First, all car insurance quotes should be free, regardless of whether they’re from Farmers, Geico, or another small insurer. Although some auto insurers require you to make a down payment before you can start your policy, an estimate of the cost should be completely free, regardless of whether you are buying online or through an agent. How to compare quotes.
1. Gather all your information
These are the steps to quickly and easily find car insurance online.
- Information about youThis policy includes the name, address, date of death, occupation, driver’s licence, marital status, and occupation of all those you wish to be included.
- Information about your vehicle:Each car’s mileage, purchase date and vehicle identification number (VIN). If you don’t have the car yet, keep track of mileage, make, year, and model.
- Driving historyAll claims, violations, and tickets from the past five years are included, along with any completed driving lessons.
- Name of current or past insurerFor anyone in the household or on the policy. You may not be covered by some insurers if you don’t have a history of coverage. If you want to exclude someone living with you, you will need to show that they are covered elsewhere.
2. Select the right level of liability car insurance coverage
Auto insurance provides financial protection and is not just for the car you purchased. Injuries and damages bills can easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars after a serious accident. The victims may sue you if you cause such an accident. Assets such as your home and savings could be taken.
Liability auto insurance protects you from that worst case scenario by providing a cushion between your assets and the amount you’re on the hook for. The most important aspect of your car insurance quote comparison is choosing the right auto liability limits. NerdWallet recommends that you have at least the same amount of liability coverage as your net worth.
However, liability coverage levels are available in threes — typically policies will cover 50/100/50 to 250/500/250. These limits can be described as: property damage, total injuries, individual injuries. The terminology used by insurance companies is more technical. They call them bodily injuries liability, total bodily harm liability, and physical damage liability.
You can purchase liability insurance in increments of 1,000 dollars. If you choose auto insurance with 100, 300, or 100 limits, you will be making the following choices:
- $100,000 per accident victim for bodily injury.
- $300,000. Total for all bodily injury you cause in a collision.
- $100,000 for any property that you damage in a crash. This includes cars, buildings, and objects such as mailboxes or lampposts.
You should ensure that the maximum, middle, and lowest amount of liability car insurance coverage is equal or greater to your net worth.
Learn about the requirements for car insurance in your state
In certain states, you may be required to have a car insurance policy that includes personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments coverage (medpay) or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage — or two of the three. You don’t need to have PIP if you have medpay.
Any car insurance comparison tool you look at should have your state’s minimum car insurance requirements pre-loaded into its options. States that require PIP or medpay generally are referred to as “no fault” states. This means that each person involved in a car accident can file a claim with their insurance company to cover them. The liability insurance of the at-fault driver covers the remainder, beyond the PIP and medpay limits.
3. Determine if you require full coverage car insurance
Liability coverage does not cover your car, injuries or any injuries to your passengers if you cause an accident. If your car isn’t yet paid off, you might want “full coverage” insurance. Note that this isn’t actually a type of coverage, but typically refers to policies that include liability coverage, plus comprehensive and collision coverage.
You can’t click “full coverage” when you compare insurance quotes online. Or, buy a policy called full coverage auto insurance. To add collision or comprehensive coverage to the amount you desire.
Auto insurance quote comparison tip:No matter what coverage you choose to purchase, ensure you compare quotes for the exact same coverage in order to find the best deal.
4. Compare car insurance quotes
You’ll want to get car insurance quotes from at least two or three companies available in your area to be sure you’re getting a good deal. Compare quotes from both regional and large companies like Allstate, Progressive, State Farm. When shopping for insurance, ensure that every quote you receive includes:
- The same levels of liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
- If you are purchasing collision or comprehensive coverage, the same deductibles apply.
- They are the same drivers as their cars.
- You can get all discounts (most insurance companies list the discounts they offer online).