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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Among all the car insurance companies selling policies in Phoenix, the largest is State Farm, hands down. That’s understandable when you consider that State Farm is also the largest insurance company in the state of Arizona. Phoenix is the state’s capital and largest city with a population of more than one million people. As a percentage of market share, State Farm insures just fewer than 15% of the city’s residents.
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Statewide the other two big car insurance providers are Farmers Insurance and American Family Mutual. Other big names you might recognize include 21st Century, Progressive, Allstate, Travelers and the Hartford company.
Among the top 25 auto insurance companies in the state, there are a number of regional carriers with much smaller market shares. Regardless, all of the car insurance companies in Phoenix must offer policies that meet the same minimums required of drivers in other parts of the state.
Arizona Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
There are two types of insurance mandated by law in Arizona: bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury protection pays for injuries you cause others. Arizona requires a minimum of $15,000 of bodily injury for single person and $30,000 coverage for multiple persons. Because Arizona is a no-fault state, if you had an accident, which caused bodily injury to another person, you could be held personally liable through a lawsuit.
Property damage coverage works much the same way. You are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 to pay for damage you might do to someone else’s personal property. This covers things like outbuildings, fences, sheds, and so on. It does not cover personal items present in vehicles you may hit.
Phoenix Compared to Other Arizona Cities
Arizona is ranked as the eighth least expensive state to purchase car insurance in. However, within Arizona, Phoenix has among the highest premiums for several reasons.
First, the city is home to almost one-sixth of the state’s total population. Even though Phoenix is the state capital with the largest land area, providing homes for more than one million people means many cars traversing its roads. The more cars you have, the higher insurance rates tend to be.
Another thing to consider is the matter of car theft. Outside of Southern California (which takes 10 of the top 12 spots), Phoenix and Houston have some of the highest rates of car theft in the country. Thieves are typically after older vehicles, especially pickup trucks, because of the high demand for used parts. Because Phoenix lacks moisture and rough weather, cars that are normally ready for the scrap heap after 10 years in some cities can live on for 20 or 30 years in Phoenix.
The high rate of car theft extends across the state as well, making Arizona number seven in the country. This reality induces many people to purchase comprehensive coverage who would not do so had they lived elsewhere. Even older cars that no longer have outstanding loans typically will be covered. When you add extra comprehensive to your vehicle, your rates will naturally go up.
Purchasing Car Insurance in Phoenix
For reasons not explained, Phoenix has an unusually high concentration of independent insurance agents. If you prefer to deal with representatives face-to-face, getting car insurance quotes from a local agent might be the way to go. However, if you prefer a more direct approach that will yield a greater number of results, you should consider using an online search engine instead. Where an independent agent might be able to give you three or four quotes, online search engines can generate two or three times that amount.
The key to the online search engine is the fact that both large and small insurance companies who participate provide data that’s stored in an online database. When you enter the appropriate information, the search engine can then scour the database and grab quotes from any participating insurance company licensed to do business in your state. It’s a fast and efficient way to develop a list of insurance companies that might be worth your while.
Undoubtedly, you’ll be comparing policies from both national and regional companies alike. Be careful not to assume that a policy from a company like State Farm is going to be better simply because they are the largest carrier.
Instead, you should seek car insurance quotes using the same parameters for each company on your list. Then you should sit down and compare those quotes item by item. You’ll probably find that you’re paying about the same amount for minimum liability across all the policies. Where you will find the biggest differences are in collision and comprehensive coverage.
Another thing to consider is how long you plan to keep your vehicle. Because cars last so long in Phoenix under normal conditions, your car will not depreciate as quickly as it might if you were living in New York City. With a higher value, it might be in your best interest to carry higher amounts of comprehensive and collision. Keep in mind that if your car is damaged in an accident or stolen, your insurance company pays the actual cash worth of your auto, less your deductible.
If you’ve spent large amounts of money customizing your car, the actual cash value will come nowhere close to what your car is probably worth. By increasing your collision and comprehensive coverage, you can make up for that discrepancy. You might also consider gap insurance to cover the difference between your loan amount and actual cash value, in case you have an insurance claim before your loan is paid off.