Converting Hotels to Housing

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has released new research on the conversion of hotels and motels into housing. While the study was spurred by a 37% drop in hotel occupancy rates driven by the pandemic, the findings have broader implications. Hotel conversions provide a means to simultaneously create renewed profitability and help address the national housing shortage.

Commercial members surveyed

A survey was sent to 75,000 commercial members of the NAR between February and March of 2021. 168 reported being engaged in the sale, leasing, development, property management or appraisal of converted hotels/motels between 2018 and 2020. Of the reported conversions:

  • 79% were for housing.
  • 12% were for homeless shelters, either temporary or permanent.
  • 6% were for healthcare or quarantine facilities.
  • 3% were for retail, industrial, ranch land or other development.

Success stories

The report ends with five case studies detailing acquisition, zoning, renovations and expected final property values. For those interested in engaging in hotel/motel conversions, they’ll find an excellent road map in this report.

Source: century21.com

Teen Drivers: 10 Things You Must Know About Your First Car Insurance Policy

  • Car Insurance

You’ve got your license and your first car, now it’s time to get your first car insurance policy. The problem is, car insurance for teen drivers is expensive and as you’re approaching it without a great deal of experience or knowledge behind you, it can also be confusing. 

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To help you get the best auto insurance as a new driver, keep these ten top tips in mind.

1. You Will Pay More

It doesn’t matter how good of a driver you think you are or how much you try to convince them that you’ll be safe on the roads, as a teen driver and a new driver, you will pay more.

Auto insurance, like all forms of insurance, is about probabilities. A life insurance company sets your death benefit and insurance premiums based on the likelihood that you will die during the term. If there is a high likelihood, your premiums will increase your death benefit will decrease. It is a similar story with car insurance, only this time they’re measuring the probability of you making a claim.

The underwriters will look at your age, gender, job, and driving experience and then compare these to the national average to determine how likely you are to claim. They know, for instance, that inexperienced drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in an accident. They also know that the risk increases greatly for drivers under the age of 20.

Simply put, you will pay more because drivers your age and experience level cost the insurance company more.

2. Good Grades Can Help

An A or B average could net you a sizeable discount on your car insurance discounts. Known as good student discounts, these encouraged students to perform well and, in some cases, it can shave as much as 25% off your premiums.

Insurance providers differ with regards to what sort of discounts they provide and how big these discounts are, but if you have the grades and you shop around, you will find a good student discount.

3. Driver Education Can Help

Driver’s education courses can save you money on your auto insurance premiums. Defensive driving courses, in particular, could net you some sizeable discounts, as it proves that you’re committed to improving your driving habits and staying safe on the road.

Take a training course, prove you’re a safe driver, and reduce that “high-risk” tag and you could save a lot of money on your premiums.

4. Your Vehicle Can Make a Big Difference

A flash sports car will always cost more than a safe car fitted with a host of safety features and anti-theft features. The former is much more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and other costly incidents, which increases the risk and drives the costs high.

Think about what kind of car you’re driving. Not only can you save yourself a few grand by purchasing a cheaper, safer car, but you’ll also save a small fortune on your premiums.

5. You Can be Added to a Parent’s Policy

It may be much cheaper for you to be added to your parent’s policy than to get a policy of your own. Your parents’ policy premiums will increase, but it will be a much cheaper option for the family than getting a brand-new policy.

Make sure you get quotes for your own policy and a separate policy, seeing which one is cheapest.

6. College Could Save You

If you leave your car at home when you go to college and you spend most of your time on campus, you can get discounts on your premiums. If

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠, or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®? The card names sound similar, and, at a glance, the rewards look alike, too.

But not so fast: Although these two Chase cards have a lot in common, they feature a few key differences to keep in mind when deciding which is the best fit for you.

Both the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited offer hefty sign-up bonuses, along with bonus cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, as well as travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The main difference is in the highlights of their rewards structures: The Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a flat-rate 1.5% cash back on everything.

Read on to get a rundown of the pros and cons of each card, as well as which card is best suited for you, based on your spending habits.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Rewards rate
  • 5% rotating quarterly categories (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%)
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Sign-up bonus $200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months $200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
Annual fee $0 $0
Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend) $493 $353
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • High rewards rate on both specific categories year-round and on rotating categories
  • Large sign-up bonus
  • Can transfer rewards to other Chase cards
  • No annual fee
  • Large sign-up bonus
  • Can transfer rewards to other Chase cards
Cons
  • Requires some maintenance
  • Can be difficult to max out rotating categories (may not always align with spending)
  • Low cash back rate on general purchases
  • Not the highest rate available on general purchases
Who should get this card?
  • Rewards maximizers
  • People who want to collect Ultimate Rewards points
  • People who like cash back variety
  • People who want to earn Ultimate Rewards points without paying an annual fee
  • People who want to keep it simple
  • People who want to earn bonus cash back in both specific categories and general purchases
  • People who want to earn Ultimate Rewards points without paying an annual fee

Chase Freedom Flex overview

The Chase Freedom Flex card offers a combination of year-round and quarterly rotating bonus cash back categories. Each quarter, you can enroll in a new bonus category from the Chase cash back calendar and earn 5% back on the first $1,500 you spend in that category (then 1% back after you reach the $1,500 threshold). Throughout the year, you’ll also get 5% back on all travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2022, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% back on all other purchases.

Upsides: The opportunity to earn bonus cash back in select categories year-round and in a variety of categories each quarter.

Downsides: The complex rewards program. To get the most out of the card, cardholders must track their spending, since the 5% rate only applies to certain categories that rotate frequently and is limited to $1,500 per quarter.

Furthermore, cardholders must log in to their Chase account and activate their rewards category by the deadline each quarter to earn the 5% rate. For example, to earn 5% cash back during the second quarter of 2021 (on gas stations and home improvement stores), you must activate the category by June 14, 2021.

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2021

Winter Spring Summer Holiday
January – March April – June July – September October – December
  • Select streaming services
  • Phone, cable and internet services
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Home improvement stores
  • Gas stations
TBA TBA

Chase Freedom Unlimited overview

Like the Freedom Flex, the Freedom Unlimited earns bonus cash back on Ultimate Rewards travel (5% back) and dining and drugstore purchases (3% back), plus Lyft purchases (5%) through March 2022. However, instead of rotating cash back categories, the Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on general purchases. There’s also no annual fee, and no interest on purchases for 15 months from account opening (after which a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies). The card is currently offering a $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months.

Upsides: The Freedom Unlimited card offers a straightforward rewards program that allows cardholders to earn at least 1.5% on every purchase they make – with no earning caps or rotating categories.

Downsides: Although 1.5% cash back is a substantial amount to earn on general purchases, it’s not the highest rate out there.

cash back credit card: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Since the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a generous cash back rate on general purchases, it makes for a great all-purpose cash back card. Cardholders automatically receive 1.5% cash back on general purchases, with no rotating categories and no cap on the amount of rewards they can earn. For those who don’t want to have to deal with activating rewards categories each quarter, this card is ideal.

Taking into account the card’s bonus categories of Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases, we estimate that the card carries an average rewards rate of just over 2.22% back based on typical consumer spending. As you can see from the table below, you stand to earn a fair amount of cash back each year by using the Chase Freedom Unlimited card for every purchase. We estimate that the average cardholder who spends around $1,325 on the card per month can earn around $353 in cash back per year.

However, if your goal is to earn the most rewards possible from your everyday spending, you have better options. Read on to see how you can maximize your rewards.

Scenario 1: Use Chase Freedom Unlimited for every purchase ($1,325 average monthly spend)

Average rewards rate Estimated cash back
2.22% $353

Best for someone who wants to maximize rewards: Chase Freedom Flex

For those who have the time and know-how to manage rewards categories, the Chase Freedom Flex card offers the opportunity to earn a higher rewards rate on their spending. In addition to bonus cash back in the year-round categories of Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases, cardholders receive 5% cash back in lucrative rotating categories, such as grocery stores, gas stations, online shopping and wholesale clubs.

For a cardholder who spends an average amount in the Freedom Flex’s year-round categories, we estimate that it offers a 1.72% average earning rate. This is less than the Freedom Unlimited’s 2.22% average cash back rate, but the card’s rotating cash back categories also need to be considered.

If you max out these categories each quarter, you’ll earn at least $300 in cash back per year. Combined with the card’s year-round bonus categories, that gives you an average annual total of around $493, far exceeding the amount the average user would earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

Keep in mind, however, that it may be difficult to max out every quarterly bonus category. It all comes down to how well a given category lines up with your spending and how much effort you’re willing to put into planning your purchases to maximize each category.

Scenario 2: Maximize Freedom Flex bonus categories ($1,500 quarterly spend) and spend an average amount in year-round bonus categories (total annual spend $15,900)

Quarterly bonus cash back category earnings Average rewards rate in year-round bonus categories Cash back
5% back on your first $1,500 in spending = $75 per quarter ($300 per year) 1.72% $493

Best for someone who wants to collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points: Both

Since the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited carry the same rewards rate on Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases, you may feel like you need to choose just one of the cards. But it doesn’t have to be “either/or.” The ideal answer to “which of these cards should I get” can be “both.”

You can use either card to cover Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases, but to maximize your rewards earnings, use the Freedom Flex card to make purchases in the 5% cash back category and the Freedom Unlimited card to earn 1.5% back on general purchases. You can also earn $400 in sign-up bonuses within the first year by signing up for both cards and spending $500 on each within the first three months.

Even better, you can pair the Chase Freedom cards with other Chase cards. The secret sauce in this scenario is a Chase Sapphire card (either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card* or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card), which allows point transfers from other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the Chase Freedom cards.

By juggling the Chase Freedom cards with a Chase Sapphire card, you can earn the highest rate on Ultimate Rewards points:

  • 5% on Ultimate Rewards travel with either Freedom card
  • 5% on rotating quarterly categories with the Freedom Flex
  • 3% on dining and drugstore purchases with either Freedom card
  • 2% or 3% respectively on general travel with the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards
  • 1.5% on all other spending

When it comes to travel rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely valuable because of the large array of redemption options: You can redeem points for statement credits for travel purchased from outside sources, for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (for a 25% to 50% increase in point value depending which card you use) or transfer points at a 1:1 rate to many of Chase’s travel partners.

The table below shows the value of combining the Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards. By leveraging the bonus categories on each card, a cardholder who manages to max out the 5% quarterly bonus categories and spends an average amount in other categories can earn around 50,295 Ultimate Rewards points per year.

This comes to an impressive $503 in cash back. But if you transfer the points to Chase’s travel partners, you make out even better. Due to the high value of points on partners such as United and Southwest, those same Ultimate Rewards points can get you $750 to $800 more worth of airfare, or even more if you know the ins and outs of airline loyalty programs.

Scenario 3: Combine three Ultimate Rewards cards

Chase Freedom Flex + Chase Freedom Unlimited + Chase Sapphire Reserve Average rewards rate Estimated points/year Sample redemptions: estimated value
  • 5% back in rotating categories (maxed out categories, with Chase Freedom)
  • 5% back on Ultimate Rewards travel (with either Freedom card)
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases (with either Freedom card)
  • 1.5% back on all other purchases (with Chase Freedom Unlimited card)
2.05% 50,295
  • Statement credit: $503
  • Ultimate Rewards travel (with Sapphire Reserve): $754
  • Southwest Airlines transfer: $804
  • United Airlines transfer: $764

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards are both great cash back cards that appeal to different audiences. The Freedom Flex card is a great option for cardholders who want to maximize their rewards and the Freedom Unlimited card is a great way to go if you want to keep things simple. However, if you like travel rewards and you want to get the most bang for your buck, you should really consider applying for a trio of Ultimate Rewards cards.

*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. 

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Source: creditcards.com

How does a loan default affect my credit?

loan default

Nobody takes out a loan expecting to default on it. Despite their best intentions, people sometimes find themselves struggling to pay off their loans. These types of struggles happen for many reasons, including job loss, significant debt, or a medical or personal crisis.

Making late payments or having a loan fall into default can add pressure to other personal struggles. Before finding yourself in a desperate situation, understanding how a loan default can impact your credit is necessary to avoid negative consequences.

30 days late

Missing one payment can further lower your credit score. If you can pay the past due amount plus applicable late fees, you may be able to mitigate the damage to your credit, if you make all other payments as expected.

The trouble starts when you (1) miss a payment, (2) do not pay it at all, and (3) continue to miss subsequent payments. If those actions happen, the loan falls into default.

More than 30 days late

Payments that are more than 30 days past due can trigger increasingly serious consequences:

  • The loan default may appear on your credit reports. It will likely lower your credit score, which most creditors and lenders use to review credit applications.
  • You may receive phone calls and letters from creditors demanding payment.
  • If you still do not pay, the account could be sent to collections. The debt collector seeks payment from you, sometimes using aggressive measures.

Then, the collection account can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. This action can damage your creditworthiness for future loan or credit card applications. Also, it may be a deciding factor when obtaining basic necessities, such as utilities or a mobile phone.

Other ways a default can hurt you

Hurting your credit score is reason enough to avoid a loan default. Some of the other actions creditors can take to collect payment or claim collateral are also quite serious:

  • If you default on a car loan, the creditor can repossess your car.
  • If you default on a mortgage, you could be forced to foreclose on your home.
  • In some cases, you could be sued for payment and have a court judgment entered against you.
  • You could face bankruptcy.

Any of these additional consequences can plague your credit score for years and hinder your efforts to secure your financial future.

How to avoid a loan default

Your options to avoid a loan default depend upon the type of loan you have and the nature of your personal circumstances. For example:

  • For student loans, research deferment or forbearance options. Both options permit you to temporarily stop making payments or pay a lesser amount per month.
  • For a mortgage, ask the lender if a loan modification is available. Changing the loan from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate, or extend the life of the loan so your monthly payments are smaller.

Generally, you can avoid a loan default by exercising common sense: buy only what you need and can afford, keep a steady job that earns enough income to cover your expenses, and keep the rest of your debts low.

Clean up your credit

The hard reality is that defaulting on a loan is unpleasant. It can negatively affect your credit profile for years. Through patience and perseverance, you can repair the damage to your credit and improve your standing over time.

Consulting with a credit repair law firm can help you address these issues and get your credit back on track. At Lexington Law, we offer a free credit report summary and consultation. Call us today at 1-855-255-0139.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

New Technology Promises to Revolutionize the Construction

There’s no question that technology is making an impact on the construction industry – even though construction is an industry that’s been historically slow to embrace innovation. The reluctance to change and evolve is due to fragmentation in the industry. With so many small firms specializing in different aspects of the construction process, it’s a challenge to adopt seamless processes and adapt to new technologies.

But recent advances that increase the efficiency, flexibility and adaptability of many emerging construction technologies are making them more cost-effective for firms to adopt. Just a few of the new technologies in use today include modular construction (using free-standing, integrated modules that are manufactured off-site and then transported to a site for installation), geospatial technologies (used to visualize, measure and analyze Earth’s features) and wearable technologies (such as head-mounted displays).

There’s more on the horizon. Some emerging technologies in the construction industry include mass timber (an engineered wood product), construction robotics (using robots to build) and autonomous construction vehicles (equipment operated by a computer).

To read a NAIOP report about new construction technologies, click here.

Source: century21.com

What to do when your balance transfer is denied

A balance transfer card can be a shortcut to getting out of debt faster if it means paying a lower interest rate.

While many card issuers have pulled back on balance transfer offers, largely due to financial uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still 0% APR deals to be found.

“Balance transfers are tools,” says Howard Dvorkin, personal finance expert and Debt.com chairman.

Dvorkin says in the best-case scenario, you execute a 0% APR transfer and pay the balance down before the promotion expires.

Getting approved for a balance transfer card isn’t always a lock, however. Learn why your balance transfer application may be denied and what you can do to increase your approval chances.

See related: 9 things you should know about balance transfers

Why are balance transfers denied?

Generally, there are two scenarios that can keep you from executing a balance transfer successfully:

  • Your application for a balance transfer card is turned down by the card issuer.
  • Your application for a balance transfer card is approved, but when you try to transfer a balance to the new card, the transfer is declined, or the credit limit you were approved for is insufficient to cover the amount you want to transfer.

Here’s a closer look at some specific reasons for a balance transfer denial.

1. Applying for a balance transfer card with the same card issuer

Trying to transfer balances between two cards from the same bank could be a roadblock to your balance transfer goals.

“Most card issuers won’t allow a balance transfer between two cards that they issue,” says Marshall Armond, CEO of consumer credit education site CreditRevo.

That’s because credit card companies rely on balance transfers to make money through fees and interest charges. There’s little financial incentive for a card issuer to allow you to transfer balances between cards if you’re likely to pay the balance off before the promotional period expires.

“While this might seem like a way of simplifying the task by staying with an institution you know, it’s actually just a guaranteed way of getting your application rejected,” says Tina Hay, founder and CEO of Napkin Finance.

2. Having a low credit score

A too-low credit score could keep you from making the approval cut, even if you were prescreened for a balance transfer offer.

Armond says that while there are some balance transfer offers geared toward people with fair or average credit, most promotions are designed for people with scores in the good to excellent range.

“Generally, they like to offer balance transfer promotions to customers they don’t think will default on their balance,” says Armond.

Applying for balance transfer requests too frequently could also block your way to approval if multiple hard inquiries ding your credit score.

Every balance transfer credit card is different regarding the minimum score it requires for approval.

For example, the Citi Rewards+ Card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months from the date of your first transfer (then a variable APR of 13.49% to 23.49% after that) but you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the card.

By comparison, it’s possible to get approved for a balance transfer with the Discover it® Secured card with bad to fair credit. This card doesn’t offer a 0% APR balance transfer, but you can get an introductory APR of 10.99% for six months if your transfer posts to your account by July 10, 2021. (After the introductory period, there’s a variable APR of 22.99%.)

Hay offers a good rule of thumb to follow: “The better your credit, the more likely it is that you’ll be approved, and be approved for better terms.”

She says the same things that can dim your chances of approval for other loans or lines of credit also apply to balance transfers. That includes late or missed payments and accounts that are close to their limit or maxed out.

Having a thin credit file could also be problematic. Credit card companies may not be willing to approve a balance transfer if you’ve only been using credit a short time or have just one or two active credit accounts.

3. Balance transfer requests that exceed your credit limit

You might be approved for a balance transfer credit card, only to be told later that your transfer request didn’t go through.

Not having enough available credit to complete the transfer could be the reason, says Armond.

It’s possible to be denied if you’re requesting a balance transfer for a larger amount than your credit card company allows.

Banks can limit balance transfer requests to a set dollar amount or percentage of your new credit line. USAA, for example, caps balance transfers at 95% of the balance transfer card’s credit limit.

Before requesting a balance transfer, it’s helpful to ask what your credit limit and balance transfer limits will be with the new card. This way, you can request a transfer amount that’s likely to be approved.

What to do when your balance transfer is denied

Getting denied for a balance transfer card may be inconvenient, but you can recover by taking the right steps.

First, you could ask the credit card company to reconsider. Whether you get the green light depends largely on why you were denied to begin with.

If you’re planning to ask the credit card company to give your balance transfer request a second look, be prepared to make a case for approval. For example, if you have a strong credit score or a low debt-to-income ratio, those things might work in your favor.

If a denial is due to poor credit or low income

You may be able to succeed in getting a reversal if you can offer extenuating circumstances to explain negative marks on your credit report.

The same goes if your request was denied because of low income, but you have other sources of income that weren’t reported on your initial application.

If your request was denied due to a lack of available credit

Armond says you can resubmit your original request using a smaller dollar amount. You’d then have to decide whether to pay off any remaining balance to the first card or apply for a second balance transfer card elsewhere.

How to increase your balance transfer approval odds

If you’re interested in getting a balance transfer, you’ll need good credit to do it, as offers have become more competitive.

These tips can help as you prepare to apply for a balance transfer card.

  • Fix credit reporting errors. Credit report errors are not uncommon, and they can damage your credit. If you spot a mistake on yours, file disputes with the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Know the issuer. If you have a card or two in mind for a balance transfer, scout out the card issuer’s transfer policies. You don’t want to waste time (or risk a potential credit score ding) applying for a balance transfer if it’s likely to be denied because you already have a card with that bank or because the amount you want to transfer is more than the credit card company allows.
  • Review your credit limit. Make sure your card has enough room to accommodate a balance transfer.
  • Toe the line with your existing credit accounts. If your score isn’t quite what it needs to be to get approved for a balance transfer, work on doing what you can to improve it. “Make at least the minimum payments on time,” says Dvorkin, and focus on paying down some of your credit card debt to improve your credit utilization.
  • Carefully consider how additional applications will affect your credit. If you apply for too many credit cards within a short time frame, you could damage your score via multiple hard inquiries. And a flurry of card applications could send a signal to prospective lenders that you’re too reliant on credit.

Bottom line

Balance transfers can save money on interest charges, but getting approved for one can be tricky if you have a lower credit score or your approved credit limit is lower than expected. When applying for balance transfer offers, consider your budget and how much you’ll be able to pay each month. This can help ensure that you’re not left with a remaining balance once the introductory rate period ends.

Source: creditcards.com

How to Attract Remote Workers to Your Apartment Community

Thanks to the pandemic, the number of employees who work from home swelled over the past year. Even though offices are beginning to open, with workers returning to the workplace, surveys show that many plan to telework at least part-time in the future.

Apartment owners and managers need to take notice of this trend. After all, at a time when unemployment remains high, remote workers are employed – and capable of paying their rent. They also represent a large pool of prospective tenants, so targeting them can turn into a competitive advantage.

Here are three things you can do to attract the work-from-home cohort:

  • Provide the tools teleworkers need. High-speed internet service and reliable cell phone reception are a must. The 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report found that 92% of tenants want high-speed internet access, while 91% said the community amenity they most desire is reliable cell phone reception. Tenants are even willing to pay higher rent for high-speed internet — $35.05 per month more, the survey found.
  • Tweak your marketing plan. Help the prospect envision working in your space. Stage model units (live or virtually) to include work spaces in bedrooms, or create zoom-worthy spaces on balconies or rooftops.
  • Don’t focus only on attracting new tenants; meet the needs of existing ones. Happy tenants are more likely to renew their leases, saving you the cost of turnover. They also can be a source of referrals. Convert business centers from open spaces to individual offices, and add programming designed to meet the needs of remote workers, such as a poolside yoga class to relieve stress or an online time-management workshop. People are craving human interaction these days, and programming can enhance a sense of community.

Source: century21.com

The Best Car Insurance Companies in Florida

The search for the best car insurance company entails digging into such factors as price, coverage options and customer satisfaction. And things get more complicated when you are choosing auto insurance in Florida. That said, we break down how you can choose insurance you’ll afford while feeling comfortable with your choice in auto insurance carrier.

Florida has some of the highest car insurance rates in the nation due to factors like its weather, its no-fault insurance law and the high rate of uninsured drivers. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that Florida had the sixth highest in uninsured drivers in 2019 at 20.4%, the year with the most recent data.

That said, you can still find an insurance company in Florida that provides excellent coverage within your budget. We took a look at the best insurance carriers that serve Florida and picked our five favorite ones, including the best overall auto insurance company in Florida. (Spoiler alert: It’s Geico.)

The factors that influence how much car insurance companies will charge you include your age, marital status, driving history and even ZIP code. Each insurer weighs those factors differently. The best strategy for finding cheap car insurance in Florida will always be to compare quotes. Just make sure the quotes you get are comparable in coverage, and of course, check out our reviews below.

In this article

Methodology

When comparing Florida auto insurance companies, we used our SimpleScore Methodology to consider factors such as discounts, coverage, support, customer satisfaction and accessibility.

We also looked at authoritative reviewers and gatherers of auto insurance statistics such as J.D. Power, Bankrate, Insurance Information Institute and Consumer Reports. Bottom line: We’ve worked to give you the best advice about car insurance in Florida.

The best car insurance companies in Florida

These insurers were ranked at the top of J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study in the Florida region. J.D. Power is a global leader in customer service surveys. These insurance providers also have excellent marks on our own SimpleScore and have gained the notice of Consumer Reports and the Insurance Information Institute.

  • Geico — Best overall for Florida auto insurance
  • State Farm — Best for Florida auto insurance claims customer service
  • Allstate — Best overall for Florida auto insurance customer service 
  • Progressive — Best for Florida auto insurance coverage options
  • Liberty Mutual — Best for Florida auto insurance discounts

Best overall for Florida car insurance – GEICO

When compared to other Florida auto insurance providers, Geico got top marks both from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Why? This carrier’s scores for claims and non-claims service were excellent. In fact, Geico is our favorite all-round Florida auto insurance carrier.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore GEICO 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Among the auto insurance carriers we track, Geico’s premiums were among the lowest for average minimum coverage, at $433 (per Bankrate’s 2020 data), which is actually also one of the lowest among the Florida providers we like best.

In addition to ranking among the best with J.D. Power for auto insurance companies in Florida (846 out of a score of 1,000) in 2020, we found that Geico was one of the largest auto insurance providers in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute, with almost 14% market share. We found that coverage options were robust, with 11, and discounts were quite plentiful, with 16.

Best for Florida car insurance claims customer service – State Farm

We consider State Farm to be the best in claims service satisfaction, an assertion backed up by its strong ratings with Consumer Reports.

J.D. Power Rating

4/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.6 / 5.0

SimpleScore State Farm 4.6

Affordability 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

State Farm’s wide reach can be a major attraction for some, with more than 19,000 independent agents and over 16% of the market share among auto insurance direct premiums written. This ensures that such benefits as the number of coverage options (we counted 13) is at your fingertips.

Over at Consumer Reports, we found that State Farm gets a 4 out of 5 for both claims and non-claims service satisfaction, although the company doesn’t rank as well for premiums and policy review satisfaction.

Best overall for Florida car insurance customer service – Allstate

When compared to other Florida auto insurance carriers for overall customer satisfaction, Allstate landed on top, with a J.D. Power score of 851 out of 1,000.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

A-

SimpleScore

4.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Allstate 4.4

Discounts 3

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Allstate is a solid provider of car insurance, with good coverage options, customer support and accessibility. This carrier offers two apps: QuickTrip, which provides support for routing daily trips and maintenance reminders, as well as Allstate Mobile, which can be used for filing claims and other tasks.

This carrier is not a favorite for premium prices: Consumer Reports only gives Allstate a 1 out of 5 in that category, although the company ranks well with claims satisfaction, with 4 out of 5.

Best for Florida car insurance coverage options – Progressive

Progressive is the best in coverage options in our estimation, when compared to other Florida insurance providers, with 13 at our count.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Progressive 4.2

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 4

When it comes to claims satisfaction, Progressive performs well, says Consumer Reports, with a 4 out of possible 5. The Progressive app is also robust, with the ability to get roadside assistance, file a claim and more.

Progressive is middle to top of the pack in premium costs for Florida auto insurance. Bankrate found that average minimum coverage was $1,356, near the top of the providers we follow, while full coverage was middle of the pack at $2,573. That said, Progressive has definite advantages as a large, established insurer.

Best for Florida car insurance discounts – Liberty Mutual

Of the Florida auto insurers we compared, Liberty Mutual won out with its insurance discounts (we counted 17). Options include such discounts as rewarding you for driving a hybrid or electric vehicle and even if you get a quote from this company before your policy runs out.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A

Standard & Poor’s

A

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Liberty Mutual 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Liberty Mutual is also one of our strongest in coverage options, with 18 counted. One nice feature is that you can have the option for original manufacturer replacement parts, which means that if you have a Toyota Camry, you can get parts made by Toyota, not an after-market manufacturer.

Consumer Reports found that Liberty Mutual did not enjoy the satisfaction in premium prices that you might hope for, but satisfaction in claims processing was strong with 4 out of 5.

[ Read: Steps to Switch Car Insurance Companies ]

Choosing your Florida car insurance provider

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when signing up for car insurance is whether to choose a local or national carrier. Both come with advantages and disadvantages.

Local carrier

Pros 

  • A personal relationship with your agent.
  • Services that are specific to your location.

Cons 

  • Fewer discounts.
  • Fewer digital tools.
  • Slower claims process.

National carrier

Pros

  • More discounts.
  • Faster claims process.
  • More money to invest in digital tools.

Cons 

  • May not have an individual agent.
  • Less of a personal touch.

Florida’s minimum insurance requirements

Florida’s minimum insurance requirements are the lowest in the U.S., with 10/20/10 in bodily injury liability and property damage liability. That’s as of March 2021.

What does that mean? Coverage must include up to $20,000 for everyone in an accident (middle number), subject to a limit of $10,000 for one person (the first number), and $10,000 for property damage (the last number). Also, instead of policy limits, policyholders can satisfy the requirement with a combined single limit policy. 

By comparison, Maine’s and Alaska’s minimum required coverages are at 50/100/25. (For Maine, policyholders must also carry coverage for medical payments.)

Property damage

Florida requires that all drivers carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. This coverage will protect other drivers from financial loss in case you are at-fault for an accident and damage another vehicle. Failure to do so can result in the suspension of your registration or driver’s license.

Personal injury protection

Florida is one of a handful of no-fault auto insurance states. This means that regardless of a car accident, each driver is responsible for covering their own medical bills. As a result, the state requires that all drivers carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection. This coverage will pay for 80% of medical expenses from a covered accident.

Taxi insurance

Florida requires that taxis carry extra car insurance to protect their passengers. Vehicles registered as taxis in the state must carry at least $125,000 bodily injury liability per person, $250,000 bodily injury liability per accident, and $50,000 property damage liability per accident.

How much does car insurance cost in Florida?

Drivers in Florida pay $2,364 annually for full coverage and $1,101 annually for minimum coverage, according to Bankrate records.

Florida car insurance can get high depending on the ZIP code, as much as $3,314 in Miami, the state’s largest metropolitan area. (Miami-Dade is one of the largest counties in population in the U.S., with almost 2.8 million in 2018, according to the U.S. Census.)

Meanwhile in North Florida, Tallahassee has some of the cheapest premiums for the state, according to Bankrate.

City Average annual premium for full coverage
Jacksonville $2,230
Miami $3,314
Orlando $2,405
Tampa $3,027
Tallahassee $2,043
St. Petersburg $2,662

Bankrate uses Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record and good credit.

Car insurance FAQs

Florida drivers face a variety of unique circumstances that make car insurance rates more expensive. Factors that cause Florida car insurance rates to be high include:

  • The state’s no-fault insurance law.
  • A high rate of older drivers.
  • A high rate of uninsured drivers.
  • High rates of inclement weather.

Florida requires that drivers carry $10,000 of both property damage liability and personal injury protection coverage. But you can certainly choose to purchase more insurance, and you may want to. Florida’s minimum requirements don’t provide any protection for your vehicle, only for other drivers. If you want your car to be covered in an accident, increase your coverages.

Both collision and comprehensive coverage protect you in case of damage to your vehicle, but they apply to very different situations. Collision coverage protects you in case of a car accident. Comprehensive applies to situations where your car is damaged for a reason other than an accident, such as vandalism, theft or inclement weather.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the insurers we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

The Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021

Ease of filing claims, customer service, discounts for such habits as being a good driver or student — these are some of the criteria we look at when choosing the best auto insurance companies on our radar.

The standout was Amica Mutual Group, with its perfect SimpleScore of 5 out of 5, but the others that made our list have their own impressive story to tell, such as State Farm for teen drivers and USAA for military members and their families. Bottom line? You’re bound to find an insurance provider you love from our list.

[Related: What’s the Average Cost of Car Insurance In the U.S.?]

The 10 best car insurance companies of 2021

Rank Company SimpleScore Best insurance company for:
1 Amica Mutual Group 5.0 Best overall car insurance
2 American Family 4.8 Best car insurance for diminishing deductible 
3 Geico 4.8 Best car insurance for customer support
4 Liberty Mutual 4.8 Best car insurance for coverage options
5 State Farm 4.6 Best car insurance for teen drivers
6 Nationwide 4.5 Best car insurance for safe drivers
7 Farmers 4.4 Best car insurance for state-specific discounts
8 USAA 4.4 Best car insurance for military members
9 Allstate 4.4 Best car insurance for accessibility
10 Progressive 4.2 Best car insurance for maximizing savings

Why trust us in finding the best car insurance?

Our research methodology

We’ve created the SimpleScore™ to help you objectively compare products and services here at The Simple Dollar.

Our editorial team:

  • Identifies five factors to compare across each brand
  • Determines the rating criteria for each factor
  • Calculates an average of those five factor scores to get one SimpleScore™

We break down each of these five factors and their rating criteria for our review of the best auto loan companies of 2021.

Why do some brands have different SimpleScores™ on different pages?

Some brands like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase have different SimpleScores™ because they offer more than one financial solution — like auto loans, home loans, personal loans and banking.

The Simple Dollar also looks at external studies from authoritative sources such as Consumer Reports, the Insurance Information Institute, AM Best and J.D. Power for inspiration.

[Related: The Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies of 2021]

In this article

Best car insurance companies reviewed

Best overall car insurance company – Amica

Amica Mutual is our best overall for auto insurance, gaining our notice in customer service, accessibility, discounts and coverage options.

J.D. Power Rating

5/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

5 / 5.0

SimpleScore Amica 5

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 5

Accessibility 5

In addition to top marks from our own SimpleScore, Amica Mutual got the attention of Consumer Reports for claims, service and policy review. There was a bit of a markdown for satisfaction in price of premiums, but the rating was still solid when compared to competitors.

This provider offers your standard fare of auto coverage, including comprehensive, collision and uninsured motorist, then offers extra features that you might not find elsewhere, such as free airbag repair.

Customers can get a free quote online and customize coverage options to meet their driving and coverage needs. Amica also makes it easy to report and track claims online and hassle-free. You can get a number of discounts for big savings on your policy, too. You’ll save when you’re accident-free for at least three years and when you take a driver safety class.

Best car insurance for diminishing deductible – American Family

The best insurance company for diminishing deductible, American Family rewards you for safe driving by crediting your deductible $100 each year ($50 with a six-month policy term) up to your policy maximum.

J.D. Power Rating

N/A

AM Best Rating

A

Standard & Poor’s

A

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore American Family 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

With 18 discounts offered, this insurance provider leads the pack with some unusual ways to save, such as discounts for young volunteers and for having a parent who is an American Family customer.

American Family’s SimpleScore is practically perfect, with top marks for accessibility and support. You can choose how you want to get help from using the online chat to talking to an agent.

While this insurance company didn’t make the top 10 with J.D. Power for claims satisfaction in 2020, it did rank in the top 20, with a score of 862 out of a possible 1,000. You’ll experience ease in filing a claim, with the ability to file by app, by phone or online.

Best car insurance for customer service – GEICO

Geico is our favorite for customer service, with its handy virtual assistant, access to insurance agents and more.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore GEICO 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Geico caters to the tech-savvy consumer, which is great for those who don’t want to speak to an agent or listen to the never-ending elevator music while you’re on hold. With the ability to personalize your alerts and access all of your important information, Geico Mobile makes things easy.

Geico’s range of coverage includes the standard fare — collision, comprehensive and liability insurance. Unlike many other companies, rideshare insurance for Lyft and Uber drivers is also available. 

Geico does offer mechanical breakdown coverage, though it’s only for new cars less than 15 months old with less than 15,000 miles. While it’s not applicable to all people, if you fall into this category, you’ll be able to renew mechanical breakdown coverage for up to seven years or 100,000 miles.

Best car insurance for coverage options – Liberty Mutual

We found that Liberty Mutual offers the best in coverage options just by sheer volume — we counted 18. There’s even coverage for teachers while on school grounds and for driving to Mexico.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A

Standard & Poor’s

A

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Liberty Mutual 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

In addition to top-notch coverage options, Liberty Mutual offers among the most in discounts. In addition to alternative energy discounts and a good student discount, this provider rewards you for military service and even has an early shopper discount that rewards you for getting a quote and signing up before your current policy expires.

This insurance company came in 14th among auto insurance providers in J.D. Power’s 2020 claims satisfaction study, with a 867 out of a possible score of 1,000. Liberty Mutual’s app allows you to file and track claims from your phone, or the company promises a 5- to 10-minute process when filing online.

Liberty Mutual did not fare well with satisfaction in price of premiums, according to Consumer Reports, although they came off quite well in satisfaction in the handling of claims.

Best auto insurance for teen drivers – State Farm

State Farm is our favorite for teen drivers. In addition to the ubiquitous good student discount, this auto insurance provider offers two programs that encourage safe driving habits.

J.D. Power Rating

4/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.6 / 5.0

SimpleScore State Farm 4.6

Affordability 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

State Farm is the largest U.S. auto insurance provider by direct premiums, holding 16% of the market in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute. We know the size of a company shouldn’t be all we look at, but there are times when it comes in handy.

When it comes to support and accessibility, this provider gets full marks. Count on finding an agent when you need to — access to 19,000 independent contractor agents shows the power of working with a large company.

But if you don’t have time for a phone call, the State Farm mobile app allows you to contact a representative or send a picture of the damage. A user-friendly app is something we often take for granted, but not all companies have this luxury.

Best car insurance for safe drivers – Nationwide

Nationwide is our clear favorite for the safe driver. In addition to possible eligibility for a lower rate if you have at least five years of safe driving, benefit from the proprietary SmartRide® program and get 10% for signing up.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

4.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Nationwide 4.4

Discounts 3

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

In business since 1926, this insurance provider serves all 50 states and is among the leading companies in the industry. In fact, Nationwide ranked eighth in 2019 in the nation for auto insurance by direct premiums written, according to the Insurance Information Institute, with 2.5% of the market share.

While Nationwide received strong marks for claims-related service from Consumer Reports, it didn’t fare so well with only a 1 out of 5 for premium prices. Interestingly, Bankrate found that Nationwide was one of the highest for average full coverage premium, at $1,485 a year.

We liked Nationwide for its coverage options and discounts — in fact, Nationwide’s number of coverage options was one of the highest of the companies we reviewed, with 15.

Best car insurance for state-specific discounts – Farmers

Even with strong nationwide discount options, Farmers is a standout for state-specific discounts as well. In some states, you can get discounts for having daytime running lights, VIN etchings, and in California only, alternative fuel.

J.D. Power Rating

2/5

AM Best Rating

A

Standard & Poor’s

A

SimpleScore

4.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Farmers 4.4

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Farmers is at the absolute top for coverage options among the insurance providers we track, with 19, including customized equipment like aftermarket infotainment systems and drivers for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber.

Farmers had an eye-popping $2,000 average in full coverage premium, according to Bankrate. That was only outdone by one other auto insurance company that Bankrate tracked, MetLife at $2,123. The same is true with minimum coverage average, which was $808 for Farmers, making it No. 2 after MetLife at $821. (Bankrate used Quadrant Information Services in February 2021 to pull these numbers.)

This insurance provider’s customers report strong satisfaction in claims processing, Consumer Reports found, something that can give you peace of mind when choosing insurance.

Best car insurance for military members – USAA

USAA is our favorite for military members and their families among auto insurance providers, and for good reason. They get top marks with JD Power for auto claims satisfaction, as well as a perfect score from Consumer Reports.

J.D. Power Rating

5/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

4.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore USAA 4.4

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 5

Accessibility 4

USAA fares well on our SimpleScore as well. Count on excellence in customer service and discounts. However, this provider isn’t available to everyone. Only active service members, veterans and their families are eligible for a car insurance policy through USAA. 

Given there are such strict restrictions, you should expect the quote process to take longer and be more involved than other competitors. However, that’s a small price to pay for its exemplary service and established reputation.

This insurance provider offers some of the lowest average premiums — Bankrate reports that USAA’s average minimum coverage premium is one of the lowest among the providers we follow, at $384; its full coverage premium average is actually the lowest of the ones Bankrate tracks, at $1,225.

Best car insurance for accessibility – Allstate

We like Allstate the best for accessibility, meaning we appreciate the ease in filing claims and transparency of information, such as coverage options and discounts.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

A-

SimpleScore

4.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Allstate 4.4

Discounts 3

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Allstate makes up more than 9% of the market share in private passenger auto insurance in direct premiums written, according to the Insurance Information Institute, making it fourth of the top 10 auto insurance providers in the U.S.

But it’s the customer support, customer satisfaction and accessibility such as the user-friendly apps that got our attention, including the proprietary QuickTrip® app that helps you find the best routes and gives you daily maintenance reminders.

Consumer Report respondents didn’t care for the pricing of premiums — the company received 1 out of 5 for that item. However, Allstate fared better with satisfaction in handling of claims, with a 4 out of 5.

Best car insurance for maximizing savings – Progressive

We love Progressive because it maximizes savings for customers, with not only the usual discounts such as for paying in full and being a safe driver, but also for owning your home and having continuous insurance.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Progressive 4.2

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 4

Unique to Progressive, the Snapshot tool bases your rate on your driving habits — like how often you drive, if you slam on the brake or if you used your phone while driving. You’ll get an automatic discount for using the Snapshot app.

This insurance provider’s insurance coverages are full of surprises, such as free pet injury coverage that pays any veterinary bills if your pets are injured in an auto accident. And in addition to the standard fare like liability, collision and comprehensive, gap insurance from Progressive covers 125% of the cost of the car if it’s totaled while you’re still making payments. 

Compare 2021 car insurance rates

Make sure when comparing car insurance quotes from different companies you are looking at the same policy type and coverage level. Cheaper quotes could just be a policy with less coverage.

How does the auto industry work?

There are projected to be almost 290 million registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, according to Hedges & Company, up from about 287 million in 2020. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated there were 6.7 million vehicular accidents in 2018, the most recent available data. That’s a lot of cars and a lot of repairs to keep up with. That’s where insurance comes in.

Auto insurance helps cover car repairs and personal costs when life happens. Whether it’s an accident, pothole or car trouble, your coverage can help you cover these costs after your deductible. The less your car’s value is, the less you’re likely to pay in premiums — though it will depend heavily on your coverage, state, age and other factors. 

It’s helpful to think of the auto industry as a never-ending cycle. We pour money into cars and maintenance, but car insurance helps cover the cost if anything goes wrong.

What’s factored into auto policies and rates? 

Your auto policy and the premium will depend on a few factors. It will also determine whether or not an insurer is a good fit for your car coverage needs. Most policies depend on the following:

Depending on these and other factors, you could pay more or less in car insurance. Think about buying a brand new, high-end car when you turn 21 years old. You’re likely to pay more for the car’s year, make and model. You may also pay more as a young driver with a less established driving record. You’re also likely to pay more if you live in California than your friends in South Carolina are paying. Keep in mind that your policy and premium are unique to your needs, driving record and other personal factors.

What’s happening in the car insurance industry today?

At the start of the pandemic, some insurers offered drivers a reimbursement on their monthly payment to help economically. Policyholders were driving less due to COVID-19 nationwide lockdowns. Allstate offered their drivers a 15% Shelter in Place payback on their premiums for April, May and June. Other providers offered credits toward premiums instead. Since that point, drivers have been on the road less often. If you’re working remotely but still need auto insurance, it’s the perfect time to look into low-mileage auto insurance for extra savings or switch carriers for extra savings. You’ll only pay for the miles you drive, and you’ll still have all the coverage you need.

Guide to finding the best car insurance for you

There’s a lot to know about the car and insurance industries to fully understand how auto insurance works, but we don’t want to bore you with a long history lesson. Here’s what you need to know to help make a well-informed decision about your car insurance.

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What makes the best auto insurance companies?

The best auto insurance companies give policyholders flexibility, affordability and simplicity from beginning to end. Whether it’s getting a free quote, paying a monthly premium or filing a claim, today’s top picks are giving customers what they need when they need it most. 

Coverage options 

Start by looking at a provider’s coverage options. You’ll want an insurer with a number of policies and coverage options to meet your needs. Ask your agent what types of car insurance they offer and if any add-ons are available, including rental car coverage and Roadside Assistance. Many insurers will offer a few options including collision, personal injury and gap coverage. 

Customer service 

Switching insurance providers isn’t all about rates. Service matters just as much, if not more. After all, you’ll be working closely with an agent to handle your policy, claims and any other concerns. Take a look at your agent’s BBB rating or J.D. Power rating to see what other customers think, and to weigh any pros and cons. You can also give your agent a call for a first-hand customer service experience to ask about claims, coverage, rates and more. 

Rates 

Your auto insurance shouldn’t break the bank. Shop around for the most affordable rates by speaking with agents and getting free quotes online. Be careful when aiming for the lowest rates, though. Cheaper coverage doesn’t always mean it’s the best. You may pay a low monthly price, but the policy could lack the coverage options you need. Make a list of necessary coverages and find the most affordable rate for your needs. 

Once you’ve found a premium you’re comfortable with, give the agent a call to get more information on discounts and other ways to lower the cost. You may save money on your rate by bundling home insurance, driving safely or taking a driver’s safety course. 

Consider these factors when shopping for car insurance

Check your state requirements: not every state is the same

In nearly all states, drivers are required by law to carry some form of car insurance or proof of financial responsibility. Every state has requirements for the level of insurance and the minimum amount of coverage each driver must have. Use the Insurance Information Institute’s guide to determine the insurance requirements for your state.

After you’ve found what’s the minimum amount of insurance required for your state, you should know if you live in a no-fault or fault state. If you live in a no-fault state, regardless of if an accident is your fault, collision damages and medical expenses will be covered by your insurance company.

We’ve researched state requirements and the best carriers across all 50 states:

What is an at-fault state?

There are two kinds of state laws when it comes to establishing fault in an accident:

  • No-fault state — This means that drivers only assume responsibility for their own injuries and damages. No-fault state drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to ensure that you have the adequate coverage to pay for medical expenses from an accident.
  • At-fault state — Also known as a tort state, this means that the person responsible for the accident pays for all of the damages associated with that accident, including the other driver’s expenses.

Choose the right amount of coverage for you: Full coverage vs minimum

Full coverage annual rates are significantly higher than minimum coverage rates. But an inclusive car insurance policy isn’t something you should opt out of just to save money— especially if there’s a collision. Full coverage pays for damages to your car caused by an accident, while the state minimum, also known as liability insurance, will cover damages you cause to other people and their car while driving.

Even though a cheaper monthly premium might seem attractive, having more than the imposed state minimum will ensure that you’ll pay less out-of-pocket in case there’s an accident.

For example, in a major car accident, an individual’s medical expenses are likely to exceed $15,000, yet that’s the minimum liability limit in some states. When shopping for liability insurance, it’s a good idea to choose a coverage that will exceed what you might need.

While different states will require different types of coverage, the most basic auto insurance policies are bodily injury liability, personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability. There are additional coverage options as well, which typically cover things like pet injuries or new car replacement costs, among other expenses. Some examples include:

Understand your deductible and how it affects your premium

Most coverage options will have a deductible –– the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket towards a covered loss before your insurance policy will step in. Collision, comprehensive and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will all have a deductible.

While you shouldn’t opt out of coverage options just to save money, there are times it just doesn’t make sense to have the extra coverage. A classic example is collision coverage. If your car’s value is too close to the deductible, you probably won’t get reimbursed from your insurance company after a loss.

Let’s say your car is worth $1,000 and your deductible is $1,000. If you get into an accident and your car sustains $800 worth of damage, you wouldn’t get an insurance payout because your deductible would cover the entire cost. It’s always important to determine which types of coverage make sense for you, but especially if you have an older car that’s low in value.

How to save money on car insurance

Now that we’ve laid out the most important aspects that you should know about car insurance, here are some tips on how to save money on your car insurance policy.

1. Compare car insurance quotes

Risk isn’t the only factor that car insurance companies use to calculate your rate. Many insurers also use “price optimization,” meaning they set rates based on how much customers are willing to pay.

Large insurance companies analyze an enormous amount of customers’ personal data, such as social media posts, credit scores and even your online shopping habits. Then, they run the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around or just renew your existing policy each year. Shopping around every year or two is the best way to avoid this practice and it will help you find the cheapest car insurance options. For most car insurance companies, getting a quote is an easy, online process that you can do in minutes. You’ll just need to provide information like your address, vehicle information and driving history.

[ For You: Understanding Auto Insurance Quotes ]

Shopping around every year or two is the best way to avoid this practice and it will help you find the cheapest car insurance options. For most car insurance companies, getting a quote is an easy, online process that you can do in minutes. You’ll just need to provide information like your address, vehicle information and driving history.

2. Raise your deductible

A higher deductible means a lower monthly cost. It’s a better budget option but know that if you get into an accident, you’ll have a steeper up-front cost to pay for the damages.

3. Raise your credit score

A good credit score saves you money on just about every monthly service or bill and car insurance is no exception. If you focus on improving your credit score first, you’ll save hundreds and thousands of dollars on your annual premium. Look for ways to improve your credit score ahead of shopping.

4. Ask for discounts

If you want a policy with a lot of additional coverage, the end price can feel a little overwhelming. Especially when you consider car insurance isn’t something you’re actively using every day. Capitalizing on the discounts providers offer is one way to ease that financial burden. When you’re shopping around, look for discounts that tailor to your needs. Here are some of the common discounts offered by most providers:

  • Defensive driving discount
  • Good driver discount
  • Low mileage discount
  • Safe driver discount
  • Multi-driver or multi-policy discount
  • Student discount

5. Bundle your insurance

Do you pay separate companies or have separate policies for your renters, home or motorcycle insurance? Renter + auto discounts and home + auto discounts are common. Ask your insurance provider if there is a chance you could be saving money each month by bundling separate insurance.

Car insurance FAQs

Non-owner car insurance policies protect you if you are in an accident that damages someone else’s car while driving it. It’s a lot cheaper than a regular car insurance policy and many of the best car insurance carriers offer this type of coverage.

The amount you pay for car insurance depends on the coverage you choose, where you live and other demographic data. We found that the average cost of car insurance for a full coverage policy is about $130 per month, while a policy that just requires the state minimum coverage is under $100. If you are paying more than the $130 monthly premium, it’s worth shopping around for other car insurance companies or asking your current insurer why your rates are so high.

Regional providers often outshine nationwide options because they have fewer customers, allowing them to dedicate more time to each policyholder. So if customer service and the availability of representatives is important to you, a regional option may be best for you.
However, because regional insurance providers have fewer customers, they also tend to have more expensive premiums and fewer discounts.

Your car insurance coverage extends to a rental car within the U.S. If you’re planning to rent a car overseas, your credit card may provide coverage. If not, you may need to buy additional insurance from the rental agency.

After an accident, regardless of if you are at fault, you need to file a claim with your car insurance company. After the claims process, you will be able to get your car fixed and still keep your current car insurance.

However, your car insurance monthly premium will likely go up after an accident. The amount depends on the type of claim or driving incident.

In most states, car insurance is required by law. Not having coverage can result in license suspension and fines. But even if your state doesn’t require car insurance, you could be left with hefty car repair fees and medical bills to cover if you’re found at fault in an accident.

Ask the Experts

  • Ben ReynoldsBen Reynolds

    Ben Reynolds

    CEO and Founder

  • John DeichlJohn Deichl

    John Deichl

    General Manager

Can a policy become more expensive over time?

Your policy could become more expensive, especially as your career or financial situation changes, your risk of an accident or auto theft could increase your insurance rates. Missing loan payments could indirectly affect your rates since it will lower your credit score and car insurance companies significantly consider credit scores when determining your rates.

Can certain jobs affect my coverage?

Specific job titles can also affect your rates since being in a profession where you could be more distracted while driving can make you a more risky driver. Every provider will analyze this differently since being on the road more could significantly impact your car insurance rates even when your occupation is perceived as more responsible. 

Can I drive for Uber/Lyft using my personal car insurance?

No. Rideshare insurance is a hybrid policy that includes coverage for personal auto use and when drivers are signed in a ridesharing app, but not covered by the company’s insurance. Drivers for on-demand delivery companies should also have rideshare insurance to avoid a coverage gap.

Do I need to compare auto insurance rates if I move out of state?

When moving out of state, you will need an entirely new policy. The new rates will be determined by many factors including the zip code. You should also check whether your new state is no-fault, meaning your insurance company would pay for your injuries and related expenses after an accident, no matter who was responsible. Also, the party at fault could still be sued for injuries over a certain threshold. No-fault states require you to have personal injury protection insurance to cover you after an accident.

How much can someone really save by comparing rates?

You can potentially save hundreds of dollars by comparing your rates. It’s recommended that you shop every two to three years to compare the rates offered by your current insurance provider with other providers to properly assess your rate. 

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the car insurance companies we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

If you’ve been denied coverage by private insurance companies due to past driving incidents, there are state assistance programs that can provide proper coverage and keep you safe from high bills or driving illegally. A handful of states have government-sponsored programs to help low-income families afford cheap full coverage car insurance. Hawaii, California, Maryland and New Jersey offer government-sponsored car insurance for low-income individuals. 

Usage-based car insurance (UBI) is determined based on your driving behaviors and miles driven. Powered by vehicle installed devices, plug-in devices, or even mobile apps, this type of insurance allows the carrier to monitor your driving habits and best align your premium with your actions while behind the wheel. Carriers such as Progressive and Allstate offer these programs.

If you are considered high risk to insure, it might be helpful to hire an independent insurance agent to find the best deal for you across multiple companies.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are struggling to pay monthly bills. You are not alone. There are some companies offering support, delayed payments and discounts to help.

Don’t give up! There are multiple ways to get car insurance if private companies are offering high rates or don’t have a policy available. 

Source: thesimpledollar.com

What’s the Average Cost of Car Insurance in the U.S.?

When it comes to shopping around for car insurance, it can be difficult to figure out the pricing structure. Part of the issue is that the price varies significantly by where you live, the minimum coverage requirements and a number of other factors. 

Your auto policy and the premium will also depend on such factors as age; car year, make and model; driving record; and gender, which we get into more later.

The average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,758 per year, which works out to about $146.50 per month. In Florida, the average monthly cost is 29% higher than the national average. A car insurance policy in Alaska, on the other hand, will cost you much less on average, at just $77.88 per month. Even ZIP codes in the same town can differ.

This means that your insurance premium and the premium of your friend living across town will likely be quite different.

With all those factors, how do you know what to expect when it comes to the cost of auto insurance? Well, we’ve got your back. We’ll go into how much auto insurance costs by state and by insurance provider, dive into the other factors, and talk about what you can do to save money on auto insurance.

Research Methodology

The Simple Dollar analyzed millions of car insurance rates in every U.S. ZIP code to determine the average cost by state, carrier, coverage amount, credit score, and other factors from Coverage.com. This includes analyzing thousands of rates from all 50 states that were publicly sourced from 2019 insurer filings. Rates are based on a 30-year-old male or female that had a clean driving record, and we looked at those who had both good and poor credit. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but your own quote may differ based on your unique driving profile.

In this article

What decides the cost of auto insurance?

Here, we’ll get into details about factors that decide the cost of your car insurance. They can be:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Where you live
  • The car you drive
  • Your driving history
  • Education level
  • Profession
  • How long you’ve been driving
  • Your credit score
  • Your driving habits
  • The amount of coverage you choose
  • The type of coverage you choose

[Read: The Simple Guide to Car Insurance]

1. Why does where I live affect the cost of car insurance?

Car insurance rates vary dramatically by state and even ZIP code.

Let’s look at Louisiana. That state offers the most expensive rates for full coverage, with an average annual rate of $3,279.18. One of the reasons why car insurance is so expensive in Louisiana is because the state has one of the highest accident rates. The number of fatal accidents and frequency of collisions in the state is significantly higher than the national average, which leads to higher auto insurance rates.  

State car insurance rates are also determined by the number of uninsured drivers on the road. This leads Florida to be the most expensive state for minimal coverage — 26.7% of drivers don’t have car insurance. Uninsured drivers create more risk and ultimately increase the price of insurance for everyone.

Most expensive full and minimum coverage costs per state

State (Full coverage cost) Average Full Coverage Cost Average Full Coverage Monthly Cost State (Minimum coverage cost) Average Min. Coverage Cost Average Min. Coverage Monthly Cost
1. Louisiana $3,279 $273 1. Florida $1,544 $129
2. Florida $3,289 $266 2. Michigan $1,525 $127
3. Maryland $3,079 $257 3. Maryland $1,489 $124
4. Michigan $2,730 $227 4. Louisiana $1,488 $124
5. New York $2,609 $217 5. Rhode Island $1,445 $120
6. Pennsylvania $2,493 $208 6. Connecticut $1,309 $109
7. New Jersey $2,471 $206 7. New York $1,245 $104
8. California $2,417 $201 8. New Jersey $1,162 $97
9. Rhode Island $2,394 $200 9. Delaware $1,017 $85
10. Colorado $2,346 $196 10. Nevada $989 $82

Which states have the cheapest car insurance?

At an average premium of just over $300 each year, Iowa drivers pay the least amount for minimal coverage –– by a significant amount. Iowa’s low population density is one of the main reasons costs are so low. The majority of the state is made up of “dense rural” areas, rather than urban areas. With fewer drivers on the road, there is less risk of accidents overall.

Cheapest full and minimum coverage cost per state

State (Full coverage rank) Average Full Coverage Cost Average Full Coverage Monthly Cost State (Minimum Coverage rank) Average Min. Coverage Cost Average Min. Coverage Monthly Cost
1. Idaho $1,094 $91 1. Iowa $306 $26
2. Maine $1,242 $103 2. South Dakota $382 $32
3. Hawaii $1,264 $105 3. North Dakota $390 $32
4. Iowa $1,275 $106 4. Wyoming $393 $33
5. Vermont $1,366 $114 5. Nebraska $412 $34
6. Ohio $1,397 $116 6. Idaho $429 $36
7. Nebraska $1,397 $116 7. Hawaii $439 $37
8. North Carolina $1,417 $118 8. Montana $441 $37
9. North Dakota $1,419 $118 9. Ohio $462 $38
10. New Hampshire $1,487 $124 10. North Carolina $482 $40

2. What are my choices of insurance coverage and which are more expensive?

Though every state sets its own regulations, there is a minimum amount of insurance you must carry in each of the 48 states that require car insurance. (New Hampshire and Virginia don’t require insurance.) You can choose to carry higher limits, which will result in a higher premium.

What type of auto insurance coverage should I choose?

You can also choose to add collision and/or comprehensive coverage to your policy to create “full coverage.” While minimum coverage only protects you against liability claims from others, full coverage also protects your vehicle. Collision coverage, as the name suggests, protects your vehicle when it collides with another vehicle, building or other objects. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle in non-collision incidents, such as theft or a natural disaster. 

Not everyone needs full coverage. Here are some things to consider if full coverage is right for you:

  • Older vehicles may not need full coverage since the deductible could be higher than the value of the car.
  • Full coverage may not be worth it if you rarely drive and have little to no history of accidents.
  • If you have a lease or a car loan, check with your lender. You may be required to maintain full coverage.

Your policy limits and deductible will fine-tune your car insurance costs, whether you choose minimum or full coverage. The policy limits are how much the insurance company will pay for each type of incident. The deductible is how much you are responsible for paying before the insurance company starts to pay.

Should I choose minimum coverage vs. full coverage?

Minimum coverage car insurance differs in every state, but it usually includes: bodily injury, liability coverage and property damage liability coverage at a minimum. This is the cheapest coverage you can buy, and you can’t legally carry less than the minimum amount.

Full coverage car insurance, on the other hand, is more expensive because it offers significantly more protection. However, it’s worth the added cost. If you settle for the state’s minimum insurance requirements, you run the risk of being underinsured.

Full coverage car insurance usually includes:

You will see coverage amounts listed as three numbers separated by slashes, such as 30/50/30. These numbers represent, in order, bodily injury liability per person, bodily injury liability per accident and property damage liability per accident, in thousands of dollars. So 30/50/30 insurance covers $30,000 of bodily injury per person, $50,000 of bodily injury per accident and $30,000 of property damage per accident.

Drivers can also elect to purchase additional coverage for things like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and accident forgiveness.

If you get into a costly accident, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have enough coverage to pay for the full extent of the damages. In that case, you would be financially responsible for paying the difference, which would come out-of-pocket.

3. Can my credit score impact the cost of car insurance?

Your credit score can have a massive impact on your car insurance rates, regardless of other factors. Only three states — California, Hawaii and Massachusetts — ban insurers from factoring in credit score, while in many states your rates could more than double if your credit is poor.

Car insurance cost: poor credit vs. good credit

Carrier Good Credit Full Coverage Average Cost Poor Credit Full Coverage Average Cost Difference
Allstate $2,457.21 $3,528.41 $1,071.19
American Family $1,728.63 $2,897.22 $1,168.59
Farmers $1,534.08 $2,560.31 $1,026.23
Geico $1,336.58 $2,197.10 $860.52
Nationwide $1,379.07 $1,931.89 $552.82
Progressive $1,915.07 $2,976.39 $1,061.32
State Farm $1,902.69 $2,701.59 $798.90
Travelers $1,952.91 $2,635.82 $682.91
USAA $1,178.28 $3,486.49 $2,308.21
Average Difference     $1,058.96

4. Do my age and gender affect the cost of auto insurance?

In a word, yes. Even your basic demographics can have a strong impact on your car insurance costs. Most (though not all) states allow drivers to be rated based on:

  • Age: Younger drivers and those over the age of 75 generally pay more.
  • Gender: Among drivers under age 25, men typically pay more than women — this discrepancy tends to go away for more experienced drivers.
  • Marital status: Married people are considered lower risk, and thus tend to pay less for car insurance.

5. Can my type of car affect the cost of my insurance?

Which car you choose can have a surprisingly big effect on your insurance rates.

Less expensive to insure

  • Big vehicles
  • Family vehicles such as SUVs or sedans

More expensive to insure

  • Small cars
  • Sports cars, especially those that are considered high-performance

6. How can my driving history affect the cost of auto insurance?

As you might expect, insurance companies don’t particularly like paying claims. So if your driving history is poor, you can expect higher premiums. In order of costliness, some things that could raise your rates include:

7. Do auto insurance companies care about my driving habits?

Statistically, the more you drive, the more likely you are to get into an accident. Likewise, parking on the street is more likely to result in damage than parking in your own garage. To save money on car insurance, consider:

  • Taking public transportation to work
  • Reducing your commute
  • Carpooling
  • Paying for off-street parking

8. How does the car insurance company I choose affect my cost of auto insurance?

Of course, all insurance carriers are free to set their own prices. Some carriers offer discounts for which you might qualify, such as safe driving bonuses or discounts for military families, and some may rate your particular risk level lower than others. So it always pays to shop around.

As you can see below, most major car insurance providers are in the same ballpark for rates, but there are some clear outliers. You’ll get the most expensive full coverage auto insurance premium from Allstate, and the most affordable from USAA.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Travelers offered the most expensive minimum coverage rate of $815.41, and USAA offers the cheapest rate by far – just $487.04 each year. This makes USAA seem like the obvious choice, but USAA doesn’t provide coverage to just anyone — it has strict military and immediate family restrictions.

Carrier Full Coverage Average Cost Full Coverage Monthly Cost Minimum Coverage Average Cost Minimum Coverage Monthly Cost
Allstate $2,457.21 $205 $800.53 $67
American Family $1,728.63 $144 $813.48 $68
Farmers $1,534.08 $128 $614.64 $51
Geico $1,336.58 $111 $568.88 $47
Nationwide $1,379.07 $115 $830.00 $69
Progressive $1,915.07 $160 $742.80 $62
State Farm $1,902.69 $159 $801.81 $67
Travelers $1,952.91 $163 $815.41 $68
USAA $1,178.28 $98 $487.04 $41

How can I save on car insurance?

There are a few tricks for saving on auto insurance, including lowering the amount you drive, improving your credit score, and of course, driving more safely. You can also get a host of discounts, depending on your choice in insurance provider.

To get the best deal for your circumstances, conduct a car insurance comparison.

Different insurers offer different discounts. Insurers like Geico, State Farm and Progressive are frequently recognized for having cheaper car insurance rates.

Common discounts include:

  • Good student savings
  • Certain organization membership
  • Active duty military
  • Bundling other policies with the same company
  • Driving a low-risk car
  • Infrequent driving
  • Having a good credit score

Boost your credit score

Taking the steps to improve your credit score is a powerful way to save money on your car insurance. As an added bonus, it will help reduce costs in other areas like credit card APRs. Start by paying all of your bills on time, checking your credit report for errors and keeping your credit card balances low. Remember, improving your credit score is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take some months to see your score increase.

[Read: Car Insurance Rates Are Up – Here Are Eight Ways to Get Yours Back Down]

Car insurance cost FAQs

It varies by state, but in general, you can expect to need coverage for bodily injury liability, property damage liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. States like New Hampshire don’t require car insurance, though additional requirements are in place.

It depends on a few factors. You should consider the likelihood of your car being damaged (based on your area, your vehicle’s age and similar factors) and your ability to pay for repairs if damages were to occur. Also think about how often you drive. From the start, driving more will put you at a higher risk for an accident.

After an at-fault accident, you can expect to see a 42% rise in your premium, according to data from InsuranceQuotes and Quadrant Information Services. Unfortunately, these rates were measured from people with relatively clean driving histories. If you have a less-than-perfect record, you may be subject to even higher premium increases. How much your rate will increase will depend on the claim type, if you were at fault, your carrier and what state the accident took place in.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the car insurance we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com