There are many insurance companies in the California car insurance market today. Your auto insurance decision should involve many factors, including the minimum coverage required by law, the price quotes obtained from various insurers, and the terms offered to you.
So, how to find the right car insurance? Begin by checking with the state’s department of insurance – most have websites – to determine what coverage requirements exist, and to check out various insurers’ consumer complaint ratios (CCR). The lower the CCR, the better the insurer is at handling claims. Once you have quotes, match the insurers with the best prices to their CCRs; insurers that have both cheap auto insurance and a low CCR are worth a second look.
Another excellent research method is to contact the managers of several local body shops. These individuals deal with adjusters on a daily basis, and will be familiar with all of the popular insurers. They’ll know if a particular insurer has an inefficient claims process, or is pushing after market parts to cut costs. This insider information will help determine whether low rates constitute a truly good deal.
Look at the national ratings for financial stability and customer satisfaction. The ratings may not tell you anything new if you’re looking at the larger, well-known insurance companies, but may be very helpful when examining a smaller or newer company.
Another consideration in your quest of how to find the right car insurance for you is whether you want to use an agent. There are two types: captives, who work exclusively with one insurer, and independents, also called brokers, who sell for many companies. Agents may be aware of special deals or coverage packages that aren’t available online; however, having to work within their business hours may be inconvenient.
Determine what your coverage needs really are. Keep in mind your driving habits – if you have a lot of accidents or tickets, add comprehensive and collision. Also, consider the age and quality of your vehicle – if it’s older and less likely to be totaled, or if there’s a high probability of theft, add comprehensive but not collision.
Comparison shop for quotes. While the lowest-cost policy isn’t necessarily the best, price is always a consideration. If you need to find cheap auto insurance, shopping around is a must. You can get quotes over the Internet – some websites provide prices for several insurers – or through an agent.
After a round of getting initial quotes for comparison purposes, get firm written quotes from the companies at the top of your list. Read the fine print; a term that seems unimportant now may be crucial later. Make sure that the policy doesn’t require you to submit to binding arbitration, or to use after market parts for covered repairs. Any available specials and discounts should be included in this round of quotes. These tips on how to find the right car insurance should help you to get the best policy for your needs.