What is the best way to shop for car or auto insurance?

Shopping for car insurance isn’t a fun game. You have to sit there and answer loads of questions either by phone or online. 
 
We think we are smart shoppers, but insurance companies are trying to outsmart us and figure out what the foreseeable risks involved if they insure you and your vehicle. 
 
Most insurance companies have complicated rating system. They want to choose good customers and avoid troublemakers who will potentially make them lose money.
On the other hand, as a customer, how can you choose the best auto insurance policy or company? Here are a few things to consider:
  • Shop around every six months
New customers tend to get a better rate. Many insurance companies use this strategy to get people in the door. Simply get quotes from a different insurance company after 6 months with your current insurer makes you new and appealing. Besides, insurance rates tend to fluctuate throughout the year based on different risk factors. Waiting for 6 months probably give you a nice surprise.
  • Use an independent Insurance Agency/Brokerage
Find a knowledgable and reputable local agency that specializes in personal lines insurance. They have better resources to provide you with lowest possible rate. They will not favor any insurance company, so it’s a safer environment to make fair comparison. They also understand better which company have good customer service or claim handling experience.
  •  Talk to big insurance companies yourself
You can use some comparison sites online to get an idea. However, if you want to insure with bigger players in the market, you would probably not find quotes from GEICO, State Farm or USAA. Because the online platform get paid by the insurance companies. And GEICO, USAA and State Farm and many other insurers decided not to pay them.
 
How do you evaluate the company and policy yourself?
  • You need to understand coverage

It’s very important to go through their websites to see what coverage they have, the terms and conditions of a policy.

  • Evaluate the company’s reputation. 

This can be from other people you know, online resource about the company’s claim settlement ratio, customer satisfaction score from JD Power.

Keep in mind though, don’t fall into the trap of reading too much negative reviews online. There are unhappy people everywhere, especially when it comes to using car insurance coverage. Many of them don’t understand the reasoning behind a settlement and just choose not to accept they are at fault, for example.
  • Convenience
Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. So you want to choose a provider that are there for you anytime. Are they available 24/7? Do they have a simple to use mobile app to submit claims? Do they have friendly staff to talk to on the phone when you are in the accident scene and completely lost your mind?
  • Price
Cheap policy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got a good deal. Most likely it lacks some sort of coverage here or there. Before you shop around, make sure you know exactly what coverage you like and their limit or deductible. The next important step is to give the insurance representative, local agent or online platform exactly what you want. Then compare the price. This way you will get the good price and features you want.