Shop for auto insurance wisely

Finding a good deal on auto insurance is not easy, but possible. It takes a lot of time and patience, but after everything is calculated and the final decision is made, it is easy to see how important this investigation was.

Many companies are ready to have customers: in some states there are nearly 50 of the providers, the others host more than 200 auto insurance companies. It is not necessary to go through all of them, but checking the rates of at least a dozen or two of the providers is still more beneficial than agreeing to deal with the first one that comes along.

Before starting shopping the consumer should figure out what kind of coverage is required. It varies from state to state and depends on the consumer’s preferences. A good idea would be to make a list of the state minimum and then decide what else would work well on the coverage. Some people prefer to work on worst case scenarios, but it is really not necessary. Experienced insurance agents can help to come up with the most important points: they base the judgment on the statistics which shows what the chances are for the particular vehicle to be damaged or stolen and how likely it is for the driver to get into an accident. The person does not need to be insured by the company to receive this information.

If the list is set, the shopping can start. The consumer should keep in mind that the main goal is not to get the cheapest insurance available, but to get it cheap and still receive adequate coverage and service. In order to achieve the goal, the person should find the most reliable provider and check out the lowest prices.

The reliable insurer will be the one that treats customers well, especially when the claims are filed. While looking for a provider the consumer should find the answer to the questions: Will I be paid the full amount to which I am entitled? And will I be paid promptly?

Here are a few good ways to find the most reliable insurance companies:

1. Check the state’s department of insurance web-site

Every state has a Department of Insurance and most of them have web-sites. As a rule these sites hold the information about insurance claims and “consumer complaint ratios” for all insurance companies that offer coverage in the state. This is one of the best sources to see the work of the providers, because there is nothing and nobody who could describe the insurer’s work better than the customers themselves.

Even if the insurance company has big ads, is known to many people, or operates in almost all the states of the country it still does not mean that it serves well. Sometimes it might have a lot of customer complaints and this is what the web-site will reflect.

2. Ask for recommendations from body shops

After a vehicle is damaged in an accident everybody wants it to be repaired correctly with minimal hassle and with the maximum usage of original equipment manufacturer parts. This is when body shops are responsible for the job. They come across various insurance providers and know which ones are easier to deal with, which ones have better, fuller coverage for customers. This is why it is really beneficial to ask body shops or dealerships which insurance companies they recommend.

3. Find out about the financial strength of the insurer

After the list of the candidates has narrowed to a few, the consumer can check the ratings at the A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. These websites give the information about the financial strength of all insurance companies, in other words, their ability to pay out a claim. The rates are like school grades: from A to D, so a customer should stick to the provider that has at least a B rating.

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