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20 Best Car Insurance Companies of 2016 Ranked by Consumers

Insure.com’s customers rank 20 of the biggest insurers. 

Which auto insurance companies do consumers prefer? Insure.com surveyed current customers of large car insurers and asked them to rate them based on five measurements.

Related: 9 consumer-friendly auto insurance innovations

Insure.com commissioned Op4G to survey more than 3,700 insurance customers nationwide in June 2016. The survey collected customer ratings for 20 leading companies in the auto category. Only current customers of the insurers on Insure.com’s lists were surveyed.

Related: 10 questions to help assess your clients' changing insurance needs

Auto insurers were ranked according to a weighted five-point measurement of the following factors:

  • Customer service
  • Value for price
  • Claims processing
  • Would renew and
  • Would recommend

Weighted measurements were derived from surveyed policyholders’ rank of prioritization of these factors.

Keep reading to find out which companies rank highest among consumers for auto insurance.

Related: 10 best all-wheel drive cars and SUVs in the snow

20. Farmers Insurance

Score (out of 100): 81.1

Value for price: 75
Customer service: 83
Claims service: 83
Customers who recommend: 83%

Related: Auto insurance rose over 7 percent in January's consumer price index

 

19. Esurance

Score: 81

Value for price: 81
Customer service: 80
Claims service: 92
Customers who recommend: 85%

 

18. Erie Insurance

Score: 85.4

Value for price: 89
Customer service: 87
Claims service: 80
Customers who recommend: 87%

Related: 8 ways telematics will shape insurance agencies in 2017

 

17. 21st Century Insurance

Score: 86.3

Value for price: 87
Customer service: 81
Claims service: 90
Customers who recommend: 87%

 

16. Liberty Mutual Insurance

Score: 86.5

Value for price: 80
Customer service: 86
Claims service: 96
Customers who recommend: 83%

Related: The most dangerous U.S. cities for pedestrians

 

15. The General Insurance

Score: 86.9

Value for price: 89
Customer service: 86
Claims service: 88
Customers who recommend: 85%

 

14. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co.

Score: 87

Value for price: 78
Customer service: 92
Claims service: 92
Customers who recommend: 86%

Related: 10 states with the best drivers

 

13. Safeco Insurance

Score: 87.6

Value for price: 89
Customer service: 89
Claims service: 84
Customers who recommend: 86%

 

12. Titan Insurance

Score: 88

Value for price: 88
Customer service: 85
Claims service: 89
Customers who recommend: 89%

Related: 10 states with the worst drivers

 

11. Geico

Score: 88.1

Value for price: 81
Customer service: 89
Claims service: 94
Customers who recommend: 87%

 

10. Nationwide Insurance

Score: 89

Value for price: 83
Customer service: 90
Claims service: 92
Customers who recommend: 88%

Related: Personal auto policies: 5 questions agents should ask buyers

 

9. American Family Insurance

Score: 89.2

Value for price: 90
Customer service: 90
Claims service: 88
Customers who recommend: 86%

 

8. Progressive Group of Insurance Cos.

Score: 89.6

Value for price: 86
Customer service: 88
Claims service: 93
Customers who recommend: 88%

Related: The Hartford Tops Auto Claims Study

 

7. The Hartford

Score: 90.2

Value for price: 91
Customer service: 90
Claims service: 88
Customers who recommend: 88%

 

6. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Score: 90.4

Value for price: 85
Customer service: 92
Claims service: 92
Customers who recommend: 88%

Related: Auto claims face a bumpy road ahead

 

5. Mercury Insurance

Score: 91.1

Value for price: 93
Customer service: 94
Claims service: 90
Customers who recommend: 86%

 

4. Travelers Cos.

Score: 91.2

Value for price: 89
Customer service: 91
Claims service: 98
Customers who recommend: 84%

Related: How driving habits are changing the auto insurance industry

 

3. CSAA Insurance Group

Score: 91.3

Value for price: 92
Customer service: 88
Claims service: 93
Customers who recommend: 90%

 

2. Auto Club of Southern California

Score: 94.8

Value for price: 95
Customer service: 94
Claims service: 96
Customers who recommend: 91%

Related: Top 8 consumer concerns about self-driving cars

 

1. USAA

Score: 97.2

Value for price: 91
Customer service: 100
Claims service: 100
Customers who recommend: 92%

 

Source: CATERINA PONTORIERO, PROPERTYCASUALTY360.COM


 

Tips to Check Tire Tread

Tire problems are thought to be a factor in one out of 11 vehicle crashes.1 Blowouts, tread separation, under inflation, and worn treads—the grooves in your tires that offer stability and traction—are some of the tire problems associated with these crashes.

Like a pair of sneakers that get more slippery with use, your tires lose their ability to grip the road as their treads wear down. Checking your tire treads can help keep you safer on the road. It only takes a few minutes, and some spare change.

 

Putting the Brakes on an Age-Old Debate About When to Replace Tires

Many people think only worn tires need to be replaced. That is certainly true. But old tires are also a concern. As tires age, they become more prone to failure, whether they have been used or not.

Replacing tires when they are between 6 and 10 years old is recommended by some manufacturers.2 That goes for the spare in your trunk, too. You can use the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number (TIN) on the wall of your tire to help determine the age of your tire (e.g., 2613 means the tire was manufactured in the 26th week of 2013).3

But age is not the only factor. Tread matters too. A worn tire can be just as dangerous, or even more so, than one that is simply old. In one study, vehicles with shallower treads (less than 2/32″ deep) were 3 times more likely to experience pre-crash tire troubles than those with deeper treads.4

While the minimum safe tire tread depth is 2/32″, consider replacing your tires at the 4/32″ mark, especially if you drive in rainy and snowy conditions. A recent Consumer Reports study of tires worn down to half of their original tread depth (about 5/32″) found increased risk of hydroplaning, longer stop time in the rain, and reduced snow traction.5

 

Luckily, you can test your treads using spare change:

Take a penny and place it in multiple grooves around your tires. If the top of Lincoln’s head is always covered, you have more than 2/32″ of tread remaining. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it is time to replace your tires.6

For an added measure of safety, consider replacing your tires at 4/32″. The extra tread can help your tires handle water and snow more effectively. Using a quarter, your tires have more than 4/32″ tread if the top of Washington’s head is always covered.

Basic checks like these take just a few minutes and can help save lives. So put that change in your pocket to good use to help keep you safe.

 

Did You Know?

  • According to the tire industry, the average tread depth of a new tire can range from 10/32″ to 11/32″.
  • Tires age whether they are driven on or not—be sure to check tires on recreation vehicles, trailers, collector cars, community vehicles and 15-passenger vans, too.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends checking your vehicle’s tires at least once a month.

Spotlight on Safety: 5 Winter Driving Tips

Be Prepared

It’s important to be prepared during this time of year, so be sure to keep an emergency kit in your car that contains such necessities as an ice pick; a snow shovel and brush; a basic tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers and a wrench; a bag of traction material like kitty litter or sand; a flashlight with extra batteries; and items to keep you warm, like extra clothes, gloves, hats and Mylar thermal blankets (known as “space blankets”).

Finally, make sure your emergency kit contains booster cables and is well stocked with first-aid essentials and nonperishable food items, like granola and energy bars, water, warning flares and reflective triangles. If you don’t want to assemble a kit from scratch, you can easily buy already assembled emergency kits online.

Check Your Tires

Your tires are your main connection to the road, so be sure they are inflated properly. Underinflated tires may provide less traction, reduce fuel mileage and can wear out prematurely, so check your pressure at least once a month to ensure you’re driving on properly inflated tires.

As temperatures drop, so does the pressure in your tires — a 10-degree difference in ambient temperature can change tire pressure by 1-2 pounds per square inch (psi), according to Goodyear. Look for your vehicle’s correct tire pressure on an informative tag within the driver’s doorjamb or in your owner’s manual. To reduce the frequency of warning lights and potentially improve hydroplaning resistance, you can set your tires 3 psi above the door placard, says Edmunds.

Depending on the conditions in your area, you may want to swap into winter tires; if not, ensure you have a safe tread depth for your road conditions.

Take the “penny test:” Take a Lincoln penny, hold it between your thumb and forefinger so that Lincoln’s head is showing. Place the top of Lincoln’s head into one of the grooves of the tire’s tread. If any part of Lincoln’s head is obscured by the tread, you have a safe amount of tread, according to Bridgestonetire.com. If you can see above Lincoln’s head, then you need a new tire.

Remain Calm In a Skid

Slick surfaces typically require a longer stopping distance, so keep a greater-than-usual distance between your car and other vehicles. This may give you ample time to respond to road and weather hazards. Practice gentle acceleration and braking to maintain consistent traction in snowy and icy conditions; if your wheels begin to spin, release the accelerator until traction returns.

If you find yourself in a skid, the The Weather Channel advises letting up on the gas and steering in the direction you want the front of your car to go. Experts warn that you should not hit the gas or the brake until you have control of your car again.

Stay in Charge

A strong and fully charged battery is an absolute necessity in cold weather. Extreme temperatures can take their toll on your battery’s power, so if your battery is more than 3 years old, it may be time to consider replacing it before Jack Frost sucks out the last of its life. Also, be sure the connections are clean, tight and corrosion-free to ensure full-strength winter starts. Some commercial auto care centers will test your current car battery for free and sell you a new battery, if you need one. Some will also check your vehicle’s electrical system to ensure everything is in working order to ensure you will get years of hassle-free starts from your new car battery.

Step up to New Safety Technology

Practically every automaker offers electronic traction and stability control systems that work along with the car’s anti-lock braking system to assist drivers in slippery road conditions. Though they all use different trade names, these safety systems all function to help the driver maintain control in curves and turns — especially in wet or slippery conditions — by detecting when the vehicle begins to slip and reducing the throttle and applying the brakes to individual wheels to help correct the vehicle’s orientation. Traction systems also prevent the vehicle’s drive wheels from spinning while accelerating under slippery conditions.

 


Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Preparing your home for winter is an important annual ritual for homeowners. For instance, did you know that adding insulation in your attic before winter arrives can help prevent ice dams this winter? And do not forget that tuning up your heating system now can help prevent more costly emergency repairs at the height of a storm, when it can be difficult to find supplies and licensed contractors. The following winter maintenance tips can help you prepare your home to withstand another cold season.

Your Heating System

Before you give your heating system a workout this winter, take the time for preventive maintenance. It may help extend the life of your system and identify potential problems.

Before winter:

  • Have your furnace or boiler checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year, preferably before the heating season begins.
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems.
  • Have your chimney checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year. Pay particular attention to having creosote buildup removed from chimneys servicing woodstoves and fireplaces.

During winter:

  • Have your fuel tanks filled and keep an eye on levels throughout the winter.
  • Set your heat no lower than 55 degrees as the temperature inside the walls where water piping is located is colder than the living spaces; open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.
  • Maintain your wood-burning or pellet stoves according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Your Insulation

Is your insulation prepared to protect you from the cold? As an important line of defense from winter’s gusty winds and freezing temperatures, it is worth taking time to inspect and upgrade insulation and weather stripping before the season starts.

  • Add extra insulation in the attic to help guard against ice dams. If too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm the ice and snow on the roof. When it refreezes, it can cause an ice dam, which can lead to water damage inside your home or possibly even a roof collapse.
  • Add weather stripping around doors and caulk windows to guard against drafts and heat loss.
  • Remove screens from windows and install storm windows, if appropriate.

Your Utilities

Freezing temperatures can be especially damaging to your home’s water piping. Make sure your pipes are adequately prepared to withstand a cold snap and remember to take extra precautions if you are going to be leaving your home, including shutting off your water.

  • Check for water leaks and fix problems immediately; wrap water piping in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or attics. Use only thermostatically-controlled heat tape if your water piping is plastic, and follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
  • Learn how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are located in case they do freeze; you may be able to prevent water damage.

Your Winter Safety Measures

As you prepare for winter, following are some further safety measures that are especially important during the cold season.

  • Trim trees and remove dead branches so they do not damage your home or injure someone if they fall because of ice, snow or wind.
  • Keep gutters clear of leaves, sticks and other debris to help ensure melting snow can drain properly. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
  • Repair steps and handrails to make them safer in the ice and snow.
  • Check smoke detectors, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries to ensure they are operating properly.

Your Key Supplies and Equipment

The first storm of the year can come sooner than you think. Stock up early and get key equipment, like snow blowers and generators, in good working condition long before you need them, so you can be prepared to enjoy what the season has to offer.

  • Make sure you have snow shovels and a roof rake on hand. Stock your ice melting compound to melt ice on walkways.
  • Have your snow blower and generator serviced and any necessary repairs made.
  • Keep fuel for snow blowers and generators in approved safety containers and away from heat or flame-producing devices. Do not store fuel in your basement.

How to Winterize Your Car:

You may be inclined to think that your car runs well without much maintenance year-round, and besides an occasional trip to the mechanic for an oil change, any preparation for the winter months is not high on your priority list. In fact, cold temperatures and icy roads can create additional hazards for drivers and place extra seasonal strains on your car. In addition to making sure your vehicle is prepared for slippery road conditions, it is equally important to ensure it is in top mechanical condition to avoid getting stranded when the temperature drops.

Before You Hit the Road

The cold, snow and ice can make driving dangerous if your vehicle is not properly maintained. Here are some things you can do to help prepare your car for winter:

  • Make sure all scheduled maintenance is up-to-date. Have your mechanic check belts, fluids and hoses to help reduce the risk of a mechanical breakdown. The mechanic should also check the exhaust system for holes, missing or loose clamps and leaks.
  • Ensure that your tires are in good condition, properly inflated and have ample tread. If you live in an area where heavy snow is common, consider having snow or winter tires installed.
  • Be aware of the various state laws, which dictate if and when chains and studded tires can be used.
  • Make sure your heater and window defrosters are working properly.
  • Check that your lights and windshield wipers are operating properly. Also check that your engine coolant and washer fluid reservoirs are full and that the fluids are protected with a sufficient percentage of antifreeze for the temperatures in the area where you will be driving. 
  • Make sure your battery and connections are in good condition. Even a newer battery can fail if it gets cold enough or the battery terminals are not clean and corrosion-free.
  • Check your oil for proper level and weight (viscosity). Heavier oils become thicker (more viscous) at low temperatures, which can make the engine harder to start. 
  • Make sure your gas tank is full and your phone is charged. In bad weather, roads could either be backed up for hours or closed. 
  • If you drive in remote areas or are planning a long trip, keep a winter survival kit in your car.

We know that winter can create challenging conditions for drivers. But we also know that adequate preparation can help keep you safe, even under the worst weather conditions. Contact us today for any questions or policy updates that you may have!

 


Spring Driving Tips:

Winter may be known for treacherous driving conditions, but spring driving can present its own dangerous situations, from wind and rain to abundant wildlife waking up from hibernation. Follow these spring safe driving tips to help you prepare for spring's driving challenges.

- Perform maintenance. Spring is the perfect time to visit your mechanic. Check fluid levels, tire pressure, suspension system and brakes to help reduce risk of a breakdown.

- Watch for pedestrians. When weather improves, expect more pedestrians, especially in residential, shopping and recreational areas.

- Expect construction. When snow melts, road repairs begin. Slow down and be aware of road and traffic conditions when entering work zones.

- Anticipate motorcyclists. Motorcycle season starts in spring. Watch for motorcycles at intersections and in your blind spots when passing or merging.

- Share the road. Be prepared to share the road with bicyclists. They have the same rights as other vehicles on most roads.

- Prepare for stormy weather. Learn more about driving in spring storms like tornadoes, flash flooding and hail that threaten your area.

- Know when to seek shelter. Spring weather can be unpredictable. If caught in a severe storm that makes driving hazardous, find a safe place to park until weather conditions improve.

- Check for icy conditions. There may be days in early spring when temperatures still drop below freezing, which can lead to slippery roads. Reduce speed and increase following distance if driving in slippery conditions.

- Expect more animals. Spring brings more activity in areas where wildlife is common. Slow down so you can stop safely if  animals are on our near the roadway.

- Travel safely. If traveling long distances during spring break, plan ahead to avoid late-night driving and take turns behind the wheel with a fellow passenger.

Source: https://www.travelers.com/resources/auto/safe-driving/spring-driving-tips.aspx

 

Our Locations

Advantage Insurance Agency, Inc.- Milwaukee

7550 N. 76th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53223
Main office: 920-645-2863
Fax: 262-436-1779

Advantage Insurance Agency, Inc. - Plymouth

N5908 Willow Road
Plymouth, WI 53073
Main office: 920-645-2863
Fax: 920-893-5304

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