Comparing car insurance costs

PHILADELPHIA - December 12, 2013

But which car insurance company really saves you the most money?

The answer -- according to Kevin Brasler, Executive Editor of the non-profit Delaware Valley Consumers' Checkbook -- is "that depends."

"The companies ranked differently on price depending on the drivers' characteristics and where they live," Brasler explains. "Is it just you as a single person? Are you a senior and retired? Do you have a young driver on your policy? Some companies have better rates than others for each of those characteristics."

Checkbook shopped around for policies and found huge variations in price. Shoppers were quoted annual rates for basic automobile insurance coverage from $974 with Geico to more than $5,100 with Metropolitan.

For a Philadelphia family with a 21-year-old son and three cars, Checkbook found premiums ranging from $2,436 with Liberty Mutual to more than $10,000 with Ameriprise and Metropolitan.

And the companies that were cheapest a few years ago aren't necessarily still the cheapest now. So,

Brasler advises shopping around every couple of years, even if your policy isn't up for a renewal.

"You don't have to wait for your policy term to end to sign on with a different company," Brasler says, adding that the insurance company must pro-rate your premiums and refund you for the months you won't be covered..

While which company might be right for you depends on your unique situation, Checkbook did find a few in each state that stood our for delivering low rates along with good customer satisfaction.

In Pennsylvania, those were Geico and Liberty Mutual.

Geico had good prices in Delaware as well.

And in New Jersey: AAA, American National, Amica, Geico, Norfolk and Dedham, Pallisades and New Jersey Skylands all got high marks.

For more on Checkbook's auto insurance survey, click here.

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