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Things to remember...
  • Safeco is a subsidiary of the seventh largest personal auto insurance seller in the United States, Liberty Mutual
  • If you want to buy insurance from Safeco, you can get quotes online or from one of 10,000 independent agents
  • Safeco is rated number 14 on the list of companies on the JD Power and Associates customer satisfaction ratings
  • Safeco may be a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual but it only offers 30 discounts and Liberty Mutual offers 38
  • Some of the most notable discounts offered include: Teen Safety Rewards, Safety Rewards, Loyalty, and RightTrack
Safeco is a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual that has been protecting drivers and their families since 1923. Since its parent company is Liberty Mutual, customers have peace of mind in knowing that they are purchasing coverage from a financially stable company that has made the top 20 customer satisfaction list through JD Power and Associates.

Doing business with a top-ranked insurer should be your priority, but you should also compare pricing so that you don’t feel like it’s breaking you to pay off your premiums.

The most effective way to get a deal is to shop around. As you’re shopping around, you should also set a goal to lower your premiums by getting as many discounts as possible. Here are the discounts offered by Safeco Insurance:

How are your premiums calculated?

adobestock_119507641-1600x1600To understand why auto insurance discounts are so important you must first understand how your rates are calculated. There’s an entire process dedicated to rate making and if companies didn’t invest time and money into pricing their insurance products, they would go out of business after the first round of catastrophic claims were filed.

When insurance companies go into business they have to set a price per exposure unit. This is what the insurers call a rate.

It’s determined by the company’s statistical analysis of the past claims that have been filed based on the risk class that the insured falls into. To put it in layman’s terms, the insurer will predict how many losses will be filed and they will set rates that cover administrative costs, operational costs and still allow room for a profit.

Shopping the Market for Discounts

Everyone who solicits quotes for auto insurance will receive a personalized premium quote. This personalized premium takes the rates for each unit into account and also your personal rating factors.

Every company has a different set of rates and some companies will be more competitive than others for drivers in your risk group. You should get quotes to compare rates, but you should also shop the marketplace for the best discounts.

You could have favorable ratings for your risk class, but it helps even more when you’re in a favorable risk group and you also qualify for dozens of different discounts. Not all companies offer the same discounts but knowing what Safeco offers can help you decide if you’ll get a deal by making a switch.

Types of Discounts Offered by Safeco Insurance

There are three different types of discounts that you can ask for when you’re buying insurance. These include driver, vehicle, and policy discounts. A majority of the savings that you can apply for can be stacked one on the other. With Safeco, you could possibly qualify for 30 different auto discounts. Here’s a breakdown of each of them:

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– Driver Discounts From Safeco

Drivers that are rated on your policy can increase the likelihood that a claim will be filed. If any licensed driver has a bad record or they have accidents in the past three years, it will definitely affect your rates. Here are some discounts to look for through Safeco:

  • Defensive Driver (must be 55 and up and take an approved course for a discount that lasts three years)
  • Distant Student (resident student attending college 100+ miles away)
  • Driver’s Ed (under 21 and free of accidents in the last 36 months)
  • Good Student (GPA of 3.0 or higher and the discount drops 1% for every year of experience)
  • Further Education (must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher)
  • Homeowner
  • Further Education (for having a four-year degree or higher)
  • Occupation (workplace discounts for business owners, teachers, firefighters, police officers, and educators)
  • Military (active and retired)
  • Married
  • Safeco Safety Rewards (driver can’t have at-fault accidents in the last three years, DUI’s in the last 10 years, or more than one point on their license)
  • Stable Residence (must be at residence for one year or more)
  • Teen Safety Rewards

– Vehicle Discounts From Safeco

AdobeStock_111383588-1600x1600If your car is stocked with features, you may be able to save money on your premiums by getting discounts. Most companies will offer you some type of savings if you have a newer car packed full with safety features. Safeco offers the following vehicle discounts:

  • Anti-lock Brakes
  • Anti-theft (passive alarm or active alarm that disables the engine)
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Newer Vehicle
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Low Mileage (vehicles driven 4,000 miles or less per year)
  • Passive Restraint
  • Vehicle Recovery (for LoJack and OnStar)
  • VIN Etching

-Policy Discounts From Safeco

Policy discounts can range from discounts for the payment method that you choose or for getting quotes early before you sign up for the policy. These discounts are usually applied off of the total policy premium and they can be combined with other options in the other categories. Safeco policy discounts include:

  • Continuous Coverage (being with a company one year or more qualifies, discount is higher when you’ve been with a carrier five or more years)
  • RightTrack (five percent for each vehicle when you sign up and then you get 30 percent off based on your driving behaviors)
  • Early Quote (must pay premims eight days or more before the policy effective date)
  • Full Payment
  • Good Credit Insurance Score
  • Tenure Loyalty Reward (after two years of being with Safeco)
  • Financial Stability (for drivers with good credit and a stable residence)
  • Multi-policy (for maintaining two or more lines of insurance with the carrier)
  • Multi-car (for insuring two or more companies with the company)
  • Auto Billing
  • Stable Residence (policyholders who have been at the same residence for a year or more

If you’d like to see which Safeco discounts you’ll qualify for, the best way to find out is to get online insurance quotes. You can use an online quote comparison tool and enter your information and these discounts will be applied automatically. Enter your information in a tool, get instant quotes from the top 20 companies, and then choose the best option.

Things to remember...
  • A number of auto insurance companies provide online payment options for their customers
  • Many of these companies offer innovative choices like mobile apps or PayPal acceptance with their online systems
  • Some companies make you set up an account to pay, while with others you can simply pay instantly with a quick payment option
  • Online payment is so widely available that it can be one factor among many included in comparison shopping for car insurance
When you’re considering the auto insurance options available in your state, one important factor to keep in mind is ease and convenience of payment.

You can make use of a variety of mechanisms to pay your car insurance bill:

  • traditional mail-in payments
  • automatic payment
  • online banking managed through your bank’s website

Some of the major car insurers, however, also offer online payment through their own website, an extra bit of convenience that can help you pay your car insurance bill quickly and easily with a credit card or bank transfer.

More and more, when it comes to asking if online payment is an option, for car insurers, the answer is an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

There are a number of payment options offered by major insurance providers. While the large national insurers offer a variety of online payment options, there could also be small or localized offices that do not offer these payment options.

It’s best to check directly when setting up your insurance policy to ensure your access to online payments.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Mobile Apps, PayPal, and other Innovations

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For example, GEICO offers various installment plans, which can be paid the following ways:

  • by one-time or automatic online payments
  • by mobile app
  • by phone
  • by mail

State Farm offers similar options, including instant online payments, phone and mail payments and walk-in payments at a State Farm agent office.

Allstate also offers its own mobile app as well as one-time and recurring online payments, automated phone payments, mail payments and in-person options at an Allstate agency.

While most companies take online payments from credit cards, online checks or other forms of bank transfer such as EFT, Progressive also accepts PayPal as a form of online payment alongside traditional online options, mail-in, and phone payments.

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Online Payment Options: Accounts and Quick Pay Systems

Farmers’ Insurance also allows online payments in addition to phone, mail and in-person payments. In order to make an online payment, you will need to set up an account on the company’s website.

USAA shares this common setup, allowing you to pay online, over the phone or by check with a bank account or credit card.

Liberty Mutual allows you to set up an online account to handle your bill payments but also offers a Quick Pay option for immediate online payment.



Meanwhile, Nationwide also encourages account creation where you can either pay directly or set up recurring payments to your credit or debit card.

The Hartford offers quick direct pay options as well as automatic payments, mail payments and access through a special mobile app.

Travelers and American Family both offer an array of traditional and online payment options, with one-time payments, automated options, mail, and telephone payments.

Quick, Flexible Online Insurance Payment Options

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Insurers like AAA Life and Mercury Insurance offer online options for payment in addition to the standard mail-in or preset debit options.

Meanwhile, MetLife offers online and telephone payments. For an additional quick payment option, they also offer a specific overnight mail address for speedy offline payments.

Erie Insurance takes online payments as well as telephone, mail or in-person options, while AAA Auto Insurance offers a MyPolicy account space to manage and handle online payments for its customers.

When choosing an auto insurance company, online payment availability can help to reassure you that you can pay at any time.

Flexible forms of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts are accepted by many insurers, while some even accept PayPal or other forms of online currency.

The wide array of insurance companies offering the service means that it’s easy to check that online payment is available when comparing options between car insurers.

Given the importance of on-time payment when dealing with car insurance, online payment offers a secure option to pay your bill immediately.

Even if you have a problem with your normal account for payment, flexible online choices protect you from concerns about late payments or being unable to switch your method of payment.

A large number of insurers have recognized the convenience and accessibility of online payment, allowing you to include this option among many others when choosing the car insurance that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Don’t pay too much for the car insurance you need. Comparison shop to find the best rate for your situation. Enter your zip code into our free quote tool below.

Things to remember...
  • Only three major insurance providers accept cash payments
  • Traditional, easier-to-track methods of payment are the ones most commonly accepted
  • Cash can be used to acquire other payment options necessary to cover an insurance bill
  • Regardless of payment preferences, customers should still try to find the best possible coverage
Some people like paying with cash. Paying in cash is often easier than writing a check or swiping a credit card. To simply hand over funds makes things less complicated.

Not everyone has a checking account or a credit card and even those who do may not possess sufficient funds or credit to make payments with these methods all the time.

Paying car insurance premiums with cash may seem a little out of the ordinary. Most assume such payments are made exclusively with credit cards, checks, or bank transfers. And most of the well-known insurance companies do seem to agree.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate on coverage. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Three Companies Taking Cash Payments

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Out of all the major auto insurance companies, there are only three that currently accept cash payments:

Those preferring to pay in cash should request quotes from these three companies in order to review the coverage options they provide. Paying cash is a nice benefit, but the prime area of consideration should always be the quality of the coverage.

Flexibility seems to be expanding in the auto insurance world.

Interestingly, MetLife and Mercury are two of three insurance providers that accept PayPal payments as well. The third PayPal-friendly insurance company is Progressive Insurance.

Does this mean that only the three companies listed above are capable of accepting cash payments? Rules do change from time to time and other insurance companies, big and small, may change their policies in the future. It never hurts to ask.

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The Process of Paying in Cash

The standard way to pay an insurance policy in cash is to visit an established and approved physical location and deliver the funds. Do not under any circumstances mail cash.

This ancient bit of advice bears repeating because so many assume they can send cash without any worries. But what happens if the mail is lost or stolen in transit? The insurance company is not going to credit the payment due to your poor judgment.

When paying in cash, be sure to acquire a receipt. Make the payment before the due date and then call the insurance company’s primary customer service number to make sure payment was processed.

Traditional Methods of Payment

Insurance providers seem to be comfortable with accepting certain tried and true methods of payment. Almost universally, insurance companies accept:

Alternative Options for Cash Payers

Traditional methods of payment may not mean much to someone who doesn’t have access to these options. Assuming no means of accessing alternatives to paying in cash exist would be a mistake.

Cash may not be accepted as a direct payment to the insurance company, but there are third-party services that can, for a nominal fee, help with the payments.

– Money Orders

Someone without a checking account could simply purchase a money order. The post office and a variety of private companies can “sell” a money order to a client for less than one dollar.

The money order can then be mailed in a manner no different than would be the case with a check.

– Prepaid Credit Cards

Purchasing a prepaid credit card is an option and one worth exploring. Like a money order, a customer can load funds into a prepaid card for a small fee. The card can then be utilized in a manner no different than any other VISA credit card.

– Checking Account

The cash intended to pay the insurance company can be simply put into a checking account. Free checking accounts are commonly available. Credit unions might offer a good deal on a new checking account. Opening an account with the credit union might be well worth doing.

Insurance companies do want a customer’s business and positively want to receive payment.

The company requires the funds to invest and put in savings in order to pay out on filed claims.

Insurance companies do want to be flexible in terms of accepting payment options, but the companies are not going to go beyond what they are comfortable with.

The Best Coverage

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In the end, the key goal is to acquire the best auto insurance coverage.

Procuring insurance from a company that accepts the preferred method of payment is definitely a nice benefit, but the main benefits to seek are the necessary financial protections insurance is supposed to provide.

Whatever method of payment you decide to go with, you should be sure to compare quotes from several companies to make sure you don’t overpay. Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below to see the rates of several insurers side-by-side.

Things to remember...
  • Many car insurance companies advertise on comparison websites
  • This makes it easy to compare their features side-by-side and make an informed decision
  • You should also do your own research for those not listed on comparison sites
  • The keys is to get the best picture of what you need and find a company that matches those needs

Are you looking for car insurance? Sometimes it is difficult to compare insurance companies if you are unable to locate them on a comparison website.

When you are on a comparison site, it is convenient to be able to look at all of the characteristics of the various policies and then decide which is best. But when you don’t see a company listed, what can you do?

Compare car insurance options today using our free rate tool.

Seek Information Yourself

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First of all, you can do some of your side research. Although we try to offer a wide variety of vendors and connections on our site, we still encourage the consumer and the individual who is looking for insurance to do some research on their own, as well.

You never should depend 100 percent on the recommendations of one site, even our site.

Instead, use the helpful information we give you to compare some of the most popular companies and go through the process of getting quotes from some of the leading insurance vendors.

Then do your research as you go or after receiving a quote to see how it compares with some that are not listed.

Why are certain companies on comparison sites?

That being said, the largest and most secure insurance companies are usually found on comparison sites for multiple reasons:

  • Competitiveness – Larger, more secure companies are not afraid of the competition. They are willing to openly show you the attributes of insurance and features that they are proud of so that you can make a more informed decision.
  • Visibility – The best companies usually want to be in a prominent place to attract new leads. When insurance companies decide to list themselves on an insurance comparison site, they are doing so willingly so that they can be more visible to their target audience.
  • Financial stability – When an insurance company places itself on a comparison website, it may indicate that they have the financial strength to afford to do so.
  • Customer support – The focus of a comparison site is to offer any opportunity to get free quotes, to display the important features of their policies, and to open the door of communication with potential clients and customers. So insurance companies that are featured on such a site might me more likely to have high customer satisfaction ratings.

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Should you choose a company on a comparison site?

Whether or not you choose an insurance company on a comparison site or not depends on whether you think the company is right for you.

The key in any purchase is to find what you need, and that will match up with your specific needs and wants.

If you can find a company on a comparison site that meets your needs perfectly, there is no need to look elsewhere.

On the other hand, if you have compared several companies side-by-side and looked at their different options and find it lacking, you should do your research until you find another company that meets your needs.

Our entire site is dedicated to helping you, the consumer to find and match up with the best insurance companies so that you can make a fully informed and educated decision on which one is best for you and your family.

The Real Purpose of Car Insurance

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Your financial protection is what car insurance is all about. You need to know that you are carrying the mandatory state requirements of car insurance to protect yourself from the fees that you would incur from not having coverage.

In addition, you need to know that you have the best optional coverages to add to your protection such as comprehensive insurance, medical coverage, or other additional coverages such as uninsured coverage so that you will be taken care of if others are not properly insured.

How to Find the Best Company and Policy

It might be a good idea to list your priorities. By making a list of your priorities, including the following, you will be more likely to match up with the best insurance company for your specific needs:

  • how far you drive
  • your age
  • the make of car
  • other factors

The important thing is that you find the best policy at the best price that you can afford that will help you to know that, no matter what lies ahead, you’re covered. Enter your zip code right here to begin comparing car insurance quotes today.

Things to remember...
  • Auto insurance companies must investigate claims when they are filed to determine which party is at fault
  • Fault allocation plays a very important role in determining which insurance company will pay for damages
  • In tort states, the at-fault party’s insurer will pay for both property damage repairs and medical bills
  • In no-fault states, each injured party collects under their own no-fault coverage but fault is still important
  • Fault is determined by analyzing statements, inspecting damage, and looking at pictures from the scene of the accident

In a perfect world, drivers involved in an accident would admit to wrongdoing. Whether it be quick braking or veering into the neighboring lane, the driver would take accountability for their actions and make the claims process as easy as possible.

Unfortunately, it’s more common for drivers to deny culpability and leave it in the hands of the insurance company to decide who really is to blame.

If you’re ever in an accident, it’s nice to know how fault is determined and how the decision will have an effect on your policy status. You may not have a say in the process once it’s started, but knowing how fault is determined before you get into an accident can help you at the scene.

Don’t end up in an accident without auto insurance! Compare auto insurance quotes today!

Know How Your Insurer Expects You to Act at the Scene of An Accident
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If you know that your actions are the primary reason that a crash happened, it would be helpful to the other driver if you’d admit fault and say what exactly you did. It’s the same when another driver obviously hit you.

After all, we raise our children to be accountable for their actions now, so that quality carries on into adulthood.

While it seems like a morally good move on your part to admit fault as soon as you speak with the other driver, insurance companies frown upon this.

In fact, if you look at a step-by-step guide on what to do after an accident, the guide will specifically say not to admit fault or apologize.

When you admit fault at the scene, it’s hard for the insurer to win as they are negotiating with the other adjuster.

Why is fault determination so important in tort states?
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There are multiple types of insurance systems. The easiest to understand is the tort system.

In a tort state, the law says that anyone who owns a car and gets into an accident must pay for the damages that they cause, which includes both injury and property damages.

Since the law books say that it’s the carrier representing the at-fault driver that must pay for injury and damage claims through liability coverage, fault determination is very important.

If no fault was determined on both ends, the carriers would never know who was at fault for the collision and how much they contributed to the fault.

Does the fault decision even matter in a no-fault state?

If you live in a no-fault state, it’s fair to assume that the entire fault determination process would be skipped since fault doesn’t really matter. That’s actually not the truth in all cases. The no-fault system refers to bodily injury claims arising from an auto-related accident.

If any driver is injured, the driver would file a claim to pay for their own medical bills under their own Personal Injury Protection coverage.

This rule doesn’t apply for Property Damage claims. If you’re not to blame for a loss and you live in a no-fault state, you still have a right to collect from the at-fault driver’s policy to pay for your repairs; this isn’t the only reason why fault matters.

The insurers still need to know who caused the loss for their own records and rating.

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If more than one party is at fault, does it affect the claim?

You may find that the insurer has declared that you were only partially at fault for the accident. If you get a letter saying you’re 25 percent at-fault and the other driver was 75 percent to blame, it’s considered a not-at-fault accident on your end.

It’s a bit shocking to see that fault has been allocated to you, but this is a normal practice.

In the eyes of the insurance company, both parties play a part in a collision most of the time. There are scenarios when a driver is stopped at a light or parked legally. It’s hard to allocate any fault to the victim in these rare instances.

In other instances, drivers who could have swerved or attempted to avoid the collision may play a small role in the outcome.

If you are not at fault but you’re found to play a role in the outcome of the accident, what happens to the claim depends on the state you live in. Some states have comparative negligence rules, while others have contributory negligence rules. If you live in a

If you live in a comparative negligence state, your claims settlement would be reduced based on the percentage that you’re at fault.

Who determines which driver is at fault?
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It’s not just one insurer who determines which driver is at fault for a loss. Both car insurance adjusters work together as they are investigating a claim to compare information and to exchange their findings.

Ultimately, at the end, the adjusters will present their information and eventually agree on a fault allocation.

Which factors are reviewed while fault is being determined?
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Determining who is at fault in a loss isn’t a cut-and-dry process. Sometimes the answer is clear, and other times the adjuster has to become an investigator and review the evidence closely. Having the right information when you file a claim can help the adjuster argue their point.

Here’s what is considered:

  • Your statement made to the adjuster
  • The other driver’s statement
  • Statements made by witnesses you reported to your insurer
  • Information found on the police report (if authorities came to the scene)
  • Information on who was cited
  • Placement of the damages to the vehicles
  • What the scene looked like (if you took photos)

You need to help your adjuster investigate the claim if you want a favorable outcome. If the company isn’t defending you like they should, you can always switch carriers for a better experience in the future.

Get instant quotes online to find out if you can save more money!

Things to remember...
  • Car insurance companies know that every driver in the U.S. is required to have car insurance, so they do everything they can to get the most number of drivers signed up for their policies as possible
  • Car insurance companies use whatever legal advertising opportunities that are available to attract customers
  • Television commercials allow car insurance companies to reach potential customers in the specific areas where they operate
  • Car insurance companies know that drivers are able to shop around easily for new insurance rates, so they need to work very hard to maintain brand loyalty among customers

If you have noticed an endless amount of auto insurance commercials on television, you are certainly not alone. No matter what part of the country you live in, car insurance companies are working in overdrive to either maintain or get your business.

The impetus behind all of the major insurance companies getting on board with massive advertising campaigns was the move of one major company to directly market to consumers rather than going through insurance agents.

They did this through an intense amount of television advertising, which then other car insurance companies picked up in order to keep pace with a major player in the car insurance game.

Enter your zip code above to compare car insurance rates from multiple companies at once!

The Competition Among Car Insurance Companies for More Customers

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Car insurance companies know that all drivers will need to have car insurance.

They have a fairly captive audience because car insurance is a reality for everyone. Car insurance companies rely on a variety of advertising tactics, including print media, social media, television advertisements, radio commercials and online ads.

Most drivers in the U.S. are insured by the major players in the auto insurance game, and these companies are the ones that are investing the most money in television advertising.

Before you commit to any particular auto insurance company, you need to do some further digging into the record of the car insurance company and whether you are getting all the coverage you need for the right price.

One place to start looking for this information is with your state insurance department.

They will have information on the official registration status of the insurance company to operate in that state and whether there are consumer complaints against the car insurance company.

You always want to make sure that you are insured by a reputable company in your state.

Regulation of Car Insurance Companies by State Officials

Under the McCarran-Ferguson Act, states have the capacity to regulate the car insurance industry and all companies that sell car insurance to drivers.

State departments of insurance regulate insurance companies within their state by making sure that there is a way for high-risk drivers to still be able to get insurance and protecting insurers from bad faith actions by insurance companies.

State insurance departments also make sure that there is sufficient competition among insurance companies so that consumers are able to get a competitive rate on car insurance.

Each auto insurance company has a different way that rates are calculated for drivers, even though much of the same information is used by the major car insurance companies to determine the relative risk of each driver.

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There are some general factors that contribute to the rate that you pay for car insurance:

  • Your driving records
  • Your credit score
  • The type of car you drive
  • Where you live
  • Your driving experience
  • The other driver’s in your house
  • Whether you have been dropped by an insurance company for not paying your premium

The underwriting process undertaken by each car insurance company will verify the information you provide in regards to the above factors.

You want to be sure that you are giving accurate information in seeking quotes because if you have not, this will be uncovered during the underwriting process and could result in you being denied for the auto insurance coverage that you need.

Some of these factors you can influence. For example, if you are able to improve your credit score, you may be able to get a lower rate on your car insurance.

Every car insurance company uses a different equation in determining the risk for each driver to be insured. Before you accept any particular quote from a car insurance company, make sure that you have enough quotes to make an informed decision.

Also, keep in mind that some companies target a different profile of drivers and do not offer rock-bottom premiums so that they attract a higher economic class of drivers.

This is because those drivers tend to be more loyal and have fewer problems paying their premiums online. They also probably maintain more coverage in general.

Policy Information from Various Insurance Companies

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If you think about the types of commercials you see on television from car insurance companies, you probably cannot recall much of the substance of the policies being offered.

Instead, car insurance companies focus on other aspects of their brands, such as their reputation for customer service or their rates in comparison to other companies.

In general, most car insurance companies are attempting to build brand awareness through television advertising so that customers have a positive association with their brands.

In fact, you can probably think of the major slogans or jingles used by the top insurance companies right off the top of your head.

Even though getting insurance through a stable company that has a great reputation for taking care of its customers is very important, the specifics of your policy are essential in determining why you choose a particular car insurance company or coverage.

This is why it is imperative that you take the time to read the details of your policy and know exactly what is covered.

The declarations page is a great place to start in understanding the most important details of your car insurance company.

The Bottom Line

To recap, so many car insurance companies invest money in television commercials because they are trying to sign up and maintain as many customers as possible to their brands.

Television commercials are a great way to reach a target audience in a specific area, which is helpful for car insurance companies in going after a particular subset of customers.

While it is easy for drivers to shop around for different car insurance quotes, car insurance companies know that it is more important than ever for them to maintain brand loyalty among customers.

Enter your zip code below to find auto insurance that works with your budget!

Here's what you need to know...
  • When you go to apply for an auto insurance policy or request a quote for a premium, auto insurance companies do not consult with each other or share information about your driving or claims history
  • Instead, many auto insurance companies subscribe to services that provide them information to help assess the risk that you pose as a driver in terms of your likelihood of filing a claim
  • Because not every auto insurance evaluates all of the factors about your risk level in the exact same way as others, you can be offered different auto insurance quotes from different companies
  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has encouraged states to adopt legislation that will help auto insurance companies share information among each other to fight auto insurance fraud

When you go to apply for an auto insurance policy, you might think that information is passed back and forth between different auto insurance companies about your driving record or claims history. However, this is simply not the case.

The information that auto insurance companies use to determine the price of your premium generally comes from specialty consumer reporting agencies that sell information about your driving record and other factors to any auto insurance company that requests it.

Enter your zip code above for the best car insurance rates in your area today!

Providing Your Personal Information

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In evaluating a new driver for an auto insurance policy, auto insurance companies take a variety of factors into account. The most important ones are your driving record, history of filing claims, credit report and your number of years of driving experience.

Auto insurance companies are also likely to consider the zip code that you live in, the value of your vehicle and the same factors for every other driver that lives in your household unless you specifically exclude that driver from your auto insurance policy.

When filling out information to receive a quote from an auto insurance company, you must be honest and accurate in your application.

The information you provide may be verified by the auto insurance company, and your failure to submit accurate information could be grounds for the auto insurance company not to extend you a policy or cancel your policy later on.

In general, the auto insurance company or agent will ask you questions about the make and model of the vehicles under your policy and the types and amounts of auto insurance coverages that you are interested in.

You will also be asked to provide information on the other drivers that live in your home. For your each of your vehicles, you should have the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) ready.

You may also want to consider what your existing insurance policies are for your home and life insurance in the event that the auto insurance company offers you a discount for bundling multiple insurance policies.

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Information from Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies

When you apply for an auto insurance quote from a new company, the company that you request a new quote from does not call up your current insurer to find out about your driving record and claims history.

Rather, the new auto insurance company likely uses information provided by several specialty consumer reporting agencies to evaluate your risk level as an insured driver.

Some of the information collected by the major specialty consumer reporting agencies includes car insurance claims, homeowners and renters insurance claims, employment history, opening new bank accounts and other financial information.

Getting a Copy of the Individual Reports on You from Credit Reporting Agencies

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If you are interested in finding out what information about you is included in these reports from the major specialty consumer reporting agencies, you can request a copy of the report that they have on you in their files.

There is no universal report, so you would need to request a report from each one of the major specialty consumer reporting agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a list of the major specialty consumer reporting agencies in the event that you would like to request a report.

If you notice any incorrect information in the consumer report about you, you should contact that reporting agency directly about your discrepancy with the report.

Be prepared to supply documentation to support your claim. You may want to take this step before applying for auto insurance just to make sure that the information in consumer reports about you is accurate.

Keep in mind that you will often not get a notice about a decision not to extend you an offer for auto insurance based on negative information in a consumer report about you until after the actual denial.

This is why it is a good practice to periodically review the information about you in a report and make sure that it is accurate. It is much harder to get an auto insurance company to reconsider updated information on you after you have already been denied for a policy.

When you request a copy of your individual report from a specialty credit reporting agency, you may be required to pay a small fee. The maximum fee is currently $12.

However, if an adverse action has been taken against you, such as a denial of your auto insurance application, then you may be entitled to get a copy of your report for free. Most credit reporting agencies will provide you will a free copy regardless every 12 months.

If you run into any problems in getting a specialty consumer reporting agency to honor your request for a copy of your individual report, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to lodge a complaint against the specific agency.

They can also answer your questions about updating or changing inaccurate information that is listed for you in your consumer report.

Recap on Information Sharing Among Auto Insurance Companies

There is certain information about your driving record and history of making insurance claims that auto insurance companies can request from specialty consumer reporting agencies in order to quote you a rate for an auto insurance policy.

This information is not shared directly between auto insurance companies.

But the same basic information is used by virtually all auto insurance companies in quoting your rate.
You should get a copy of the reports on you every so often just to verify that all of the information about you is accurate.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • If you solicit a quote for auto insurance, you must provide personal information to ensure that the rates you’re quoted are accurate
  • Your auto insurance quotes are only as accurate as the information that you provide. If you put false information or you don’t disclose a ticket, it’s easy to get a misquote. Misquotes are when the rate changes after the application has been reviewed by an underwriter
  • The auto insurance quotes that you’re given can change. In fact, personal auto quotes aren’t binding and they can easily change just days after the quote was retrieved
  • One of the main reasons a quote will change is when the company files for a rate increase and the increase is approved by the state insurance commissioner. If the increase is approved, everyone will see an increase in their rates upon their next renewal
  • If you wait several months to proceed with a quote as a young driver, your rates could go down because you gain driving experience

The only way to find the lowest possible rates for auto insurance is to compare quotes. When you’re shopping around, it’s best to get give rate quotes to each prospective applicant so they know how much they’d pay through the carrier.

Unfortunately, many people assume quotes are the price that you’ll pay. While systems make quotes more accurate, the rate you’re quoted isn’t guaranteed.

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When a company says that underwrite or verify the information that you provide until after the application is submitted and the disclosures are signed.

When is your rate binding?

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A quote isn’t binding because it’s an estimate. A binding rate is a rate that’s guaranteed for the entire term.

Since you only get a contingent rate quote when you’re submitting your application, the rate isn’t bound until after the policy is issued.

When the policy is issued, you’ll get the final rate that’s binding for the remainder of the term.

Car Insurance Quotes Are Good For a Limited Period of Time

It’s best to print your quotes out whenever you’re comparing rates. When you’re quoted a rate, the company will have a note on the quote that shows how long the quote is good for.

Some carriers will honor their quotes given in person and online for a day or a week and others don’t honor quotes if rates change before you apply for coverage.

How can an insurance quote change days after it’s been mailed to you?

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If you know that you’ll be buying a policy from one of the insurers you’ve been working with within the next few days, be aware that your rates can change.

It’s possible for a company to change their rates within just a few days. As long as that carrier doesn’t honor quotes the company can legally change your estimate.

Rates change because companies file a company-wide rate increase. The rate increase must be filed with the Department of Insurance, which must be justified and the approved by the commissioner.

If all of this happens between the time that you’ve requested a quote and the time that you fill out your application, you’ll pay the higher base rate.

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Other Reasons Your Insurance Quotes Can Change

Company-wide increases aren’t the only culprits when your estimates change. There are a few other reasons that you should be aware of if you’ve noticed a dramatic change in your estimates.

Here are some of the common reasons rates go up or even down:

If you own a car and you want to pay low premiums on your insurance, it’s time to solicit quotes.

Generate instant quotes online by using an insurance quote comparison tool. After you solicit these quotes, you can decide which option to apply for so that you can secure a base rate.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Some insurance companies with bad reputations provide poor service and delay the claims process
  • Check the company’s licensing status through the state’s Department of Insurance
  • If you want to be sure that the company has the finances to cover claims, check the company’s financial strength rating through consumer agencies like A.M. Best and Moody’s
  • If you want to buy multiple lines of insurance through your car insurance carrier, check their product offerings
  • Price should be the last thing to consider as you are searching for quality insurance
Most consumers are on a mission to find cheap car insurance. However, you should learn how to qualify insurers before you learn how to comparison shop.

While it’s important to stay within your budget when you’re building an auto insurance policy, it’s just as important to find an insurance company that offers quality protection and excellent customer service.

All auto insurance companies in your state offer the same coverage options, but that doesn’t mean that all of the carriers are created equal.

Having a huge advertising budget and a catchy slogan doesn’t mean that the company has an excellent product.

The price of your policy should be the last determinant on your list when you’re making a consumer decision. Here are some tips that can help you find the best company.

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Step 1: Check the Company’s Licensing Status

AdobeStock_83053894-1600x1600You should never do business with an auto insurance carrier that’s not licensed to sell insurance products in your state.

The insurance industry is highly regulated, but the Department of Insurance that oversees carriers in your state can only assess companies that have been granted a license to sell.

While there are ways around getting a license, you should only give your business to companies that have an active license that’s in good standing.

If you don’t, you can’t turn to the Department to file a complaint.

Not only do you have absolutely no consumer protections if the company is unlicensed, the coverage that you pay for will not satisfy your state’s auto insurance law.

Step 2: Review the Company’s Current Financial Strength Rating

Looking at a rate before anything else could be one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when you’re looking to find the best insurance company.

To understand why an exorbitantly low could be a bad sign, you need to understand how the industry works and what financial strength ratings are.

Auto insurance carriers set their own rating systems and file their rates for approval through the state.

The only thing that the state requires is that the rates must be fair and justified for all rating groups. Auto insurance rates are meant to be competitive.

The problem is companies set their rates too low to compete with other larger carriers. If the rates are too low, the company may not collect enough premiums to cover operational costs and claims.

You need to review the business’s financial strength rating before you compare price.

Never take a company’s word for it when you’re looking at financial ratings.

Pull up reports through independent financial rating agencies such as A.M. Best who review financial statements and assign each company in the industry a letter grade.

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Step 3: Compare the Complaint Indexes of Multiple Insurers

At this stage of finding your insurance company, you should have a much smaller list of options than what you started with.

The next step to narrow your list down more is to assess the complaint index of each carrier left.

Official complaints are public record, and you can access reports that show you how often complaints have been filed and what the outcome was.

Once you have pulled up a carrier’s complaint index through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, you can see if there are any red flags.

Every company will have at least a few complaints but look for trends in different complaint categories to avoid the sub-par insurers.

Step 4: See What Other Consumers Are SayingDollarphotoclub_102323835-1600x1600

It’s common knowledge that an upset customer speaks louder than a happy one. If you want to avoid carriers that offer poor service, you should see what customers have experienced in the past.

One effective way to do this is to check customer satisfaction ratings through J.D. Power & Associates, a company that surveys customers before ranking companies.

If you follow these four steps, you can find the right car insurance company.

When you have three to five companies on your list, start to take a look at pricing to see how the best companies compare.

If you want to compare pricing quickly, you can enter your information in a rate comparison tool and start comparing instantly.

Once you see how the prices stack up, you will be able to find a low-priced product from a high-class company.

Compare and contrast several companies and policies for the best coverage. Enter your zip code into our FREE tool to get started!

Things to Remember...
  • A driver license is an official document that grants the person the right to operate any private passenger vehicle within the state or the country
  • In order to be issued a driver license, you must pass a written exam, a driving exam, a vision exam and pay a fee that pays for administrative costs
  • Insurance companies require applicants to possess a driver license to be listed as a primary operator on an auto insurance policy
  • Carriers require either a state issued license or an International Driving Permit so that they can assess driving habits and charge for infractions and other serious violations
  • Auto insurance underwriters review motor vehicle records to set personalized rates for the risk a driver presents

You need much more than just a car to buy a standard auto insurance policy, you’ll also need an insurable interest in that vehicle and a driver license.

Since you don’t necessarily need a driver’s license to title a car in your name as the vehicle’s owner, it can be a cause for concern that most carriers actually require their applicants to possess an active license before they’ll extend an offer for coverage.

While there are exceptions to this rule, in most cases, you do need a driver license to buy car insurance. If you’re wondering why this is a common requirement for standard auto coverage, read this guide and learn more about how licensing.

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When will an insurance company ask about licensing?

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You will typically be asked for your licensing information and details about your driving history when you’re looking for insurance quotes. This information is specifically used to assess risk and to classify the driver.

While what’s specifically used can vary from company to company, here are some of the most common licensing questions an agent or quoting form might ask you for:

  • State where you’re licensed and license number
  • Whether or not your license has been suspended or revoked in the past 3 to 5 years
  • The age you were licensed (in states that allow this to be used by insurers)
  • The total number of years you’ve been licensed in the US or other countries for merit-based rating (may be asked for proof of international licensing)
  • Your license class
  • If you’ve been convicted or moving violations or other serious infractions in the past 5 to 7 years

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How do auto insurance rates work?

How premiums are set is referred to as the rate-making process in the insurance industry.

When rates are made by the carrier, the carrier takes into account how much they’ll need to charge in pure premium for a unit of coverage and how much they’ll need to collect to cover overhead expenses and to stay profitable.

After rates are determined, the company then takes on the task of assessing the risk that a single household presents by providing quotes and then underwriting applications.

The company uses several different rating factors and risk determinants to predict the likelihood that an applicant will file a claim during a single term. Each determinant affects price in a different way.

Here’s a list of the most common rating factors that’ll be looked at to give you a price estimate:

  • Your individual driving record including moving violations and claims history
  • Age, marital status and years of driving experience
  • Garaging location or territory where the vehicle is stored
  • Vehicle type and safety rating
  • Number of miles driven annually and to and from work
  • Vehicle usage (pleasure, commute or business usage)
  • Voluntary driver education courses or Good Driver Discounts
  • Credit score and insurance score
  • Number of cars owned

What does a driver license do to help insurers underwrite applications?

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While you do need a driver license or, at the minimum a provisional license, to operate a vehicle, this isn’t the main reason why carriers require a license number on an insurance application.

The reason a driver license is an underwriting requirement is because of what it tells the insurer about the applicant.

While it would be nice to think that each and every person that applies for insurance is forthcoming and honest about their driving history, if the information wasn’t ever verified then it’d be tempting for people to be dishonest about tickets and accidents.

By requiring their applicants to provide their license, it’s easier for the company to verify that the picture the applicant has painted of their driving habits is honest. Here are some of the ways that a driver license is used for ratings:

  • The underwriter runs an electronic motor vehicle report to find out if there’s any suspension, revocations or infractions on the driving record that can affect rating
  • The underwriter runs a C.L.U.E. report with license number to see if any claims have been filed under the driver’s name
  • The underwriter will use the age licensed or number of years licensed to assess experience credits the driver qualifies for

When do insurance companies offer insurance to unlicensed applicants?

There are exceptions to most rules, and some carriers do offer policies to named insureds who don’t have a driving privilege of their own.

In most cases, you can only qualify for what’s called a standard Personal Auto Policy without a license when you’ve voluntarily given up your license because of age or a disability.

In order to get insurance, you’ll have to prove you own the vehicle and don’t drive it.

You’ll also have to prove that someone who’s responsible and licensed does use the car on a regular basis.

If you can’t do this, you’ll need to apply for a sub-standard short-term auto policy to buy the coverage that’s required on your car with no license. The only other alternative is to transfer ownership of the car to a licensed party.

If you’d like to quote the cost of insurance and you have all your information ready, use an only rate comparison tool and see how much you’ll pay for coverage.

Select the limits you want, list the vehicles, disclose the drivers in your home, and then you can get instant insurance quotes with the press of a button. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to start comparing auto insurance rates now!

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