Drivers in almost every state need car insurance before they can hit the road, and even if it’s not required in your state, it’s still a really good idea to protect yourself by having a car insurance policy. If you’re shopping for auto insurance, it’s important to understand what goes into finding the right policy for your background, budget, and coverage needs. Learning about how to find auto insurance can help you find a provider who gives you the right level of coverage at a reasonable price.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to find auto insurance, what it means to get a quote from an insurance company, and how to find the best rates for your car and budget.
What Is an Auto Insurance Quote?
An auto insurance quote is an estimate of what your insurance policy will cost through a specific insurance provider based on your personal client profile. Getting personalized quotes through several providers is the best way to learn about how much your average premium may be for each company so you can compare them and choose the best rate for you. When determining your quote, providers consider a variety of personal details that allow them to assess your risk level. Some information that insurance companies use to evaluate your risk includes:
- Marital status
- Driving history
- Credit score
Your quote may also account for information like the value of your vehicle, the vehicle’s model, your ZIP code, and your preferred level of coverage. These details help insurance companies determine a fair rate based on your vehicle’s financial worth, your likelihood of sustaining damages to your car, and how much coverage you want for your vehicle. For example, an insurance provider is likely to quote a higher estimate if you drive a high-value vehicle, want full coverage, and have an accident history. By getting quotes from multiple providers, you can determine which company offers the best rate for you.
How To Find Auto Insurance
When shopping for insurance, here are some steps you can take to help you find auto insurance that suits your budget and coverage needs:
1. Consider Your Coverage Needs
Start by determining what level of coverage you need. Most insurance companies offer minimum liability and full coverage packages. Minimum liability refers to the lowest amount of coverage drivers are required to have in order to operate a motor vehicle in their state of residence. The minimum liability coverage requirements vary by state, so research the requirements in your state if you’re considering this option.
By contrast, full coverage means you’re getting a lot more protection against damages sustained to your vehicle. This type of coverage can help you protect your investment by offsetting costs incurred due to an accident or other events, like theft or a natural disaster. Drivers who own newer vehicles or vehicles worth $3,000 or more may prefer this coverage option because it provides more value despite the additional expense.
2. Determine Your Budget
Reflect on your budget and determine how much car insurance you can afford. Think about both short-term and long-term expenses when reflecting on your budget. Generally, insurance companies offer a variety of payment structures that give clients the flexibility to select the option that fits their budgets best.
For example, many clients opt to pay their premium in monthly installments. Others choose to pay as a lump sum all at once or broken into semi-annual payments. Often, it’s cheaper to pay in a lump sum, but the upfront expense of this option may not be right for everyone. Monthly installments may cost more over time, but they may be easier to flex your budget around.
3. Research Reputable Insurance Companies
After considering your budget and coverage needs, start researching reputable insurance companies. Look up companies in your area and consider whether you’d prefer to get your insurance through a leading brand or a local provider. You can find information about providers by reading customer reviews or looking them up through recognized organizations like the Better Business Bureau. Based on your research, select several providers to contact for personalized quotes so you can compare them.
4. Gather Required Personal Information and Request an Estimate
Make sure you have all the information you need so each provider can give you an accurate policy quote. Although different companies may require different information to generate a quote, here’s what you’ll typically need:
- Basic personal information like your name, birth date, address, and occupation
- Details about your current insurance provider if you have one
- Information from your driver’s license
- Vehicle information, including age, model, mileage, identification number, and safety features
- Details about your driving habits, including how often you drive and whether you use your car for work, commuting, errands, or recreation
- Your driver history from the last five years
- Information about your preferred coverage policy type
5. Compare Quotes
Once you’ve gotten your estimates, compare them to determine what policy best fits your budget and gives you the value you need to protect your car and your finances. Be aware that the cheapest plan may not be the best plan, and that your rate may change over time. For example, your rate may increase if you cause a car accident, or it may decrease if you show good driving behaviors and go accident-free for a period of time. To reduce your rates further, consider these tips:
- Improve your credit: Insurance companies often reward clients with good credit by offering less expensive policy options.
- Raise your deductible: If you choose to pay more out of pocket when filing a claim, you may reduce the cost of your monthly premium.
- Search for discounts: Many providers offer other discount opportunities to their clients. For example, they may reduce your rate if you take a defensive driving course or install safety equipment on your vehicle.
To find auto insurance that meets your coverage and budgetary needs, it’s important to understand how to get an accurate quote based on your driver profile. Do your research to understand the value of different policy options while considering your budget. Review your estimates and choose the option that gives you the coverage you need at the most reasonable price.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.