Every six months you can find me surfing the web for auto insurance. Call me weird, but I always need to know I am getting the best price. If I had to guess, I would say that I have changed my auto insurance carrier seven times over the past nine years. Is that bad or am I just a good shopper? Anyway, I thought I would share with you my routine for shopping for auto insurance and things to look for. Currently, I am with Progressive and I have been pleased so far. Please keep in mind that none of these companies paid me to write about this. I also do not receive anything if you visit their site, so please feel free to visit them!
Check Your Current Policy
When six months rolls around (sometimes sooner), I will double-check to make sure that the coverage is still what I would like it to be. If for some reason the company lowered my limits, I make sure to get a new quote for the coverage amounts that I like. Here are the coverage amounts that I currently carry:
Bodily Injury Protection: $100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident
Property Damage: $100,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorist: Same limits as personal protection
Comprehensive: $50 deductible
Collision: $500 deductible
I keep the bodily injury quite high because the cost of medical care is high. It’s that plain and simple. I will never buy less than $100,000 in property damage due to the high costs of vehicles today. For example, if I were in an at-fault accident with two other SUV vehicles, I would have caused damages (considering both were totaled) of around $50,000 if I am lucky. I really do not want to have to pay for any additional amounts out of pocket. I just keep the uninsured motorist coverage the same as my personal coverage due to the same reasons above.
In regards to deductibles, I keep my comprehensive very low because it just does not cost that much more to have it close to $0. Also, why have a $500 comprehensive deductible when you will use it for mostly inexpensive things? In terms of the collision deductible, I would like to have the deductible at $1000 because I could save around 15% on my policy. However, my credit union forces me to have at-the-most a $500 deductible. Anyone else have that problem?
Before you move onto the next section, make sure you obtain a new insurance quote from your current carrier. Their pricing structures may have changed.
Time to Start the Quotes
I typically have several sites that I check every few months for auto insurance. In this section I will list the sites that I visit and my general experience (price, obtaining a quote) with them.
As I mentioned before, Progressive is my current carrier. So, far I have had a good experience with them. They were my carrier several years ago as well but of course, they were outbid a few months later so I switched. Obtaining a quote from Progressive is very easy. All you have to do is enter a few bits of information and you are all set for an accurate quote. They even offer to show you the prices of some of their competitors. However, I have never gone off of what they said. Can you really trust another insurance company to give you a quote for another company? I would rather do the digging myself. One of the main reasons I decided to go with Progressive is their MyRate Program. This program is for conservative drivers like myself. You basically install a tracker in your car that measures your distance and time traveled as well as your braking and acceleration. It then compares your driving to others in your rate class and gives you a discount accordingly (that is if you are below the average). My discount so far is about 5% at renewal (I have only been using it for a few weeks). All in all, I would recommend Progressive to anyone.
Before Progressive, my auto insurance carrier was Geico. They are well known for their commercials with the gecko. When I first purchased a policy from them it was very easy. Their quote system is very similar to Progressive. I only switched from them because Progressive’s quote was about $100 cheaper for six months and I also wanted to try the MyRate program. If you happen to find a cheaper quote with another company, make sure you call your current company first and see if they can negotiate with you on the price. Most companies will be willing to do this with you rather than see you go.
Esurance is a fairly new auto insurance company. They are the ones with the animated (which I think are a little corny) commercials. Since the commercials are animated, I guess it allows them to produce cheaper insurance. I used Esurance for a few months and their quotes were quite low compared to some others. However, when I moved to Texas, their rates became more expensive and I could no longer use them. I would encourage you to check them out. They are very competitive right now and it does not hurt to get a quote.
I have heard very good things about State Farm and their service. However, every time I get a quote there, they are always way more expensive than some of the others. I am talking about 25% higher. Maybe it is because I am in a strange rate class right now (young male). You may have more luck than me so be sure to check them out as well. Even though I never get a great quote from them, I still check. If you are someone who needs personal service, you may want to purchase from them even though they may be a fraction more expensive. They have many agents that you can see in your area.
My first insurer was Allstate. Looking back, I could have probably saved quite a bit of money had I shopped around before I went with them. However, everyone in the family used them and I figured why not. I really did not know much about auto insurance back then. As soon as I went to college and became interested in personal finance, I started shopping around and got some pretty good deals. Allstate has quite a few good features such as accident forgiveness, deductible rewards, etc., but most of them are just a gimmick and add additional costs to the policy. Every time I quote with them now, they are even more expensive than State Farm. However, your circumstances may be different so be sure to at least get a quote from them.
Those are all of the companies that I get a quote from. I know there are probable plenty of other companies, but by the time I am done with quotes for these few, I have reached my maximum utility for auto insurance. There more than likely was a quote that I was comfortable paying for.
Time to Buy!
When you find a quote/company that you like, they make it very easy to purchase. Once you receive a quote, they automatically give you the option to purchase the insurance on the spot. Many companies even give you a discount for buying online.
Other Things to Consider
I figured I would give some additional brief tips to help you save some money on auto insurance.
1. Keep all of your policies with one company. If you have your homeowners, umbrella, renters and auto policy all at the same company, you will receive a discount on all of them.
2. Increase your deductibles. If you are allowed by your finance company (if you finance), raise your deductibles in order in increase your savings.
3. Find some discounts. Many auto insurance companies offer different types of discounts. They range from being a good student to belonging to a union. Make sure you ask your company if you are getting all of the discounts you are entitled to.
4. Drive a low-profile car. Drive a fast car? Chances are you are paying more due to that fact.
Anyone else have a company that they have used in the past? Did you get some good quotes from them?
Very useful article. I am currently with Geico. They have fantastic service, literally the phone rings once and you have a teller on the other line ready to help you. But financially, I have found other nice benefits. For instance, having a Bank of America account gives you a 3% discount on your policy. Also I paid for a student membership to the American Public Health Association priced at $60. This saved me an additional $105-110 on my policy for an additional $45-50 in savings.
Also they allow you pay online but they have a 4 dollar service fee on each withdrawal. I found this odd when I was breaking my payments up in monthly payments. So you opt for paying everything up front you can save even more. The convenience of automatic withdrawal is nice for only $8 a year when you figure the cost of stamps alone would be $5.04.
Personally I am currently insured with Farmer’s Insurance where the customer service is excellent. Recently I have been involved in a car accident, in which my truck turned out quite damaged on the passenger side seat with a repair cost of approximately $ 2,500. Well, despite having a high deductible (as much as $ 1,500) the Farmer’s Insurance adjuster approved almost 70% of the repair costs without further questions. What more could you ask for?
Very useful article. I buy stuff from companies that don’t advertise nationally so they don’t have big advertising costs to pass on to me. When I buy tires I do the same thing, I usually buy a store brand but not Goodyear or Firestone. For auto insurance and boat insurance I go with PolicyDog because I can get get my price quoted online and I can even buy online if I want to.
Great article! When it comes to auto insurance you not only want to find a great rate but also an insurance company that will also back you up if you have to make an insurance claim. When looking for a free online insurance quote try to give them as much information as you can so that you can test out their services and see if it is right for you.