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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!

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