How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes

How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes

Sarah L. Bromley

by Sarah L. Bromley
Contributing Writer

November 24, 2020
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How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes

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Maybe that time of the year has come around when your car insurance is about to renew, and you're wondering if it's time to switch to a new insurer for a better deal. Perhaps you've recently bought your first car and are preparing yourself to navigate insurance for the first time.

Whatever your situation is, there's one thing in common: car insurance quotes can be confusing. There are many loopholes that can completely alter your quote, and having to compare car insurance quotes makes it even more bewildering.

Don't worry — help is at hand! We'll run through how car insurance quotes work, common determinants, and how to find the best option for you.

How Do Car Insurance Quotes Work?

Before we dive straight into the comparison aspect, let's review what car insurance quotes are and how they work.

Essentially, a car insurance quote determines how much your insurance policy will cost. Most insurers give you a quote based on elements such as:

  • Driving history
  • Age
  • Which car you drive
  • Where you live
  • History of making insurance claims

So, if you're a young and brand new driver with an expensive car, bad luck — you're likely to be hit with a high insurance premium.

Most companies will give you a quote free of charge, making it easy to compare various policies and decide which option is best for you.

Got it? Great — now we can move on to the important stuff.

Where to Find Insurance Quotes

Knowing that it's free and easy to compare car insurance quotes is useless if you don't know where to find them. Luckily, you have a few options here.

Most people prefer to get their quotes online, which is extremely convenient — all you need to do is press a few buttons — and you won't have to worry about a salesperson pressuring you into making a purchase. You can go directly to insurers such as Allstate, Travelers, Geico, or other insurers, or if you'd rather save time, go through a broker that can provide multiple quotes with one application.

Alternatively, if you prefer to speak to somebody, you can also opt to get your quote by phone or by visiting a car insurer at their physical premises.

Types of Car Insurance Agents

So, who offers car insurance quotes? Again, there are a few options.

Many ready-made comparison websites give you a selection of quotes from different companies after entering your personal information. Naturally, these are an obvious go-to for anyone hoping to compare options and help you save time.

If you go down this route, you'll probably find yourself speaking to an "independent insurance agent," who can give quotes and sell policies from various car insurers.

A second option is to go to the car insurance company directly, in which case you'll be dealing with a "captive insurance agent" who works for that specific company. This option is more time-consuming since you'll need to speak with multiple different agents, but it helps you get a more comprehensive policy overview.

Factors to Consider When Comparing Car Insurance Quotes

If only choosing the right car insurance policy was as easy as picking whatever is cheapest! Although the price is undoubtedly important, it's far from the only factor to consider. Here are a few more:

Type of Coverage

Depending on the risks you're willing to take, you might prefer to take out a more comprehensive or more minimalist policy. But don't skimp on this by getting the cheapest coverage type possible — there's little point in having coverage if it doesn't keep you safe!

Car liability insurance covers medical bills, property damage, and legal defense in the case of a car accident. But accidents aren't the only events that could take place.

You might also face car theft, vandalism, or damage from floods, fires, and similar. Car liability insurance wouldn't cover these events, but collision and comprehensive insurance do.

These are the main two types of insurance available, but there are also a few others:

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage — protects you if you're involved in an accident with someone who doesn't have insurance.
  • Medical expenses coverage — covers medical bills and other expenses after an accident.
  • Roadside assistance insurance — pays for help if you're stranded in the middle of your journey.
  • Rental reimbursement insurance — covers the cost of you using a rental car while another car is repaired after an accident.

State Requirements

Choosing the right coverage type isn't just down to your own whims and preferences. Some states have legal requirements — for instance, everywhere except New Hampshire and Virginia demands bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Company Reputation

No matter how fantastic a policy and quote seem, it's rarely a good idea to go forward if the company has a poor reputation and many dissatisfied customers.

Opting for a top auto insurance provider minimizes the chances of you facing any complications.

Payment Plan

Some car insurance providers give you more flexibility over how you pay for your policy (e.g., monthly installments), which could swing the balance if you don't have the cash upfront.

Bottom Line

Comparing car insurance quotes might be complicated, but half the battle is knowing where to look, figuring out what a reasonable rate is for your personal circumstances, and having a good idea of the type of policy you're looking for.

If you take the time to compare at all, you're already ahead of the pack — most people simply go with the same provider they've always used or blindly take a recommendation from a friend!