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FAQ: Editors’ answers

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How do I get the best deals on car insurance?
To get the best deals on car insurance, shopping around and comparing insurance quotes from various insurance companies is key. You’ll also want to carefully consider the types of auto coverage, coverage limits and deductibles that you choose — all of which can drive up or down how much you pay for car insurance.
In choosing liability limits, keep in mind that the higher your coverage limit, the higher your insurance rate will be. But if you have a lot of assets — such as a home, savings or investments — choosing the minimum liability coverage required by your state could be risky. You may want to select a coverage limit that at the very least is equal to the total value of all your assets.
Think carefully about your deductible, too. You may be able to lower your car insurance rate by raising your deductible. Just make sure that if you choose a higher deductible, like $1,000, you’d be able to come up with the cash if you need to file an insurance claim.
If you don’t log a lot of miles or are a careful driver, a usage-based insurance program may also help you save money on insurance. Depending on the UBI program, the insurance company will also factor in your driving behavior or your mileage when calculating your premium.
Finally, make sure that the quotes you’re given reflect all discounts that you qualify for. Depending on the insurance company and type of discount, you could save anywhere from 3% to 40% on your premium.

Do my credit scores affect my car insurance rate?
Depending on where you live, car insurance companies may use information from your credit reports to calculate your insurance score. Your insurance score is a numerical score used to predict the likelihood that you’ll file an insurance claim. If you have good credit, your coverage may cost less than if you have bad credit.
The use of credit-based insurance scores isn’t allowed in California, Hawaii, Maryland or Massachusetts. As of June 20, 2021, it is not allowed in Washington, either. And even if it’s allowed in your state, keep in mind that your credit-based insurance score isn’t the only factor insurers consider when setting your rate. Your driving history and habits, driving record, age, the car you drive and your location are among the additional factors that can drive your rate up or down.

How often should I shop for car insurance?
Insurance companies adjust their rates regularly, so shopping for car insurance each year can give you an idea of whether you’re getting the best deal on coverage or if you may be able to get a lower rate.
It’s also a good idea to shop for car insurance when you buy a new car. The type of car you buy could cause your rate to go up or down — comparing multiple quotes could help you find the best rate.
You may also want to shop around if any of these scenarios apply to you.
You’re about to move: Where you live is an important factor in determining your rates.
Your credit scores have changed significantly: Car insurance companies — with the exception of those in California, Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts — consider your credit when setting your rate.
Your driving history has improved: If it’s been awhile since your last accident or driving violation, your rate may improve.
You’re adding a new driver to your policy: Adding drivers, especially teen drivers or young drivers below age 25, can significantly increase your rate.
Your driving routine has changed: If you’re driving fewer miles these days or no longer commuting for work, you may want to shop around to see if you can get a lower rate.

Who is the No. 1 auto insurance company?
The No. 1 auto insurance company, based on total market share of private passenger auto insurance premium in 2020, is State Farm, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC. Here are the other insurance companies on the top five list.
1. State Farm
2. Berkshire Hathaway
3. Progressive
4. Allstate
But if how an insurance company handles claims is important to you, consider that NJM Insurance Company, Amica Mutual, Auto-Owners Insurance, The Hartford and MetLife were the top five companies in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
And if your shopping experience is a priority, it’s helpful to know that Geico, Nationwide, State Farm, Allstate and Liberty Mutual were the top five in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.