one of our partners.

Source


Auto Insurance Review

Finding the Best Auto Insurance

The top performers in our review are Geico, the Gold Award winner; Nationwide, the Silver Award winner; and Travelers, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing auto insurance to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 12 companies.

Finding good, affordable auto insurance requires some searching, but it's worth the effort. By law, anyone who drives needs to have the minimal level of state required insurance, and those who have a vehicle loan are required to carry more than minimal coverage. If you are involved in a serious accident, you'll be glad to have as much coverage as possible to handle medical bills and car damage. Generally, the more coverage you have, the higher your premiums will be, although this is not always the case. That's why it pays to compare quotes.

We compared the 12 largest auto insurance companies that provide coverage for individuals in most areas of the U.S. Even though USAA is one of the largest companies, it was excluded since its plans are only available to those with military connections. AARP was also excluded because its plans are provided by The Hartford Financial Services Group, which we have reviewed separately.

While comparing insurance companies keep in mind that premium rates vary greatly based on numerous factors, and some services might not be available in your area. In addition, while it is rather straightforward to find upfront information about insurance companies, it's difficult to discover details about how well claims are processed and paid.

What Affects Car Insurance Rates?

Insurance rates are carefully calculated based on numerous factors. Personal factors include age, location, average miles driven, gender, marital status, education and driving record. Financial factors include the replacement cost of the car, repair costs, claim history, insurance history and credit score.

To give you an idea of what a low-risk insured person might look like compared to a high-risk person, see these two extremes:

Low-Risk: A 40-year-old married female who is college educated and lives in a low-incident area. She also has a better than average credit rating, a good driving record, steady previous insurance and no claims in over five years. The car has low repair costs and is not tied to a bank loan. She might only be required to pay $60 to $90 per month for insurance.

High-Risk: A 23-year-old unmarried male without a college education who lives in a high-incident area. He would have spotty or bad credit, a DUI or other major moving vehicle violation, has been without insurance in the past and has recently submitted claims. The car is expensive to fix and a there is a loan on the vehicle. This person's premium may be over $300 per month. In this case, some insurance companies may even deny coverage.

As you can see, numerous factors contribute to your premium. In addition, there are no protections in respect to gender, education, location or credit discrimination. Insurance companies are allowed, to the best of their ability, to calculate the risk of insuring individuals. If you are in the high-risk category, you might have to take a higher rate until you can build up a better history and or perhaps trade to a lower-priced, paid-off car. To learn more about the basics of auto insurance see our articles about auto insurance.

If you are in the low-risk category, you may save some money by bundling your auto insurance with other plans such as homeowners or umbrella insurance. Some insurance companies also offer discounts to those who pay premiums in advance or by automatic payment. Discounts aren't always listed on the company's website, so you'll want to ask about discounts before you enter a new contract so you can get the best possible rate.

Obtaining Auto Insurance Quotes

First and foremost, get more than one quote. We recommend that you obtain three quotes from three different insurance agencies. In our research, we learned that in most cases you can obtain ballpark quotes with just your basic information. However, eventually you will have to submit your social security number, VIN and other personal information to actually obtain the insurance coverage. Most will check your credit reports and driving status as well before they will provide coverage.

You can obtain a quote by visiting the insurance company's website. On the website, you can enter your zip code or state information and obtain a quote in only a few minutes. You'll need to enter your basic information such as name, address and car make. You will also be asked about your driving history, credit and average driving distances. The company will most likely mention a few discounts, but you should also ask about additional discounts before you sign up.

Possible discounts you might be eligible for include: good driver, good student, senior, hybrid vehicle, safety features, security features, multiple auto, defensive driving course discounts, farm vehicle, automatic payments, pay in advance, teen discounts and more. We noticed that Allstate specifically seems to offer a wide range of discount options. Many also offer discounts to military personnel or government employees, so it is worth asking about if you are associated with these organizations.

You should also consider supplemental add-ons such as:

Uninsured Motorist: Most people should consider this add-on. It helps cover medical or repair expenses when the other driver is at fault and has no insurance.

Roadside Assistance: These plans often include towing and tire changing.

Rental Car Coverage: Covers car rental expenses during the time your car is being repaired.

Gap Coverage: If your car is totaled, gap insurance will help pay the difference between the payout and what you still owe on your car loan.

Pet Insurance: This plan helps cover veterinarian expenses that may occur if your pets are injured in a car accident involving the covered vehicle.

Umbrella Policies: These cover a wide range of liability situations that other insurance policies may not cover completely.

Medical Payments Coverage: Helps pay medical costs related to an accident.

Sound System Insurance: This will cover the cost of replacing stolen or damaged audio or video equipment.

How We Compared Auto Insurance Companies

Because auto insurance premiums differ from person to person, no single company is best for every person. We tried to find out which company offers the best rates to the most people, and which ones have the best consumer experience reputation. We researched industry news, consumer reviews, financial reviews, third-party reviews and more. We also conducted our own research.

For the quote comparison, we obtained quotes for five of the most commonly purchased cars in the U.S. for rather average customer profiles in numerous zip codes. Some quotes were obtained online and others by telephone. We averaged the quote price per vehicle and compared quote rates against their competitors. With this information, we were able to determine whether you might expect to receive a lower than average, average or higher than average quote price from the insurance company. Of course, your quote experience will vary from our test model, but our scores can help you decide which companies you may want to obtain a quote from.

We obtained consumer satisfaction scores by quantifying numerous industry ratings alongside our own experience with the companies. We were somewhat surprised to discover that the 12 insurance agencies scored pretty close together. Most consumers seem happy with their insurance company until they need to file a claim and things don't go the way they wanted. And since most drivers are only involved in a few accidents in their lifetime, they usually do not have to go through the claim processing experience often, so satisfaction scores are generally high. The company that rated the highest was State Farm, with Geico and AAA only a few points below it.

Our Verdict and Recommendation

Once you find the insurance companies that look like they might satisfy your needs, we recommend that you obtain three quotes. Low-risk drivers can likely obtain low-cost auto insurance from Geico. Seniors may benefit from using their AARP membership to receive discounts from the Hartford Financial Services Group. Those who can qualify for accident-forgiveness can benefit from a three-year accident forgiveness policy from Farmers. Make sure to answer the questions as accurately as possible when submitting your quote information. Incorrect information could be cause for non-payment later, so accuracy is critical.

Once you obtain your quotes, it is helpful to call up the insurance company and ask about additional discounts. As tedious and confusing as it may seem, carefully look through the fine print of your policy information. It might even be helpful to consult with an insurance specialist to explain industry terms you don't understand. Careful shopping can help you obtain the best rate for the type of coverage you want.

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