When it comes down to it, aren’t all car insurance companies the same? They offer similar policies with identical coverage options. How are you supposed to decide between so many options?

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The differences between auto insurance providers may not be as clear as you’d like them to be but they do exist. Here are some of the major areas you should be aware of when choosing a carrier:

  • Customer Service

All car insurance providers offer customer service but the level of assistance may vary. Most car insurance carriers now offer 24-hour claims centers and may connect you with a specific agent to contact with any questions. Other carriers now offer smartphone and mobile apps to help you remember the steps to take after an accident, allowing you to take photographs at the scene and submit another driver’s insurance information. Many of the mobile apps also keep your policy information in one place, giving you access to your ID and insurance details. All of this constant contact can certainly be convenient and immensely helpful in the digital age. 

The best way to know whether a carrier’s customer service is right for you is to survey the current customers. J.D. Power has many customer ratings available  and a recent study suggests that Gen Y is increasingly satisfied with their auto insurance policies than other generations. This is good news looking forward! 

  • Specializations and Target Markets

In this aspect, car insurance carriers are similar to retail stores. One clothing store may target customers who are older and in the work world while another may target college-aged students. Similarly, some car insurance companies focus on certain types of drivers, such as Titan and The General who focus on high-risk drivers. Other carriers specialize in drivers that own luxury vehicles or classic cars. USAA is primarily focused on providing insurance to those in the military. It is beneficial to be aware of which customers car insurance companies are targeting as it can help you determine which provider will be the best fit for you.

  • Discount Offerings

Auto insurance providers all have a variety of discount offerings available to you. The most common discounts include good student, good driver, passive restraint, and anti-theft. There are other more unusual discounts out there, including membership and alumni organizations, as well as distant student. Before signing onto a policy, you should compare discount offerings from multiple providers. You may find that a company with more offerings has several discounts that you qualify for. All those 5%, 10%, 15% reductions can add up fast. Of course, you may also find that one company is a better fit because of their focus. Some carriers offer much better discounts to members of the armed forces or government workers whereas other providers won’t offer any reductions in those specific areas.

  • Price

This is a given. Car insurance carriers differ greatly in rates. It may seem crazy that the quote you get from one company can be drastically different from another. After all, you are still the same individual with the same car and driving history. Yet it happens! Quotes can vary hundreds of dollars and it is important to receive multiple quotes before choosing a provider so you can find the lowest premium.

There you have it. Car insurance differences do exist. Research and shop around to be sure that you have found the option that best fits your driving situation.

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