When shopping for an auto insurance policy for your vehicle, you can choose either a local insurance company or a national one. Both these options have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at all the ins and outs of national and local car insurance so you can decide which one is the best option for you.

Why Do You Need Car Insurance?

Car insurance is a legal requirement in almost all U.S. states. Even in the two states where it is not required, Virginia and New Hampshire, it is not a good idea to head out on the road with no insurance. If you cause an accident and injure another person or damage their property, your auto insurance policy will cover the liability that would otherwise fall on you.

Car insurance can save you from costs in the range of thousands or even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if you only drive occasionally, you still need car insurance to protect yourself on the road.

How Does Car Insurance Work?

When you are involved in a car accident, you need to contact your insurer to report what happened. Your insurance company will contact the insurance providers of the other drivers involved in the crash. All the insurers will make claims against the insurance provider of the driver who caused the accident to cover costs associated with injuries and vehicle damage. You will receive money to cover the costs of repairing your car, minus any excess you have to pay. The amount of excess is outlined in your policy, so be sure to check the documents carefully.

What Are The Differences Between Local and National Insurance Carriers?

Local car insurance carriers provide car insurance in particular regions. These companies are much smaller than national auto insurance providers, which offer car insurance to people all across the nation.

Benefits of Local Car Insurance

Local car insurance providers are typically able to offer a much more personalized service than national car insurance companies. This means that they might be better placed to help you find a policy that meets particular needs.

Many people like to purchase local car insurance from a local agent. This approach allows them to work with an individual who can explain the policy options. Claiming against a local car insurance policy can also be a lot easier as these companies take a much more personal approach to communication.

Local insurance companies are not always able to offer the big discounts that large national companies can use to entice in customers. However, they can sometimes offer good rates to customers with unusual needs. As the quotes provided by local insurers are typically more personalized, they might represent the best deal for you.

Some people who cannot get national car insurance, for example those with bad driving records, turn to local insurers. As they are more willing to take individual circumstances into account, local insurance companies can act as a lifeline for people who struggle to get insurance.

Drawbacks of Local Car Insurance

Local car insurers are usually smaller companies than national providers, which means they are often not able to provide the same level of availability. You might not have 24/7 support or an app to track your insurance policy with a local insurer.

Local car insurance companies are sometimes more expensive than national insurers. If you want to get the best deal, you need to compare both local and national insurance quotes to find the one that is cheapest for your individual circumstances.

Benefits of National Car Insurance

National car insurance companies have many customers, which means they can spread costs across a large base. As a result, they can often offer lower rates and bigger discounts to certain groups of people, such as people who have a very good driving record and veterans. If you are keen to save money, be sure to check out the national auto insurance provider as well as those in your local area.

National car insurance companies have efficient processes in place for handling claims. Many of them offer 24/7 hotlines, which can be very useful, especially when you are traveling a long way from home. Getting in touch with a local insurance company when you are out of state could be more difficult.

National insurers have a network of preferred mechanics across the nation. That means you will likely be able to get your car fixed and reimbursed no matter where you are.

Drawbacks of National Car Insurance

Some customers find that national insurers do not treat them with individualized care. They often take a very standardized, one-size-fits-all approach to policy design. If your needs are very standard, a national car insurance provider is likely to be fine for you, but you might prefer a local company if they are more complex.

How to Start Your Insurance Search

The easiest way to start your insurance search is to get a quote at AutoInsurance.com. This allows you to compare quotes from a wide range of insurance companies to find out which one is best for you.