How to Select an Auto Insurance Company or Agent

The first step is to select a financially strong insurer

It is important to shop around to get the best price for the coverage you need. Talk to several representatives from a number of different companies. Tell them what your insurance needs are and ask them what their company will charge to cover you.

Once you have narrowed down the companies you are considering, call your state department of insurance and find out if the company is permitted to do business in your state. If they are not, do not buy the insurance and tell your department of insurance that the company is trying to do business in the state.

Check with rating agencies for a financial analysis, grade or rating of the insurance companies. These are conducted by several private companies and are only opinions. However, they can provide you with some information about how private analysts view the financial stability of a particular insurance company. Ratings are available at most public libraries or on the Internet.

Check the company’s complaint record. You can obtain aggregate complaint information through the NAIC's CIS application.

Your state may also publish a complaint study indicating the number of written complaints your insurance department receives against an insurance company.

Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Tips for Lowering Your Auto Insurance Premiums

  • Shop around and compare prices
  • Maintain a good driving record
  • Take the highest deductible you can afford and collision and comprehensive coverage
  • Before buying a vehicle, determine the cost of insuring it
  • On cars with market value less than $1,000, consider carrying only liability coverage
  • Try to pay your premium well in advance of due date. No grace period applies to automobile insurance
  • Review your policy periodically and update coverage accordingly
  • Ask about discounts such as:
  • Multiple cars on a policy
  • Completion of driver education courses
  • Good student drivers under age 25
  • Mature driver (between 50 and 65 years of age)
  • Airbags and other safety equipment
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Low mileage accident free record
  • Auto/home insurance with same company

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