2014 Auto Insurance Reviews

Insurance expert Fletcher Wilson worked with the Reviews.com research team to collect a list of 136 auto insurance providers and then selected the 15 of the top companies to review based on 86 auto insurance features.

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What Auto Insurance Features Matter and Why?

Driver Discounts

Very Important
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Driver Discounts are the different deductions insurance companies offer to reward risk-reducing behaviors. Many car insurance companies provide discounts for those with a clean driving record, for students that perform well academically, and for those who pay the full premium up front. Those with multiple policies with the same insurance company often receive a discounted rate, as do those that insure multiple vehicles on the same policy. The best auto insurance companies will also offer accident forgiveness and low mileage discounts. Policyholders looking to find the lowest insurance rate will want to ensure the provides offers discounts relevant to their circumstances.

  • Accident Forgiveness - Your rates do not automatically increase after an accident.
  • Defensive Driver Discount - You can get a discounted rate if you complete a defensive driving course.
  • Discount Finder - The insurance company periodically reviews your auto policy to see if you might qualify for any new discounts.
  • Driving Habits Discount - You can get a discounted rate if you place a device in your car that measures your driving habits.
  • Family Discount - Direct family members of current policy holders get a low rate.
  • Good Driver Discount - You can get a discount for having a clean driving record.
  • Good Student Discount - Students that maintain a good GPA can get a policy discount.
  • Low Mileage Discount - You can get a discount for driving low mileage each year.
  • Loyalty Discount - You can get a discount if you remain with the company over an extended period of time.
  • Military Discount - You can get a discount if you are a member of the military.
  • Multiple Policy Discount - You can get a discount for having multiple insurance policies with the same company.
  • Multiple Vehicle Discount - You can get a discount if you insure multiple vehicles.
  • Organization Discount - You can get a discount to if you are affiliated with certain organizations or partner companies.
  • Prepay Discount - You can get a discount if you pay your premiums in advance.

Payment Options

Very Important
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Payment Options are the various ways that a customer can pay their premiums. The ability to easily and consistently pay premiums is a critical feature of maintaining insurance coverage and so this category receives a high level of importance. Traditional options include mail payments, phone payments, and direct debit from bank accounts. Many insurance companies now offer added flexibility with automatic scheduling, online payments, and credit card billing with flexible payment terms.

  • Automatic Payments - Payments can be scheduled automatically.
  • Credit Card Payments - You can make a payment with your credit card.
  • Flexible Payment Terms - You have flexible payment terms over different periods of time.
  • Mail Payments - Payments can be mailed.
  • Online Payments - Payments can be made online.
  • Pay by Bank Account - You can make a payment directly from your bank account.
  • Phone Payments - Payments can be made over the phone.
  • Prepayment - Policies can be prepaid in full, often at a discount.

Policy Coverage

Very Important
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Policy Coverage identifies the coverage options offered by the insurance company that help protect the driver, property, and other liable parties involved in an incident. The majority of top auto insurance companies provide bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, as well as personal injury protection. For those concerned about other drivers on the road, the best companies will also provide coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists. Liability coverage is a fundamental aspect of a well-designed auto insurance policy, making Policy Coverage one of the most important categories.

  • Bodily Injury Liability - You can get coverage against bodily injuries to others in an accident that is your fault.
  • Personal Injury Protection - You can get coverage for injuries sustained by the driver or any passengers, often including medical bills and lost wages.
  • Pet Injury Coverage - You can get coverage for injuries sustained by pets in an auto accident.
  • Property Damage Liability - You can get coverage against property damage to another party in an accident that is your fault.
  • Rental Car Coverage - You can get coverage for your rental car if it is damaged or stolen.
  • Separate Windshield and Glass - You can get stand-alone coverage for damaged windshields or glass.
  • Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage - You can get coverage that allows you to combine or ''stack'' the individual limits of coverage on multiple insured vehicles in the same household.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage - You can get coverage that protects against property damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Policy Management

Very Important
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Policy Management refers to the different ways policyholders can modify existing policies. The majority of top insurance companies will provide an online account that allows the policyholder to easily access the policy online, view policy details, and make other modifications as needed. The best car insurance providers will make it easy to add a driver or an additional vehicle to the policy, check billing status, and make a payment online. An insurance company with strong Policy Management features enables the policyholder to easily modify, manage, and control the important aspects of the auto insurance policy.

  • Add a Driver - You can add a new driver to your insurance policy.
  • Add a Vehicle - You can add a vehicle to your insurance policy.
  • Billing Status - You can check billing status and payment information.
  • Dashboard - You can manage and change policy details through an online service center.
  • Paperless Billing - You can elect to receive statements and policy information via email or on the company's website.
  • Replace Vehicle - You can replace or change a vehicle covered by your insurance policy.

Vehicle Coverage

Very Important
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Vehicle Coverage identifies the policy features designed to get the policyholder back on the road following an incident. Comprehensive coverage is the most thorough vehicle coverage option and will be offered by most insurance companies. Those with an auto loan may be interested in GAP insurance, a unique coverage option that pays off the remaining balance on an auto loan following an accident. In addition to these features, the best insurance companies will also offer collision coverage and new car replacement, a policy option particularly significant to those that recently purchased a new car.

  • Collision - You can get coverage against any damage resulting from a collision.
  • Comprehensive - You can get coverage against any non-collision vehicle damage including fire, theft, or vandalism.
  • GAP Insurance - You can get coverage that pays the difference between the actual value of a totaled car and the balance remaining on an auto loan.
  • Interior Vehicle Coverage - You can get coverage of personal belongings inside of the car including sound systems, CDs, and DVDs.
  • Mechanical Breakdown Coverage - You can get coverage that includes all mechanical repair costs beyond routine maintenance.
  • New Car Replacement - You can get coverage that will replace a totaled car with a brand-new version if it is less than 1 year old.

Additional Benefits

Fairly Important
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Additional Benefits are features of an insurance policy that are above and beyond the standard levels of coverage. These benefits can range from high-value options, like medical payment assistance, to simple convenience features, such as towing and roadside assistance. A buyer should pay close attention to these benefits. Though they are not central to the auto policy, they can offer a great deal of convenience and added protection, making Additional Benefits a category of moderate importance.

  • Medical Payments - You can get coverage for a variety of accident-related medical bills.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement - You can get reimbursed for the cost of a rental car following a claim.
  • Roadside Assistance - You can get roadside assistance for flat tires or other mechanical problems.
  • Towing and Labor - The cost of towing and the labor associated with getting your car back on the road is covered.

Claim Management

Fairly Important
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Claim Management refers to the various tools and options available to manage a claim. In the event of an accident, successfully navigating the claim process is what stands between a policyholder and getting their car back on the road. Access to tools that streamline that process can be a highly valuable feature for customers. These can include round-the-clock accident reporting, online or mobile claim filing, and easy access to an agent. The best auto insurance companies will also make repair facility recommendations and will allow you to have your vehicle repaired at a facility of your choice.

  • 24/7 Claims Center - A claims center can be reached 24/7.
  • Agent Claim Filing - You can contact an agent to file a claim.
  • Mobile Claim Filing - You can file a claim through a mobile app.
  • No Repair Facility Restrictions - You can have repairs done at the facility of your choice.
  • Online Claim Filing - You can file a claim online 24/7.
  • Repair Facility Recommendations - The company provides a network of recommended repair facilities.
  • Telephone Claim Filing - You can file a claim via telephone.

Getting Started

Fairly Important
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Getting Started outlines the features that help the policyholder find and purchase an auto policy. Many insurance companies allow potential policyholders to receive a free quote online. For those willing to take the time to shop around, getting an auto insurance quote from multiple companies can ensure the policyholder gets the best available deal. The best insurance companies will also provide easy access to insurance cards, allowing policyholders to easily print their cards or receive them by standard mail or via fax.

  • Insurance Cards by Fax - You can receive your insurance cards by fax.
  • Insurance Cards by Mail - You can receive your insurance cards by mail.
  • Online Policy Purchase - You can purchase a policy entirely online.
  • Online Rate Quotes - You can get a car insurance quote on the company's website.
  • Print Insurance Cards - You can print your insurance cards.

Mobile

Fairly Important
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Mobile refers to the various policy and claim tools made available by insurance companies on portable devices. As a growing number of customers rely on smartphones and tablets for their everyday tasks, insurance companies have created apps that allow customers to keep track of policy details, change coverage levels, and manage the claim process on the go. Standout companies offer highly rated apps that allow policyholders to access proof of insurance, document an accident, and even instantly file a claim. Because of the significant convenience offered by these features, the Mobile category has a fairly high importance rating.

  • Accident Guide - A mobile app that assists with data collection, emergency services, or tips in the event of an accident is available.
  • Android App - You can get an Android-specific app.
  • Claim Details - You can update your claim details through a mobile app.
  • Connect with an Agent - You can connect directly with an agent through a mobile app.
  • Digital ID Cards - Digital ID cards are available online or on mobile devices.
  • Edit Policy - You can edit or change your policy details with a mobile app.
  • Email/Print ID Cards - You can email or print digital insurance cards.
  • Favorable Mobile App Store Reviews - The mobile app has a combined 3.5 stars or greater for their iPhone and Android apps.
  • File a Claim - You can initiate or file a new claim through a mobile app.
  • Get a Quote - You can get a rate quote through a mobile app.
  • GPS Locator - The mobile app has a built-in GPS locator.
  • iPhone App - You can get an iPhone-specific app.
  • Mobile Website - A mobile-specific website is available.
  • Tablet - A tablet-based app is available.
  • Text Message Alerts - Policy alerts or updates can be issued by text message.

Support

Fairly Important
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Support addresses the different methods for policyholders or buyers to contact the company when they have questions or concerns. The best insurance companies will offer email, live chat, phone, and social media support for customers. Whether managing an existing policy or shopping for a new one, having easy access to these various support options can make a significant difference in a customer's experience.

  • Email/Ticket - The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
  • Live Chat - The company offers live chat support.
  • Phone - You can contact the company by phone to get support.
  • Social Media - You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.

Learning Materials

Less Important
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Learning Materials identifies the various resources made available to customers to assist them in better understanding insurance products, claim processes, or other elements of car insurance. A forum, FAQ section, and glossary are common resources, but the top auto providers will also provide video tutorials and knowledge bases that offer greater detail. The car insurance industry and buying process can be quite complex and loaded with unfamiliar terminology. Though access to learning materials is not a critical element of the car insurance process, it can offer significant value to first-time buyers or customers who are unfamiliar with certain products.

  • Blog - A blog with relevant insurance information is available.
  • FAQs - A list of answers to frequently asked questions is available.
  • Forum - The company provides access to an interactive forum where users can post questions and answers.
  • Glossary - A glossary of common industry terms is available.
  • Knowledge Base - A knowledge base of detailed help articles is available.
  • Video Tutorials - Video tutorials are available.

Vehicle Discounts

Less Important
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Vehicle Discounts are reductions in insurance premiums that result from specific features present on the insured vehicle. These discounts are separate from other driver-specific discounts and often include vehicle hardware like anti-lock brakes, automatic stability control, and anti-theft devices. Vehicle Discounts is a relatively low importance category but for some budget-conscious buyers, the impact on insurance premiums is an important feature when comparing insurance companies.

  • Anti-Theft Device Discount - A discount is offered if vehicles are equipped with an anti-theft device.
  • Electric Vehicle Discount - A discount is offered for electric vehicles.
  • Vehicle Equipment Discount - A discount is offered if vehicles have certain safety or theft-protection features.

Choosing the Best Auto Insurance Provider

Auto policies are typically designed to protect the policyholder, but not all drivers are interested in the same types of protection. The auto insurance companies that cater to certain groups of drivers are discussed in the lists below.

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