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Compare Car Insurance and Win

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/13/2017

 

4 Secrets to Finding the Best Auto Insurance for the Best Price Every Time

Comparing Car Insurance

Comparing Car Insurance

Before you compare car insurance put down that phone.

It’s 2008.  You don’t have to call every car insurance company in the phone book.  The internet has revolutionized the way we buy things, especially car insurance. Want to compare companies?  It’s never been easier.

No more visiting dingy offices only to be pressured to sign a policy you don’t need.  If you want to compare insurers – you’re in the driver’s seat today.

Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you can’t mess up.  You need to know a few things about the process while getting quotes.  These four secrets will help you make a smart decision as you compare car insurance quotes.

1.  Where Do I Start?  – Pick a Few Good Companies

The first step to getting the best car insurance at the best price is to find some good auto insurance companies to compare.  Many states have over 50 companies doing business there.  How do you choose which ones to compare?

I recommend finding 3-7 auto insurance companies that advertise.  Why?

Companies that advertise are interested in growing their business.  That’s important since they typically believe retaining current customers is good for business.  That’s why they usually treat you well when you have a claim – when it counts.  If you’ve heard of the company, then they’ve spent money on advertising.  That means they’re a good company to compare.

(If you want more direction, check out our Car Insurance Rates to compare prices for the cheapest companies.)

2.  Get Quotes: Grab Several-Printed Car Insurance Quotes Online

Now you have a several companies (3-7) to compare, it’s time to get some quotes.  If you want to do that online, get your quote here.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky.  Make sure you’re comparing the same quotes.  Determine what kind of coverage you want – state-minimum liability, comprehensive, collision, or whatever.  If you need some help with the details, ask the first company you talk to.  Then, whatever, the first company quotes you…

*Get the same quote from every other car insurance company.*

This is very important.  You’re trying to compare prices for the same thing.  If you compare the same quotes, it’s like going to one grocery story and asking for a price on Gala apples, then going to another store and asking for a price on navel oranges – you can’t accurately compare prices that way.  If other companies won’t meet your quote specifications, they probably don’t want your business.

One word of caution:

A company may quote you the minimum liability coverage, but your car finance company probably requires comprehensive and collision coverage.  Obviously, that quote won’t work in your situation.  Get the right coverage, especially if you’re financing or leasing your car.

 

3.  What About Complaints: Do People Like a Car Insurance Company?

No company is perfect.  But there are several ways to see if a car insurance company is better than others.  For one, check out Our Reviews.  We periodically review auto insurance companies so you can know whether to compare them with others.

Second, check out our Customer Reviews.  Many consumers just like you have left comments on our forum that describe their experiences with other companies.  That’s a great way to compare auto insurance companies.

A final way to review a company is by their complaint ratio.  State Departments of Insurance usually post complaint ratios on their website for every insurance company doing business in their state.  To research a company’s complaint ratio, look them up at your Insurance Department’s website.

4.  The Intangibles: What Really Matters In a Car Insurance Company?

Now it’s time to decide which quote to go with.  Here’s two final things to consider:

Location? Do you want a 1-800 to call every time you have a problem with your auto insurance?  Some consumers like having a local office to visit – others don’t care.  In the same way, do you want to be able to call the same person every time you have a car insurance question?  Consider the relationship factor when you compare auto insurance companies.

Easy Quote? Did you have a good experience when getting your car insurance quote?  If it was painless, that may be a good sign to consider that company – even if the price is slightly higher.  Service counts.  You don’t want problems if you ever have a claim.  Go with the quick, pain-free quote, over the “hold on, let me ask my manager” quote every time.

In the End, You Could Save a Few Hundred Bucks

Follow these steps, and you’re sure to find a company that will save you money.  Plus, the experience you gain will give you a new perspective on your auto insurance.  It will take some time to compare companies.  But you’ll get compensated once you write that first month’s premium check.

Anything I missed? Leave a comment to help other people shopping for comparing auto insurance companies?

Car Insurance For Teens

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 10/30/2008

Essential checklist when buying auto insurance for your teenager

A new chapter in your teen's life.

A new chapter in your teen's life.

Ahhh, teen drivers and their car insurance.

It wasn’t so long ago you were in the same seat, ready to show off your new wheels to friends.  But before getting too nostalgic and hand off the keys, you need to get some your teen insured.  Don’t get caught without a policy when they take to the streets.

Buying auto insurance for your teen is not much different from buying it for yourself.  Basics such as picking a reputable company and getting enough coverage to cover your situation still apply when choosing a company.  But there are some essentials you should consider before signing a policy.

Teen Drivers Are Dangerous?

I know, I know…your teenager is a very safe driver.  But I’m not talking about your teenager.  I’m talking about all the other dangerous, young, hormone-driven motorists on the road.

Fact is, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year-olds are nearly six times more likely to get into accidents than drivers aged 30-59.  To a car insurance company that translates into one thing: higher premiums.  Know that you will pay more for the teen driver in your household.  But that’s only part of the story.

Help Your Teen on the Road to Success

The scary part is that auto insurance rates can go up from there.  One at-fault accident and your perfect angel’s rates could jump 10%…or more!   That’s why it’s important to help your young driver get experience.

Take frequent trips with them at the wheel.  The more they drive with you, the more comfortable they will be at the wheel.  This will help them, but it will also help you when you’re mailing in your premium check.

On the flip side: if your teenager bucks the trend keeps a clean record (no accidents & no tickets), many companies offer additional discounts.  Make sure you ask about them when getting quotes.  It never hurts to ask.

Submit Grades for Better Car Insurance Rates

Auto insurance for teenagers is high enough.  Any discount will help lower the burden on your wallet.  That’s why it’s important to submit your teenager’s grades to the company.

Most companies give a good student discount for premiums.  Having your teen maintain a 3.0 GPA or better will help lessen the strain on your checkbook.  Maybe you could pass on some of the savings to your teen – the discount will be more than enough to pay for a movie every policy renewal.  It’s a friendly reminder for them to keep up their grades.

Higher Deductibles Can Save Money for Teen Drivers

If you’re getting full coverage (comprehensive and collision) for your teenager’s car insurance, then you know about deductibles: the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.  In other words, the more financial responsibility you assume for teenage driver, the less you will pay to the car insurance company.

That’s why you should consider upping the deductible on the comprehensive and collision portion of your teenager’s auto insurance.  Instead of a $100 deductibles, consider going to $250 or $500.  Sure, it’s more responsibility for your family – but it could pay for itself in a year.  Put the savings in the bank in case something happens.

Can I Just Add Them To My Policy?

Before collecting auto insurance quotes, ask your current insurer if you can add your teen to your policy.  Some states allow this, while others do not.  Either way, most agents will be able to advise accordingly.

A note of caution: if your teen has a driver’s license, they must be insured on some vehicle.  If your car insurance company doesn’t know about your teen driver, your company could drop your policy – whether or not anything happens.  And you thought it was expensive before, you were cancelled – it’s downright depressing afterward!  If possible, just add your teen driver to your policy when they’re licensed.  It’s the safest, and ultimately cheapest bet.

Before You Hand off the Keys

After you pick up car insurance for your teen driver, they’re almost ready to hit the road.  Help them with the basics behind the wheel – if they get a ticket, make sure they take defensive driving, and if you want to help their sense of responsibility, make them pay some of the premium with a part-time job.  All these things will help you feel more comfortable guiding your teen through their first years of driving.

Now, where are those keys?
Did I miss anything? If you have something to add for other parents, just a leave a comment to help them out.

Allstate Review

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Our Reviews Last Updated: 05/19/2009

Does Allstate have ‘Good Hands’, boxing gloves, or is it just another car insurance company?

Allstate Logo

Allstate Logo

For Allstate car insurance, it was hard to get a more authoritative spokesperson than a former President. When that President isn’t mired in politics – like a real President – even better.

So when Allstate hired Dennis Haysbert, the actor who played President Palmer in Fox’s television series, 24, they scored big. With a deep, soothing voice, Haysbert plays the part well. But Haysbert isn’t the only person offering advice about Allstate.

If you’re looking for something bad about a company, it doesn’t take long to find it. The bigger the company, the bigger the target. So when the 2nd largest insurance company in the country has problems, it’s pretty easy to find something bad about it. In fact, one guy has been upset with Allstate since 1999: Allstate Insurance Sucks.

So this begs an important question: Do Allstate’s ‘good hands’ commercials match policyholder experience?

About the Company: Allstate

Allstate Corporation (ALL) is the largest publically traded insurance company in the United States. It is an umbrella company with several insurance and financial services companies. They sell 13 major lines including auto, home, boat, life, and business insurance. In recent years, they branched into investment and banking products – but this is not a major portion of their business.

Allstate sells car insurance through a network of Allstate agents. According to their website, they have approximately 14,900 agents who sell exclusively with Allstate. They also sell other brands (Encompass & Deerbrook) through thousands of independent agents. They employ over 70,000 people – Allstate is a big company.

Allstate is a financially strong company. They have an ‘A+’ or ‘Superior’ rating with AM Best, the 2nd highest rating they offer. Other rating companies put Allstate in a similar category. To those who look at these things, Allstate will be in business for quite awhile.

Getting an Allstate Quote

As usual, I jumped online to get an Allstate car insurance quote. The graphics were pleasant, but they could have used more user-testing on the site. For one, there were too many screens. At some places, I answered 2-3 questions then clicked next. Maybe it’s a personal problem, but I don’t like having to click more than necessary.

When I finally got to the end, they gave me different packages: Value, Standard, Gold, Platinum. Being a former insurance agent, I’m not impressed with labels. To me, it seems like they’re hiding something when they don’t want to ask me for my exact coverages – on the other hand, they’re trying to make it easier for consumers. I can’t fault them for that.

Allstate Positive: Longevity

Allstate has been selling car insurance since 1931. Any company that has been around that long deserves some admiration. Begun at the height of the Great Depression by an equally-respected company, Sears, Roebuck, and Company, Allstate has stood the test of time. They are here, and will probably be here for many years to come. That’s a great thing for an insurance company.

Allstate Negative: Price & Reputation

After getting a quote online, I usually give the company a phone call. But after looking at their price – which was already higher than my current rates – I decided not to call. My current rates are high as it is. Why should I start another car insurance policy that’s even higher?

In addition, I’m not satisfied with Allstate’s reputation. Various ‘Allsnake’ and boxing gloves experiences have contributed to the reputation. To be fair, Allstate has made strides at improving their complaints. For instance, in Texas, they only had 186 justified auto complaints in 2007. This may seem like a lot, but the ratio of complaints to policies was just above average. We’ll see if they continue to improve.

Will I Switch to Allstate?

This is a personal review and every person’s experience is different. If you get a car insurance quote with Allstate, you may get a better rate than what you’re currently paying. But considering the rate they gave me – which is the major reason for me to switch – I won’t be buying Allstate auto insurance.

Get a better price and work on your public relations and you may get my business, Allstate. Until then, I’ll see you in 12 months.

Quote Process: 4
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Price: 2
(Scale 1-10: 10=Cheapest)

Customer Service: *
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Claims: *
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Overall Rating: 3
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Get an Allstate Car Insurance Quote Here!

DUI/DWI Car Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Definitions, Research Last Updated: 03/23/2011

3 Things to Know About Your Auto Insurance When You’re Ticketed For Drunk Driving

Car Insurance after a DUI Can Be Tough

Car Insurance after a DUI Can Be Tough

Car Insurance cancelled after a DUI or DWI? It could never happen to you, right?

You never drive after 2 drinks.  You always call a cab instead of getting behind the wheel.  But for whatever reason, things were different this time.  You picked up the keys and drove yourself home.  Before you knew it, you saw the flashing lights.  Against all odds, you have a DUI.

Whatever they call it in your state (DUI, DWI, OWI, or OVI) it all amounts to a similar thing.  Problems.  If you’re convicted of drunk driving, estimates suggest you’ll pay over $10,000 for attorney’s fees, car insurance premium increases, court costs, and related items.  It’s a serious matter.  Wherever you are on the road to DUI recovery, these three steps will help you get back on track with your auto insurance.

Step 1: Get Legal Counsel

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.  It’s just suggestions to help with your car insurance in a DUI situation.  Before talking to the court about your ticket, get an attorney.  Now is not the time to be the Lone Ranger in front of a judge.  There’s just no substitute for a good lawyer in a DUI situation, especially as it relates to your auto insurance.

For one, experienced attorneys will give you perspective.  You’re not the first person they’ve coached through a DUI or DWI, nor will you be the last.  Second, they will help you with all the little steps like filing necessary documents, to helping you show remorse in front of the judge (that high school drama class will finally come in handy).  Third, a good lawyer should help you get a lesser sentence if you’re convicted.  That alone will be worth the fees they charge, especially since you’ll be able to keep your car insurance.

One last thing relates to your car insurance: If you don’t have a driver’s license, you don’t have insurance.  If an attorney can save your license, then it’s worth every penny you pay them.  Who knows?  They may even be able to get you out of a conviction.  If so, then you’ll get to keep your policy with the same rates.

Step 2: Handling Your Car Insurance Policy

If you’re convicted of a DUI or DWI and you get to keep your driver’s license, you’ll probably need an SR-22 filing.  That means your state must obtain proof of liability coverage from an car insurance company for you to maintain your license.

Not all companies provide SR-22 insurance.  If you have auto insurance with a preferred company, they’ll either cancel your policy or non-renew it once it comes up for renewal.  A DUI and DWI are a big pain in this regard.  If you’re cancelled by your auto insurance company, you have some shopping to do.

At this point, you’ll need quotes for non-standard car insurance.  Either get a quote here or call up some local insurers for some quotes.  Either way, don’t wait until your auto policy is cancelled from your DUI or DWI.  Getting auto insurance afterwards will be even more expensive, if they can even write the policy.

Don’t forget.  When you’re talking with these car insurance companies or filling out online forms, be honest.  Being up front about a DUI or DWI will save you time and frustration when talking with an agent.  If they can’t help you, they’ll let you know, and probably get you in touch with someone who can.  The more open you are about your DUI situation, the easier it will be to get auto insurance.

Step 3: Drive Safely

I’m not gonna lie to you – you will pay more for non-standard (not preferred) auto insurance.  Such is the cost of a DWI.  But rest assured, DUI and DWI pricing is not forever.  As bad as it may seem right now, a conviction usually falls off your driving record within 10 years (sometimes sooner).  But, that doesn’t mean you’ll be hosed by your auto insurance company that long.

Typically, preferred companies want to see continuous coverage for 3 years with no SR-22 filings, even after a DUI.  Once you get 24-36 months under your belt with a non-standard policy and the state drops the SR-22 requirement, give some of the standby car insurance companies a call.  They may be more than happy to quote you again.  If they write your policy, even with a DUI 3 years ago, chances are you’ll save 25-65% on your car insurance.

Lastly, I can’t stress this one enough: drive safely.  Whatever caused your DUI or DWI, don’t let it happen again.  As bad as this situation is, it will be worse with a second DUI conviction, where jail time is often mandated.  If necessary, get involved in an AA class, or another related program.

Whatever you do, don’t drink and drive again.  You know how much a DUI costs – you don’t want to pay a steeper price with another one.  By driving safely, society and your family will enjoy the benefits and you’ll get it all back from your car insurance savings.

Have some good advice about Auto Insurance after a DUI or DWI?
Leave a Comment to help out other people.

Cheap Car Insurance in California (35-55, Male)

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Rates Last Updated: 11/07/2008

We compiled data on the cheap auto insurance companies for males, ages 35-55 in the Golden State.

California Driver

California Driver

If you’re looking for the cheap car insurance rates in California, you’ve come to the right place.  If you’re a male between the ages of 35-55, even better.  If you don’t fall into that category, check out our article on the cheapest car insurance in California here.

It’s downright painful to get quotes from 40+ car insurance companies.  But rest easy.  We’ve done the hard work for you.

We compiled the best rates for clean drivers according to the California Department of Insurance.  That means male drivers (35-55) who haven’t had any accidents or tickets for the last 3 years. In addition we only show prices for liability coverage.  These are just sample rates from five different areas of the state.

Still, every driver is different.  What you see below is a sample of male drivers ages 35-55.  Prices listed are NOT the same as the price you will receive from the companies below, even if you just get liability coverage.  In addition, these are NOT actual quotes.  This is a general guide to help you shop for the best rate in California.

I hope it’s helpful.

Rank California Car Insurance Company Average Premium
1 Metropolitan Direct $385.60
2 USAA $412.80
3 Wawanesa $442.60
4 Safeco $494.20
5 Mercury $498.80
6 Pacific Specialty $505.40
7 GEICO $508.40
8 Amica Mutual $509.60
9 Western United $520.20
10 AAA $532.00
11 QBE $537.60
12 California Capital $539.40
13 Esurance $543.20
14 IDS Property Casualty $557.20
15 California Casualty $559.60
16 Nationwide $568.60
17 Commerce West $584.40
18 State Farm $585.20
19 American International Ins Co of CA $588.60
20 Farmers/Mid-Century $593.80
21 CSE $597.20
22 21st Century $599.20
23 GMAC/Integon Preferred $603.60
24 Workmen’s Auto $609.20
25 Allstate $614.80

Rates collected in 2007-2008.
All data is courtesy of the California Department of Insurance.
For more information, view our Disclosure.

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Car Insurance Guidebook Unravels the Car Insurance Mystery

Unless you work in the car insurance industry, the topic is probably a mystery to you. The words deductible, comprehensive, collision, liability, premium, loss of use and bodily injury are all gibberish when they reach your ears.

Unfortunately, insurance is something that you are required to have by law if you want to drive. Because of how confusing it is many people go around in almost an insurance daze while they get car insurance quotes from the auto insurance companies that they have heard of. In reality, they are completely lost as to what they are actually buying.

Instead of looking at what each insurance company offers in the terms of protection for both themselves and their car, they are instead looking for cheap car insurance. Finding the cheapest car insurance coverage makes having to buy the required product all that much less painful, but misses the whole point of having insurance.

Learning about insurance through your insurance agent or websites like Car Insurance Guidebook will give you the upper hand when you looking for car insurance. You can take your knowledge and not only find the best price for insurance, you can use it to find really great insurance to protect you and your assets. Then you aren’t stuck settling for just average car insurance that can hurt you financially if you ever need it because there isn’t enough protection.

For example, when looking for insurance the car insurance rates are just the first of many factors that need to be taken into account when you are shopping around for car insurance. You also need to take into account the type of vehicle that you are driving. Many people don’t know this.

Are you driving around a vehicle that is a new sedan and can be protected under any blanket insurance policy? Or do you have an old car that you fixed up that needs special protection and could be better covered under classic car insurance?

Don’t just assume that when you compare car insurance that it will be a one-size-fits-all policy. This is where the insurance knowledge will come in handy; you will know what you need to protect yourself and your vehicle.

You will understand what your insurance agent is talking about when they use insurance terms and you will actually be able to make an informed decision. This is much better for you instead of the “nod and smile” approach people take in their insurance agent’s office.

Also just like your life changes your insurance needs will change. This year you may just need to learn about the best deductible to have. Next year you may need to educate yourself on car insurance for young drivers. As the years pass, motorcycle insurance may be something you will need to know.

Many wise people say that you never stop learning, so take their advice and educate yourself on the insurance that you spend a lot of money on and can’t get away with not having.