How To Get A Car Insurance Quote Before Buying A Car

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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When it comes to buying a new car and deciding whether or not you can afford said car, you can sometimes find yourself in a bit of a catch 22.

That’s because you need to be able to decide if you can afford the car before you decide whether or not to buy

But in order to know how much buying that new car is going to cost you, you need to… buy it?

That might sound strange but it makes perfect sense when you consider how car insurance works.

The thing is a car insurance policy is based not only on you but also your car, the age of your car, the condition of the car and even where it’s parked. That means that you can’t know how much your car is going to cost you until you buy it.

And at that point, you’re kind of stuck!

Fortunately, there are ways around these problems, so let’s take a look at what you can do…

Get a Quick Quote

If you take a look at most insurance comparison websites, then you’ll find that they normally provide some kind of ‘quick’ option for getting a quote.  4AutoInsuranceQuote has a quote comparison service for US consumers, but if you are looking to use something else, you have plenty of options., for example, has something called ‘QuickQuote’ (only available in the UK) and this allows you to get a very quick quote based on the car’s registration number and your account (assuming you’ve registered all your details). Because you’re using the registration alone, you don’t have to input lots of fresh details. This also means you know it can be fairly accurate because it knows the precise car, as well as all your personal information. Because it’s comparing different options for you, you can now pick the one that you like the sounds of best.

This is the ideal situation if you’re sitting at home, looking at second-hand cars on eBay and entering them into QuickQuote or a similar service in a separate window.

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Other Options

But let’s say that you’re walking around the garage and you want to find out how much a car is going to cost you in terms of insurance. The salesman is doing his best attempt at talking your ear off and you can hardly hear yourself think…

This isn’t exactly the ideal time to whip out your laptop and to start putting registration numbers into a price comparison site!

So what do you do instead?

One other useful trick is to do some research before you go out and buy your car. Compare several different types of vehicle: new and old, sporty and ‘family-oriented’, expensive and cheap.

Now, compare different providers, different policies and different parking arrangements.

Armed with this information, you should now have a rough feel for how much insurance normally costs and how much you can expect it to go up or down based on the type of car you pick!

Now you still won’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of car insurance rates but you will be able to make a fairly safe guesstimate while looking around. Set yourself a maximum budget and try to look for things that you can safely presume will fall well below that maximum.

Now you just need to know about the things that affect insurance rates. Here are a few things to consider:

The Age Of The Car

The age of the car impacts on the costs. A very old car might be expensive because it’s more likely to need repairs but a very new car might cost more because… it costs more.


Which brings us to the obvious point: more expensive cars are also more expensive to insure.  A Honda Civic will have a much lower average premium than a Lamborghini Diablo, for example.


While it might seem unfair, insurers will make some assumptions about you based on the type of car you choose. If you pick a 1-liter engine with modified hubcaps and spoilers and if you’re a young man, then they’ll assume you’re a reckless driver and it could cost you more. But on the other hand, if you buy a nice family friendly people carrier then they’ll think you’re a safe bet and your insurance will probably go down!

The only way to be absolutely sure of the cost though is to give the insurance provider a call and to get a quote from them directly.

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