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How to Compare Car Insurance Companies

There are more than a few dozen well-known insurance companies on today's market, plus a lot of smaller, unfamiliar ones. All seem to offer quite the same range of services and the prices are quite close. How can you tell which one is the best for you? This article will show you how to compare car insurance companies.

Look up financial ratings

A.M. Best classifies insurance companies based on their financial strength. Their grading system starts from A++ ("excellent") and goes down to D ("stay away"). Reviews are published on their website and updated frequently. Another company who measures insurers' abilities to meet contractual terms is Standard & Poor's.

If you are going with a well-known carrier, one of the top car insurance companies, then checking financial ratings is more or less a formality – they are most likely to be rated A and above. However, if you are considering a smaller insurer then some research time will be well worth it.

Look up J.D. Power ratings

J.D. Power conducts surveys on the customers' satisfaction with various insurance companies. Each insurer gets between one and five stars on the following rating factors:

  • policy offerings: how varied the coverage options are and the extent to which they meet the customers' demands;
  • pricing: self-explanatory – how the prices reflect the quality of services offered;
  • billing and payment procedures: do the bills arrive on time? Are they clear and accurate? Do they include hidden charges? Are the payment options on par with the customers' demands?
  • availability of the insurer: how prompt are they to respond to claims? How well does their customer support department work?

Ask for references at local body shops

Sales assistants at local body stores can recommend a good insurer or help you choose between two or more. They regularly interact with insurance providers and can advise about who has the smoothest claims process.

Consult with a local insurance agent

Local insurance agents can recommend an insurance carrier that would suit your needs. It would be advisable to contact an independent one, an agent that works with more insurance companies, knows what they offer and can help you make up your mind.

Keep in mind, however, that these agents are paid a percentage of what they sell, so it might be in their best interest to recommend you a more expensive policy. However, unscrupulous business practices are quickly revealed and these kinds of agents don't last for too long on today's market. Do your own research as well and don't let the agent put a pressure on you.

Ask your friends and relatives

Word of mouth advertising works miracles. If your friends or family are happy with a certain insurer they will recommend it – you just have to ask. Also ask around in your social media circles – Facebook and Twitter can help you land on good deals.

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