How to Choose a Car Insurance Company

Buying Through a Local Agent

1.

Visit local agents' offices, ask for a rate quote and gauge responses.

2.

Ask about "claims-free" discounts for time a policy is in force without a chargeable claim.

3.

Ask about a "multiline" discount if you buy more than one line of insurance.

4.

Ask about office hours and after-hours assistance.

5.

Ask for company rating and financial information.

6.

Determine if the company has agents and claims offices in other states if you travel extensively.

7.

Ask friends and acquaintances about the company.

Buying Through a Direct-Market Company

1.

Ask for recommendations from friends who have purchased car insurance via an 800 number or the Internet.

2.

Contact three to five different companies.

3.

Ask for written proposals.

4.

Ask about claim filing procedures.

5.

Ask about earning claims-free discounts.

6.

Investigate the company's industry rating.

Tips and Warnings

  • An AAA rating indicates strong financial standing. Settle for nothing less.
  • Consider a direct-market company if you feel comfortable with less personal service.
  • Make certain the representative knows if you reside in a "no-fault" insurance state.