How Do I Choose the Right Maryland Auto Insurance Company?

Maryland drawn on a chalkboardIn Maryland there are hundreds of coverage providers that are licensed to sell auto insurance. Choosing one of the best insurers, however, requires drivers to research as many options as possible and make comparisons. Motorists should evaluate not only the rates available but also the financial stability of an insurer and the quality of services they can offer.

When choosing a policy provider, neither the most expensive nor the cheapest option will necessarily offer the greatest services. Many of the best auto insurance companies can provide sufficient protection at an adequate price to qualifying residents, but it will take some research to find them.

To efficiently shop around and get a feel for insurers' prices, residents can check out the rate guide published by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA), contact companies individually, or complete an online quote comparison. By using the Internet to shop for auto protection, vehicle owners can amass dozens of personally tailored sample rates from a single website.

Rates can vary widely among insurance companies in the Old Line State. According to a consumer guide updated in February 2012, for example, rates for a 23-year-old male who lives in Calvert County and drives a 2003 Honda CR-V could range from as low as $882 to as much as $4,511. 

When several affordable options have been narrowed down, residents are encouraged to research the quality of service that these different options can offer. While the MIA helps to protect consumers against unfair and discriminatory practices, some companies are still more attentive and efficient than others. To find a producer that is easy to contact and quick to handle claims, drivers should consider contacting several companies directly to speak with a customer service representative.

Another way to find out more about how well an insurer interacts with customers is to speak with family and friends about any recommendations. Often the opinions and past experiences of others can provide valuable insight into how well a business functions and how well it manages claims.

In addition to having good policy prices and customer care, the best insurance companies are financially secure. When residents pay for their coverage, the money is generally invested in a number of ways. When a claim is filed, the insurer uses this money to pay for damages and other expenses. For this reason, it's essential for MD drivers to buy protection from producers that have a strong investment history, good credit, and an acceptable overall financial strength. To help consumers research this information, many establishments regularly publish information online ranking insurers based on these criteria.

While most states make insurer-specific consumer-complaint ratios public for consumers to review and to get an idea of a coverage provider's service track record, the MIA says it does not rate companies publicly on financial stability or customer satisfaction. Instead, the MIA recommends consumers use rating agencies like A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Weiss Ratings to assess an insurer's financial footing.
State of Maryland
Although there is no single company that is best for everyone, individual policyholders in the Old Line State can find adequate coverage from affordable, conscientious, and financially sound insurers by shopping around and exploring all of their options online.