Some rules of elementary mathematics are complex. Others are blatantly simple. When comparing prices of a commodity from different sources, they can't all be lower than their competitors. Assuming they're not all identical, at least one has to be the highest.
You'd never know it from the TV commercials that push car insurance. In that off-kilter world, the advertiser's brand of insurance will save you plenty of dollars, compared to brands X, Y, and Z. Sounds good, until you check ads for the latter. Chances are they too are claiming to have the lowest premiums—certainly lower than that first brand.
They aren't really making such a claim, of course. They're picking examples that happen to make their own brand appear cheapest. Others choose different examples, and—surprise—get results canted in their direction.
When prices differ, everything can't be a bargain. To help gloss over this logical flaw, auto-insurance providers have come up with some of the cleverest commercials out there. Even those of us who typically cringe at commercials of any sort can't help but smile at some of these car-insurance promotions.
Geico's little Gecko, for one, has more personality and personal magnetism than most of our friends. How can we resist his carefully devised and artfully delivered statements? Or, the gently insistent inducements from the relentlessly chipper young lady representing Progressive? We know "we're in good hands with Allstate," because a genial actor—familiar to most TV viewers as a trusted figure—has told us so over and over. Mr. Mayhem, the flagrantly accident-inducing character in a recent series of commercials, easily grabs our attention, even if we're trying to think about something else. And who can forget the cheerful, friendly Nationwide guy who's on our side.
Several heavily advertised insurers concentrate on offering policies to motorists with bad driving records, promising low weekly or monthly payments. Watch out, unless you belong in that category of high-risk drivers yourself. When they're targeting the barely insurable, you can be sure the premiums will be mighty hefty for the low level of coverage that you manage to obtain: most likely, only the minimal amounts required by law.
So, how do we know which "respectable" insurer actually has the best price? That's easy: just ask for quotes from several. Premiums vary enormously depending on a long list of factors that insurers evaluate. Remember, too, that price is just one element to consider: you want an insurance company with a well-established reputation for good service.