If you own a car, you almost certainly need car insurance. The first step in purchasing auto insurance is to obtain a quote. Most insurance experts recommend obtaining at least three quotes to compare, but if you are unfamiliar with how car insurance works, you may be unable to read and interpret the information.
That’s where Bankrate comes in. When obtaining car insurance quotes, Bankrate’s insurance experts can assist you in feeling confident.
Understanding what the coverage names mean, what the limits mean, how to compare quotes, and how to buy an auto insurance policy could help you secure the financial security you require.
What exactly is a car insurance quote?
So, what exactly are auto insurance quotes? Quotes, in a nutshell, are an estimate of your insurance premiums and coverage with a specific insurance provider. Many car insurance companies provide online quotes, and you can also call or visit a local agency.
Each quote is tailored to the information you provided about yourself and your vehicle. Because each auto insurance company evaluates data differently, obtaining quotes from multiple companies for the same coverage may result in a significant price difference.
Fortunately, quotes from reputable companies are always free. Your quote will include at the very least your state’s minimum requirements, as well as any coverage types and levels you choose, such as liability coverage, potentially collision coverage and comprehensive coverage (if you purchase full coverage), and any add-ons you choose, such as roadside assistance or car rental coverage.
What does it mean to get a car insurance quote?
Quotes are simply that: quotes. Obtaining a car insurance quote does not obligate you to purchase coverage from that company or agree to purchase coverage at any time in the future. A quote is only the first step in the process of purchasing car insurance.
Auto insurance quotes can assist you in gathering information about various insurance providers. Most importantly, obtaining quotes from multiple insurance companies for the same coverage allows you to compare the quoted premiums, ensuring that you are receiving the best or cheapest price for the coverage you require.
Quotes also allow you to compare different types of coverage and policy features. Perhaps one company provides a discount that another does not. Perhaps one company’s collision coverage is more expensive than another’s. There are numerous moving parts in auto insurance policies. Comparing quotes side by side can help you find the best options for you.
How to Obtain a Car Insurance Estimate
Quotes can be completed for free online, over the phone, or in person. Some companies only provide online quotes, while others have local offices where you can speak with an insurance agent in person. Regardless of which option you select, you will most likely be asked for the same personal, vehicle, and financial information.
Collect the information you’ll need for a quote: Insurers typically request your name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and address with ZIP code, as well as the names of any household members or other regular drivers of the vehicles you are insuring. In many cases, providers will ask for your Social Security number in order to access your personal information, including your credit score, even though this rating metric is prohibited in some states.
Vehicle information: Insurance companies also generate quotes based on your vehicle’s details, such as the year, make, and model, vehicle identification number (VIN), safety features, and annual mileage. You will be asked if you own the vehicle outright or if it is leased or financed. If you have a loan or lease, your lender will most likely require comprehensive and collision coverage, so keep that in mind when selecting coverage types during the quote process. Leased vehicles may also necessitate higher liability limits.
Driving history: For an accurate quote, any prior tickets, accidents, or driving violations on your record (typically within the last three to five years) should be reported to an insurance provider. When the insurance company reviews your motor vehicle report (which shows citations and suspensions) and CLUE report (which shows claims), they will obtain this information, so being honest when requesting a quote is a good practice.
If you currently have auto insurance, you will most likely be asked to provide information about your current policy, such as the company you are with, the policy number, and the expiration date.
Payment method: If you intend to purchase your policy right away, you must have your payment information on hand when requesting quotes.
It is entirely up to you how you obtain your quote. If you’re looking for insurance and comparing different providers, you could get several quotes in minutes online if you have the necessary information. If you have additional questions about your coverage, you should consider speaking with an agent in person or over the phone.
Choose the level of protection you require.
The amount of auto insurance you purchase is a personal choice. To drive legally, you must purchase at least your state’s minimum coverage types and limits, and if you have a loan or lease, you will almost certainly be required to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage as well.
Insurance is intended to provide financial protection in the event of an accident or damage to your vehicle. The amount of coverage you require will be determined by your financial situation and risk tolerance. In addition to deciding on the types of coverage to purchase, you must also decide on your limits.
In general, the higher your coverage limits, the higher your premium. Choosing a comprehensive policy with comprehensive, collision, and other optional coverage types, such as gap insurance, will generally cost more than purchasing liability-only insurance.
Before requesting quotes, you should make a list of what is most important to you. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent may help you better understand all of the options available from a specific provider.
Obtaining insurance quotes from various companies
Before you request quotes from various car insurance companies, here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your comparison shopping experience:
Request the following coverage: Determine how much car insurance you need to protect yourself financially in the event of an accident, as well as any additional coverage that is appropriate for your specific needs. If you’re having trouble deciding what you need, talk to an agent.
Get more quotes like this: When possible, request the same coverage from each company you submit a quote request to for an apples-to-apples comparison.
Obtain several quotes: Online quote tools are typically available on insurance provider websites, making comparisons simple and efficient. You might also want to consider quotes from smaller, local businesses that have firsthand knowledge of the factors affecting driving in your area.
Examine customer service levels: When comparing quotes, researching customer service may provide a good indicator of the experience you will have when filing claims. Customers and claims satisfaction are ranked by reputable companies such as J.D. Power.
These steps will assist you in efficiently evaluating multiple providers. Bankrate has provided average annual and monthly premiums for several well-known providers that rank highly in customer satisfaction below, based on the most recent data from Quadrant Information Services. We’ve also included a link to each provider’s Bankrate review, where we looked at financial strength, coverage options, available discounts, and customer satisfaction scores to help you find the best auto insurance.