Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance providers please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you should know...

  • Auto insurance is required for any registered car under the laws of almost every state
  • Auto insurance companies sell coverage through independent agents, exclusive agents, and the direct market
  • In addition to the minimum requirements, you should consider additional coverage such as collision insurance, comprehensive coverage, and uninsured motorist coverage
  • You will need to provide information about your vehicle in order to get an accurate quote
  • The price of auto insurance is only one consideration in deciding on the best policy and company for you

Even though you are looking for the same auto insurance coverage, different insurance companies will charge different rates. This is why it is important to shop around before purchasing an auto insurance policy.

How Insurance Companies Sell Auto Insurance Policies

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Auto insurance is sold by companies through three avenues. Independent agents represent multiple auto insurance companies and will provide you with quotes from various insurance companies for you to select from. An exclusive agent sells auto insurance for a single company and can only provide you a quote based on those rates. In addition, there are direct market sales for auto insurance, which are made over the phone or online.

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The First Step in Searching for Car Insurance Quotes

The first step in shopping around for car insurance quotes is to decide what car insurance coverage is appropriate for you.

Liability Insurance

This type of insurance coverage pays for the damage you cause to someone else personally or their vehicle in the event that you are at fault for a car accident. Any damage to your own vehicle would not be covered through liability insurance.

– Collision Insurance

If you are involved in a collision, you can pay for damage sustained by your own vehicle through collision coverage.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage is similar to collision insurance in that it pays for damage to your vehicle. However, comprehensive coverage will apply in situations of theft, vandalism or severe weather damage to your vehicle.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Even though almost every driver is required under their state law to have car insurance coverage, this does not mean that they comply. In addition, even if a driver maintains the minimum coverage, this does not mean that this will be a sufficient amount to cover the damage to you and your vehicle in the event of a car accident.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance will come into play if you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or if you are personally injured by an underinsured driver. It also covers hit-and-run accidents.

Questions You Should Ask When Searching for Car Insurance Quotes

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Before you even request a quote from an insurance company you should make sure that the company is licensed by your state insurance department. This is important because if the company is not properly licensed, then you may not be complying with your obligation under state law to carry minimum auto coverage.

You need to make sure you have a clear understanding of exactly what is covered under the auto insurance policy. If there are other drivers in your household or if you loan your car out to someone else, you need to know how this would affect your coverage in the event of an accident involving your car.

Also, you need to know how your rates could change if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault. Under some state laws, insurance companies are not allowed to raise your auto insurance premium for accidents that are not your fault.

Before signing up with a particular insurance company, you should check into how their customers rate their customer service and the process for handling claims. You should not simply take the lowest quote that is available for you without being confident that the insurance company will properly handle your claim in the event of an accident.

Understanding What Affects Your Premium

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When you request an auto insurance quote, you will need to provide some personal information as well as information about your vehicle. This typically includes your name, contact information, driver’s license number, social security number, license plate and vehicle identification number. The insurance agent will use this information to determine what premium you will pay for auto insurance.

It is important to provide honest information on your application because the insurance company may cancel your policy in the case of fraud.

Because premiums are calculated differently by each insurance company, you should ask how your situation will affect your premium. For example, if you have accidents on your driving record, you should be honest with the insurance agent when requesting a quote because they will most certainly see a copy of your driving record.

You should also ask to determine how your credit history will factor into the premium you pay. If you have less than great credit, then you may want to consider requesting quotes from insurance companies that do not rely as heavily on credit history to determine car insurance rates.

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Auto Insurance Quotes Before You Buy a Car

If you are in the market for a new car, it can be helpful to shop around for insurance premium quotes before you buy your vehicle. This will help you budget for your monthly car payment and give you an idea of how the type of vehicle you are buying will affect your auto insurance premium.

You should also inquire whether the lender or car dealership will require you to carry any additional coverages if you are financing or leasing your car.

These additional coverages likely include collision and comprehensive auto insurance. The insurance agent will be able to include these required coverages in the quote you are given.

Obtaining a quote for an auto insurance policy is a relatively simple process. You will need to decide how much auto insurance coverage is right for you and have your vehicle information on hand before requesting a quote for auto insurance.

The benefit of calling around for multiple quotes is that different companies have different ways of determining premiums. Even though keeping insurance costs as low as possible is important, you need to make sure that your insurance company is reputable and helpful to work with.