Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • You can use the internet to compare car insurance quotes
  • Compare at least three different quotes before making a decision
  • Many people looking for cheap car insurance are committing fraud and don’t even know it

Many people are using the Internet to search for auto insurance these days, so it is very important to know what you should and should not do.

The do’s and don’ts when searching for online auto insurance can help you to get the best auto insurance rates for your needs.

  • The basic don’ts of searching for online auto insurance include only searching for cheap insurance, committing fraud, and going with the first provider that you find
  • The do’s of searching for online auto insurance include doing your homework, knowing the amounts of auto insurance that you need, and comparing a variety of car insurance quotes

Search for online car insurance quotes right now by entering your zip code into the FREE box at the top of this page!

Table of Contents

Don’t Look Only for Cheap Insurance

Many people are on the lookout for the cheapest car insurance that they can find. This is a bad way to go, however, because cheap auto insurance companies are not always the best.

They may promise really cheap rates, but then continue to act cheap and stingy when it comes time for you to file a claim.

Some cheap auto insurance companies can offer such low rates because they never intend to pay out on any of your claims.

Even if your claims are legitimate, they will use a variety of tactics to keep from having to pay.

Some of these tactics might include poor communication, such as not returning your calls or e-mails; utilizing clauses in your policy that exclude most claims.

Then your claim drags on until your bills either go to collection or you’re forced to pay them yourself. Such cheap insurance really isn’t cheap in the long run–it will end up costing you much, much more.

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Don’t Commit Fraud

Many people looking for cheap car insurance are committing fraud and don’t even know it. They may even label themselves as very honest people, but when it comes to car insurance application forms, they are full of little white lies.

According to The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, many people commit what is known as soft fraud on applications for car insurance.

They consider such fraud to actually be stretching the truth or leaving out facts.

Common lies told on car applications for auto insurance include:

  • Lying about the number of miles you drive your car
  • Insuring your vehicle in someone else’s name
  • Insuring your vehicle in a region with lower car insurance rates
  • Failing to disclose past accidents and violations
  • Claiming that your vehicle is only used for personal use when it is actually used for business

Many people don’t see the above untruths as fraud because they feel like they don’t actually hurt anyone. It’s not like they are faking an injury, staging an accident, or padding a repair bill.

However, most states define fraud as any omission or misrepresentation of the facts in order to get money from an insurer.

When people lie on their car insurance applications, they do so in order to save money.

When you search for auto insurance online, make sure that you represent the facts exactly how they are. Losses from fraud get passed on to honest drivers by the car insurance companies, so really, you’re paying either way.

Don’t Go the Easy Route

Many people are daunted by the confusing task of searching for car insurance, even though the online process has made it much easier.

Then, most people just go with the first car insurance company that gives them a quote with which they’re comfortable.

However, going the easy route and buying insurance from the first company that you look into is not the best way to search for online auto insurance.

It is pretty similar to buying the first house you look at, marrying the first person you ever date or keeping your first job for the rest of your life.

While sometimes those firsts may work out, generally they do not.

So when you are searching for online auto insurance, do not stop with just one or even two companies. You need to make sure that you get a wide range of quotes from car insurance companies.

You want quotes from the biggest companies, the smallest companies, and companies you’ve never even heard of. In this way, competition drives down your auto insurance rates.

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Do Your Research

If many people choose the very first car insurance company they come to, then even fewer people actually bother to do research before buying car insurance.

However, one of the most important Do’s when searching for online auto insurance is to fully research the shortlist of companies from which you have to choose.

One of the first places that you should be checking is with your state’s Department of Insurance website, to ensure that all the auto insurance companies you are considering are not fraudulent.

Fraud can be committed by a fake car insurance company and bogus agents just as easily as it can be by consumers.

The way you need to do research about your company is by checking financial ratings.

There are ten companies that are designated by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct financial ratings on an array of businesses.

These rating companies, such as Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best, look at the financial standings of companies such as car insurance providers.

Ratings are to ensure that the insurance provider will be able to pay on the policies that it holds.

Your insurance company promises to pay for certain damages and injuries to others, your vehicle, and to yourself in exchange for a six-month premium.

If your auto insurance provider doesn’t actually have the money to pay that promised claim, then the whole purpose of insurance is lost.

These financial ratings are also done to ensure that auto insurance providers have the financial assets to continue to honor their monetary obligations even in the event of a poor economy or natural catastrophe.

For instance, a hurricane such as Hurricane Katrina will create a high volume of claims for insurance providers in the affected region. Those auto insurance providers still need to be able to pay out all of those claims without going bankrupt.

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Know Your Coverage Amounts

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they search for online auto insurance is misunderstanding the coverage amounts that they need. Every state has minimum levels of mandatory liability insurance.

This is so you can pay for the damages you inflict on others.

Each state has its own required levels, and some states have lower levels than others. For instance, the state of Florida only requires drivers to carry $10,000 to pay for injuries per person and $20,000 per accident.

This includes the minimum of $10,000 in liability coverage to pay for damages to the other driver’s vehicle. Most people would agree that these numbers are probably not enough to cover injuries and damages in serious accidents.

However, the state of Wisconsin has a minimum requirement of $50,000 to pay for injuries per person and $100,000 per accident.

Similarly, Wyoming also requires a minimum of $55,000 in liability property coverage to pay for damages to the other driver’s vehicle.

If your state has a high threshold for minimum mandatory auto insurance, then that’s probably enough coverage. Most auto insurance agents make a commission based on how much insurance they get you to buy.

They will always recommend that you buy more than your state’s minimums.

So, before you even begin searching for online auto insurance, you need to know how much mandatory coverage you need. If you are still paying on a loan for your vehicle, then you definitely are required to carry collision and comprehensive coverage.

However, once your vehicle is paid off, then you no longer are required to carry these forms of optional insurance.

Basically, you should keep collision and comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is fairly new and still worth some money.

Very few people have the cash on hand to pay for damages to the vehicle or personal injuries from an accident. Most people do not have the cash to replace the car if it is stolen, either.

Without collision and comprehensive coverage, you will have to pay for those scenarios out of pocket.

However, if your vehicle is older and not worth very much, then you can probably drop collision and comprehensive coverage.

You are probably paying more for the coverage then your vehicle is actually worth, and you really won’t get that much from a claim if your vehicle is totaled or stolen.

Fair market values can be found by searching NADA Guides to discover how much your vehicle is worth due to age, mileage, and condition.

Do Compare Car Insurance

Another really important do for searching for online auto insurance is to compare car insurance quotes.

The fastest and easiest way to get a lot of quotes to compare is to use quote comparison websites. These websites take your driver demographic information and send it out to an array of car insurance companies.

Those car insurance companies then crunch the numbers and return a quote for coverage to you by e-mail or over the phone.

Start your online car insurance search below by entering your zip code below into the FREE box now!

References:

  1. https://www.safeauto.com/state-insurance/pennsylvania-auto-insurance/philadelphia-auto-insurance
  2. https://www.nationwide.com/
  3. https://www.infinityauto.com/knowledge-center/understand-insurance/auto-insurance-fraud
  4. http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm
  5. http://www.sec.gov/answers/nrsro.htm
  6. http://www.history.com/topics/hurricane-katrina
  7. https://www.progressivecommercial.com/coverages/liability/
  8. http://www.wyo.gov/
  9. https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/auto/coverage-options/collision-coverage
  10. http://www.nadaguides.com/cars