How to compare car insurance quotes effectively

Here's your 5 step plan: get 3 quotes, ask if the rates are final, ask about discounts, double check that coverages, limits, and deductibles are the same, and check the insurance company's reputation

How to compare car insurance quotes effectively

If you’re shopping for car insurance, you’ve probably been told to compare car insurance quotes. But what is a quote, how do you get one, and how do you compare them? Is it true you can save money by comparing quotes? Don’t worry – it’s simpler than it seems. And yes, you can find a better deal if you compare car insurance rates from multiple quotes! 

Why you should shop around 

Most of us don’t make as much money as we’d like. Even if you’re comfortable, you’d probably rather spend your money on things besides car insurance. That’s where comparison shopping can help. 

To compare car insurance rates, you’ll need to get quotes from auto insurance companies. Quotes are estimates insurance providers provide for how much you would pay for a specific policy. Each provider has different policies, discounts, and priorities. If you get quotes for, say, an average full coverage policy, the amount of coverage and the rate each company offers won’t necessarily be identical. By comparing quotes, you can see which policy best fits your coverage needs and budget. 

Information needed to get car insurance quotes 

The more information auto insurance companies get about you, the more accurate their quotes will be. So, when shopping for car insurance, you’ll want to keep a list of your information handy. You’ll need: 

  • Personal info. This includes your name, date of birth, address, job title, driver’s license number, and marital status. You’ll need this info for each person you plan to include on the car insurance policy. 
  • Vehicle info. This includes your car’s make, model and year. For example, if you own a 2023 Toyota Corolla, the make is Toyota, the model is Corolla, and the year is 2023. Other info includes your car’s mileage and the date you bought it/will buy it. Ideally, insurers will want your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). For a car you already own, the VIN is usually on the dashboard on the driver’s side or a sticker on/near the door. If you’ve picked out a car but don’t own it yet, ask the dealer for the VIN. 
  • Insurance and driving history. Your driving history consists of any traffic violations, tickets, and accidents you’ve had in the last five years. It also includes any driving courses you’ve taken. Your insurance history is the name of your current/past insurer and any claims you’ve filed in the last five years. 
  • Your coverage needs. There are many coverage types – figure out which ones you need and want. Almost every U.S. state requires liability coverage. If you lease or finance your car, your lender likely requires full coverage. For help figuring out your coverage needs, talk to an insurance agent

Car insurance quote comparison, step by step 

Once you’ve got your information together and are ready to compare some quotes, here’s how. 

Get at least 3 quotes 

To compare car insurance rates and policy options, you’ll need several quotes. You can reach out to auto insurance companies on your own or connect with an independent insurance agent. An independent insurance agent, like the ones at Surround Insurance, doesn’t work for a single insurance provider. Instead, they have connections to lots of providers. That way, they can collect a bunch of quotes for you from multiple auto insurance companies. 

Ask if the quotes are final 

Sometimes, insurance companies give you a quote before they have all the information they need. Once they get more information, they might change the rate they offer. For example, if an insurer pulls your driving record and sees that you had 10 speeding tickets last year, they’ll probably raise the premium in your quote. If you like a quote you get, ask whether it’s final before moving forward.  

Make sure you ask about common car insurance discounts 

It’s easier to get an insurance discount than you might think. There are discounts for everything from getting good grades or being a military servicemember to owning a hybrid or setting up autopay. Ask your agent what discounts are available. 

Double check everything 

When comparing quotes, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Are all the coverages, limits, and deductibles the same? One policy’s premium might seem less expensive until you realize the deductibles are higher than the others. 

Check reviews for the companies you are considering 

Before signing up for a policy, you should know who’s selling it to you. Look up the insurance company giving you the quote. Do they have good reviews for customer service and claims, or is everyone saying they stink? You can find reviews for auto insurance companies on websites like ConsumerAffairs, Consumer Reports, or the Better Business Bureau

Finding the best car insurance 

Comparing quotes is one of the most important tools for finding an excellent insurance policy. It lets you compare car insurance rates and see what discounts you’re eligible for from different insurance providers. If you’re searching for the right policy, contact Surround Insurance. As an independent insurance agency, we can get you a collection of quotes and help you compare them.

This is general information based on questions our customers ask us. It may not be right for your specific situation. You should get some advice from a licensed insurance agent (like us!) before you make a decision on your own insurance.