There are a few factors affecting vehicle insurance rates like your driving records, credit score, age, gender, zip code and details of your vehicle. Every company assesses each point differently and uses various other information to determine their price. That is why quotes can be considerably different between apparently similar automobile insurers. So, you need to get a few quotes and compare them with each other to find good coverage, affordable premium and finally a company you can rely on if you have to make a claim.
Here is how to go about comparing auto insurance quotes so that you don’t miss out anything, get frustrated or muddled up but actually find exactly what you need at the end.
Deciding on the level of coverage you need
This is the starting point to your auto insurance shopping. Once you know what you want you can work on how you will get it. Generally, most people look for two key types of policies. Some people may have a limited budget, a cheap car and they may be high-risk drivers and just want to get the minimum state required coverage as cheap as possible.
And most other people feel they need full coverage vehicle insurance with decent levels of liability provisions, collision and comprehensive covers because they have expensive enough automobiles. In addition, they may be contractually required to buy this coverage by their lenders or the leasing company. There are several other optional add-ons but people should move on to them once they have a good level of liability coverage and they are protected for physical damages to their automobiles.
About the discounts and factors affecting premiums
Today auto insurance companies can consider so many factors like your driving history, credit score, safety features of your automobile, zip code, occupation, marital and homeownership status. Also, there are so many discounts they offer.
However, vehicle insurance quote forms are designed to ask the right questions so that you present all the information they need to give you laser accurate quotes. So, don’t worry much about the fact that company A is advertising to give you a 20% discount or company B is saying they have the lowest rates.
The fact of the matter is that a quote process will take everything into account, the factors, discounts, special rates and deals and offer you their final price. And the process will allow you to compare them and find you a winner.
Preparing the documents you will need
There will be a few questions about you, other drivers in your household, your vehicle, yearly mileage, your and other drivers’ driving records, your credit score and coverage. It is best to be prepared as to how to answer them and get the documents you need and they are;
- Vehicle registration document is handy as you will need the Vehicle Identification Number, which allows companies to find out everything they need about the car.
- Driver’s license numbers of all the listed drivers are required to get accurate automobile insurance quotes.
- Your Social Security Number will be needed so that providers can pull the reports relating to your accident history and credit score.
- Declaration page of your current policy may be helpful, especially if you don’t need to make much changes on the coverage. Also, this will tell you when it is due for renewal.
Choosing the method of shopping
There are several ways of getting quotes and each one of them has its advantages. Besides, you can use several sources and see which one is going to work out best for you.
Comparison tools can be an easy way of finding and getting quotes from several automobile insurers at once. The best part of this tool is that you can get quotes from most of the highly reputable brands as well as finding companies you have never heard of before. The more the merrier at this stage.
Direct quotes online from auto insurers’ websites are good too and many people use this method. Just make sure that you aren’t only sticking to the biggest or the names you know. You should mix them and get quotes from local and smaller companies as well.
Calling the carriers is another commonly used method and can be very helpful especially in your early driving years since the agents can explain coverage options, check possible discounts you can qualify and run it through for you.
Visiting agents how everyone used to do only a few years ago. Tied agents know a lot about the products and the company they work for but they cannot shop around for you. You will need to visit several agents of different companies if you want to compare quotes or find an independent agent who can check prices with several companies.
Working with a broker can be fruitful since they can evaluate your needs, give some advice and go to work to find the most competitive company for you. Independent brokers can shop around through many companies and compare them with each other before they make a recommendation.
Comparing the quotes
No matter which way you got them, you need to compare vehicle insurance quotes with each other. The only way of knowing if your renewal quote or any other one you got is any good is to compare it with others in terms of price and coverage.
Price is the easiest way of comparing quotes. The whole point of getting a few quotes is to be in a position to quickly discard the ones over your budget. There is no point in dwelling over them since you cannot pay their ask anyway. Ideally, you want to be left with at least 2 companies at the end of price comparison but 3 or 4 is better.
Coverage is the next area to look at. It is important to get your quotes for the same coverage and details so that you can have an apples-to-apples comparison. Even then, vehicle insurers can offer extras within their quotes and they usually set their deductibles. So, even though the prices are similar, one company may offer lower deductibles and extra coverage you didn’t ask for that can set them apart from others. You should remember that the higher the deductibles the lower the premiums. And some companies may offer the coverage you want but may have conditions attached to it. They normally make the conditions clear in their quotes.
Choosing the insurer
If you haven’t yet made your mind up or one quote was clearly miles better, you start comparing companies. Actually, having at least two companies with similar offers at the end is good because this confirms how competitive they are. Often choosing a company is a personal affair. While one person may think the bigger is better, the next one likes local firms.
Still, there are objective ways of checking and comparing them. One of them is looking at their customer satisfaction and/or claim settlement ratings. You can find these rankings online pretty quickly. The other is to look at online reviews but probably the best one would be to call the company and judge the response time, knowledgeability and helpfulness of their agents and ask if you have any other questions or concerns.
At the end, one quote will emerge as an overall winner. It is actually a very good sign that you have done very well with your car insurance comparison, if it was difficult to split them apart and you had to toss a coin to choose one of them.
Perhaps there is one last thing you can do if it is that tight and find out if any of them offer special discounts for the way you pay or buy your policy. For example, some companies offer large discounts for paying the premium in full that can put them in front. Perhaps you can call and ask them if there is anything that separates them. For example, some companies offer a lifetime guarantee for the repairs if you ever make a claim and your vehicle is repaired.