How to compare car insurance quotes
- Auto insurance
- Coverage clarity
Every driver is, or should be, in the market for auto insurance whether they know it or not. Some are in the market for obvious reasons – those buying a new car or looking into bundling policies after moving – but everyone should be in the market at policy renewal time. When it’s time to renew your current policy, it’s time to look into new quotes. Even if you don’t change anything, it’s worth your time to understand car insurance quoting options, get a few quotes and be certain that your current policy should remain your future policy. The great thing about using a broker like VIU by HUB is that they will do all of this work for you. Enter your information once and the VIU by HUB Advisory Team can shop around to find policies that match your requirements and monitor it so that they can recommend a new policy if anything changes for you.
Whether you’re getting quotes auto insurance because of a new car purchase or you’re taking a quick look before you pay your renewal, you need to know how to compare car insurance quotes in order to know which option is the right one for you. The VIU by HUB Advisory Team is standing by to help and would be happy to clear up anything you’re unsure of and help you weigh your options.
Enjoy the ride with the right auto insurance
Let’s go step-by-step through how to compare car insurance quotes so that you feel confident that you understand your options and that you have the right auto insurance policy for you and your personal circumstances.
Before you begin
Before you start comparing car insurance quotes, you need to get car insurance quotes. And in order to do that, you need to do a little pre-work.
Determine how much coverage you need
You should aim to have enough coverage to protect yourself and your assets in case of an accident. Take into account the value of your car and your assets. If you have an expensive new car, you may want to consider getting more coverage than if you have an older car. Additionally, if you have significant assets, such as a home or savings, you may want to consider getting higher liability limits to protect those assets in the event that you’re responsible for an accident.
Choose a deductible
Some auto coverages like collision and comprehensive coverage will have a deductible feature. Generally speaking, the higher your deductible is, the lower your monthly premium will be. Consider your budget and how much you can afford to pay out of pocket in case of an accident. If you have a significant amount of savings, you may want to consider a higher deductible to save on your monthly premium. However, if you don't have much in savings, you may want to consider a lower deductible to avoid having to pay a large amount out of pocket in case of an accident.
Research customer service
You'll want to make sure that the insurance company you choose has a good reputation for customer service and is easy to work with in case of an accident. Check out the companies you’re considering by looking up reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations.
Check coverage options and discounts
Different insurance companies may offer optional coverages, such as roadside assistance or rental car coverage, so it's important to compare these options to see which ones are important to you. They may also offer discounts for things like safe driving, having multiple cars insured or being a member of certain organizations. These discounts can help you save money on your monthly premium, so it's important to ask about them when getting quotes.
Compare rates for identical coverage amounts
How can you compare car insurance quotes if you’re reviewing different quotes? Make sure that you're getting quotes for the same type and amount of coverage from each insurance company. To get a proper comparison of rates, make sure that the same information is provided to each company, including your driving history, the type of car you have and any organization memberships that might qualify you for discounts.
Gather your information
In order to get accurate quotes and the right coverage for you, you’ll need to have the following information available. Every insurance company you get quotes from should be asking you for these details, so it is best to have everything easily accessible to save time when getting quotes. You’ll need this information whether you’re getting a quote directly from a carrier or from a broker.
- Personal info – You’ll need to provide your name, address and other personal information to verify your identity and make sure that you meet their eligibility requirements. Insurers may also use this information to pull your credit score, which can affect your insurance premium. In addition to your name and information, you will need to provide the name, address and birthdate of every driver that is going to be covered on the policy.
- Driver’s licenses – Insurers will need driver’s license information for everyone on the policy. This information is used to determine driving history, including any accidents or violations drivers included on the policy may have had.
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – Each car has a unique identification number. Insurance companies use this number to look up the car's make, model and history.
- Mileage – Your car's mileage is an important factor used in determining your premium. The logic is that the more you drive, the higher your risk of getting into an accident.
- Driving history – If you or other drivers on the policy have a history of accidents or traffic violations, you may be charged a higher premium.
- How much coverage you want – To get an accurate quote, you’ll need to tell the insurance companies how much coverage you want. Consider both liability coverage, which covers damages or injuries you may cause to others, and collision coverage, which covers damage to your own car in the case of an accident. Remember to provide identical coverage requests to all insurance companies so that you’re making fair comparisons.
Getting a quote
Now we’re ready to get started. Understanding the car insurance quoting process is going to make this stage a lot easier.
Considerations when comparing car insurance rates
Many people jump right to the premium and choose the lowest figure. That could be a mistake. There are other factors to keep in mind when you compare car insurance quotes. Here are some things to consider.
- Coverage limits and types – If you’ve followed the tips above, you will know your desired coverage limits and types. Make sure that all of your quotes are for what you want and meet your requirements so that you can make a fair comparison.
- Deductibles – Higher deductibles usually result in lower monthly premiums, but you need to find balance between high deductible/low premium and low deductible/high premium. When comparing premium quotes, be sure they have the same deductibles.
- Discounts – Many companies offer discounts for safe driving, having multiple policies with the same company or taking a defensive driving course. If you’ve shared the same information with all of the companies giving you quotes, you should be able to compare the discounts available to you from each company.
- Customer service and claims – You won’t really get a full understanding of this until you’re filing a claim, but check reviews and websites for information about how long claims take to process and the ease of doing it..
- Ease of use – Explore the companies’ websites and download their apps. Look at what features are available, how easy the site and app are to use and if there’s anything available with only one carrier. You might also consider the VIU by HUB app, which allows you to import all of your policies, no matter where they were purchased, in order to get a complete view of your insurance landscape. You’ll be able to see where you might need more coverage and stay on top of important dates.
- Financial stability – An often-forgotten consideration is the stability of the insurance company. You’ll want a company that’s able to make payments when you file a claim. This usually isn’t an issue for large or well-known companies, but you can check the company's AM Best rating if you’re unsure about a company you’re considering. AM Best is the largest credit rating agency in the world specializing in the insurance industry.
Does the best car insurance rate guarantee the best coverage?
No, the best car insurance rate does not necessarily guarantee the best coverage. Your understanding of car insurance quotes translates to coverage. When making your comparisons, you’ll be able to see the levels of coverage that each insurance company can offer you. The goal is to find a policy that offers the right balance of coverage and affordability. You want to get a good value, but that doesn’t always mean the lowest price.
How do I choose the right coverage types?
In addition to the coverage that you want, state law or your financing company may require certain types of coverage. Insurance companies should be able to advise you here but double check with your lender. Our ultimate auto insurance guide goes into more detail about the types of insurance below.
Car liability insurance
Car liability insurance is required by law in most states. This type of coverage protects you financially if you are found to be at fault for an accident. It covers the costs of property damage or bodily injury you cause to others in the accident, up to your policy's limits. Liability insurance does not cover any damage to your own vehicle or any injuries you or your passengers may sustain in an accident.
Collision and comprehensive insurance
Collision insurance covers the costs of repairing or replacing your own vehicle if it's damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, covers non-collision-related damages to your vehicle, such as theft, vandalism or weather-related damage. These coverages often go together. They’re not required by law but may be required by your lender.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you're in an accident with a driver who doesn't have enough insurance to cover the damages or doesn't have insurance at all. This coverage is required by law in some states. If you live in a state that does not require it, it's a good idea to consider it for added protection.
Medical Payments Coverage/Personal Injury Protection
Medical payments coverage pays for some medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In states with “no-fault” insurance laws, instead of medical payments, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage covers your medical bills and those of your passengers. Depending on your state, one of these coverages may be required.
Differences between a car insurance quote and your policy premium
While a car insurance quote can give you a general idea of what to expect in terms of cost, it's important to remember that it's not the same as your policy premium. Your actual policy premium that is determined through the underwriting process may result in a higher or lower rate than the initial quote. Additionally, changes in coverage, additional discounts and even timing can all affect your policy premium. Here are some things that could cause a difference between an auto insurance quote and policy premium:
- Quote vs. policy premium – A car insurance quote is an estimate, while your policy premium is the actual amount you'll pay for coverage once you purchase a policy. The policy premium might be higher or lower than the quote.
- Underwriting – Before you can purchase a car insurance policy, the insurance company will need to underwrite the policy. This process may reveal additional information, including accidents or violations, that was not disclosed when you received the initial quote, which could change the premium amount.
- Additional discounts – Your quote may have included discounts that you're eligible for based on the information you provided. However, the underwriting process might reveal additional discounts that you are eligible for.
- Changes in coverage – The coverage options you select can also affect your policy premium. If you make changes to your coverage selections after receiving a quote, such as increasing your liability limits or adding additional coverage options, your policy premium may be higher than the original quote.
- Timing – Auto insurance rates can fluctuate over time. The quote you receive today may not be the same as the policy premium you receive in the future, even if all other factors remain the same.
What factors influence my car insurance quote?
Now that you know how to read car insurance quotes, you know that they aren’t arbitrary numbers. You’ve seen above that certain factors can impact your quote and premium. Here are a few of those things and what their impact could be.
- Driving history – Your driving history is one of the biggest factors in determining your auto insurance rates. If you and other drivers on the policy have clean driving records with no accidents or traffic violations, you're likely to get lower rates. However, if there is a history of accidents, traffic violations, or DUIs, you can expect to pay more for car insurance. The reason for this is simple: car insurance companies use driving history to assess the level of risk their insureds pose. A history of accidents or traffic violations will give them the impression that a driver is more likely to get into another accident and file a claim. As a result, they will charge the policyholder more for coverage to offset their increased risk.
- Vehicle type – As a general rule, expensive, high-performance and electric vehicles will cost more to insure than cheaper or safer vehicles. This is because expensive vehicles cost more to repair or replace if they are involved in an accident. There is also a perception that high-performance vehicles are more likely to be driven aggressively, which increases the risk of accidents.
The safety rating of your vehicle is also an important factor. Cars with high safety ratings are generally cheaper to insure because they are less likely to be involved in accidents and their accidents tend to cause less damage to people and property. If you insure an older car that lacks modern safety features, you may also pay more for car insurance.
- Location – Where you live can also impact your auto insurance rates. Insurance companies look at the area where you live and the frequency of accidents, thefts and vandalism in that area. If you live in an area with high crime rates or high accident rates, you can expect to pay more for car insurance. As with other factors, this comes down to risk. Beyond the risk associated with living or driving in some areas, some states require higher minimum coverage levels than others. If you live in a state with a high minimum coverage requirement, you can expect to pay more for car insurance than if you live in a state with a lower minimum requirement.
- Driving experience – Insurance companies look at how long drivers have been licensed and some even factor in whether or not a driver has completed any defensive driving courses. A new driver with little experience can expect to pay more for car insurance because they are considered an unknown entity at best and a higher risk at worst. Conversely, a driver with a long history of safe driving will appear to present a low risk that qualifies for lower rates or discounts on the policy.
To get the best rates on a new auto insurance policy, it's important to shop around. You could follow the advice given above and reach out to multiple companies for multiple quotes to compare and choose the one that works for you, but that can be time-consuming and stressful. You could also pick the company with the funniest commercials and go with them to save yourself the hassle, but you risk not getting the best rates or coverage.
A great option to get the right policy for you is to use an insurance broker like VIU by HUB. A broker is able to get you quotes from multiple carriers all at once so that you can compare car insurance quotes without spending a lot of time. The VIU by HUB Advisory Team will even keep you updated on your renewal dates and monitor your policy, no matter the carrier, so that you have the right coverage for you today and tomorrow.
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