A car insurance quote is an estimate of the price a person will pay for auto insurance coverage. Car insurance quotes are calculated based on a motorist’s driving history, age, gender, location, the number of miles they drive, and their vehicle. We’ll cover how to get car insurance quotes online, on the phone, or in person from an insurance agent.
What are car insurance quotes?
Car insurance quotes are cost estimates from auto insurers. The estimate tells a person how much they would pay monthly for auto insurance coverage (the monthly “premium”). Get quotes from several of the best auto insurance companies to get a fair price.
How to get and compare car insurance quotes online
Follow these steps to get car insurance quotes:
1. Decide what types of coverage you want
Liability insurance pays for losses a driver causes others if an accident is their fault. It’s required in most states.
Motorists may also want:
- Collision coverage to pay for their own losses
- Comprehensive insurance to pay for fire, theft, or other kinds of damage not caused by an accident
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, in case someone harms the driver and they don’t have coverage (or enough coverage)
- Other specialized coverage, such as protection for aftermarket parts or for using their car vehicle while driving for a rideshare service
The price for coverage depends on how much protection a motorist wants. Research options to see what fits your situation, and carefully consider what you need for a deductible (how much you pay before the insurer covers losses). That way, you can get quotes for the same coverage from each insurer and compare apples to apples.
2. Make a list of insurers
Get quotes from at least three insurers. Start with the companies known for affordable insurance and solid customer service.
3. Visit each insurer’s website or use a comparison site
Visit the website for each insurer to get car insurance quotes. Alternatively, use a website that offers quotes from many insurers to get the broadest sampling and find the most affordable coverage.
4. Input your personal information
Whether you visit an individual insurer’s website or a site that offers quotes from many insurers, you need to provide a lot of information to get an accurate price estimate. That’s because premiums depend on factors such as a driver’s age and driving history.
5. Provide details about your vehicle
A motorist’s vehicle also affects the cost of car insurance. Most insurers ask for a driver’s VIN (vehicle identification number). Providing it is the easiest and fastest way to get a quote, because the insurer gets the details about the car from that number. If a person doesn’t have it or doesn’t want to give it, they’ll need to provide their vehicle’s details.
Other ways to get auto insurance quotes
Getting car insurance quotes online is generally the easiest approach. However, you have other options.
Call the insurance company
Most insurers have 800 numbers to call for a quote. You may be directed to a local agent who takes your details and provides a price. Or the insurer may have a nationwide customer service department that provides quotes to drivers across the country.
Visit a local insurance agent
In some cases, insurance agents meet with you in person to help you figure out what coverage you need. They can also give you a price.
Some insurance agents only represent particular auto insurance companies. They give you quotes just for the company they work for, such as StateFarm or Nationwide. Other insurance brokers help you compare quotes from several insurers. In either case, you should never have to pay a fee for help from an agent.
What information do you need to get a car insurance quote?
Insurers ask for a lot of information to get an accurate picture of a driver and vehicle owner. Most insurers request a person’s Social Security number and their VIN when they get auto insurance quotes. While people don’t have to provide this, it can result in more accurate price estimates.
Even if you don’t give an insurer your Social Security number, if you’re wondering how to get car insurance quotes, be ready to provide the following details.
Your contact information and personal details
The insurer needs to know your name, address, phone number, marital status, and at what age you got your driver’s license.
Your driving history
The insurer asks for details about any accidents or violations in your driving record. This includes the date of the incident and the cost of any insurance claims paid out.
Your vehicle information
Insurers need to know its make, model number, model year, safety features, and anti-theft features. They’ll also want to know if it is owned, leased, or financed.
Your intended vehicle use
You need to provide information about other drivers in your household, including their ages. The insurer also asks for details about your commute and the number of miles you drive each year. You also say whether you use the vehicle for pleasure, for getting to work, or for business purposes.
What factors affect your car insurance quote?
Insurers take these key factors into account when setting your price. Though the big question may be “what is a car insurance quote,” you also need to know what affects auto insurance prices so you can get cheap car insurance quotes. These factors help insurers figure out the risk of insuring people.
Age and gender
Insurance companies ask for age, gender, and marital status to see how likely a person is to make a claim. Insurers collect detailed data on accidents according to age and gender to understand the risk of providing coverage. Some people — such as younger drivers and male drivers — considered as an overall group, get into more accidents. They also tend to get higher auto insurance quotes, since companies believe they are riskier to insure.
Insurers also consider a motorist’s personal driving history. If a person has a clean driving record, they’re more likely to get cheap car insurance quotes. If they have a history of at-fault accidents that led to insurance claim payouts, they’ll pay more. People also get higher price quotes if they have a DUI or moving violations, or if they haven’t been driving long.
Who else will drive the car
If others live in the motorist’s household, an insurer assumes they drive that vehicle, too. Insurers charge a higher price if a policyholder’s spouse has an accident history, if there’s a teen driver in the home, or if there are other red flags.
Vehicle cost and features
More expensive cars often cost more to repair, and they cost more to replace if they’re damaged beyond repair. They’re also more likely to get stolen. Because of all that, they’re more expensive to insure. On the other hand, if a vehicle has excellent safety and anti-theft features, that reduces the risk of injury claims or theft, and makes insurance costs cheaper.
How to get the cheapest car insurance quote
These tips will help you get cheap car insurance quotes.
Shopping around is the best way to get the cheapest coverage. Use websites that let you get multiple quotes at once to make this process easier.
If someone buys multiple policies from the same insurer, they usually get a discount. When possible, bundle different kinds of policies — such as home and auto. It can save on premium costs.
Consider signing up for programs that track your driving habits
Many insurers offer discounts if a motorist downloads an app that tracks their driving behavior. Those who are willing to share this information can look for a company that reduces premiums based on safe driving.
Get only the coverage you need
You don’t want to pay for protection you don’t truly need. For example, if an insurer offers roadside assistance but a driver already has AAA, they shouldn’t include that coverage in their policy.
Look at the big picture
It may be tempting to buy minimum coverage or set your deductible — what a driver pays before their insurer contributes — very high to get cheap car insurance quotes. But if coverage doesn’t include enough, a motorist may end up with losses the insurer won’t pay for.
A person could, for instance, be responsible for paying the difference if they caused $50,000 in damage but their insurance covers only $30,000. And a high deductible can leave a driver paying a lot of money after an incident. In other words, coverage that appears cheaper based on monthly premiums could cost more in the long run. Carefully consider the possible costs.