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: Sep 30, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Many factors go into your final decision for car insurance
  • Comparing quotes online is a great way to find affordable car insurance
  • Compare at least three different quotes before making a final decision

When you get a quote from an online auto insurance company, you want to look at more than just the price. You should do additional research and make sure that the company is a good one and that you are getting the coverage that you need.

Finding car insurance coverage takes a bit of time and work, but it is worth it to make sure you have the right policy.

There are a number of ways that you can get car insurance quotes online. Whichever way you get them, it is often tempting to go with the cheapest quote. While this may seem to be the best way to go, it isn’t always the right direction.

It is also harder to make a decision when a couple companies offer the same quote. This is where doing your due diligence will pay off.

Start your search for car insurance rates right now by entering your zip code into the FREE quote box above!

Table of Contents

Places to Get a Quote

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There are many ways to get quotes online. You can go to specific company websites and request a quote that way. This is the best way when you know exactly which company you want to use, such as if you were referred by a co-worker or friend.

If you are unsure as to which insurance company to use, a good way to search for quotes is to use a third-party quote site, such as this one.

All you need to do is answer all of the questions once and you get various rate quotes.

The quotes that you get are based on the information that you supply. You will be asked numerous questions that relate to your vehicle and driving history.

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Information Needed for Online Quotes

Car insurance companies request certain information in order to figure out what each driver will pay. Insurance rates are based on how risky the driver is and what the costs are to fix or replace the vehicle to be insured in the event of an accident or theft.

This means that the cost of car insurance can vary greatly depending on who the driver is and what they’re driving.

The first thing that the company will want to know is your zip code.

Because car insurance rates vary according to which state you live in, you need to know what the how much insurance you need to drive legally.

As far as rates are concerned, if you live in an area that tends to have an increased risk of theft, you will pay more for your insurance.

You will be asked about your vehicle, such as its model year and type, as well as its manufacturer. This affects what you pay for insurance, as newer and fancier cars usually cost more to repair.

How much you drive it and where you drive it will also affect your rates.

You will be asked about your driving history, as this is one of the biggest factors in the rate you will pay for insurance.

Most insurance companies are usually only concerned about the past three years; unless you have had a major violation such as a DUI, which will stay on your record longer.

Your credit history is also a factor in what your insurance rates will be, so you should have a general idea of what your score is. You can take a look at your credit history by visiting Experian.

Since your car insurance rate is based on what types of coverage you carry, you will have the opportunity to choose the coverage you want and the deductible amounts.

Make sure you choose the coverage that fits the minimum requirements in your state.

If you are unsure of what they are, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a state map on its website that can guide you to your state insurance department.

It is important that you are as honest as possible when filling out the information. Lying to get a lower quote will only affect you negatively in the end. This is considered to be insurance fraud, which has many consequences (including potential jail time).

Premium Rate

Obviously, one of the biggest things you want to look for in an online car insurance quote is the price.

Again, because the rate is based on so many different factors, your rate will be different from other drivers choosing the same coverage.

Although what you pay for your policy is important, you shouldn’t choose a company based on price alone.

It is more important to get the right coverage and be with a company that is trustworthy and pays claims efficiently.

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Coverage Details

The next thing to look at in regards to your online quote is the type of insurance coverage for which you are being quoted. Obviously, the less coverage you have, the cheaper your rate quote will be.

It also means that, if you do happen to be in an accident, you will more than likely be financially responsible for a lot more than if you had purchased more coverage.

Many of the online car insurance companies advertise cheap insurance rates because they are merely pricing out basic policies.

Basic coverage usually refers to liability insurance.

This covers damage to the other party when you are the cause of the accident, but it doesn’t cover anything on your end.

If you want your insurance to cover damage to your vehicle, you need to purchase additional coverage. This includes collision and comprehensive, and it will cause your rate to increase.

If you are leasing or financing your vehicle, you may be required by the lender to carry both types of coverage until the car is paid off.

Also, check your quote to find out what the deductible is and what liability limits are covered. If the quote is cheap, you may not be carrying a high enough limit to fully cover you for damages. It may be worth paying a bit more to increase your liii

The Insurance Information Institute can help you determine what coverage is important and when it is good to purchase additional coverage.

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Payment Methods

Keep in mind that what you pay for your insurance premiums will also vary, according to when and how you pay for them.

The quote you receive may be based on an annual payment, which means that you would pay for the policy once a year.

Because many people base their budget off of monthly payments, most insurance companies offer the ability to pay their premiums on a monthly basis, as well as quarterly.

Ask the company whether or not there are discounts offered if you have the monthly payment automatically taken out of your bank account every month.

Usually, there will be an additional fee for the convenience of paying the bill more frequently. This would increase your quote a little.

Do Your Research

Once you have narrowed down your choices to a few quotes that fit into your budget and provide the coverage that you need, the next step is to dig a little deeper into the insurance providers themselves.

There is no point in paying for an insurance policy if the company won’t pay out claims that you file.

Call your state insurance department and ask if there are any complaints that have been made against the companies you are considering.

The financial stability of the company is extremely important as well.

If the financials are weak, there is a chance that the company will not survive all of the claims that may need to be paid out.

A company that is struggling financially may also try to settle your claim at a lower price point and take shortcuts with repairs.

A good source to see the financial story of a car insurance company is A. M. Best.

The website will help you research information on how many assets the company has, its current financial rating, its future outlook, and more.

If the company is not stable or has a low rating from A.M. Best, it would be better to choose a different company.

The ratings range from “A++”, which is considered to be the best, to “F”, which means a company is in liquidation. An “S” means that the rating of a particular company has been suspended for the time being.

There are a lot of things that go into an online insurance quote. Researching the quote itself, as well as the company, will help you end up with the best company for you.

Start getting online quotes for car insurance rates right here by entering your zip code in the FREE box below!

References:

  1. https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-get-your-driving-record-527249
  2. http://www.experian.com
  3. https://www.progressive.com/auto/discounts/compare-car-insurance-rates/
  4. https://www.safeauto.com/state-insurance
  5. http://naic.org/state_web_map.htm
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liability_insurance
  7. http://www.iii.org/articles/how-much-coverage-do-i-need.html
  8. http://www.ambest.com/home/default.aspx