Just because a company offers you a cheap quote doesn't mean you should let it insure your vehicle. Take a close look at the terms of your policy to ensure it matches your last auto insurance policy, and that you're getting an equivalent amount of coverage (or at least the minimum amount required by law in your state). Examine the terms of the agreement to make sure the company don't require the use of cheaper aftermarket materials for repairs instead of the original factory parts, which can pose safety hazards [source: Consumer Reports].
In addition to the complaint indexes maintained by state organizations, you can refer to consumer satisfaction databases on Web sites like ConsumerReports.org and JDPower.com [source: Reed]. You should also make sure that your insurance company is financially stable before purchasing your policy. In addition to checking with your state insurance department, ratings organizations like A.M. Best and Standard and Poor's are good resources to determine a company's financial state. And look to your friends and family for recommendations, as well.
For lots more information on purchasing car insurance, see the links below.
- Bernard, Tara Siegel. ''Car Policy for Less, but Only if You Call.'' NYTimes.com. Feb. 3, 2012 (March 26, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/your-money/want-better-car-insurance-rates-youve-got-to-make-the-call-your-money.html?_r=1&ref=autoinsurance
- Consumer Reports. ''A guide to car insurance.'' February 2011. (March 25, 2012) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/car-buying-advice/guide-to-new-car-buying/after-the-sale/guide-to-insurance/index.htm
- Consumer Reports. ''Car insurance buying guide.'' March 2012. (March 25, 2012) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/insurance/car-insurance/car-insurance-buying-advice/index.htm
- Ebeling, Ashlea. ''Seven Auto Insurance Buying Tips (page 1 of 2).'' Forbes.com. Nov. 19, 2010. (March 25, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/1206/investment-guide-auto-insurance-umbrella-policy-crash-course.html
- Ebeling, Ashlea. ''Seven Auto Insurance Buying Tips (page 2 of 2).'' Forbes.com. Nov. 19, 2010. (March 25, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/1206/investment-guide-auto-insurance-umbrella-policy-crash-course_2.html
- Insurance Information Institute. ''Buying Insurance: Evolving Distribution Channels.'' April 2012. (March 27, 2012) http://www.iii.org/issues_updates/buying-insurance-evolving-distribution-channels.html
- Insurance Information Institute. ''How Can I Save Money On Auto Insurance?'' (March 27, 2012) http://www.iii.org/articles/how-can-i-save-money.html
- Insurance Information Institute. ''How do I choose an insurance company?" (March 27, 2012) http://www.iii.org/articles/how-do-i-choose-an-insurance-company.html
- Insurance Information Institute. ''What Determines The Price Of My Auto Insurance Policy?'' (March 27, 2012) http://www.iii.org/articles/what-determines-the-price-of-my-auto-insurance-policy.html
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. ''A Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance.'' 2011. (March 26, 2012) http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_guide_auto.pdf
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. ''Consumer Alert: Comparing Online Auto Quotes.'' September 2011. (March 26, 2012) http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_compare_auto_quotes_online.htm
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. ''National Association of Insurance Commissioners State Web Map.'' (March 25, 2012) http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm
- New York State Department of Financial Services. ''2011 Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance.'' 2011. (March 26, 2012) http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/auto/2011/auto1116.htm
- Reed, Philip. ''10 Steps to Buying Auto Insurance.'' Edmunds.com. Sept. 27, 2011. (March 25, 2012) http://www.edmunds.com/auto-insurance/10-steps-to-buying-auto-insurance.html
- Roberts-Grey, Gina. ''Auto insurance premiums tied to credit score.'' Daily Finance. Jan. 29, 2010. (March 29, 2012) http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/01/29/auto-insurance-premiums-tied-to-credit-score/
Is your car over-insured? Learn how to tell if your car has too much insurance at HowStuffWorks.