Looking beyond commercials when shopping for insurance

FRESNO, Calif.

"Hi, I'm looking to save money on my car insurance."

Progressive's super perky Flo promises to save you hundreds of dollars on car insurance. And Geico's cute gecko promises to save you 15 percent or more.

While a lot of commercials promise to cut your costs, consumer reports' Greg Daugherty says one good way to save on car insurance is to shop around.

"We've not found that one company always delivers the lowest rates. So you want to get quotes from a bunch of companies," Daugherty said.

There are websites to make that a lot easier. Two good ones -answerfinancial.com and insweb.com.

Other ways to save on car insurance - consider dropping rental reimbursement if you have a car you can use while yours is being repaired. Drop roadside assistance if you can get a better deal from AAA or another auto club. And drop collision coverage on older cars.

"If the insurance costs more than 10 percent of your car's value, you'll pay more for insurance than you'll ever get back if your car is damaged or totaled."

Consumer reports says one way you should not try to save is by cutting back on liability coverage.

"You could face financial ruin if you're at fault in an accident and there are large damages. Stick with at least the standard coverage," Daugherty said.

Standard liability coverage pays bodily injury of up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident and property damage up to $100,000.

And if you're driving less than you used to, let your insurer know. That can save you some money, too.

In addition to getting a low rate, you want an insurance company that delivers good service and pays claims promptly. Consumer reports survey found overall satisfaction with insurance companies is high, but some companies earned higher scores than others.

Two nationwide companies that scored especially well are the Amica Mutual Group and, if you or any family member has served in the military, the USAA group.

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