How do I find the best rated auto insurance companies?

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Things to Remember...
  • There is no one answer for what insurance is the best or has the best rates
  • You never know when you can get very cheap auto insurance rates by getting covered on a family member’s policy
  • The trick here is that, rather than going directly to the insurer and just hoping that they offer the low rates you’re looking for, you go through these agencies and underwriting companies
  • The only way to find top rated specialty insurance is by checking through specialty underwriters
  • Narrow your search with the internet, make a few calls to make sure you have a great company on the line when you settle for one of them, and then see if you can visit the underwriting agency in person

So you’ve just got that dream car, or maybe it’s simply a used vehicle to get you from point A to point B, but either way, you need insurance, and you have absolutely no idea how to find the best-rated auto insurance companies.

Well here’s the tricky part about answering this question: The answer is different for every driver.

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To put it as simply as possible: Somebody who only wants to get a low rate is going to be looking for an insurance provider using very different strategies than somebody who, say, wants to get full coverage on their exotic car.

Here are a few different strategies for finding a great insurance company so that you can pick the approach that works for you, or even combine a few approaches and cross reference for the very best possible coverage:

Ask a Few Friends

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This is actually a really good strategy if you’re just trying to get low rates on a used car.

You never know when you can get very cheap auto insurance rates by getting covered on a family member’s policy.

Many drivers use their parent’s policy even after moving away from home because their parents have a long history of safe driving.

This isn’t for everybody, but if low payments are one of the most important things you’re looking for, it’s worth a try. If you don’t have this option or aren’t interested in it, another way to get great rates is to:

Look Through Offers from Underwriting Companies

This is, again, a great method for people looking for low rates.

The trick here is that, rather than going directly to the insurer and just hoping that they offer the low rates you’re looking for, you go through these agencies and underwriting companies that specialize in connecting drivers with great insurance plans.

The real upside to this method is that an underwriting company can check out hundreds of quotes in the time it takes you to check out one or two.

The downside is that you are simply hoping that they have the right insurance company for you.

It’s a good idea to check through a number of underwriting agencies before buying a policy from anybody.

Searching for a Specialty Insurer

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If you’re driving with bad credit, if you’re driving a sports car or an exotic foreign vehicle, if you’re a trucker or a cab driver, then you need to look into specialty insurance.

The only way to find top rated specialty insurance is by checking through specialty underwriters.

That said, if you are part of a very, very small niche, like, say, gyrocopters, or custom made vehicles like motorized bathtubs or something offbeat like that, then you’ll probably want to search for that type of insurance, specifically, on your own.

All of this being said, the question still remains of how you’re going to identify a top rated insurance company.

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AM Best Ratings

AM Best lets customers know how to best choose a reliable auto insurance company, financially speaking.

A++ is their highest rating, given to companies that usually have at least hundreds of millions of dollars with which to pay off any of the insurance policies that they cover.

An F rating, of course, means that this company is probably going to do everything they can to get out of paying your claims.

Better Business Bureau Ratings

The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, rates on the same F to A scale as AM Best, but they rank businesses in terms of the quality of their products, their customer service, whether or not they honor their promises to the market and so on.

If a company has a lower rating from AM Best, it might mean that they simply need to stick to a smaller market, but a poor rating from the BBB typically means that you’re dealing with a company that is not going to deliver on what they promise you.

Customer Reviews

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There is some worry about whether or not you can trust customer reviews on the web, because, theoretically, any insurance provider can hire people to write positive reviews for them.

However, in the long run, even a thousand positive reviews written by paid professionals won’t put a stop to the thousands of negative reviews a company is receiving from real customers.

By and large, you can trust customer reviews on the web as long as you cross reference a lot of them with the BBB and AM Best reviews that the company receives.

Generally speaking, you want to look for recurring points such as “Their customer service was really great” or “They never honored the initial insurance policy I signed with them.”

These recurring points usually prove a pattern of behavior and not a simple one-off plus or minus on the company.

Shopping Online, by Phone, and in Person

If you’re wondering whether you should try to find a cheap auto insurance company online, by phone, or by just visiting the company’s local office or underwriting agency in person, the answer is: All three.

Narrow your search with the internet, make a few calls to make sure you have a great company on the line when you settle for one of them and then see if you can visit the underwriting agency in person.

If you’re asking why it’s important to be able to visit in person when you live in the digital age, there are three answers:

  • It’s easier to make payments directly if you know where
  • If they have an office, chances are that they’re not some fly-by-night company
  • You might need to settle a claim or dispute in person one day and it’s good to know where they are
Now that you know the best auto insurance company for you may be determined by a number of factors, use all of these sources of information to compare car insurance rates and coverage options from each company.
The rating systems can be used to effectively evaluate an auto insurance company’s trustworthiness and customer satisfaction. Always shop around to find the best rates possible from each company.
 
Enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool to get free rate quotes now!

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