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Image for a discussion with a body shop owner on how to find the best car insurance

How to Find The Best Car Insurance in an Auto Body Shop


Have you ever hung out at a body shop and chatted with the guys running the shop? I have. These are sharp guys, and the discussions we had about which insurance companies provide the best car insurance were down right interesting.

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Who really knows which companies offer the best car insurance?

This is a great story. Before diving in, I need to give a little background. I had been rear-ended by an uninsured driver. The car was drivable, but didn’t look great. As a startup founder, I don’t have a lot of spare time. Therefore, it took me almost two months to get to the body shop. Wow, what an interesting experience when I got there!

The guy helping me was a great guy. He was friendly, easy-to-talk to and inquisitive. His inquisitive nature was revealed when he found out I had moved from California to New Hampshire. While it’s not the first time I’ve been asked, “why would you make that move?” he asked it with a very real sincerity.

From California to New Hampshire, then what?

When he completed the damage assessment we headed back into the body shop office, where the questioning continued. After learning it wasn’t just California, but Silicon Valley that I came from, the next question was “were you with a technology startup?” After admitting to my startup addiction and having been through many startups, the logical next question was “what do you do in New Hampshire?” When I confessed I had started a technology company, he asked “what does the company do?”.

Gaining Credibility by Identifying the Worst Car Insurance Company

I smugly confessed that we grade insurance companies, including auto insurance companies. While before he was probably just being polite, now he was truly interested. And, the questions became more pointed. He looked up from his desk, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “who’s the worst insurance company?” I hesitated because I don’t like to talk about the worst companies. At ValChoice we focus on the best car insurance company and the companies that are competing to win that honor. However, this seemed like a good opportunity to get a different perspective. This was an opportunity to get the perspective of a person who knows the companies operating style, from a vendors point-of-view.

After a brief hesitation, I told him. I gave him the name of one of the worst car insurance companies in New Hampshire. He stared at me with a slight grin, without saying a word. It was clear I had given the right answer. He then continued with the test. Next he asked “what’s another one of the worst car insurance companies?” I gave him another name. Right again. Then the line of questioning switched to “who’s the best car insurance company?” I gave him a name of one of the best. Right again.

Next he leaned around the corner to a boss or colleague, I don’t know which, and made a statement something like the following. “You have to meet this guy. He grades insurance companies.”

The Longest Stare Ever

The fellow worker leaned around the corner and stared at me. I’ve never been stared at for so long. The stare seemed like an eternity, without so much as a single word spoken. Finally he said, “you analyze a lot of numbers.” I confessed, I’ve spent years analyzing insurance industry data.

The conversation continued on to identify companies industry insiders refer to as “mid market.” We were in agreement on which companies are decent companies. These are companies that are not trying to be great, but importantly, are not trying to take advantage of consumers. We also talked about advertising campaigns and the complete disconnect between the claims made in advertisements and the reality of how companies operate. In conclusion, the fellow worker said “the insurance companies are going to hate you more than they hate us.”

ValChoice Analysis Passes Another Test

After our banter about the insurance industry wound down, the fellow worker went back around the corner and returned to his tasks at hand. Importantly, I had gotten one more validation that the ValChoice grading system works. It’s not that we ever questioned our approach to grading companies. We’ve known from before we started this that our approach was the most robust and most precise way of grading insurance companies. Nevertheless, it’s still nice to get the third party validation.

We had passed the test for the best car insurance companies. We’d also passed the test on the worst. We had even passed the test on those that aren’t trying to be the best car insurance company, they’re content being just okay.

To be clear, our analysis isn’t for the purpose of helping auto body shops. No, our analysis is to help consumers. Nevertheless, the company culture of insurers permeates the entire company. That’s why auto body shops are experiencing similar interactions with carriers as consumers will experience when they file a claim. If you’re not with a quality insurer, the larger the claim, the worse the experience will be.

Consumers Deserve to Know Which Insurers are the Best

Unfortunately, most people don’t know how good their insurance company really is. Finally, it’s possible to know. The ValChoice analytics engine grades companies on value, claims handling and service. Get a report on your company so you know how good of an insurance provider they really are.

At ValChoice we believe that anyone required to buy a product or service deserves to know the quality of the service they must buy. Until now, this wasn’t possible with insurance. This is because despite being a trillion dollar market, transparency has never before been available to consumers of insurance. Technology drives the change that makes transparency possible. Hence, our mission is to provide this much needed information to consumers.

Learn what to expect from your insurance company with our free report. Get the Premium version to have their score on claims handling included. The claims handling score is a comparison of how the insurer performs compared to all other insurance companies. Click the button below to get a report card on your insurance


The Reason Consumers Don’t Know

Most consumers don’t even know that one insurance company will operate differently than another. To some degree, insurance has become a tax. It’s a tax that transfers wealth from the uninformed to the informed. In this case, the uninformed are insurance shoppers with no knowledge and no information about the company they are buying from. The informed are the shareholders of insurance companies.

The problem of consumers lacking important information is an easy problem to solve. Transparency solves the problem. At ValChoice, we call on insurance commissioners to embrace, endorse and enable transparency.

Empirically Testing Our Analytics

As an analytics company, it’s important to get a variety of perspectives on the companies we grade. Clearly, subjective inputs like that of body shop owners and insurance agents does not get incorporated into our results. To accurately  measure companies, subjective information must not be used. For the reason of obtaining the best possible accuracy in the ratings, our approach is 100% quantitative. We do not include any subjective data.

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