ValuePenguin’s Data-Driven Research Simplifies Complicated Financial Decisions & Finds You the Best Car Insurance Rates

ValuePenguin's Data-Driven Research Simplifies Complicated Financial Decisions & Finds You the Best Car Insurance Rates

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Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: December 1, 2015
Our finance experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies, current events, and other interesting tidbits from inside the credit card industry.

In a nutshell: Pro-consumer site ValuePenguin simplifies complicated financial decisions by providing high-quality resources to help you understand and decide what’s best for you, including in-depth data that allows you to find the best car insurance rates by state. When it comes to quotes, smart consumers don’t assume — they compare. And ValuePenguin can help.

Whether you’re in the market for car insurance, health care coverage, homeowners insurance, or a credit card, you want the best value you can find.

Photo of Jonathan Wu, ValuePenguin CEO

Jonathan Wu, ValuePenguin CEO

But that means weighing all the factors that matter most and seeing how all the options stack up, and there can be lots of factors and options.

If you’re like most consumers, you might compare two or three quotes and then hedge your bets. And, if you’re like most consumers, you might be missing out on the best deal. That’s where ValuePenguin can help.

Founded by three talented financial experts — Jonathan Wu (CEO), Ting Pen, and Brian Quinn — ValuePenguin uses value-focused research to provide objective analysis of data in a consumer-friendly format.

“Financial decisions are complicated,” they say. “Our research and apps make them simpler.”

High-Quality Resources Help You Understand & Decide

ValuePenguin’s high-quality resources include visual tools to explain data and articles detailing in-depth research in multiple areas, all with the aim of helping consumers understand the financial topics they’re interested in and make well-informed decisions.

  • Auto Insurance: Find the least expensive companies for the coverage you need with ValuePenguin’s local quote search tool and chart of average cost by state.
  • Health: Learn everything you need to know about health care coverage with ValuePenguin’s health resources, such as their Affordable Care Act Subsidy Calculator.
  • Homeowners Insurance: Learn what home insurance covers and how much you should spend, plus find the best rates with ValuePenguin’s local quote search tool and chart of average cost by state.
  • Credit Cards: Read their detailed reviews on individual credit cards, or input your spending into their tools to find the best rewards credit cards for you.
ValuePenguin chart of auto insurance rate comparisons

ValuePenguin surveyed 9 national auto insurance companies to see how their rates compare. Sample quotes were taken from select cities in the U.S.; actual quotes will differ based on location and driving record.

From its beginnings in comparing health insurance data, to expanding to include other verticals such as car insurance, to digging down to city-by-city comparisons, ValuePenguin has grown into a full-fledged financial data authority.

Granular Data Finds the Best Car Insurance Rates by State

Inspired to find the best car insurance rates in each state, ValuePenguin assembled a team and conducted a study that compared multiple auto insurers in every state.

Photo of Brian Quinn, ValuePenguin Founder

Brian Quinn, ValuePenguin Founder

The information was broken down on a granular level to show consumers not only the cheapest insurers by city but also the top-rated insurers based on the volume of consumer complaints. This isn’t just a top-5 list of popular insurers that everyone’s familiar with — in California alone, ValuePenguin compared 40 insurance companies across 210 cities.

We spoke with ValuePenguin co-founders Quinn and Pen to get an in-depth look into the research’s methodology and findings.

“It made natural sense for us to go state by state to see which insurers are priced differently in different areas of each state,” Quinn said.

“It was something we always wondered ourselves, and so we came up with the idea and thought, ‘Hey, let’s get together a team and let’s make it happen,’” Pen added.

When It Comes to Quotes, Consumers Have Control

Car insurance is one of those things we all need but hate to pay for because it isn’t tangible — we’re paying for protection we hopefully never have to use. But since it’s illegal in most states to drive without auto insurance, there’s really no way around it.

Photo of Ting Pen, ValuePenguin Founder

Ting Pen, ValuePenguin Founder

“What consumers do have control over,” Pen reminded us, “is the number of companies they choose to obtain quotes from. So a lot of our studies have upwards of 20 insurers, and what we’ve found is there’s such a dramatic range from the most expensive to the cheapest insurer, even for the same profile.”

When asked what the most surprising finding was, Pen said she was shocked by just how much insurance rates varied between the least and most expensive insurers.

“For example, when we analyzed auto insurance in New Jersey, I was expecting there to be some kind of range but not by much. We found rates could be three to four times higher from the most expensive to the least expensive insurer,” Pen told us.

“It’s always in your best interest to compare rates when shopping for insurance,” she emphasized.

Smart Shoppers Don’t Assume — They Compare (Several Companies)

As you compare quotes, you may notice the sort of wide range Pen mentioned.

“Every insurer has very different claims experiences with certain types of groups or profiles. So even though one insurer might rate you the most expensive, you might not be in their targeted risk pool,” she explained. “So you should always look at other companies because there are some that might have had better experiences insuring drivers with a background similar to yours, so they’ll rate you more affordably.”

Not only is it advisable to compare several companies, but it’s also wise not to make assumptions. You might guess, for example, that New York has one of the highest costs in the country for car insurance, but, Quinn explained, their surveys take into account the state as a whole; in this case, New York City’s density isn’t enough to skyrocket rates statewide.

ValuePenguin graph of cheapest auto insurers in New York.

ValuePenguin’s visual tools make comparisons easy to see at a glance.

Instead, a ValuePenguin national survey found Michigan is one of most expensive states, owing to the underlying dynamics of the auto insurance market there and to the fact that Michigan’s car insurance benefits are not capped the way other states’ are. (In contrast, Ohio and Maine are two of the least expensive states for car insurance.)

How Reports Relate to Real Life

At the bottom of each report, ValuePenguin shares their methodology so consumers can understand how well the quotes might apply to their particular situation. Sample quotes were assessed with each state’s basic liability protection plan for a 2010 Toyota Camry with an estimated 12,000 annual miles. Using demographics that make the most sense for each state, the reports assume a safe driver profile; different profiles would return different results.

“The reports we provide are for information purposes,” Pen said. “Consumers can see aggregated quotes as a benchmark among those.”

ValuePenguin tool finds insurers that operate in your specific area.

ValuePenguin can find the insurers that operate in your specific area.

Quinn advised that to get a personalized quote, customers can put their zip code into the form on the site, and ValuePenguin will show them the insurers that operate in their specific area.

Visit ValuePenguin.com to begin insuring your decisions with data.