Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right car insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Car insurance comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top car insurance companies. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Key takeaways...

  • If you really want to find affordable car insurance, you need to know how to find unbiased reviews to assess companies and then how to compare pricing in the most efficient manner possible
  • If either price or reputation is important to you, you will need to comparison shop and do your homework every time your policy is up for renewal
  • Make sure to ask family and friends and see who they would suggest for auto insurance

Finding an affordable car insurance policy can be a daunting task when you are not sure where to look. It might be tempting to contact the first insurer that you see with a cleaver advertisement on TV or the radio, but claims that you will save by switching are not always true.

You cannot just rush into buying a policy because you assume that the quote is the best you will get. If you really want to find affordable car insurance, you need to know how to find unbiased reviews to assess companies and then how to compare pricing in the most efficient manner possible.

Sifting through car insurance reviews to find an affordable car insurance review that is not biased in any way, shape or form is essential when you are relying on the information that is in the review.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE quote tool above! This guide is for consumers who want to be directed where to go to get reliable information on reliable insurers who go beyond just pricing their car insurance products right.

Read on, and use this car insurance buying guide to help decide which insurers are worthy of your business and which are not regardless of pricing.

Table of Contents

Why is comparison shopping so important when you buy car insurance?

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According to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, only about 10 percent of people who are shopping for insurance will actually save money by switching carriers.

Just because the percentage might sound low does not mean that you should not invest time in shopping around and comparing insurers.

Comparison shopping is the only way you can find affordable policies and the best way to find a quality insurance that you can trust to pay your claims in a timely manner and defend you when another insurer is making settlement difficult.

If either price or reputation is important to you, you will need to comparison shop and do your homework every time your policy is up for renewal. This will help you locate that one insurer that charges affordable pricing in your demographic and that does not try to deny claims that are founded.

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Why Prices Vary From One Insurer to Another

The insurance marketplace is a very competitive one and this is why some companies have more market share than others. Gaining market share is a process.

Companies need to get established, build their reputation, invest premiums in the right investment vehicles, charge adequate premiums, and market to the right audience. The fact that a company has a large percentage of market share does not mean that they will charge you the most affordable premiums.

That company may have a better chance of charging lower premiums than small companies, but they will only have the best premiums for applicants in specific demographics.

Pricing all depends on the type of audience that the company is targeting and how their prices are set.

If the carrier would prefer to take low risks, they might price their products best for families and households with clear records.

If the company wants the high-risk drivers, their competitive pricing will be for people in young age groups or with violations. The entire purpose of comparison shopping is to find the companies who are promoting their products to drivers like you.

After you do this, you can look beyond pricing to cross companies with poor reputations off of your list.

Why is researching reputation so important?

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Reputation is often more important than pricing for two reasons:

  •  Auto insurance is more than just a requirement, it is a product that provides you and your family with financial protection. When you apply for a policy and make the quoted premium payment, you and the insurer are entering into a contract that says you will make payments and the insurer will make claims payments when you have the appropriate coverage.
  • Failing to choose a reputable insurer can lead to lengthy claims investigation periods and possible denials. This means that you may be holding up your end of the bargain, but the company will find ways not to. It can become even more frustrating when you choose a company that is not very established and you find that the company is not financially secure. Financially weak companies are much more likely to deny claims or go out of business while you are insured with them.

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Where can you find out if an insurer is reputable?

If you are not sure how to choose the right insurance company, there are plenty of different resources that you can use online. In the past, you had to spend a lot of time doing research to find out if a company was worthy of your business.

You may have used journals, newspaper reviews and word of mouth to make a decision, but these are not the only reviews that you have access to today.

Now, the Internet makes it possible to reference thousands of reliable reviews and even consumer agency journals and agencies before you make a choice.

If you are comparison shopping to find the best price, you are not finished after you get quotes from multiple companies.

After you do this, you need to dig deeper and learn more about the insurer and what it is known for. All companies are going to have negative reviews, that comes with the territory, but companies with bad reputations are those that have a history of doing bad business.

Once you have a list of car insurance quotes, you can sift through these quotes by researching the insurer with the following sources.

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Find a Financially Strong Company

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You have already learned what the drawbacks of selecting just any carrier are. If you want to avoid being taken advantage of when it comes time to file a claim, you better find a financially strong company before doing anything else.

Financially strong companies have the money to pay out the claims that they are obligated to pay.

You can review financial statements and records on your own, but it is best to use resources on the Internet to classify a company as stable and creditworthy.

There are a few different consumer agencies that actually review records and rate or grade carriers for you. The ratings and grades are public record and easily accessible through the web.

If you want to find these ratings, simply visit AM Best or Standard and Poor’s official websites and search for the insurer.

Check Out the Insurer’s Profile

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners oversees the entire insurance industry. While state department regulate the industry in their respective state, if something goes wrong the NAIC will step in.

If you want a complete insurer profile, complete with the company’s financial rating and even their licensing status, you can find it at the Consumer Information Source.

When you visit this website, you will be asked to enter the Company Name or Company Code.

Once you enter this, you will be directed to a list of choices where you can review financial information, closed complaint information, and licensing information. This is a one-stop shop for the most important information that you will need to make an informed decision.

Consumer Ratings and Reports

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JD Power does official studies to rate companies and help consumers make educated choices. The company may learn what the typical buying experience is like, how satisfied customers were with their claims, and how satisfied customers are overall.

If you want to look at a big picture without reading individual reviews, the results of the insurance studies can be accessed online at JDpower.com. See how each insurer measures up in individual categories.

There is more than just one consumer rating agency that helps you in your mission to find competitively priced insurance from an insurer that really deserves your business.

You can find third-party sources online or find other consumer reports. Find out what actual customers have to say through the web first. If you see trends, consider this a red flag.

You can also try the traditional route and ask friends and family about their experiences if you know they will steer you in the right direction.

Car insurance reviews help you weigh the pros and the cons when you are making an important choice. Buying auto insurance is one of these important choices.

If you want to price the cost of insurance first, you can use our FREE comparison tool below by entering your zip code below!

References:

  1. http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/04/25/10-ways-to-save-money-on-insurance
  2. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-insurance/buying-guide.htm
  3. http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/auto-insurance
  4. http://www.iii.org/article/how-do-i-choose-an-insurance-company
  5. http://www.insureuonline.org/consumer_auto_agents_and_premiums.htm
  6. https://eapps.naic.org/cis/
  7. http://ratings.jdpower.com/insurance/index.htm