Best and worst auto insurers
Consumer Reports took a look at the auto insurance industry by surveying more than 64,000 readers about their satisfaction on the claims process, the cost of premiums and the overall customer experience.
Here are the winners and losers, according to the magazine:
Top 12 best insurers
1. USAA Property & Casualty
2. Amica Insurance
3. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
4. Erie Insurance Group
5. Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group
6. Auto Club Insurance Association
7. Auto-Owners Insurance Group of Companies
8. Ameriprise Financial (IDS)
9. State Farm
10. State Auto Insurance Companies
12 worst auto insurers
12. American Family
11. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
10. The Hartford Financial Services Group
9. AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange
8. The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies
6. Liberty Mutual
3. Mapfre USA
2. Hanover Insurance
1. Farmers Insurance
When it comes to car insurance, be sure the deductible you have isn’t too low. Having a low deductible pushes premiums higher. It could also tempt you to make a claim for a small incident that will leave you in trouble with insurers going forward.
You never want to make a claim on auto insurance for something small — like a cracked windshield or a broken side-view mirror — because the consequences are so ugly.
The insurer can surcharge you for a number of years; eliminate the discounts you would otherwise qualify for; or put a black mark on your C.L.U.E. report, a little-known industry database of claims. The latter effectively limits your ability to shop with the competition for 36 months.
The hidden dark side of roadside assistance
Auto insurers are great about offering add-ons to your policy that seem in theory like great conveniences at a great price. But using these seemingly benign “benefits” could marginalize you in the insurance marketplace and result in jacked-up rates!
Some auto insurers that offer roadside assistance treat your use of it as an at-fault claim and put that through on your C.L.U.E. report — even though you only needed a tow or the fix or a flat tire!
“It’s the Wild West with no rules on what insurers can decide to report on your C.L.U.E. report,” money expert Clark Howard says. “And you have no right of appeal either.”
So here’s the # 1 rule about roadside assistance: Never get it from your own insurer. Get it from AAA or elsewhere.
Read more: Emergency roadside assistance app is an alternative to AAA
Shopping around is the best way to get a lower rate
If your auto insurance is costing you too much, you’ve got to look around at other insurers. Here’s how to start the process…
Begin by identifying solid companies
Clark has long talked about the merits of Amica Mutual and USAA. But those aren’t the only two companies you should look at. Consider buying a one-time subscription to Consumer Reports and checking their latest list of the best auto insurance companies to find others that should make it onto your shortlist.
Get your quotes
Once you have a list of candidates, you’ll want to start getting quotes. This typically takes around 15 minutes on the phone per insurer. Have your most recent policy in front of you in case any questions come up about the make and model of your vehicle(s).
Working with an insurance broker is another option. He or she will get multiple quotes for you and you’ll have access to all the insurers they do business with. It’s an easy one-stop shop that lets you still have the flexibility of comparison pricing.
Once you get the quotes back, it’s time to compare them. Each quote should be based on the same amount of coverage so youKnow when to drop comprehensive and collision