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Nearly every state in the U.S. requires drivers to carry insurance, but car insurance quotes can vary widely from provider to provider. By comparing free insurance quotes from multiple companies, you can easily see which one offers you the best deal on the coverage you need.
Each company has a different formula to assess your risk level, so even if one provider quotes you a high price, you may find lower rates somewhere else. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get free car insurance quotes and find the most affordable coverage options. If you’re ready to start shopping right away, use the free quote comparison tool below to get quotes from the best car insurance companies on the market.
In this article:
- What is a car insurance quote?
- How to get free car insurance quotes
- Factors that increase and decrease insurance rates
- Tips to save on auto insurance
- Recommendations for car insurance quotes
- Frequently asked questions
- Our methodology
What is a car insurance quote?
Auto insurance rates are based on your driver profile and vehicle. You can request a personalized cost estimate, or quote, from an insurer to see how much a car insurance policy would cost before signing up for coverage. Most online quotes are instant unless you’re shopping with a smaller provider. You just need to provide basic information about yourself, your vehicle and anyone else who drives it.
When you reach out for a quote, always give accurate information. An insurance agency can cancel your plan within 30 to 90 days (depending on the state) if you leave out something significant, like a teen driver living in your household.
Car insurance quotes are usually good for a period of 30 days, so you can continue to shop around and circle back if you don’t find a better plan.
How to get free car insurance quotes
There are a few ways to get free auto insurance quotes. You can use a quote comparison tool, get quotes online from companies, call companies on the phone, visit a branch in person or even work through an insurance broker. Here are some details on each of these options:
- Quote comparison tool: With a comparison tool, you can enter your information once and get multiple auto insurance quotes from providers in your area. This saves you time when shopping around.
- Direct online quote: Visiting a car insurance company’s website is another way to get a quote. You can get free, instant quotes from many providers, but you’ll have to visit each site one-by-one.
- Quote by phone: Calling an auto insurance company can give you a more personalized service experience and help you gauge the company’s customer care. Insurance agents generally help you pick out a policy and check to make sure you’re getting all the discounts you’re eligible for.
- In-person quote: You can get a quote by visiting your local insurance office. Be prepared to bring necessary documents with you. Of course, you’ll have to be available during regular business hours to go this route.
- Car insurance broker: Another way to get auto insurance quotes is to go through a broker. A broker works as a middleman between insurers and customers to get you the best deal. This can be a hands-off way of shopping. However, brokers can sometimes charge a fee and may work on commission, so they have an incentive to encourage full coverage policies.
No matter which way you decide to get insurance quotes, you’ll have to provide a few pieces of information. Be sure you have the following ready before you start shopping:
- Information for each driver in your household, including birthdays and occupations
- Information about your car, including its make, model, mileage and vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Average miles driven per year
- Driving history
- Current coverage information
How often should you shop for auto insurance?
You can get car insurance quotes at any time. We recommend shopping around each time your auto policy is up for renewal or if you experience a life change like moving to a new location or getting married. A better price might be available with your current provider or a new provider.
You might consider shopping for a policy if any of the following occur:
- You move to a new ZIP Code
- You get married
- You move in with family members and can combine policies
- You turn a year older
- You raise your credit score
- You start a new job and will be driving much less
- Three years have passed since your last at-fault accident or moving violation
If your current insurer is still the cheapest after looking around, there’s no obligation to switch providers.
Factors that increase and decrease insurance rates
Car insurance rates are based on the likelihood that a company will have to pay out claims on your behalf. The more risk you represent to the company, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance, and vice versa.
Here are the main factors that determine auto insurance quotes:
Age, gender and marital status: Teens and males under the age of 25 generally pay the most for car insurance. Married drivers pay less than single drivers for insurance.
- Vehicle: The make, model and age of your vehicle all affect your insurance rates. Some vehicles have higher repair costs or lower safety ratings, which can increase your premium. Others are more likely to be stolen. For example, full-size pickups, Honda Civics and Honda Accords all have high rates of theft according to Insurify.
- Driving history: A clean driving record can get you discounts on auto insurance, while at-fault accidents, moving violations and DUIs will cause your rates to go up. The more points on your record, the more you’ll pay.
- How much you drive: People who drive more are at greater risk for getting into a car accident. Driving more than the average annual mileage will increase rates. But if you work from home and drive only a few thousand miles per year, you’ll pay less.
- Credit history: Car insurance companies in most states consider your credit history when setting premiums. A lower credit score can raise your rates.
- ZIP Code: Theft, vandalism and accidents are more frequent in urban areas.
- State requirements: Each state sets its own minimum car insurance requirements, so you may need to maintain more or less coverage depending on where you live.
- Coverage levels and deductible: Once you’ve got your state minimums covered, you can choose to purchase higher coverage limits and additional types of auto insurance coverage depending on your needs and budget.
Average car insurance quotes
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), drivers in the U.S. paid an average of $1,004.58 for car insurance in 2017. Because your location affects your rates, the cost of car insurance can vary widely by state. These were the five most expensive and cheapest states for auto insurance in 2017: