May 28, 2023

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Comparison shopping is important if you want to save money on car insurance. Here’s why: Insurers look at similar factors, but they have their own “secret sauce” when it comes to setting rates. So two companies can charge wildly different rates for the same driver.

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How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes

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First of all, every car insurance rate you can get should be free of cost, whether it’s from Geico, Farmer or a small insurer you’ve never heard of. Some auto insurers require a down payment to start your policy, but a simple quote estimate should always be free. Here’s how to start comparing quotes.

1. Gather Your Information

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To quickly and easily compare car insurance quotes, keep the following on hand:

Personal Information: Address, date of birth, occupation, driving license and marital status of everyone you wish to cover in the policy.

Vehicle Information: Mileage, date of purchase and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for each car. Or, if you haven’t bought the car yet, keep track of the mileage, make, model, and year.

Driving History: Include all claims, violations and tickets you have made in the past five years, as well as any completed driving courses.

The name of the current or past insurer on the policy or for anyone in your household. Some insurers won’t cover you without some coverage history, and if you want to exclude anyone living with you from the policy, you’ll need to prove they’re covered elsewhere.

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2. Choose the Right Liability Car Insurance Coverage Level

Liability auto insurance protects you from that worst-case scenario by providing a cushion between your assets and the amount you’re on the hook for. For this reason, choosing the right auto liability limit is the most important part of your car insurance quote comparison. NerdWallet generally recommends at least as much liability coverage as your net worth.

Types of Liability Coverage

But the level of liability coverage comes in three — you’ll probably see something from 50/100/50 to 250/500/250 in general policies. You can think of these limits as: personal injuries / total injuries / property damage. Insurers are a bit more technical, calling them bodily injury liability, total bodily injury liability, and bodily damage liability.

They come in thousand-dollar increments, so when you choose the 100/300/100 range, you are choosing:

$100,000 for bodily injuries per person who was injured in the accident.

A total of $300,000 for all bodily injuries resulting from the accident.

$100,000 for damage to the car, building, and any property you caused in the accident, including items such as mailboxes and lampposts.

Auto Insurance Quote Comparison Tip: When choosing liability car insurance coverage, you’ll want to make sure that the highest, middle number equals or exceeds your home value and total savings.

Understand the car insurance requirements in your state

In some states, you may need a car insurance policy that includes personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments coverage (MedPay) or underinsured/underinsured motorist coverage — or two out of three. If you have Medpay you don’t need PIP, and vice versa.

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Any car insurance comparison tool you look at should have your state’s minimum car insurance requirements preloaded in its options. States requiring PIP or MedPay are generally referred to as “no-fault” states, meaning that when an injury occurs, each driver in an accident claims to be paid with their insurance company. . Beyond the PIP or Medpay limit, fault driver’s liability insurance begins to cover the rest.

3. Decide If You Need Full Coverage Car Insurance

You’ll notice that none of that liability coverage pays for your car or injuries, nor for any injuries to your passengers if you cause a wreck. This is why many people — especially those whose car hasn’t yet been paid for — want “full coverage” car insurance. It is not actually a type of coverage, but usually refers to policies that include liability coverage, as well as comprehensive and collision coverage.

In other words, you can’t just click the “full coverage” button or buy something called a full coverage auto insurance policy when comparing insurance quotes online. You will need to add collision and comprehensive coverage to the amounts you want.

Comprehensive vs. Collision Coverage

Collision insurance pays for:

Comprehensive insurance pays for:

Damage to your car in an accident you caused.

If you hit an object like a fence or a pole, your car is damaged.

Damage to your car if someone hits you. Another option in this case is to make a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance.

The value of your car if it is stolen and not recovered, and damage is caused by:

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Weather such as tornadoes or hailstorms.

An accident with an animal, such as hitting a deer.

Riots and civil unrest.

Auto Insurance Quote Comparison Tip: Whatever coverage you choose, make sure you compare quotes for the same type and amount of coverage so that you can find the best value.

4. Collect & Compare Car Insurance Quotes

You’ll want to get car insurance quotes from at least two or three companies available in your area to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Consider comparing quotes from regional companies as well as larger companies such as Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm. When shopping, make sure each insurance quote includes:

Same level of liability and uninsured/insured motorist protection.

Similar deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage, if you’re buying them.

Same driver and car.

All the discounts you are eligible for (most insurers list the discounts they offer on their websites).


See what you can save on car insurance

Easily compare individual rates to see how much switching car insurance can save you.

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