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After Price, What to Compare When Buying Car Insurance

By John Malloy Posted : 05/12/2010

Price is the first thing most shoppers consider when comparing car insurance quotes. After all, we all want a good deal, right?

Of course. But don't make the mistake of buying solely based on price. Even if you pay a few dollars more, you'll get a better deal - and be a whole lot happier with your purchase - if you compare these five factors first.

1. Companies: Research the carriers you are considering. Companies like A.M. Best and Forrester's rate insurance companies on their financial strength, customer service and reliability. J.D. Power and Consumer Reports feature comments and reviews on their websites about drivers' real world experiences with various insurance companies. Pay particular attention to comments about claims service.

2. Customer Service: Check out the availability of both customer and claims service. Is it open 24/7 or only during certain hours? Determine if the company offers claims representatives in your area or if most claims are conducted over the phone. Then decide what's right for you. After all, if you have a claim, you want to feel comfortable about the process.

3. Payment Options: Investigate what options are available for paying for your policy. Some companies offer monthly or annual payments and some offer a discount for paying in full at the start of your policy. It's also important to know what forms of payment they accept such as credit or debit card, electronic check or ACH. Be sure to ask if there's a discount for using one form of payment versus another.

4. Coverage: Make sure when you compare quotes, you are comparing apples to apples and that each policy you consider affords you the same amount of coverage. Pay particular attention to towing and rental car coverage. Prices and privileges really vary here.

5. Discounts: If you qualify for a discount - AAA, good student, epayment - check to see that each carrier you compare quotes from offers you the same discount. Even a few dollars can make a big difference over the life of a policy.

Remember, a bargain isn't a bargain if you wind up with the wrong company. Before you buy, make sure the company you choose will provide the service and value you expect.

Now that you know what to look for when you compare car insurance quotes, let's make car insurance companies compete for your business. In less than 10 minutes, insurance.com can deliver up to four comparison quotes from top-rated insurance companies - saving you time and maybe a lot of money!


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