State insurance regulators often stress the need to shop around for a policy, since the only way to know you’re getting the best deal is to get prices from a number of insurers. The Insurance Information Institute1 recommends that consumers get quotes from at least three carriers. But there are many factors to consider when making a car insurance quote comparison.
First, it's recommended that shoppers maintain consistency through the process. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners2 recommends that shoppers comparing auto insurance make sure to ask for the same coverage limits and give the same information to insurers when getting price estimates. This is important because it allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of policies. After you fill out an AutoInsurance.com quote form, you can get back a set of prices from a handful of quality insurers. All of them will conveniently be based on the same information and will be for the same coverage, so the only thing left to do is compare companies.
When comparing companies, your initial inclination may be to go with the lowest-priced insurer, but state insurance regulators stress that there are important factors to compare beyond price. Two of those factors are the financial strength of the company and its customer-service track record.
Most major insurers have relatively solid financial footing, but some are stronger than others. Checking up on an insurer's rating with a rating agency like A.M. Best can give consumers an idea of how financially solid a company is and peace of mind when purchasing a policy.
One way to make a comparison of customer-service records is to simply ask other drivers about their experiences with their own insurers. If you want to go beyond that, a more scientific method is to search consumer-complaint records made available by state insurance departments. They can make it easy to for you to compare which companies had the fewest customer complaints filed against them.
So keep the following in mind when comparing coverage providers:
Most state insurance regulators publish annual consumer-complaint reports giving the state's top insurers numerical scores based on how many complaints they got in relation to the size of the company. These reports are usually made available online and can give consumers a better idea of how satisfied policyholders are with a particular insurer.