EverQuote Can Help You Pay Final Expenses for as Low as $26/Mo

Did you know it can cost $7,000 to $15,000 to cover funeral costs and other final expenses? Your loved ones shouldn’t have to pay thousands out of their own pockets to cover outstanding credit card debt, medical bills and memorial services.

If you’re between the ages of 50 and 85, there’s an answer for this: a final expense life insurance policy. These policies pay out to your beneficiaries in just a few days, so don’t try to cover those expenses in your last will and testament. Wills take weeks or months to fully settle.

Getting life insurance used to be complicated and time-consuming, but thanks to websites like EverQuote, it’s easier and more affordable than ever. You’ll be able to quickly see all of your life insurance options at once, helping you make the best choice.

No in-person medical exam is necessary. Final expense policies range from $5,000 to $30,000 in value. You could get $10,000 in coverage for as little as $26.08 per month.*

There are no hidden fees and no monthly payment increases. As long as you make your payments on time, your coverage can’t be canceled or reduced in value.

Get Up to $1M in Life Insurance Coverage

EverQuote is an online marketplace that helps people find life insurance. Do you need term life, whole life or final expense coverage? EverQuote will walk you through the process to find the right amount of coverage for you.

Even if you think you don’t qualify for life insurance, EverQuote can help find a policy for you. They’ve already helped more than 5 million people figure it out.

You’ll need to fill out a pretty detailed form, but it’s all important information to make sure you get the most accurate quote. Do you smoke? Are you an avid sky-diver? Once you answer these questions, you’ll be connected to a licensed insurance agent, who will find the coverage that makes the most sense for you.

You can leave your family up to $1 million in term life insurance, and rates start as low as $7 a month**. So whether you need it for 10 years, 30 years or your whole life, EverQuote can find the right policy for you and your budget. Get started here — it just takes a few minutes.

*Rate for final expense coverage is for a 50-year-old non-smoking woman.

**Rate for term life insurance is for a 30-year-old non-smoking woman.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How to avoid or remove PMI

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) has been around for more than 60 years, helping make mortgages more affordable for buyers who can’t afford a 20 percent down payment. Loans with PMI certificates have often accounted for a decent percentage of mortgages issued each year. In fact, in 2019, that number was just below 40 percent.

But PMI does add an expense to your home loan, and you likely want to sidestep it if possible. Find out below if you can avoid PMI, or learn how to remove PMI if you’re already paying it.

What is PMI?

PMI is insurance, but don’t get it confused with homeowner’s insurance—that’s a different product you might need to pay for. PMI is insurance for the lender. It’s meant to be a fail-safe to help a lender recover losses if you default on the loan.

Lenders require that you purchase PMI in cases where you aren’t putting at least 20 percent down on your home. Most commonly, you pay PMI as part of your monthly mortgage payment. In rarer cases, you might pay all of the PMI as a lump sum when you close on the home or pay a partial lump sum and pay the rest in your monthly mortgage payments.

Regardless of how you pay, PMI can be an expensive addition to your mortgage. It’s important to note, however, that PMI works differently with FHA loans and certain other government-backed loans. For example, FHA loans have MIP, which is a mortgage insurance premium, instead of PMI.

What factors affect the cost of my PMI?

According to Freddie Mac, PMI can cost on average between $30 and $70 extra per month for every $100,000 you borrow. So, if you’re borrowing $200,000 for 30 years and you pay PMI for half of that term, you could pay between $60 and $140 per month for 15 years—or 180 months. That’s between $10,800 and $25,200 added to your mortgage.

The exact amount you pay for PMI depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Size of down payment (the more you pay up front, the less risk there is to the lender because the home has some equity—or profitability—built in)
  • Credit score (the higher your score, the less risky of a borrower you appear to lenders)
  • Loan appreciation potential
  • Borrower occupancy
  • Loan type

How can I avoid PMI?

In today’s mortgage market, it can be difficult to steer clear of PMI altogether. But here are some things you can do, depending on your situation, to avoid this expense.

Make a 20 percent down payment

If you can make a 20 percent down payment, you typically avoid PMI. That’s because PMI kicks in when you owe more than 78 to 80 percent of the value of the home. Assuming the home you’re purchasing is priced at or below its appraisal value, paying 20 percent up front automatically gets you enough equity to not need to pay for PMI.

Get a VA loan

VA loans don’t require a down payment at all, and no matter what, they don’t come with PMI. These loans are reserved for qualifying veterans and their eligible beneficiaries.

Get a piggyback loan

A piggyback loan is a second mortgage or home equity line of credit that you take out at the same time you take out your first mortgage. You use the piggyback loan to fund all or part of your down payment so you can meet the 20 percent requirement. If you consider this option, make sure to do the math to determine which saves you the most money: paying PMI or paying the interest on the second mortgage.

Request lender-paid mortgage insurance

In some cases, the lender might be willing to take on the burden of the PMI cost. They would do so through lender-paid mortgage insurance, or LPMI. Typically, the lender charges a higher rate of interest in exchange for this favor. Again, it’s important to do the math to find out which one is in your best interest.

How can I remove PMI once I have it?

As a homeowner, you have some options for removing PMI once you have it. You can take some of the actions summarized below, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes that you must also meet four criteria to protect your right. Those are:

  • Asking for the PMI cancellation in writing
  • Being up to date on payments and having a generally solid payment history
  • Certifying, if required, that there are no other liens on your mortgage
  • Providing evidence, if required, that the property value has not fallen below the original value of the home when you purchased it

If you can fulfill these criteria, here are some ways you can cancel your PMI.

Get enough equity in your home

The PMI Cancellation Act, or Homeowners Protection Act, mandates PMI cancellation when your principal mortgage balance reaches 78 percent of the value of the property (or you can also think of it as you reaching 22 percent equity). At that point, lenders must remove PMI. If you want, you can ask for PMI cancellation as soon as you reach 20 percent equity, but lenders aren’t required to remove PMI at that point.

Lenders are also required to tell you when you will reach the point of PMI cancellation if you continue to pay on your loan as agreed. You can calculate where you are in the process at any time by taking your current loan balance and dividing it by the amount the property originally appraised for. For example, if you owe $170,000 and the property appraised for $200,000, you are at 85 percent.

Get halfway through your mortgage term

Values can rise and fall, but you’re not stuck with PMI forever. Lenders must remove PMI when you’re halfway through your mortgage regardless of values. So, if you have a 30-year loan, your PMI should be canceled at the 15-year mark.

Refinance your mortgage

Another way to remove PMI is to remove your mortgage altogether. If you can arrange it so you meet the 78 percent value requirement on a new mortgage, you avoid PMI.

Get a reappraisal

Perhaps your home has gone up in value substantially and you owe much less than 80 percent of the current value. If you can demonstrate this, the lender may remove PMI because there’s less risk involved with the loan.

Remodel your home

If your home hasn’t gone up in value on its own, you might be able to add value with a remodel. Certain types of remodels, such as kitchen upgrades, could add enough value to impact the loan-to-value ratio so you don’t need PMI anymore.

Getting rid of PMI can be a great way to save money on your mortgage, but always remember to follow good personal financial management. Look at all your options and run the numbers to ensure you’re not spending more than you would save. If you’re already considering a home remodel, tossing PMI to the curb is a great perk. But you might not want to put in $30,000 worth of remodel costs just to save $10,000 in PMI, for example.

Finally, while you’re dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on your mortgage expenses, make sure you don’t lose track of other financial matters. Keep an eye on your credit report, and if you find something that looks wrong, consider working with Lexington Law on credit repair.

Reviewed by Vince R. Mayr, Supervising Attorney of Bankruptcies at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Vince has considerable expertise in the field of bankruptcy law. He has represented clients in more than 3,000 bankruptcy matters under chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Vince earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Government from the University of Maryland. His Masters of Public Administration degree was earned from Golden Gate University School of Public Administration. His Juris Doctor was earned at Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California. Vince is licensed to practice law in Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. He is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

7 Ways to Utilize Your Life Insurance Policy’s Cash Value

Permanent life insurance policies—like universal, variable and whole life—offer more than a death benefit. Some include cash value, which is a pool of money you can use while still alive. 

If you’ve had a policy for years, the cash value could be considerable. “The accumulation could be more than you put in, and this opens up all kinds of options,” says Jonathan Howard, a certified financial planner with SeaCure Advisors in Lexington, Ky. 

The cash value in permanent life insurance is your money, to be tapped as needed, but your options for doing so will depend on the type of policy and the carrier. Before doing anything, ask the insurer how much you can safely withdraw per year based on the cash value balance and policy terms. If you withdraw too much too early, the policy’s cash value could run out, forcing you to start paying more in premiums or have the coverage lapse.

If you no longer need coverage, it might be tempting to stop the policy and cash out all at once, but consider the tax ramifications, says Luke Chapman, a partner with Precision Wealth Partners in New Castle, Del. Any cash value growth above what you paid in premiums is taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn. For example, if you paid in $20,000, have $100,000 in cash value and withdraw the difference, the $80,000 of growth is taxable.

There are better ways to put that cash value to work that won’t ramp up your tax bill.

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Live Off of It

A man stacking coins.A man stacking coins.

A more tax-effective option is to withdraw only what you need each year. Howard recommends keeping some money for an emergency fund, perhaps 12 months of expenses, with the rest used to supplement your retirement income. Withdrawals draw down the tax-free premium payments first; taxes are owed only after you start withdrawing the gains.

2 of 7

Borrow Money

A person ready to sign some documents to take out a loan. A person ready to sign some documents to take out a loan.

You can also tap the cash value through a policy loan. You won’t owe taxes for withdrawing gains this way. Plus, you’ll have the option to repay the money, whereas you can’t reverse withdrawals. If the money is not repaid, the death benefit will cover the loan balance when you pass away.

The insurer will charge interest for the loan. “The interest rate is determined by the policy contract and is carrier specific,” says Howard. “It’s typically 4% to 8% a year.” Policy loan rates don’t usually change with market conditions, he says, so don’t expect a deal today just because overall interest rates are low. Your remaining cash value can be used to pay the interest.

3 of 7

Exchange It for an Annuity

Concept art with several people looking at charts and graphs. Concept art with several people looking at charts and graphs.

The IRS lets you swap your permanent life insurance for an annuity through a 1035 exchange, which is a tax-free transfer of one contract for another. This move can generate more retirement income. “Let’s say the max payout stream from a cash value insurance policy is $10,000 a year. Converting to an annuity might generate $12,500,” Chapman says. An annuity could also guarantee the payments will last your entire life, but you will be canceling your life insurance policy, a move that can’t be reversed.

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Convert to a New Policy to Pay for Long-Term Care

A nurse helps a woman at a nursing home.A nurse helps a woman at a nursing home.

If you’d like coverage for long-term care, consider converting your life insurance into another policy with a long-term care rider (if yours doesn’t have it already). You keep your life insurance, but part of the death benefit can be used to pay for long-term care expenses.

5 of 7

Use It as Collateral

A couple sitting in front of a house.A couple sitting in front of a house.

The cash value is an asset that increases your chances of qualifying for a loan or mortgage from a lender. It can even serve as the loan’s collateral, but Chapman warns to structure the deal carefully, as there can be tax consequences. Always ask an insurance expert before using cash value this way.

6 of 7

Tap It to Pay for the Policy

Concept art showing a life insurance policy document and calculator.Concept art showing a life insurance policy document and calculator.

The cash value can also be used to cover your life insurance premiums.

7 of 7

Leave It Alone

A couple who are declining something while speaking with a man on a laptop. A couple who are declining something while speaking with a man on a laptop.

You aren’t forced to do anything with your cash value. Left alone, the cash value will continue to accumulate, leaving a larger inheritance for your heirs, as withdrawals and loans reduce the final death benefit.

Source: kiplinger.com

Here are 5 Ways 2021 Will Try to Rip You Off, and 5 Ways to Fight Back

So, 2020 was a really terrible year, am I right? This pandemic has stolen all kinds of things from us. It took millions of jobs, hundreds of thousands of American lives, and countless hours of in-classroom school instruction. It emptied our bank accounts and shredded our peace of mind.

How about 2021? Is 2021 coming for us, too?

When it comes to money, we’re firm believers that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Here are five ways 2021 will try to rip you off — and five ways to fight back.

1. Watch Out for Car Insurance Rate Hikes

Prices don’t normally go down. But in 2020, car insurance companies cut their rates because the market demanded it. Customers who were quarantined in their homes figured that, because they were driving so much less, they should be paying less.

Ah, but it’s a whole new year. And as Americans gravitate back to their old driving patterns, auto insurance rates are expected to climb back up, according to industry observers.

You don’t have to take that! That’s why 2021 will require you to shop around for car insurance like never before.

A free website called Savvy will help you find the best price — in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826 a year.

All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer.

If you find a better deal, you can switch right away and don’t have to wait for your next renewal or even your next payment.

2. Don’t Get Ripped Off While Shopping Online

The pandemic has changed how we shop, and that’s expected to carry over into 2021. More of us are shopping online now — including nearly 70% of Americans, according to a new NPR poll. Of those, more than 90% have bought something from Amazon.

Sure, it’ll be convenient to have boxes of stuff appear on your doorstep all through 2021. But no matter what you’re buying online, you may be paying too much for it. In many cases, there might be a better deal somewhere else. It just feels like a pain to look for it.

Wouldn’t it be useful to get an alert when you’re about to overpay? A polite little alert, not an obnoxious one. That’s exactly what this free service does. These free alerts can be added to your browser.

Before you check out on Amazon, Target or Best Buy, it’ll check other websites, including eBay, Walmart and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. It’ll even apply any available coupon codes to your order automatically.

So far, this free tool has saved users more than $160 million in the last year. You can get started in just a few minutes and see if you’re overpaying online.

3. Watch Out for Rising Food Prices

Some purchases are optional, but food isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, the price of food is expected to rise in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The USDA predicts that grocery prices will rise by at least 1% to 2%, and restaurant prices will rise by 2% to 3%. That may not seem like a lot. But over a whole year, that’s really going to add up.

We’ve got a way for you to get some of the money back. A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for any of hundreds of items at the grocery store. Right now, it’s even offering shoppers a $10 gift card when they spend $30 on dozens of Unilever products at the grocery store. You can do this five times, or up to $50.

Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just look for products branded with the Unilever “U.” Then take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the participating brands. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.

You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.

4. Don’t Overpay for a Mortgage

Housing prices these days are sky high, and they’re only going up so far in 2021.

The median price of homes sold in January 2021 was nearly $304,000, a 14% increase compared to January 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s the highest January price that the Realtors have ever recorded.

If you’re looking to buy a home in 2021, do everything you can to save money on your mortgage. A good credit score will make a big difference in how much interest you’ll pay on a mortgage or car loan. That could easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage.

Try using a free website called Credit Sesame. Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score and personalized tips to improve it. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.

5. Beware of Expensive Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is the most expensive kind of debt because of the high interest rates. Unfortunately, the pandemic and its shutdowns and its job losses have forced more Americans to fall back on their credit cards to pay their bills and pay for necessities like food. That’s carrying over into 2021.

Could you imagine waking up with no credit card debt? A free website called AmOne can help you wipe out your credit card debt even faster.

AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan to pay off all your credit cards at once. Its interest rates start at 3.99% — way lower than the 20% or more you’re probably paying your credit card company. That could save you thousands in the long run. Plus, you’ll be debt-free that much faster.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000.

In summary: Hopefully 2021 will be better than 2020. At the very least, you’re likely to get a COVID-19 vaccination at some point.

Just watch out for all the other ways that 2021 will try to rip you off.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After 2020, he’s scared of 2021.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How to Get Long-Term Care in Place for Aging Family Members

So your parents have smartly paid long-term care insurance premiums of a few hundred dollars a month for 15 years. Now they need help in their house and are ready to file a claim and reap the financial payback of their prudent planning.

The average cost of a home health aide in a retiree’s home was $24 an hour last year, and most providers have a minimum requirement of six hours a day. It’s more if two people are in the home, even if only one needs care. So it’s great to have the long-term care insurance reimbursement covering a sudden and ongoing expense.

But whether planning for yourself or your parents, there is a lot to learn about getting help in place and filing a claim to get reimbursement checks arriving in the mailbox. Here are some tips, warnings and suggestions for communicating with insurance companies, caregivers, doctors and retirees.

How To Get Long-Term Care In Place

Care Must Be in Place Before a Claim Is Filed

Plan to have enough money to pay for up to two months of care before any reimbursements start. This doesn’t mean you have to start with five days a week. A client can start with just a half day a week and get the care approved by the insurance company, then move up to more.

Caregivers Must Be Licensed

Insurance companies won’t reimburse the cost of Aunt Lucille or Anna who lives next door to help take care of your dad while you are at work if they aren’t licensed. This is why you usually have to find someone from an agency, who carries their own insurance through their employer.

There Are Minimum Hour Requirements to Fill

Many home health care companies have a minimum of at least four to six hours a day. A client may need help with bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom, all of which don’t take six hours. This takes some getting used to for clients, who may feel awkward having someone else in the house who doesn’t have a task.

As the client and caregiver get to know each other, the client will be open to more help. Laundry, grocery shopping and meal prep can be added to the “to-do” list. Many seniors develop different sleeping patterns, sleeping more during the day and less at night and creating a vicious cycle of fatigue. A caregiver can be at a client’s side reading, playing games on all cognitive levels or prompting storytelling so they are awake during the day and sleep better at night.

This is time well spent and worth the cost, especially when long-term care insurance pays for much of it.

Independent Living Usually Isn’t Covered

Even if someone moves to a facility that offers assisted living, most insurance companies won’t pay a dime. Say your parents moved there because they want to enjoy having meals prepared for them and the social activities of a long-term care facility. Long-term care insurance won’t cover services that are merely convenient, only those that are essential such as bathing, dressing and dispensing medications when a client can no longer do these on their own.

Start With a Doctor’s Referral

Most long-term insurers want to see a record of a doctor stating he or she believes the patient needs help from a caregiver.

Paula Werk, founder of HomeWerks Home Care in Raleigh, N.C. has found a doctor is often more persuasive with a senior than family members.

“Let the doctor be the bad guy. They can say they feel it’s safer for the patient to have some extra help,” she said. “Their opinion usually carries more weight and (is) less hurtful than coming from the children.”

Honesty is crucial in a medical evaluation. Once a client has care in place and files for reimbursement, the long-term care insurer will send a contracted nurse to evaluate the person and make sure they need the care they and their doctor are requesting.

“You need to have a talk with your parents (or whoever is filing the long-term insurance claim) and tell them this is not the time to be proud,” Werk said. “Even if they can just barely manage to do things on their own but it causes them pain or they are unsteady on their feet dressing or bathing, they need to tell the nurse they do need help.”

Advice for Couples When Only One Person Needs Care

Couples with varying abilities can get help if just one person needs more extensive care. In many situations a husband or wife is taking care of their spouse in terms of bathing, dressing, transporting, feeding and more. The spouse needing care still qualifies for long-term care reimbursement for a professional caregiver even if a spouse has been able to assist.

“Sometimes you have to convince one spouse that he or she is going to collapse or worse trying to take care of the other,” Werk said. “Having a caregiver come in will allow both of them to be in a better situation.”

Insurance companies will still cover that help even if a spouse or child is able to do it.

But be sure when filing invoices and daily care reports with the insurance company that only the name of the insured is on the documents. For example, it’s okay if the caregiver fixes a lunch both the husband and wife eat even if the wife isn’t the insured, because the majority of the work, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, etc. is for the husband.

Finding a New Normal with Caregiving 

Keep trying aides until the match is a good one. If you secure help through an agency, ask to have a couple of different aides come each week, whether you need seven days of care or two. If the senior doesn’t really “click” with them after a few weeks, ask to try two different helpers.

Agencies want their clients and employees to be happy and should be glad to work with you to find the best match, Werk said. It’s also good to try to have at least two familiar caregivers in case one becomes sick or has to miss from time to time.

Long-term care insurers are fine with this. It’s the agency that gets approved for coverage, not the individual caregiver.

Katherine Snow Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Cut Down These 5 Bills and Save $2,579

Bills, bills, bills. They never seem to end, do they? They take more and more out of your account each month before you even realize it.

You can’t escape them entirely (wouldn’t that be great?), but you can stop them from being so darn painful every month. All it takes is ending your loyalty to a few companies you currently use for bills and fees that come every month.

Trust us, they won’t miss you. And you definitely won’t miss them — especially when you realize how much money you’ve been needlessly throwing away every month.

1. Your Credit Card Bill: Save Up to 10x on Interest Payments

If you’re reading this, there’s a 50% chance you have credit card debt — nearly half of U.S. adults do. And if you don’t pay it off every month, you’re draining your bank account with unnecessary — and terribly high — interest payments.

And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to a whopping 36%! But a website called AmOne wants to help.

If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster.

With a $5,000 balance this month, that could be an extra $150 to your credit card company, or about $15 to a personal loan matched by AmOne. That’s $1,620 going down the drain every year.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.

2. Your Car Insurance Bill: Save $489/Year

When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?

You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.

A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.

Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $489 a year.

Yup. That could be nearly $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

3. Your Credit Monitoring Service: Cut $240 Down to $0

When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car.

But there’s no need to spend $19.99/month on a credit monitoring service, when you can get the same protection for $0.

So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.

Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.

4. Your Investment Broker: Never Pay Unnecessary Fees Again

Investing in the stock market is a great tool to grow your net worth. And for a while, it seemed like it was only available to the upper class — the people who didn’t mind paying up to $50 for each trade. What’s $50 when your investment broker is making you millions?

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, smartly investing in the market can sound totally out of reach.

But with an app called Stash, it doesn’t have to be. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.1

It takes two minutes to sign up, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2

Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.*

5. Your Banking Account: Skip the $15 Monthly Fees

The monthly fee your bank is charging you is a huge account-drainer. Especially because some banks charge when you don’t have enough money saved. We’re the people who need that $15 the most!

If you’re just looking for a place to safely stash it away but still earn money, a fancy account isn’t necessary. Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)

But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cash back and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.

Not too shabby!

Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash.

Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. 

***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.

1Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.

2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.

For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

*Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. 

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. 



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Solid Marks for Gabi Insurance Review

When it comes to my 401(k), daily alarm clock or, yes, even my rotisserie chicken, I’ve embraced the set-it-and-forget-it mantra. But for car insurance? You’re doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t shopping for better car insurance rates at least once a year.

That’s what makes tools like Gabi so helpful. In our Gabi insurance review, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of using an insurance comparison tool, instead of directly working with insurance agents, when shopping for new car insurance rates.

What Is Gabi Insurance?

Gabi Insurance is a newcomer to the insurance scene. The San Francisco insurance company was founded in 2016, four years after The Zebra (another car insurance comparison site that I had mixed feelings about; get the full scoop in my Zebra car insurance review). While Gabi is known primarily for its auto insurance quotes, users can also rely on Gabi to compare insurance providers for renters insurance, home insurance, condo insurance, landlord insurance and umbrella insurance. (I could not find an option for life insurance.)

Gabi is a fully licensed insurance broker in 50 states plus the District of Columbia, meaning they can underwrite, price and sell policies and handle claims. It also means that, when you generate quotes on the site, you can buy directly on the site. One of the issues with sites like The Zebra is that, after generating your auto insurance quote, you’d have to leave the site and go to the actual insurance company’s site to complete the process.

Gabi works with more than 40 top insurance agencies to help you find the best rate for your car(s), driving history and budget. Among those insurance companies are Nationwide, Travelers, Progressive, Clearcover and Safeco.

Gabi claims it saves drivers an average of $961 per year and can provide quotes in a matter of minutes. It’s time to test those promises.

How Gabi Works: A Review

Getting your Gabi insurance quotes can be relatively painless, depending on the route you take. You have three options:

  1. Don’t provide any of your current auto insurance information.
  2. Provide your car insurance login information.
  3. Upload a PDF of your current auto insurance policy.

Because I’m private by nature (and because I just had the pleasure of dealing with a fraudulent unemployment claim in my name), I was hesitant to provide any login information. I first tried to advance without providing any information, but as we’ll see, this doesn’t get you very far. Eventually, I uploaded a PDF of my policy.

To get a quote for Gabi insurance, you start here.
To get a quote, your journey to cheaper car insurance starts here.

Getting started is easy. First you’ll make your decision re: providing insurance information or not (more on that below). Then you’ll enter your name. (Like I did when reviewing The Zebra, I started the process with the very real, honest name of Joe Schmoe.)

This screenshot shows a portal where Gabi insurance asks what your email is. The reviewer typed in Joe Schmoe.
Mr. Schmoe as he signs up for car insurance quotes.

After providing your name, Gabi will ask for a handful of other contact info: birthday, address, whether you own or rent your home, email address and cell phone number. When asking for the email address, Gabi promises your information is never sold or shared. The Zebra says something similar, yet Geico conveniently sent an email to my inbox addressing me as Joe just minutes after I hit submit on The Zebra’s site.

Gabi Insurance asks for your email address in this screen shot.
Gabi says they won’t share or sell your info; thus far, they’ve held up their end of the bargain.

Contact update: As of two hours after creating my account, I have received one text and two emails from Gabi, but none from any third-party insurance providers. Could it be that Gabi is telling the truth when they say they won’t share or sell your data?

To Provide Insurance Info Or Not to Provide Insurance Info? That Is the Question

That’s what Hamlet said, right?

As I mentioned, in my first attempt at using Gabi’s car insurance comparison platform, I resisted their pleas for my personal info. “They don’t need to know anything about me to build a quote tailored to me,” I foolishly asserted.

But when I got to the magical part where Gabi was supposed to tell me I’m a schmuck who has been paying too much for auto insurance, I was instead given a list of common insurance companies, all with blue buttons that said “View My Quote.”

“Surely I must just click each and see a quote at the ready, despite the platform having no knowledge of my car, driving history or policy preferences,” I told myself. Oh, Joe Schmoe, what a fool you are.

Gabi Insurance shows various options that can help you save money in this screen shot.
When you don’t provide your current insurance policy to Gabi, this is the type of screen you can expect to see.

I quickly learned, upon clicking into Liberty Mutual, Allstate and Progressive, that giving Gabi such limited info meant the site would merely direct me to individual insurance companies to provide more detailed personal information to generate a quote.

That’s right: In that instance, Gabi serves no purpose, because you must start from scratch on every insurance company’s site to compare.

If you’re unwilling to provide either your login info for your current insurance company or a PDF of your auto insurance policy, then Gabi is not right for you.

In the name of research, I decided I was comfortable enough downloading a copy of my policy from Allstate and then uploading it into Gabi. While it does have some personal data within it, my email and password were still safe with me.

It took only a few seconds for the artificial intelligence on Gabi’s site to read my policy and tell me in intricate detail what those pages contained. (This is either really convenient for insurance shoppers or a warning sign that robots are just days away from taking over.)

From there, I was able to input more personal information about myself as a driver, my partner (who is also on my policy) and our car. I tried to remove my partner for a good five minutes just for kicks and eventually gave up. Later on, I learned if I had just waited a few more clicks, I would have had the option of toggling secondary drivers on and off. If Gabi had made that clear, it would have saved me time and frustration.

Actually generating my quotes did take about a minute, which is notably fast. However, I had just used The Zebra a few days before, and that experience was faster, so Gabi seemed slow by comparison.

The Car Insurance Quotes I Got from Gabi

I was pleasantly surprised to see a few insurance agencies whose names I recognized among my top results. And the savings were quite large.

Gabi provides more insurance companies that can help you save money.
My top auto insurance quotes from the Gabi insurance comparison platform.

My top quote came from Stillwater and would save me $622 a year. I was dubious upon seeing that, so I clicked into the “View Details” portion of the quote and did find some discrepancies. The largest: My property damage coverage dropped from $500,000 with my current policy to $100,000 with this potential new policy.

Still, the changes were so minor that it ultimately felt like a good deal. But buyer beware: You shouldn’t necessarily expect your current policy and quoted policy to be one-to-one. Go through and make sure all the coverages you want are still represented by the new policy.

Quotes two and three purported to save me $573 and $468 a year, respectively, but again, those quotes weren’t an apples-to-apples comparison with my current policy, as some of the coverages differed.

That said, all three quotes were large improvements over my current auto insurance. My current auto policy is bundled with my homeowners insurance and thus linked to my escrow, so I’ve got some calls to make, but I can safely say I will be using Gabi again soon to find a better bundled policy for auto insurance and home insurance.

What We Like About Gabi Insurance

Clearly, as someone who has just publicly stated he’ll be using Gabi to generate a real quote down the road, I’m a fan. Here’s some of what I liked about Gabi:

  • You don’t have to leave the site. If you find a quote you like, you are able to purchase the insurance on Gabi’s own platform, as long as you are in the United State, since Gabi is a fully licensed insurance broker.
  • It’s got an easy-to-read gauge during the process. It’s a small thing, but I can’t breeze past a good website UX when I see one. I found Gabi’s top-of-the-page tracker for percentage of completion to be a nice touch, especially for a site that is all about efficiency in generating a quote.
Gabi shows how far along you've made it in the process.
Gabi makes it easy to see how far along you are in the process.
  • Uploading my policy was easy. Assuming you want your new coverage at the same or similar levels you’re used to, you can get a quote in minutes by uploading your current policy.
  • You can bundle home insurance with auto insurance. I currently bundle my auto and home coverage, and I would like to continue. It’s convenient to have all my insurance policies in one app, and it earns me discounts.
  • I would legitimately save money. While I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, Gabi could deliver real savings over the course of a year from one of several different insurance companies. More than $600 for me; Gabi truly means it when they promise to find the best insurance company for your needs.

What We Don’t Like About Gabi Insurance

I may be a new Gabi fanboy, but that doesn’t mean I’m onboard with the entire experience. Here’s where I found the car insurance comparison platform fell short:

  • There isn’t an option to describe the policy you want. Gabi pushes you into a scenario where you have to hand over your current insurance account login information or uploading a copy of your policy. If you’re strict about who has access to your data, this could be problematic, as it’s the only way to get quotes to compare on the site.
  • It can sometimes take days. Though I did not provide my login information, some customers have complained that it could take up to two days (depending on the current insurance provider) for Gabi to get into the account and grab the relevant information. That takes the speed out of the process that is supposed to be a hallmark of Gabi.
  • The policies I was provided weren’t perfect matches for my current policy. And Gabi wasn’t upfront about this. I had to do some digging to realize that, by opting for the No. 1 policy choice, some of my coverages would be reduced.
  • They required my cell phone number. I understand needing my number if I decided to move forward with one of the policies, but for the general comparison purposes, I don’t think customers should have to input their numbers.

What Customers Are Saying About Gabi Insurance

Overall, I had favorable opinions of Gabi, but I wanted to see what other customers were saying about the company.

I started with Better Business Bureau and was actually shocked to see that, despite having a BBB rating of an A-, it has an average 1.77 out of 5 stars based on 22 customer reviews. Ouch.

Reviews on the Better Business Bureau website were largely around problems with the actual Gabi service, but some have said working with customer service is not a pleasant experience either, whether due to agent miscommunications or just generally slow customer service response time.

These poor customer reviews are notably absent on Gabi’s site, where it instead shows off its 4.8 out of 5 stars based on “third-party verified reviews” that are certainly not at all curated to paint a favorable picture.

Gabi does score well in terms of its mobile app. In the App Store, it currently has a 4.1 rating. I could not easily find it on Google Play.

The Bottom Line

So should you try Gabi? If you are actually ready to make the switch to a new car insurance provider and don’t mind a little leg work, absolutely. The Zebra is easier since you don’t have to relinquish your personal information, but I found The Zebra to be dishonest about its spam policy, frustrating to use and not really much of a money-saver. With Gabi, you’ll have to actually take the time to give the platform access to your current policy, but in doing so, big savings and an easy sign-up process could be on the horizon.

Timothy Moore is a market research editing and graphic design manager and a freelance writer and editor covering topics on personal finance, travel, careers, education, pet care and automotive. He has worked in the field since 2012 with publications like The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, WDW Magazine, Glassdoor and The News Wheel. 

Source: thepennyhoarder.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


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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


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


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

National carrier


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


  • 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

Understand the Type of Homeowners Insurance You Need

Privacy Policy
The cost to rebuild your house is not the same as your home’s market value. In most cases, the land your house sits on will still be there after a catastrophe, so you do not need to insure that value.
“People think that things can never happen to them and then they wish after the fact that they had taken a little more time and maybe gone for some of the coverages that they decided not to take,” Peterson said. “The biggest mistake people make is they try to save money on their policy iInstead of making sure that they’re covered properly.”
“If you don’t have a mortgage, you are not obligated to buy homeowners coverage and we think that’s a critical error that people make because unless you have a lot of money set aside, you’re going to have financial hit and you’re not going to be protected,” Friedlander explained.
“The risk of not having enough liability coverage is that you’re going to be on the hook for anything beyond your coverage,” Peterson warned.
To make sure all of your items are covered, Peterson recommended a separate personal articles policy to protect those pricey items.
Friedlander said actual cash value saves some money on premiums, but warns you will get less in the event of a major loss. Replacement cost coverage is about 10% more in premiums but you will get about 30 to 50% more when you file a claim.

Home Insurance Basics

To know how much coverage you need, you need to know what you own. Placing a value on your possessions is important.
“Homeowner’s coverage provides financial protection, that’s really what it’s all about,” said Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications at Insurance Information Institute in New York.

  • Damage to the interior or exterior of your house from a covered disaster. The types of disasters are listed in the policy. Usually if the specific event is not listed, it is probably not covered.
  • Contents of your home if damaged or destroyed in a covered event or if they are stolen.
  • Personal liability for damage or injuries caused by you, a family member, or pet.
  • Housing and other expenses while your home is repaired or rebuilt after a covered event.

You don’t need to figure out everything alone. A good insurance agent should be able guide you through the process of answering the question of how much homeowners insurance do I need.

  • Actual Cash Value: This covers the house (structure) plus the value of belongings inside with a deduction for depreciation. You will get paid for what the items are currently worth, not necessarily what you paid for them. This is the least expensive coverage.
  • Replacement Cost: This covers the house plus the value of belongings without depreciation. This coverage would allow you to rebuild or repair up to the original value of the home and policy coverage limits.
  • Guaranteed or Extended Replacement Value/Cost: This is the most expensive but most comprehensive of coverages and provides the best financial protection for you. It covers the cost to repair or rebuild even if more than the policy limit, usually with a ceiling of 20 to 25%. In addition to this, many policies have additional coverage you can buy that will cover the cost to comply with current building codes that may not have been around when the house was initially built.

The liability section of your homeowners policy covers bodily injury or damage that policyholders or their family members (including pets) cause to others.
So how much homeowners insurance do you need?
“The important thing is to do a home inventory and kind of assess what your valuables are and determine what the value of everything is so that you’re at the right level of protection.” Friedlander said.
“Most of the time the personal property coverage is a straight percentage of the dwelling coverage, typically, 70 to 75%,” Peterson said, adding that is usually enough to cover contents.
“You are preparing for the worst case scenario, not for a minor claim. You need to be prepared for a catastrophic loss,” Friedlander said. “That’s possible whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires. In virtually any part of the country you are living somewhere where you could sustain a catastrophic loss and lose your entire home.”

How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

“We find that a lot with insurance. People don’t want to pay for things until they have a problem and then they wish they had. People are nice until something happens.”
Policies generally cover:
If your dog bites your neighbor and sues you for medical care, this part of policy could cover you. If your child throws a ball and it accidentally breaks the neighbor’s window, this part of the policy could cover you. If your friend falls at your house on a chipped floor and sues you, this part of the policy could cover you.

A village is flooded from a hurricane in this aerial photo.
Getty Images

Rebuilding Cost

“We always recommend meeting with your insurance professional once a year. We call it an insurance checkup,” Friedlander said. “Review all your coverages and make sure you are protected.”
So don’t focus on what you paid for the house, it’s market value, how much you owe on your mortgage or the property tax assessment.
The Insurance Information Institute recommends at least 0,000 in coverage but many policies only include 0,000. The more assets you have, the more coverage you need.
Within each policy, there are basically three levels of coverage. This becomes important after a covered event when you begin to repair or rebuild.
Go room by room and consider taking photos or videos. Make sure to include things like:
“Most companies use a replacement cost calculator where we plug in the square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, all the features we can about the house,” Peterson explained. “It gives us a valuation based on the cost to rebuild and we base the coverage on that.”
Peterson said if you have something that could pose a risk to others like a pool or trampoline on your property, you need to be especially aware of the amount of liability coverage you have.
So how much home insurance coverage do you need to buy? There are many factors to consider.

Value of Possessions

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You do not need to include your cars in this property inventory because vehicles are not covered by homeowners policies even if they are parked in the garage.
Homeowners insurance protects your home and possessions against a variety of perils including damage or theft, and also natural disasters such as flood, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes.

  • Kitchenware
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Expensive valuables
  • Camping and sports equipment

Liability coverage will also pay for the cost of defending yourself in court and any court awards up to the limit of the policy.
“A lot of times, actual cash value policies are for homes that don’t qualify for replacement cost policies. They are not in as good of shape or have an older roof or something like that,” said Craig Peterson, an agency owner for American Family Insurance in Overland Park, Kansas. He usually recommends no less than replacement cost policies to his clients.
On most policies, there is often a limit on pricier items like jewelry, art, furs, silver, or electronics. So if a fire destroys your house and you lose ,000 worth of jewelry, your policy might only cover ,000 of that.
After a disaster, you want to make sure you can cover the costs of repairs or rebuilding.

Liability Coverage

There are also differences when it comes to paying things like additional living expenses, hotels, meals, etc., if your home is uninhabitable.
Peterson said it is important to make sure when you’re shopping for insurance that unique things that happen in your area are covered. Depending where you live, you  might need additional coverage for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, sinkholes, etc., that are not generally part of coverage.
Consider what type of coverage you want (actual cost, replacement cost, or guaranteed replacement cost) when you are shopping for policies.
Ready to stop worrying about money?
As important as it is to know what types of coverage you have and what situations are covered, it is as important to know what is not covered at all or may be covered with additional restrictions or different deductibles.
“What we typically see is a majority of homeowners are underinsured,” Friedlander said. “Unfortunately, many of the homeowners purchase insurance protection to satisfy their mortgage lender but they confuse the real estate value of their home with what it would cost to rebuild it.”
If you have more in assets than you have liability coverage for in your homeowners policy, you might consider an umbrella policy which extends your coverage to an amount you decide.
Mortgage companies require a certain amount of coverage, but unlike car insurance, there aren’t any state mandates requiring people to have it.
For more information about the basics of home insurance polices and what they cover, What Home Insurance Actually Covers (and Where You’re on Your Own) can answer many of your questions.

  • Vehicles
  • Investments
  • Future wages
  • Personal belongings
  • Money in bank accounts
  • Real estate besides primary residence

Basically, you need to look at what your house would cost to rebuild, the likelihood of certain types of disasters in your area, the value of your possessions and your liability exposure.
Different policies cover different perils for different types of structures like a condo, renter’s policy, etc. The policies have designinations from HO-0 to HO-8.
To determine how much liability coverage you need, add up the value of your assets, including your home. Make sure to include the following assets when figuring liability:
He said dog bites are his most common liability claims and he sees people all the time who do not believe they need it because they think nobody would ever sue them.
Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing about finance, health, travel and other topics.
Even if you do the minimum to satisfy your mortgage company, it often isn’t enough. Friedlander said most people make the mistake of not having enough insurance to adequately protect themselves and their families.

Not having enough coverage can be a big mistake.

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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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


AM Best Rating


Standard & Poor’s



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. 


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