Thinking about shopping your auto insurance? A huge percent of people never shop their insurance needs — and that’s a bad idea considering that modern American business punishes loyalty, rather than rewarding it.
Car insurance ads on TV promise accident forgiveness, vanishing deductibles and other selling points. But those features are just a side show to the main act, which is a company’s reputation with satisfying customers after a claim is made.
Best and worst auto insurers
Consumer Reports took a look at the auto insurance industry by surveying more than 64,000 readers about their satisfaction on the claims process, the cost of premiums and the overall customer experience.
Here are the winners and losers, according to the magazine:
Top 12 best insurers
1. USAA Property & Casualty
2. Amica Insurance
3. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
4. Erie Insurance Group
5. Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group
6. Auto Club Insurance Association
7. Auto-Owners Insurance Group of Companies
8. Ameriprise Financial (IDS)
9. State Farm
10. State Auto Insurance Companies
12 worst auto insurers
12. American Family
11. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
10. The Hartford Financial Services Group
9. AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange
8. The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies
6. Liberty Mutual
3. Mapfre USA
2. Hanover Insurance
1. Farmers Insurance
When it comes to car insurance, be sure the deductible you have isn’t too low. Having a low deductible pushes premiums higher. It could also tempt you to make a claim for a small incident that will leave you in trouble with insurers going forward.
You never want to make a claim on auto insurance for something small — like a cracked windshield or a broken side-view mirror — because the consequences are so ugly.
The insurer can surcharge you for a number of years; eliminate the discounts you would otherwise qualify for; or put a black mark on your C.L.U.E. report, a little-known industry database of claims. The latter effectively limits your ability to shop with the competition for 36 months.