How Do Consumer Reports Auto Insurance Rankings Work?

Last Updated on April 11, 2020

When shopping for car insurance, there are a number of resources you can look to for guidance. Consumer Reports is a resource that rates and ranks thousands of products across various industries, including car insurance. As you search for the right car insurance provider for you, comparing Consumer Reports ratings can help you get a better idea of what to expect. Here’s what you need to know about Consumer Reports auto insurance rankings.

How Do Consumer Reports Auto Insurance Rankings Work?

What Is Consumer Reports?

Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization that works to provide shoppers with unbiased information about products that are on the market. The organization was founded in 1936 to research the safety and efficacy of products for sale and protect consumers. Over the years, Consumer Reports has actually influenced many companies to change their products. The organization has also had a hand in a number of important consumer protection laws, most notably laws requiring seat belts in cars. They currently work as consumer advocates and continue to publish unbiased product reports to help consumers make informed decisions. Consumer Reports is based in Yonkers, New York, and operates large-scale product testing labs there.

How Does Consumer Reports Assess Car Insurance?

Consumer Reports looks at a number of different factors when evaluating car insurance. Over the years, they’ve conducted a range of studies about car insurance to get information about individual insurers as well as how the industry works as a whole. Here are some of the factors that Consumer Reports looks at when determining the overall rating for a car insurance company.

  • Pricing and quotes. One of Consumer Reports’ biggest studies surrounding car insurance focused on the cost of car insurance premiums and how insurers actually determined them. To study this, they set up 20 tester profiles, which they used to collect quotes from insurers around the country. Each profile had different demographics and drove a popular car model. Then, they collected quotes from insurers in all 50 states for each profile. They were then able to evaluate how insurers actually calculated their premium prices. Higher-rated insurers charge their premiums based on your driving history and behaviors, while lower-rated insurers rely more on extraneous factors such as credit scores. Consumer Reports also prefers companies that are transparent about their pricing, and that are committed to offering real value for money with their car insurance policies.
  • Customer service experience. Consumer Reports also tests car insurance companies on their customer service to give consumers an unbiased look at what they can expect from their insurance policy. This includes the overall experience of getting a quote and signing up for the policy, as well as the process of filing claims. Highly rated insurance companies are able to provide quick and effective solutions to problems customers may be facing, and they pay out claims quickly and keep their customers informed during the process.
  • Types of coverage offered. This is another very important factor in the overall value of an insurance company. Some insurers only offer basic liability coverage, while the best companies have a very wide range of coverage options and add-ons that you can use to customize your policy. Consumer Reports also looks at the types of discounts insurers offer and how much they can help their customers save.

There are a few different strategies Consumer Reports uses when testing insurance. They want to make sure to completely recreate the experience the customer would have with the product. They go through applications and talk to customer service at insurance companies the same way an individual customer would. By conducting these tests thoroughly and anonymously, Consumer Reports is able to provide more valuable information to their customers. The Consumer Reports team also uses surveys to conduct further research. This is particularly important when testing insurance products because it can be difficult to get a full picture of the consumer experience without filing a claim and getting reimbursement yourself. With their surveys, Consumer Reports finds customers who have real policies with these auto insurance companies and asks them to rate a number of different aspects of their experience. Then, they compile all the data from these surveys to get a better picture of what to expect from the insurance company.

How Can I Access Information From Consumer Reports?

Consumer Reports has many buying guides available for free on their website. However, to see their full reviews and ratings for each car insurance company, you will need to purchase a subscription. You can purchase a digital subscription annually or monthly, which will give you access to thousands of ratings and reviews for a wide range of products in addition to car insurance. They also offer an “All Access” membership, which comes with a full year’s subscription to the Consumer Reports print magazine, as well as access to the “Ask CR” feature, where you can chat with an expert from Consumer Reports about products you are interested in.

How Can I Use Consumer Reports When Shopping for My Auto Insurance?

Consumer Reports can provide very valuable information when you are shopping for a car insurance policy. If you’re not sure where to start when choosing an insurer, you may want to go through the list of Consumer Reports’ most highly rated providers and get quotes from them. If you have a specific provider you are interested in, you can look at their Consumer Reports review to get a better idea of what to expect. Because Consumer Reports is dedicated to being unbiased, you can trust their reports and feel confident knowing that they haven’t been influenced by any of the insurance companies. They are very committed to transparency and consumer rights as well. If you feel like an insurance company has violated your rights in some way, you may even want to consider reaching out to them about the issue. Over the decades that Consumer Reports has been in business, they have been able to influence change in a number of different industries to keep consumers safer.

Of course, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with car insurance is different. While Consumer Reports is very trustworthy, their reviews are not universal. Ultimately, your goal should be to find a car insurance company that best fits your needs. The best-rated car insurance companies may not always be able to offer you the lowest rates or provide the type of coverage you need. The best way to find the right car insurance company for you is to get quotes from many different providers and make an informed decision based on the overall value they can offer you.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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