Car Insurance Quotes
First of all, every quote you get on auto insurance should be free – whether it’s from Geico, Farmers, or a small insurance company you’ve never heard of. Some auto insurance companies require a down payment to start your policy, but whether you buy auto insurance online or with an agent, a simple rate estimate should always be free. Here’s how to get started comparing quotes.
Gather your information
To compare car insurance online quickly and easily, you need to provide the following:
- Personal information, which includes address, date of birth, occupation, driver’s license and marital status of each person you want to include in the policy.
- Vehicle information: mileage, date of purchase and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for each vehicle. Or, if you haven’t bought the car yet, you have the mileage, make, model, and year right at your fingertips.
- Driving history: Include all claims, violations, and tickets you’ve had over the past five years, as well as any completed driving courses.
- The name of the current or former insurance company of anyone on the policy or in your household. Some insurance companies will not cover you without some history of coverage, and if you want to exclude anyone who lives with you from the policy, you will need to prove that they are covered elsewhere.
Choose the right auto liability insurance coverage levels
- Car insurance is financial protection, not just the investment you made when buying your car. After a really serious accident, damage and injury bills can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you cause such a wreck, the victims can sue you. In the worst case scenario, assets such as your savings and your home could be confiscated.
- Auto liability insurance protects you from the worst case scenario by providing a cushion between your assets and the amount you incur. For this reason, choosing the correct auto liability limits is the most important part of comparing your car insurance rates. NerdWallet typically recommends liability coverage for at least as much as your net worth.
- But liability coverage levels come in triple – you’ll likely see something like 50/100/50 up to 250/500/250 in typical policies. You can think of these limits as: individual injuries/total injuries/property damage. Insurance companies are a little more technical, and call them bodily injury liability, total bodily injury liability, and bodily injury liability.
- Liability insurance comes in a thousand dollar increments, so when you choose a 100/300/100 limit auto insurance policy, you’ll choose:
- $100,000 in bodily injury for each person you sustain in a collision.
- $300,000 in total for all bodily injury caused in a crash.
- $100,000 for damage to any property that caused an accident, including cars, buildings, and things like mailboxes and light poles.
- When choosing auto liability insurance coverage, try to ensure that the top and middle number is equal to or greater than your net worth.
Understand the auto insurance requirements in your state
In some states, you may be required to have a car insurance policy that includes personal injury protection (PIP), medpay coverage or uninsured/uninsured drivers coverage — or two of the three. If you have a medpay, you do not need a PIP, and vice versa.
Any auto insurance comparison tool you look at should have your state’s minimum auto insurance requirements preloaded in its options. States that require PIP or medpay are generally referred to as “no-fault” states, which means that when injuries occur, each driver in a crash files a claim with their insurance company to pay for it. Outside the confines of PIP or medpay, Driver Faulty Liability Insurance starts to cover the rest.
Decide if you need comprehensive car insurance
Liability coverage does not cover the costs of your vehicle or your injuries, or for any injuries to your occupants if you cause a wreck. That’s why you might want to get “full coverage” car insurance, especially if your car hasn’t been paid for yet. Note that this is not actually a type of coverage, but usually refers to policies that include liability coverage, as well as comprehensive and collision coverage.
In other words, you can’t click the “full coverage” button when comparing insurance rates online or buying something called a full coverage auto insurance policy. You will need to add conflict and blanket coverage for the amounts you want.
- Collision insurance pays for it
- Damage to your vehicle in the accident you cause.
- Damage to your vehicle if it hits an object such as a fence or a pole.
- Another option in this situation is to file a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance.
- Comprehensive insurance pays for
- The value of your car if it is stolen, not recovered and damaged from:
- Weather like hurricanes or hail.
- falling objects.
- An animal crash, like hitting a deer.
- Riots and civil unrest.
Car insurance price comparison tip: Whatever coverage you choose, be sure to compare quotes for the same type and amount of coverage so you can find the best rate.
Collect and compare car insurance quotes
You’ll need to get auto insurance quotes from at least two or three companies available in your area to make sure you get a good deal. Consider comparing quotes from regional companies as well as major companies like Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm. While shopping, make sure that each insurance offer includes:
- Same levels of liability and protection for uninsured/uninsured drivers.
- The Same deductions for collision and comprehensive coverage, if you buy it.
- All Same drivers and cars.
- All discounts for which you are eligible (most insurance companies list the discounts they offer on their websites).