How To Find A Reliable Auto Insurance Company

Finding the cheapest car insurance company is as easy as getting a few insurance quotes, checking a few guides, and signing with the one that offers you the lowest price. But finding the most reliable provider requires a little more effort and a lot more research.

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In this guide, we’ll show you a few tips you can use to get the most reliable insurance provider and secure the best insurance policy for your needs.

1. Shop for Car Insurance Online

The internet can be a great way to find the best, cheapest, and most reliable car insurers, but it can also steer you towards less reliable and affordable insurance policies.

The problem with using the internet is that testimonials can be (and often are) faked, affiliate reviews dilute the genuine reviews, and even user reviews are unreliable. 

In an ideal world, a user review site would paint a perfectly clear image of how reliable a company is. Where car insurance is concerned, it would cover things like claims satisfaction, customer support, and everything else you need to know.

After all, your main concern when applying for car insurance is if that company will actually pull through when the need arises.

But if you look at the bulk of positive user reviews, you’ll notice that they all refer to the speed and simplicity of the signup process, whereas the bad reviews tend to focus on the actual claims.

That’s because many companies incentivize members to leave reviews after getting their policies, while others just spam them with review requests. When users are left to their own devices, they tend to only leave reviews when they have something bad to say and want to vent.

The highest-ranked insurers on these sites, therefore, may simply be the ones that have the best after-sales marketing, while the lowest-ranked ones may not care about this process at all and let things happen organically.

And then you have the Better Business Bureau, which has received a lot of criticism in recent years for allegedly allowing companies to buy their ratings. That’s not quite what’s happening, and the truth is a little more complicated, but it’s fair to say that paying for a membership and maintaining that membership will ensure a higher rating.

How to Find Reliable Companies Online

If user review sites can’t be trusted and BBB ratings aren’t as reliable as you thought, how can you find reliable companies?

For that, you need to focus on independent data-gathering companies like J.D. Power, as well as sites like ours. Rather than talking about personal experiences or relying on user reviews, we take data from active policyholders, ones that have made claims, renewed, and dealt with customer support representatives. 

Complaints and bad reviews are also a good source of information. The fact that a complaint exists isn’t a problem, as you’ll find them everywhere. What matters is how the company deals with the complaint. Did they ignore it, leaving the aggrieved policyholder frustrated and indignant? Or did they respond in a professional manner and do their best to find a solution?

Even with the best companies, there’s a chance you will have a bad experience or two. That’s to be expected and it’s not a major concern, providing the company is quick to appease you and remedy the issue.

To summarize, when looking for the best car insurance companies online, focus on the independent sources and on the company’s responses to bad reviews and complaints. Only then can you truly begin to understand parameters like customer satisfaction and the reliability of the claims process.

2. Check your State Department of Insurance

Every state has a specific department of insurance that exists to help you find the best auto insurance companies in your area. You can find information about insurers, make a complaint, and more, and because you’re getting your information from an official and trusted source, you know its reliable.

Take a look at the state list below to find details about your state department of insurance:

  • Alabama: State Insurance Department = Alabama Department of Justice. Website = http://www.aldoi.gov Contact Number = 334-269-3550.
  • Alaska: State Insurance Department = Alaska Division of Insurance. Website = https://www.commerce.alaska.gov Contact Number = 800-INSURAK
    or 907-465-2515
  • Arizona: State Insurance Department = Arizona Department of Insurance. Website = https://insurance.az.gov Contact Number = 800-325-2548 or 602-364-2499
  • Arkansas: State Insurance Department = Arkansas Insurance Department. Website = http://insurance.arkansas.gov Contact Number = 800-852-5494 or 501-371-2640
  • California: State Insurance Department = California Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.insurance.ca.gov Contact Number = 800-927-4357
  • Colorado: State Insurance Department = Colorado Division of Insurance. Website = https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora Contact Number = 800-930-3745 or 303-894-7499
  • Connecticut: State Insurance Department = Connecticut Insurance Department. Website = https://portal.ct.gov/cid Contact Number = 800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900
  • Delaware: State Insurance Department = Delaware Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/ Contact Number = 800-282-8611 or 302-674-7310
  • D.C: State Insurance Department = District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. Website = http://disb.dc.gov/ Contact Number = 202-727-8000
  • Florida: State Insurance Department = Florida Department of Financial Services. Website = http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/ Contact Number = 877-693-5236 or 850-413-3089
  • Georgia: State Insurance Department = Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. Website = https://www.oci.ga.gov/ConsumerService Contact Number = 800-656-2298 or 404-656-2070
  • Hawaii: State Insurance Department = Hawaii Insurance Division. Website = http://cca.hawaii.gov/ins/ Contact Number = 808-586-2790
  • Idaho: State Insurance Department = Idaho Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.doi.idaho.gov/ Contact Number = 800-721-3272 or 208-334-4250
  • Illinois: State Insurance Department = Illinois Department of Insurance. Website = http://insurance.illinois.gov/ Contact Number = 877-527-9431 or 217-782-4515
  • Indiana: State Insurance Department = Indiana Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.in.gov/idoi Contact Number = 800-622-4461 or 317-232-2426
  • Iowa: State Insurance Department = Iowa Insurance Division. Website = http://www.iid.state.ia.us Contact Number = 877-955-1212 or 515-281-5705
  • Kansas: State Insurance Department = Kansas Insurance Department. Website = http://www.ksinsurance.org Contact Number = 800-432-2484 or 785-296-3071
  • Kentucky: State Insurance Department = Kentucky Department of Insurance. Website = http://insurance.ky.gov/ Contact Number = 502-564-3630
  • Louisiana: State Insurance Department = Louisiana Department of Insurance. Website = https://www.ldi.la.gov/ Contact Number = 800-259-5300 or 225-342-5900
  • Maine: State Insurance Department = Maine Bureau of Insurance. Website = http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance Contact Number = 800-300-5000 or 207-624-8475
  • Maryland: State Insurance Department = Maryland Insurance Administration. Website = http://insurance.maryland.gov Contact Number = 800-492-6116 or 410-468-2000
  • Massachusetts: State Insurance Department = Massachusetts Division of Insurance. Website = http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/government/oca-agencies/doi-lp/ Contact Number = 877-563-4467 or 617-521-7794
  • Michigan: State Insurance Department = Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. Website = http://www.michigan.gov/difs/ Contact Number = 877-999-6442 or 517-284-8800
  • Minnesota: State Insurance Department = Minnesota Department of Commerce. Website = http://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/ Contact Number = 800-657-3602 or 651-539-1600
  • Mississippi: State Insurance Department = Mississippi Insurance Department. Website = http://www.mid.ms.gov Contact Number = 800-562-2957 or 601-359-3569
  • Missouri: State Insurance Department = Missouri Department of Insurance. Website = https://insurance.mo.gov Contact Number = 800-726-7390 or 573-751-4126
  • Montana: State Insurance Department = Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. Website = http://csimt.gov Contact Number = 800-332-6148 or 406-444-2040
  • Nebraska: State Insurance Department = Nebraska Department of Insurance. Website = https://doi.nebraska.gov/ Contact Number = 877-564-7323 or 402-471-2201
  • Nevada: State Insurance Department = Nevada Division of Insurance. Website = http://doi.nv.gov Contact Number = 702-486-4009
  • New Hampshire: State Insurance Department = New Hampshire Insurance Department. Website = https://www.nh.gov/insurance Contact Number = 800-852-3416 or 603-271-2261
  • New Jersey: State Insurance Department = New Jersey Division of Insurance. Website = http://www.state.nj.us/dobi Contact Number = 800-446-7467 or 609-292-7272
  • New Mexico: State Insurance Department = New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance. Website = http://www.osi.state.nm.us/ Contact Number = 855-427-5674
  • New York: State Insurance Department = New York Department of Financial Services. Website = http://www.dfs.ny.gov Contact Number = 800-342-3736 or 212-480-6400
  • North Carolina: State Insurance Department = North Carolina Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.ncdoi.com/ Contact Number = 855-408-1212
  • North Dakota: State Insurance Department = North Dakota Insurance Department. Website = https://www.nd.gov/ndins Contact Number = 800-247-0560 or 701-328-2440
  • Ohio: State Insurance Department = Ohio Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.insurance.ohio.gov Contact Number = 800-686-1526 or 614-644-2658
  • Oklahoma: State Insurance Department = Oklahoma Insurance Department. Website = https://www.ok.gov/oid Contact Number = 800-522-0071 or 405-521-2828
  • Oregon: State Insurance Department = Oregon Division of Financial Regulation. Website = http://dfr.oregon.gov Contact Number = 866-814-9710 or 503-378-4140
  • Pennsylvania: State Insurance Department = Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Website = http://www.insurance.pa.gov Contact Number = 877-881-6388
  • Rhode Island: State Insurance Department = Rhode Island Division of Insurance Regulation. Website = http://www.dbr.state.ri.us Contact Number = 401-462-9520
  • South Carolina: State Insurance Department = South Carolina Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.doi.sc.gov Contact Number = 800-768-3467 or 803-737-6180
  • South Dakota: State Insurance Department = South Dakota Division of Insurance. Website = http://dlr.sd.gov/insurance Contact Number = 605-773-3563
  • Tennessee: State Insurance Department = Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Website = https://www.tn.gov/commerce/topic/ins-consumer-resources Contact Number = 800-342-4029 or 615-741-2218
  • Texas: State Insurance Department = Texas Department of Insurance. Website = http://www.tdi.texas.gov Contact Number = 800-252-3439
  • Utah: State Insurance Department = Utah Insurance Department. Website = https://insurance.utah.gov Contact Number = 800-439-3805 or 801-538-3800
  • Vermont: State Insurance Department = Vermont Department of Financial Regulation. Website = http://www.dfr.vermont.gov/insurance Contact Number = 800-964-1784 or 802-828-3302
  • Virginia: State Insurance Department = Virginia Bureau of Insurance. Website = https://www.scc.virginia.gov/boi Contact Number = 804-371-9741
  • Washington: State Insurance Department = Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Website = https://www.insurance.wa.gov/ Contact Number = 800-562-6900 or 360-725-7080
  • West Virginia: State Insurance Department = West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner. Website = http://www.wvinsurance.gov Contact Number = 888-879-9842
  • Wisconsin: State Insurance Department = Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. Website = https://oci.wi.gov Contact Number = 800-236-8517 or 608-266-3585
  • Wyoming: State Insurance Department = Wyoming Department of Insurance. Website = http://doi.wyo.gov/ Contact Number = 800-438-5768 or 307-777-7401

In addition to your specific state insurance departments, you can check with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners  which spans all 50 states and can help motorists make good choices.

3. Speak with Friends, Mechanics, and Body Shops

If your friends have been driving for a number of years, there’s a good chance they have experience with multiple insurance carriers and can advise on which ones work for them and which ones don’t.

The opinion of one person isn’t all that valuable. However, if that person has made claims and they live in your area, that opinion becomes far more valued.

Mechanics and body shops are also great sources of information, as are auto clubs. They have experience of working directly with auto insurance companies and can tell you which ones cause problems and which ones make the claims process easy and hassle-free.

4. Speak with Auto Insurance Agents

Local independent agents work directly with insurers and can help you to find the cheapest car insurance rates and the most suitable insurance coverage. And unlike captive agents, who work for specific companies, they’re not tied down and can give you honest advice on whether or not a specific provider is right for you.

If you have any questions about the claims process, customer support, claims satisfaction, and more, they can help. Insurance agents will compare big brands like GEICO, State Farm, Erie, Allstate, Progressive, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Amica, and American Family, while also checking with local providers.  

It helps to have a point-of-contact for all of your insurance needs and to have someone who can tell you what sort of liability coverage options you need, whether you should look into personal injury protection and collision coverage, and whether a specific insurance company has a good reputation.

5. Check Ratings

You want to deal with an insurance company that can back their policies and won’t cave under the weight of increased claims. Financial strength ratings can help you with this and they are provided by AM Best, Standard & Poor and Fitch Ratings.

Bottom Line: Rewarding Your Time

Spending a little extra time searching for your insurance provider will ensure you get a cheap car insurance policy that covers you for everything you need. It will also allow you to pinpoint the most reliable providers, guaranteeing complete cover and peace of mind in the event of a collision or liability insurance claim.

It can be a hassle, especially when you consider how many insurance companies are operating across the United States, but it will also be worth it in the end. Just remember, the cheapest car insurance quotes aren’t always the best and like anything else, the product and the level of service is just as important as the price.