In these trying economic times, every dollar counts for the average American family. More and more families are doing extensive research into every purchase they make, whether it’s where they buy their groceries or where they buy their auto insurance. No decision is too trivial.

Buying local vs. buying national has become a major decision for the economically conscious customer. The trend of shunning major corporations that don’t always have your best interest in mind and steering towards local businesses that tend to value each and every customer has become an increasingly popular mindset, but is it always in your best interest?

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself which auto insurance is right for you? Let’s take a look at three of the nations largest auto Insurance providers (State Farm, AllState, and Farmers) and compare them to local insurance providers.

Pros and Cons of National Insurance Agencies

State Farm, AllState and Farmers all offer competitive policies and premiums. The distinct advantage of going with one of these nationally available insurance agencies is dependability. These companies have been around for years, are financial juggernauts, and offer the peace of mind of not having to worry about whether the company can back you up and support your claim in the event that the unthinkable happens.

Bundled Services

Another benefit of choosing one of these national insurance providers is bundling services. All three companies offer you discounts with each service you add. For instance, if you already have or are planning on adding auto insurance through All-State, and are also planning on purchasing a house, you can add homeowners insurance to your package at a discounted rate. Smaller local insurance agencies don’t have as much flexibility in bundling services as national agencies do.

That being said, you may find that a national insurance agency is more difficult to work with and less approachable. They have a business model or standard operating procedure that they are more comfortable working with and in most cases, are restricted by. You may just be a number on a page rather than a valued customer.

Pros and Cons of Local Insurance Agencies

A local insurance agent is more likely to go the extra mile to help you in any way possible. For some, their local agent is even a friend or family member. There is a level of mutual trust that can develop beyond what is usually possible with a national agency. This level of intimacy between the customer and business can create bonds that last decades. Local agents aren’t hampered by as many corporate restrictions and can therefore provide a more convenient customer service experience with ultimately less hassle for you, the customer. However, they may not be able to offer the extensive packages and bundled services available through a national insurance company. You should factor in the companies history and how proven their track record is.

So Which is Right For You?

If you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible insurance for the best possible price, tailored to meet your individual lifestyle needs, do a lot of research. Prices can vary across the board from AllState, State Farm, and Farmers to your local insurance agencies. The preconceived notion that national will automatically be cheaper than local insurance is simply not true. Talk to your friends and family members and get first-hand stories about their experiences with their insurance agencies. Gather up all the information you can before deciding on which business will be on the receiving end of your hard earned money.