Before you get started, it is helpful to understand how car insurance quotes work. Many insurers make it easy for you to get a quote online by answering a few questions. For others, you may need to pick up the phone to call an insurance agent. No matter how you do it, understanding the quote you get is essential to getting the right coverage.
What are auto insurance quotes? Simply put, a quote is an estimate of your premium and coverage with a specific insurance provider. Online quotes are a good first step, but speaking with an agent could get you a more accurate quote.
Each quote is personalized to reflect the information you submitted about yourself and your vehicle. Because every auto insurance company assesses data differently, getting quotes from two or more companies for the same coverage could result in a significant price difference.
Fortunately, quotes are always free from reputable companies. Your quote will include your state’s mandatory minimum liability coverage along with any optional coverages you choose, such as collision or comprehensiveinsurance.
Insurance carriers provide quotes, typically for a six-month premium, based on the information you provide, such as marital status, driving record and vehicle details. Based on this information and the coverage you request, a price is generated that you can use to either begin comparing against other providers or to finalize the purchase of your policy.
Quotes can be used as tools to give you a sense of how much to set aside for your premium, but your estimate is only as accurate as the information you submit. For example, if you are looking for cheaper coverage, you may be tempted to omit information regarding a previous claim since a negative driving history typically drives rates up. However, quotes are not legally binding, and carriers use additional tools to pull your actual driving record and claims history following a quote submission.
To help ensure the quoted rate you receive is reflective of your final premium, provide as much accurate, detailed information as possible upfront.
Quote assessments can be completed online, over-the-phone and in-person for free. Some companies only offer quotes online, while others provide local agencies where you can go and speak with someone in person. No matter which option you choose, you will typically be asked for the same personal, vehicle and financial information.
How you decide to get your quote is up to you. If you are shopping around for insurance and comparing multiple providers, you could receive several quotes within minutes online as long as you have the necessary information. If you have more questions regarding your coverage, you may want to consider speaking with an agent in person or over the phone.
The higher the limits of your coverage and the more types of coverage you get, the higher your premium. Opting for a robust policy that includes comprehensive, collision and other optional coverages such as gap insurance will generally cost more than purchasing liability-only insurance. You should make a list of what is most important to you before requesting quotes. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent could help you better understand all the options a particular provider offers.
Before you request quotes from different car insurance companies, here are a few tips to maximize your comparison shopping experience :
Incorporating these steps will help you efficiently evaluate multiple providers. Bankrate has provided average six-month premiums for several well-known providers that rate highly in customer satisfaction below. We have also included a link to each provider’s Bankrate review, where we examined financial strength, coverage options, available discounts and customer satisfaction scores to help make your search for auto insurance easier.
Although each insurance company has its own formula for determining your car insurance quote, certain factors will almost always contribute to your premium.
The better your driving record, the lower your rate will typically be. The key concept is risk. If an insurer thinks that you are at high risk of filing a claim, the provider will likely charge you more to cover that risk. A clean driving record often results in a lower premium than if you have multiple tickets or moving violations.
Insurers take into account your age, gender and marital status to calculate assumed risk. Providers know, for example, that male teen drivers statistically cause more accidents than female teen drivers. To account for that, premiums will typically be higher for young men. Rates for young drivers start higher and usually decrease until about age 60 if the driver’s record stays clean; then they begin to rise again. Women tend to pay slightly less than men overall, and married drivers are generally considered safer to insure than single drivers. Here are some average rates for male and female drivers at different ages.
Providers will use your VIN and the make and model of your car to calculate your rates. Your VIN will give insurance companies specific information about your vehicle and its accident history. Your make and model are critical because some types of cars are more expensive to repair than others. Someone driving a Tesla Model S, for example, might pay more than a driver with a Honda Civic. Your car’s age is also important, as newer cars tend to be more expensive to insure than older ones, since the value is usually higher.
Car insurance is primarily regulated at the state level, and every state has minimum coverage requirements. Insurance providers also consider whether you live in an urban or rural area to calculate your premium. Statistically, more accidents happen in the city than in the country, so your rates will likely be higher if you are in a large urban area. Providers will also look at things like theft and vandalism rates in your ZIP code to help calculate your premium.
The table below lists average car insurance premiums for full and minimum coverage by state. Click on your state for some additional assistance narrowing down the best car insurance companies in your area based on Bankrate’s current market data.
The average American driver pays $565 annually for minimum coverage car insurance and $1,674 annually for full coverage. If you are budget-conscious, there are several things you could do to find a cheaper premium. Some factors, like age, gender and marital status are largely out of your control. However, there are still multiple ways to help yourself get the best rate possible.