|Free car insurance quotes|
When you buy an insurance policy for your vehicle, an auto insurance quote tells you how much you could pay for auto insurance with a particular company based on your coverage choices. With an auto insurance quote in hand, it can be much easier to accurately compare policy coverage between auto insurance companies.
But what should you pay attention to when analyzing prices? And at what stage of the car insurance buying process can you apply for one? Bank rate's insurance experts will tell you everything you need to know about buying car insurance.
What is a car insurance quote?
An auto insurance quote is an estimate of your insurance premium with an insurance provider based on the coverage selected and the driver's profile. Each offer is personalized to reflect the information you have submitted about yourself and your vehicle, and allows you to compare prices from more than one company. Because every auto insurance company assesses risk differently, getting quotes from multiple companies for the same coverage can result in significant price differences.
Requesting an auto insurance quote is not a commitment to purchase insurance with that company. Instead, it's an opportunity to check coverage and compare offers from other companies. Keep in mind that the premium quoted does not generally reflect the actual final cost of the policy and is subject to change upon purchase of the policy after the insurer's underwriting process has been completed. It is best to provide as much information upfront as possible when requesting quotes to ensure a more accurate price.
How do I get free car insurance quotes?
All auto insurance quotes are free, whether you get them online or work with an insurance agent. Below is a brief guide of what each method looks like:
Auto Insurance Online: Many companies now allow their customers to quote an auto insurance policy online through their website. After providing some personal information through the portal, you can choose the types of coverage and limits you want. Some companies may allow you to start the policy immediately with one payment, while others can complete the process by calling one of their representatives over the phone.
Starting an online auto insurance quote can be ideal for drivers with intermediate insurance knowledge and not in a complex situation. For example, they may be the only driver on the policy, or they may be insuring a vehicle and already know what liability limits, deductibles and additional coverage they want.
Captive Insurance Agents: A captive insurance agent, sometimes referred to as an "exclusive" or "dedicated" insurance agent, is an insurance agent who works on behalf of an individual insurance company. These types of agents only sell the insurance products their company offers, but they have extensive knowledge of the company's underwriting policies and claims process. They earn a performance-based commission and do not charge any additional fees for their service.
Many large auto insurance companies, such as State Farm, Allstate, and Farmers, operate through captive insurance agents. This means that there are local agencies across the country that can help not only with car insurance, but also with putting together a comprehensive insurance plan. If you want personalized service from a major auto insurance company, working with a captive agent may be the best strategy.
Independent Insurance Agent: Unlike a captive agent, who represents a single insurance company, an independent insurance agent represents multiple companies. An independent agent will compare your cover choices to the various companies they represent to provide you with comparable quotes.
If you're having trouble qualifying for auto insurance, whether it's because of a driving violation or auto insurance history, or you're curious about what other companies are offering, an independent representative can help. They have access to more insurance companies than a captive agent and can search on your behalf for a company that suits your needs. An independent agent may charge a brokerage fee for their services when you purchase a policy from them. You may also not have access to all companies that interest you.
How to Find Car Insurance Quotes
Whether you create a quote online or work with an agent, the process is generally the same. You share information about yourself and select the coverage levels and options you want, which the company then uses to create your auto insurance quote.
Step 1: Talk to an insurance agent if you have questions.
Talking to an insurance agent can be helpful in determining your needs and what coverage is appropriate to protect you. Both an in-house and an independent insurance agent can advise and make recommendations based on your personal situation. However, if you'd rather not work with an agent, you can always quote an auto insurance policy online at a company's website.
Step 2: Gather your personal and vehicle details.
Auto insurance companies generally ask the same questions when preparing a quote, so preparing the information in advance can speed up the process. Typically, you will be asked for your name, address, date of birth, driver's license number and address, as well as the name, date of birth and driver's license number of all drivers on your policy.
Regarding your vehicle, you may be asked the year, make and model of all the cars listed on your policy. You can also provide the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and Estimated Mileage for a more accurate quote. While not required during the offering process, it will be required when you decide to purchase the policy.
Step 3: Send this information to your agent or an online quote generator.
If you are already speaking to an agent, you can email or email the reward offered directly to them. From there, if you decide to proceed, you can make a payment to start the policy and sign (or e-sign) the required documents.
If you're using an online quote generator, you'll likely receive an email with your quote or see an instant quote on the page. Some companies may allow you to pay online and take out the policy, while others may have a local agent or company representative contact you directly as a final step.
What documents do I need to prepare?
In addition to gathering personal and vehicle information, it can be helpful to have a few other documents on hand, such as:
Current policy statements: If you already have auto insurance, it is important that any new policies match at least your current ones match, It helps the agent ensure they can provide you with an accurate quote. When getting a quote online, knowing your current policy statements can also help ensure you don't inadvertently choose lower coverage or a higher or lower deductible than you already have.
Vehicle Registration or Bill of Sale: Once you are ready to purchase your policy, you may be asked to provide the current vehicle registration and mileage. When you buy a new vehicle, you can share the bill of sale as soon as you receive it.
Rebate Verification Documents: If you are eligible for rebates that require verification, such as B. Professional or organizational membership, you may need to provide proof to add the discount to your policy. Or, if you have a young driver on your policy who's eligible for a nice student discount, the company may request a recent transcript to verify your GPA.
What may affect my auto insurance quotes/rates?
Insurers use a wide range of auto insurance rating factors to calculate your insurance quote. Some of them are:
Age and Gender: A driver's age and gender often play a large role in determining car insurance rates. Demographic groups that exhibit riskier driving behaviors, such as young drivers, male drivers, and older drivers, generally face higher rates. However, some states do not permit the use of age and gender as components of auto insurance rates. Massachusetts and Hawaii prohibit the use of age and gender, while California, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania do not use gender when calculating auto insurance premiums.
Driving History: Perhaps the most influential factor in auto insurance rates, your driving history is scrutinized when calculating auto insurance quotes as it indicates risky driving behavior. If you have a speeding ticket, an at-fault accident, or a DUI on your record, your fares may be higher than they were before the incident. Many incidents stay on your record for only three to five years, but a DUI can stay on your record for life in some states. You may want to review your state's specific laws regarding driving accidents before getting a car insurance quote.
Location: The place where you live also affects your car insurance premium. For example, cities can be busier than rural areas and also have higher labor and parts costs when it comes to repairing a vehicle after an accident. While nearly all states allow the zip code to be used to determine auto insurance rates, Michigan does not, and California restricts what insurers can use it for.
Credit Score: Insurance companies in many states can use your credit score, or more specifically your credit-based insurance score, to predict your risk of future claims. According to actuarial studies by the Insurance Information Institute, people with lower credit ratings are more likely to make claims than those with higher credit ratings. Because of this added risk, insurance companies can charge a higher premium to insure a driver with a lower credit-based insured value of. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan prohibit or restrict the use of credit as a rating factor in auto insurance. Washington currently has a temporary ban, effective March 4, 2022.
Vehicle: The type of car you drive also plays a big part in your car insurance premium. Luxury vehicles tend to command high premiums, due in part to expensive labor and parts repair costs. For example, technology-based safety sensors can make your car safer, but they can actually increase your premium because they are so expensive to repair or replace. Contrary to popular belief, small cars don't always lead to the cheapest premiums. Because so many of them are on the road, the are more likely to be involved in an accident or vandalized and stolen.
How to get the right car insurance quote for me
An important part of buying car insurance is knowing how much coverage you need. Some things to consider are how much you're comfortable paying for your excess if you want Collision Damage Waiver and collision insurance, and your overall financial situation to calculate your liability amounts. Once you know this, it can be beneficial to ensure that all coverage and limits chosen and deductibles are the same across all your offers. This ensures that you can compare providers fairly and don't accidentally choose a cheaper option with less coverage.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance quotes
Which insurance is the cheapest?
The cheapest auto insurance options vary for each driver. There are more than a dozen auto insurance rating factors, and each auto insurance company will weight them differently when calculating your auto insurance rates. For this reason, there is no provider that is the cheapest option for everyone. When looking for the cheapest auto insurance, it can be helpful to request quotes from multiple auto insurance companies to get an idea of what auto insurance might cost you based on your driver profile and coverage needs.
Is it more expensive to insure a new car or an old one?
A vehicle's age is taken into account when calculating car insurance rates, but a newer car is not always more expensive than an older car (and vice versa). For example, a newer car may have a better safety rating, reducing the risk of an accident, but it may also have a higher repair cost and value compared to an older car. This would mean the insurance company would likely pay more for damage to the newer vehicle. On the other hand, an older car may have a lower
value but have fewer safety features and parts that are hard and expensive to come by. Ultimately, the insurance cost of a new car compared to an old car still depends heavily on its make and model. When buying a car, be sure to request multiple auto insurance quotes to understand how much the insurance will cost. You might even want to do some research on estimated insurance and repair costs for different makes and models before buying a car.
How can I lower my car insurance premiums?
There are a number of strategies when it comes to lowering your car insurance premium. One option is to start with your current policy. Do you miss a discount? Is your annual mileage correct? Do you combine your car and home insurance? When it comes to coverage, you can also set your comprehensive and comprehensive deductible higher, but only if you can comfortably afford it out of your own pocket. Some companies also offer auto insurance telematics programs that offer rewards and discounts based on safe driving habits.