Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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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 13, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Most experts agree that having full coverage car insurance is the best way to go
  • In order to protect the value of your vehicle, you should have full coverage whenever the value of your car is worth more than your deductible, plus the cost of full coverage options like collision and comprehensive
  • Not everyone wants to spend the time in an office or on the phone with an agent, and the Internet offers some great options for finding a quote for car insurance
  • You should always compare quotes from many different insurance companies

Most experts agree that having full coverage car insurance is the best way to go, and finding quotes for coverage has never been easier. There is a wide variety of options for finding quotes, and you are free to use the method that works the best for you.

Start right here with your ZIP code to find car insurance quotes by using the FREE quote tool above!

There is no right or wrong way to get car insurance quotes; there is only the best way for you. While some ways of getting quotes are faster than others, not everyone is comfortable with the use of technology to get quotes for auto coverage.

Basic vs. Full Coverage


First, you need to understand the differences between basic and full car insurance coverage. Basic coverage is the lowest amount of liability coverage that is allowed in your state. It only covers other drivers and their vehicles if you cause the accident; it will not cover your injuries or the damages to your vehicle.

Full coverage can include many different options, but it usually includes collision and comprehensive coverage. Neither collision nor comprehensive is mandatory insurance in any state, but they are necessary if you want insurance to repair any damages to your car or pay what your vehicle is worth if it is totaled.

If you get into an accident with another vehicle that is your fault, or even if you drive into a tree, sign, or light pole, collision will pay for the damages, minus your deductible.

On the other hand, comprehensive covers damages from most other sources, like flooding, fire, and hitting an animal. Comprehensive also pays if your vehicle is stolen.

Both collision and comprehensive include a deductible. A deductible is a dollar amount that is your responsibility to pay.

It basically allows you to adjust the balance of responsibility between yourself and your insurer for coverage.

Most people choose a $500 deductible, making themselves responsible for all costs under $500 and the insurer responsible for everything over $500.

If you want to have no responsibility at all, then you can usually choose a $0 deductible, but then you will pay much higher premiums. If you want lower rates, then you can take on more responsibility by choosing a higher deductible. Many people choose $1,000 or $2,000 deductibles to reduce their insurance costs.

You must make sure that you are able to meet your deductible amount.

If you have $5,000 in damages and a $2,000 deductible, then your insurance will only pay $3,000 towards the cost for repairs or replacing your vehicle.

Other options that define full coverage might include medical payment insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage; some states make these mandatory by law rather than optional.

Further options include roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement. You might not need each and every option, especially if you have similar coverage elsewhere. However, having such relatively inexpensive coverage options can save you a lot of money in the event of a loss.

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When to Get Full Coverage

In order to protect the value of your vehicle, you should have full coverage whenever the value of your car is worth more than your deductible, plus the cost of full coverage options like collision and comprehensive. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners puts this value at $1,000.

For instance, if you have chosen a $1,000 deductible and the additional cost of full coverage adds up to $300, then you should not get collision and comprehensive if your vehicle is worth less than $1,300.

If you cause an accident and your repair bills are $900, you insurance will not pay anything because your deductible means you will pay the first $1,000 in repair bills.

Similarly, if that accident wrecks your vehicle and it’s only worth $1,300, your insurer will only pay you a settlement of $300. It would be best to save your money in a bank account to go towards a down payment for a newer vehicle.

The settlement value for your car if it is totaled will be based on the fair market value of your vehicle, not your purchase price.

Sites such as  Kelley Blue Book and National Automobile Dealers Association let you find the market value of your vehicle based on age, condition, and mileage.

If You Want Personalized Attention

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Some people are looking for a way to have their insurance matters handled by a third party; they don’t want to go through all the time and effort researching car insurance companies and coverage.

If you are looking for personalized service in your car insurance search and beyond, then using an agent is the best way to get quotes for you.

You can get quotes, either over the phone or in person, from an independent agent who works with a handful of insurance providers.

They will be able to compare rates from the companies with which they work, find you discounts for savings, and help you to choose the right level of coverage.

If you have further questions or insurance needs, the agent will be there to handle them for you.

You can also get quotes from a dedicated agent who works for one insurance company. They can get you a quote in person or over the phone and again help you to choose those insurance products that will fit your situation. That agent will also likely be able to assist you if you have a claim, walking you through the process if need be.

Having an auto insurance agent can be like having your own personal insurance assistant. An agent can take the guesswork out of your insurance coverage, but it is not always guaranteed that you are getting the best rates possible.

Compare Car Insurance Companies

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If You Like Technology

Not everyone wants to spend the time in an office or on the phone with an agent, and the Internet offers some great options for finding a quote for car insurance.

Just about any car insurance provider worth their salt has a user-friendly website that allows users to get rate quotes for coverage.

Generally, you will need to fill out an application that includes information about yourself and your vehicle. You will also need to know how much coverage you want; that includes specifics such as liability limits and deductible amounts.

Many providers’ websites allow you to adjust your coverage up and down to see what difference it will make to your rate quote.

This allows you to get as much coverage as possible for what you can afford. Such websites also allow you to research discounts, additional lines of insurance, and other options available.

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Really Save Time and Effort

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There is another online method for getting quotes for car insurance coverage that truly saves time and effort. Quote comparison websites such as this one allow you to fill out one application, but receive a multitude of insurance quotes back for your effort.

The comparison websites take your information and send it out to likely insurance providers, and then those providers return their quotes to you over the phone or by email.

This allows you to get quotes at any time of the day or night, from the comfort of your own home. Really, you can get quotes anywhere that has Internet access. You can also review your array of rates to see which provider has the best rates for coverage.

Quote comparison websites also allow you to get quotes from companies of which you may not have thought.

Generally, people think of those insurance providers that advertise the most or have the most memorable commercials, but that may not be the provider with the best rate.

One Thing to Always Do

No matter which method you use for getting auto insurance quotes, there is one part of the search that you should always complete. You should always compare quotes from many different insurance companies.

Many believe that insurance companies charge approximately the same rates and you just have to go with the amount they quote you. Nothing could be further from the truth! Rates really do vary.

Some insurance companies charge vastly different rates. They can vary from hundreds and even thousands of dollars. All experts advise that you shop around and compare quotes to get the best rate.

Those at the Insurance Information Institute advise that you get at least three quotes for coverage.

The more quotes you get, the more likely you are to find a better rate.

Make sure that you compare exactly the same amounts of coverage, cautions the Maine Bureau of Insurance so that you can accurately compare all of the quotes that you receive.

Quotes for full coverage are not comparable to liability-only quotes, as full coverage naturally costs more because you are getting more coverage. Similarly, a quote with a $250 deductible is not comparable to one with a $2,000 deductible.

Using quote comparison websites allows you to always get quotes for the same amount of coverage, and you don’t have to spend the time filling out application after application with different agents or on different websites.

Take this quote comparison website for a spin by using your ZIP code in the FREE quote tool below now!


  1. http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/insurance/how-much-car-insurance-do-you-need/
  2. https://wallethub.com/edu/comprehensive-vs-collision/10023/
  3. https://www.insureuonline.org/consumer_auto_agents_and_premiums.htm
  4. https://www.kbb.com/
  5. https://www.nada.com/
  6. https://www.iii.org/articles/how-do-i-choose-an-insurance-company.html