UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Today, it’s easier than ever to find auto insurance quotes online.
Every major car insurance company has online quote request forms. There are thousands of websites – including our own – that let you compare car insurance companies just by entering a ZIP code.
Finding auto insurance quotes is easy. But how do you actually pick the right auto insurance company? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about finding auto insurance quotes online and choosing the best car insurance company for your needs.
Step 1) Finding Auto Insurance Quotes Online
There are two ways to find auto insurance quotes online:
- Use a comparison website like our own, where you can enter your ZIP code and instantly get information from the top auto insurance companies in your area.
- Visit the websites of major car insurance companies and complete each quote request form individually.
Experts recommend doing both. Use comparison websites like our own to discover which auto insurance companies are serving your area. Then, request a quote from the insurance companies that look best for your unique needs.
Step 2) Know Your Insurance Needs
Before analyzing specific quotes and companies, it helps to know your insurance needs.
Some people want barebones insurance. They want to drive on the road legally and that’s it. They have older cars and don’t need comprehensive coverage or collision coverage.
Others want full coverage car insurance. They want collision and comprehensive coverage to cover any unexpected damage to the vehicle. They want excellent customer service and a smooth claims settlement process.
Take a few minutes to consider what you want and need in your car insurance policy. Your needs will vary widely based on:
- Aversion to Risk: How likely is it that you’ll get into an accident?
- Budget: How much can you afford to spend each month?
- Deductible: Can you afford a higher deductible?
- Additional Coverage Options: Do you need medical payments coverage? Comprehensive coverage? Uninsured/uninsured motorist coverage?
- Liability Limits: Do you have assets to seize in the event of a large liability claim case?
- Legal Coverage: Is this insurance meeting the minimum legal requirements in my state?
By answering all of these questions, you’re better equipped to make an informed decision on car insurance.
Step 3) Comparing Car Insurance Quotes
The next step is to analyze car insurance quotes. Let’s face it: most drivers aren’t car insurance comparison experts. Most drivers want car insurance that protects them on the road without breaking the bank.
Cheap Doesn’t Always Mean Good
You’ll find plenty of car insurance companies trying to dazzle you with cheap rates. You might see one company with prices half as low as any competitors. It’s natural to gravitate to these companies. However, please note that these companies rarely offer good value even at this low price. These companies let you legally drive on the road, but that’s about it. Don’t expect a good claims process. Don’t expect reliable customer service. The insurance might work fine – until you need to make a claim and your claim gets denied for an obscure reason.
Which Discounts Are Available?
Some insurance companies charge higher insurance premiums but offer substantial discounts to certain drivers. Many young students, for example, qualify for good grade discounts that can drop the price of insurance 5% to 10%. Others qualify for bundling discounts (by getting home and life insurance with the same company, for example), safe driver discounts, and more. Smart drivers always take advantage of discounts, as they can substantially affect the price of car insurance.
Is the Insurance Company Reputable?
Not all insurance companies are reputable. Some insurance companies are notorious for poor claims satisfaction ratings. They have a reputation for denying claims or reducing compensation.
Other insurance companies are very reputable. They have invested significantly in customer service. They have developed apps that simplify the claims process. They do all of the important things to improve the customer experience.
You can find plenty of insurance company reviews on our own website.
Alternatively, we recommend checking J.D. Power’s annual insurance rankings. J.D. Power ranks car insurance companies nationwide. The company also ranks car insurance in specific states and regions. J.D. Power polls thousands of drivers nationwide every year to compile these rankings, including drivers who have recently completed claims. It’s one of the insurance industry’s best-ranking systems.
Local Versus National Providers
Some insurance companies are local. They work within your state or even just your city. Other insurance companies are massive, multi-billion dollar corporations. Sometimes, you get better service with a smaller provider along with higher prices. In other cases, it’s the opposite. It’s easy to gravitate towards companies like Allstate, GEICO, and Nationwide, but you may get similar prices and better service from smaller providers.
Do You Qualify for USAA?
USAA is one of the best-rated car insurance providers in virtually every part of the country. The company is known for its surprisingly low premiums and strong claims satisfaction ratings. The only catch is that USAA is only available to active duty or retired members of the military and their families. If you or a family member qualifies for USAA, then it may be your best car insurance option. At the very least, it’s worth requesting a quote.
Step 4) Complete Multiple Car Insurance Quote Request Applications
Once you have worked through the steps listed above, it’s time to narrow down your list to 4 or 5 companies. Then, request a formal quote from each company.
All major insurance companies have an online quote request form. Input additional information about yourself, including your age, gender, vehicle type, and more. Then, you should receive a customized quote instantly.
You might find that prices change significantly when completing the quote application. When you input your ZIP code to compare car insurance online, many insurance companies dazzle you with the lowest possible price on car insurance. They’ll give you the premiums they would charge a 55-year old driver who has 35 years of impeccable driving history, for example. Most drivers don’t fit within this mold, which is why your premiums will change significantly.
Complete quote request applications for multiple providers and get a specific premium.
Step 5) Understand Premiums Can Still Change After Completing an Application
Just because you found a good car insurance premium today doesn’t mean you’ll end up paying that premium.
You might find you qualify for further discounts, for example.
Or, your car insurance company might find a mistake during the underwriting process. They might find a speeding ticket or at-fault accident from three years ago that you forgot to report, for example.
For these reasons, the premiums you see today might not be the premiums you ultimately pay. Double-check with your insurance company to verify the total amount.
Step 6) Buy Car Insurance
The final step is to complete your car insurance application online and accept the insurance company’s offer.
Most car insurance companies today allow you to complete everything online. However, you may need to sign and email certain documents, make a bank account transfer, or complete other steps before your car insurance is finalized.
Finding car insurance is easier today than it has ever been before. Compare quotes online today to ensure you’re getting the best deal on auto insurance.