Unpeel The Onion-Part 5

Auto Insurance Comparisons

In the October 2010 issue of Consumer Reports (CR), CR analysts ranked auto insurers according to quality and claim handling. Premium costs were not factored into the rankings.

According to the article, people usually spend a lot of time researching a car before they make a purchase. Although, often, too little time is given to how you will insure that vehicle.

Two companies stood out with this ranking: USAA and Amica Mutual.

USAA is designed to assist and insure military members and dependents. Amica, is a mutual company, so if you insure with them, you are part owner. You have the option to pay slightly more with Amica and signup for a dividend payment at the end of the year. These two companies are generally structured to benefit the members, not stockholders.

What's the best value to insure this vehicle? (Wired.com)

Generally, mainstream insurers who advertise and market their service heavily are ranked in the middle of the pack. The two exceptions include Progressive and Allstate, who were toward the bottom of the rankings in terms of quality and claim handling.

This article does raise a larger question: How should you choose an auto carrier? Strictly on price? Or quality? Or do you solely base your decision on how well a company does on a consumer based study?

If you can afford it, it might be worthwhile to consider insurers who typically score high in overall quality and claim handling. You may end up paying more for monthly premiums although that is not always the case. Sometimes, it may work out to be a good value all the way around.

Based upon this study, I would not necessarily exclude companies such as Geico, Progressive or Allstate solely based on their rank. These insurers may be a good fit at times – ­­­­­­ of course, it depends on your driving record, the local market and other factors.

Although, if you’re interested in a competitive price with a highly rated provider in terms of quality and claim handling,  you certainly should consider USAA and Amica.

Check out the entire list at ConsumerReports.org or check out this issue at your local library.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.