Choosing the best car insurance depends on a number of factors
Shopping for car insurance rarely is simple. There are five major types of coverage, not to mention a variety of add-ons. Moreover, two people who request the same type and amount of coverage can be quoted vastly different rates for a variety of reasons, including their ages, places of residence, driving histories, vehicles and credit scores.
The most basic kind of car insurance is liability coverage. If you're at fault in an accident, this pays for the damage you do to others, both bodily and property. All states require licensed car owners to carry some level of liability coverage.
Collision insurance covers the cost to fix your own car after an accident, and comprehensive insurance covers non-accident-related catastrophes, such as vehicle theft or storm damage.
Uninsured/underinsured insurance can protect you if you get into an accident with someone who has no insurance -- or not enough -- and lacks the money to pay out of pocket.
Medical and personal-injury insurance can pay for injuries sustained in an accident. There are extras you can purchase as well, such as reimbursement for a rental car while your vehicle sits in the shop.
As if all that isn't enough to make your head spin, there are hundreds of companies that would love to sell you car insurance. A couple of factors can help to narrow your search.
For good drivers, smaller companies may be a better bet. Policyholders say these companies offer a more personal business approach than big insurers, especially if you form a relationship with a local agent, and they often are rated more highly. However, many smaller insurers only do business in certain states. They may also be pickier about their policyholders, accepting only those with sterling driving records.
If your driving record isn't spotless, big companies are worth a look. National insurance companies typically offer a wider variety of policies, so they can take on riskier drivers -- though your rates will be higher than drivers with a clean record. Bigger companies tend to have higher financial ratings, meaning they're most likely to have the cash on hand to pay all their obligations, and representatives are often available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Drivers in military families have some additional options. A handful of companies cater exclusively to active-duty military, veterans and their families. Some insurers also offer coverage options and discounts exclusively for servicemen and women. For instance, companies may offer breaks on rates during deployments, saving you from canceling your insurance and creating a lapse in coverage, which can make getting new insurance tricky.
ConsumerSearch has analyzed expert and customer reviews to evaluate the claims and policy experiences that auto insurance companies provide. The result is our picks for the best car insurance on the market.