If you are a novice to online auto insurance shopping, there's a good chance you are overwhelmed by the confusing number of insurance providers all advertising big savings.

It's hard to fathom, but 70% of consumers have been with the same company for four years or more, and almost 40% of drivers have never compared rates with other companies. Consumers in North Carolina could pocket up to $90 a year just by comparing rates, but they don't want to take the time to go online and compare rates.

It's a good idea to compare rates occasionally because prices are rarely the same from one policy term to another. Just because you had the best price on auto insurance a few years ago other companies may now be cheaper. You'll find quite a bit of inaccurate information about auto insurance on the web, but in a few minutes you can learn a bunch of ideas how to buy auto insurance cheaper in Hickory.

You have control over your auto insurance costs

Part of the auto insurance buying process is learning some of the factors that come into play when calculating the price you pay for auto insurance. When you understand what determines premiums, this enables you to make decisions that may reward you with better auto insurance rates. Many things are taken into consideration when premium rates are determined. Some are obvious like your driving record, but other criteria are not quite as obvious such as whether you are married or your financial responsibility.

The itemized list below are some of the items used by companies to determine your rates.

How to get free insurance quotes online

When comparing insurance rates, know that making a lot of price comparisons helps improve the odds of finding the best price.

The companies shown below are our best choices to provide price comparisons in Hickory, NC. If several companies are displayed, it's a good idea that you click on several of them to find the lowest car insurance rates.

Insurance Costs for Popular Vehicles in Hickory
Make, Model, and Trim Level Annual Policy Premium 6-month Policy Premium Monthly Premium
Chevrolet Malibu LTZ $962 $481 $80
Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Hybrid 2WD $1,000 $500 $83
Dodge Grand Caravan CV $998 $499 $83
Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4WD $784 $392 $65
Ford Escape Limited 4WD $810 $405 $68
Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer AWD $774 $387 $65
Ford F-150 STX Regular Cab 4WD $926 $463 $77
Ford Focus SEL 4-Dr Sedan $610 $305 $51
Honda Accord LX-P 4-Dr Sedan $632 $316 $53
Honda CR-V EX-L 4WD $864 $432 $72
Honda Civic LX-S 4-Dr Sedan $708 $354 $59
Honda Odyssey Touring $930 $465 $78
Hyundai Sonata GLS 4-Dr Sedan $916 $458 $76
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 2WD $592 $296 $49
Mazda 3 I Sport 4-Dr Sedan $756 $378 $63
Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 4-Dr Sedan $822 $411 $69
Toyota Camry XLE $942 $471 $79
Toyota Corolla XLE $930 $465 $78
Get Your Own Custom Quote Go

Above prices assume married female driver age 30, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $250 deductibles, and North Carolina minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include claim-free, homeowner, safe-driver, multi-policy, and multi-vehicle. Prices do not factor in zip code location which can lower or raise premiums considerably.

Cost comparison with and without full coverage

The illustration below illustrates the difference between Kia Optima auto insurance costs with and without physical damage coverage. The data assumes no violations or accidents, $100 deductibles, married male driver, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

Kia Optima rates are for example purposes only. To get rates for your specific vehicle, click here.

When to buy liability coverage only

There is no clear-cut rule of when to eliminate full coverage on your policy, but there is a general guideline. If the yearly cost of full coverage is 10% or more of replacement cost minus your deductible, then it's probably a good time to buy liability coverage only.

For example, let's say your Kia Optima replacement value is $4,000 and you have $1,000 policy deductibles. If your vehicle is destroyed, the most you would get paid by your company is $3,000 after paying the physical damage deductible. If you are paying over $300 annually to have full coverage, then you might consider buying liability only.

There are a few situations where dropping full coverage is not recommended. If you haven't satisfied your loan, you have to maintain full coverage in order to prevent your loan from defaulting. Also, if your emergency fund is not enough to purchase a different vehicle if your current one is in an accident, you should maintain full coverage.

Tickets and at-fault accidents raise rates

The information below demonstrates how speeding tickets and at-fault accidents raise Nissan Altima insurance rates for each age group. The price estimates are based on a single female driver, comprehensive and collision coverage, $250 deductibles, and no other discounts are factored in.

Nissan Altima rates are for example purposes only. To get rates for your specific vehicle, click here.

Higher deductibles save money

The information below demonstrates how deductible levels and can influence Hyundai Elantra insurance costs for different insured age categories. The rate quotes are based on a single male driver, comprehensive and collision coverage, and no other discounts are factored in.

Hyundai Elantra rates are for example purposes only. To get rates for your specific vehicle, click here.

Car insurance ads bend the truth

Companies like State Farm, Allstate and GEICO constantly bombard you with ads on television and other media. All the companies make an identical promise that people will save if you move your policy. But how can every company make almost identical claims? Here is how they do it.

Different companies have strict underwriting profiles for the type of customer that earns them the highest profit. A good example of a desirable insured may need to be between 25 and 40, has no claims, and the vehicle is rated for pleasure use. A propective insured who fits that profile will qualify for the lowest prices in Hickory and will also save a lot on Hickory car insurance if they switch.

Insureds who fall outside those standards will probably have to pay more expensive rates and the prospect going elsewhere. If you listen closely, the ads state "people that switch" but not "everyone who gets a quote" save that much. That's the way insurance companies can make claims that they all have the best rates. Different companies use different criteria so you really need to get Hickory car insurance quotes as often as possible. Because you never know which insurance companies will give you the biggest savings.

Why you need vehicle insurance in North Carolina

Despite the potentially high cost of car insurance, insuring your vehicle is required in North Carolina but it also protects you in many ways.

First, most states have minimum liability requirements which means you are required to buy specific limits of liability protection in order to get the vehicle licensed. In North Carolina these limits are 30/60/25 which means you must have $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of property damage coverage.

Second, if you have a lien on your vehicle, almost all lenders will stipulate that you carry insurance to ensure they get paid if you total the vehicle. If you do not keep the policy in force, the lender may have to buy a policy to insure your vehicle for a much higher rate and force you to reimburse them the higher premium.

Third, insurance protects not only your vehicle but also your financial assets. It also can pay for medical bills for both you and anyone you injure as the result of an accident. Liability insurance also pays expenses related to your legal defense if anyone sues you for causing an accident. If your car is damaged in a storm or accident, collision and comprehensive coverages will cover the damage repairs after a deductible is paid.

The benefits of insuring your car more than offset the price you pay, specifically if you ever have a liability claim. As of last year, the average driver in North Carolina overpays more than $810 a year so it's recommended you shop around once a year at a minimum to ensure rates are inline.

Take advantage of every car insurance discount

Some providers don't necessarily list the entire discount list in a way that's easy to find, so we break down a few of the more common in addition to some of the lesser obvious credits available to you. If you're not getting every credit you qualify for, you may be paying too high a price.Save money with discounts

A quick disclaimer, many deductions do not apply to the entire cost. Some only reduce the price of certain insurance coverages like collision or personal injury protection. If you do the math and it seems like it's possible to get free car insurance, nobody gets a free ride.

A few of the larger companies and some of their more popular discounts can be found below.

Before buying, ask all the companies what discounts are available to you. Some discounts listed above might not be offered in Hickory. If you would like to view insurers who offer free car insurance quotes in North Carolina, click here.

When should I talk to an insurance agency?

Many drivers just want to go talk to an agent and that is a smart decision The biggest benefit of comparing rates online is you can get the best rates and still choose a local agent.

Insurance agency in HickoryTo make it easy to find an agent, after completing this quick form, your insurance data is sent to companies in Hickory who will give competitive quotes for your coverage. There is no need to contact any agents as quotes are delivered directly to you. You can find lower rates and work with a local agent. If you have a need to get a price quote from a specific insurance company, feel free to visit that company's website and submit a quote form there.

Choosing the best company should depend on more than just a cheap price quote. Any agent in Hickory should be forthright in answering these questions:

If you are wanting to purchase insurance from an insurance agent, it can be helpful to understand the different types of agencies from which to choose. Insurance policy providers may be either exclusive agents or independent agents.

Exclusive Insurance Agencies

These agents can only place business with one company and examples are AAA, Allstate, State Farm, or Farmers Insurance. Exclusive agents are unable to provide other company's prices so they are skilled at selling on more than just price. Exclusive agents receive extensive training in insurance sales and that can be a competitive advantage. Drivers often buy insurance from these agents partially due to the prominence of the brand rather than having the cheapest rates.

Independent Insurance Agents

These type of agents are not restricted to one company so they can insure your vehicles with an assortment of companies depending on which coverage is best. If you want to switch companies, they can switch companies in-house and you don't have to do anything.

When comparison shopping, we recommend you include rate quotes from a couple of independent agencies for maximum quote selection. Most have the option of insuring with lesser-known insurance companies which could offer lower prices.

Special considerations

Always remember that when buying your policy, there really isn't a one-size-fits-all type of policy. Everyone's needs are different so your insurance should reflect thatSafe vehicles cost less to insure These are some specific questions might point out whether or not you might need an agent's assistance.

If you're not sure about those questions but one or more may apply to you, you may need to chat with a licensed agent. If you want to speak to an agent in your area, simply complete this short form or you can also visit this page to select a carrier

Best and worst vehicle claim statistics

Which vehicles have good claim ratings? The claim statistics below show the worst and best vehicles for likelihood of having claims for each type of coverage listed.

Manufacturer Models with the Lowest and Highest Liability Coverage Claims
Lowest Claim Frequency Highest Claim Frequency
Chevrolet Corvette Kia Optima
Volvo XC60 Mitsubishi Mirage
Acura MDX Chevrolet Impala
Fiat 500 Chrysler 200
Subaru Forester Mitsubishi Lancer
Subaru Outback Hyndai Accent

Data Source: iihs.org (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for 2013-2015 Model Years

Lowest and Highest Car Insurance Comprehensive Claims by Vehicle Make and Model
Lowest Claim Frequency Highest Claim Frequency
Ford F-350 Audi S7
Nissan Xterra Bentley Continental GT
Volvo V60 Porsche Panamera GTS
Infiniti QX50 Maserati Granturismo
GMC Sierra 2500 BMW M6
Nissan Leaf Mercedes-Benz S Class

Data Source: iihs.org (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for 2013-2015 Model Years

Vehicle Models with the Lowest and Highest Collision Coverage Claims
Lowest Claim Frequency Highest Claim Frequency
GMC Canyon Maserati Granturismo
Ford F-250 SuperCab BMW M6
Jeep Wrangler BMW 6 Series
Ford F-150 SuperCrew Bently Continental GTC
Smart ForTwo Maserati Ghibli
Chevrolet Colorado Bently Continental GT

Data Source: iihs.org (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for 2013-2015 Model Years

Car Insurance Medical Payment Claims by Vehicle Make and Model
Lowest Claim Frequency Highest Claim Frequency
Land Rover Range Rover Sport Nissan Versa
Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Mitsubishi Lancer
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Dodge Charger
Audi A4 Allroad Mitsubishi Mirage
Tesla Model S Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet Sonic

Data Source: iihs.org (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for 2013-2015 Model Years

In conclusion

As you shop your coverage around, do not skimp on critical coverages to save a buck or two. In many cases, an insured cut collision coverage and discovered at claim time they didn't have enough coverage. The proper strategy is to buy a smart amount of coverage at an affordable rate but still have enough coverage for asset protection.

Cost effective auto insurance can be found online in addition to local insurance agencies, so you should compare both to have the best selection. There are still a few companies who do not provide internet price quotes and these smaller companies sell through independent agents.

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