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All across the country, drivers need to maintain a car insurance policy, both to protect their finances in the event of an accident and to be legal to drive. And generally speaking, the cost of auto insurance is rising every year. In order to find the best policy for you, you’ll need to determine the level of coverage you need and shop around for the insurance company that offers you the best price.
Here you can instantly compare auto insurance quotes from multiple top-rated companies by completing this quick form. Answer one simple set of questions for a fast online quote from many companies at the same time. But before you decide, you’ll need to know what you’re looking at.
What determines your car insurance rates?
Insurance companies all have their own algorithms to determine your insurance premiums. Once they have your information, you are grouped in with other similar customers, and that company’s algorithm will set the price based on the rate of claims in that particular group, as well as any discounts you may qualify for. Here’s a basic overview of those factors:
- Driving Record
- Vehicle make and model
- Vehicle repair costs and age
- Vehicle usage and mileage
- Number of claims made
- Level of Education
- Credit score
- Zip Code
- Marital Status
- Driving Experience
- Lapses in coverage
So how does all of this affect your car insurance rates? In general, more educated people with higher incomes and cleaner driving histories pay less for car insurance coverage. People who drive their cars for work and live in urban areas will pay more for car insurance. A bad credit score and lapses in coverage are considered risk factors that will raise your insurance premiums. Any changes will affect the cost of your premiums, even mid policy period.
Insurance companies weigh the factors differently to determine your car insurance rates, and generally speaking that information is not publicly available. That means the cheapest company for one person isn’t necessarily the cheapest for another person. It also means that any changes to this information might warrant a change in your insurance company to make sure you are paying the best rates.
You don’t have much control over these factors while your shopping for an insurance policy. But you can control the deductible, types of coverage, and coverage limits. And if you’re shopping for a new car, you can check the rates on different vehicles before you make your choice. All of these details affect the cost of your policy. For example, if you have an older vehicle, it might not be worth the cost of collision and comprehensive. So what kind of coverage should you get?
What’s in a policy?
When you’re comparing quotes, you’re looking at a lot more than the price tag. Each individual policy provides coverage for different situations. Across the country, nearly everyone will need to get liability insurance. Some states require a Personal Injury Protection Policy or an Uninsured Motorist Policy. People still paying off a car loan will be required to carry what’s known as “full coverage,” though we’ll go over why that’s a misnomer shortly.
Here are the common policies you’ll see when you compare car insurance quotes:
Liability Insurance is broken into three parts, and the minimums for the policy are set by state law. They don’t cover you, your passengers, or your car.
- Bodily Injury Liability provides coverage for medical costs of bodily injury from a collision. The stated limits describe the maximum the will pay out per person.
- Bodily Injury per accident sets the maximum they will pay out for multiple injured people.
- Property Damage Liability provides coverage for the cost of property damage to other vehicles or any structures that were damaged in a collision.
Full Coverage describes two policies that will help you pay for damages to your vehicle, up to the stated maximum limits.
- Collision Coverage pays for damage to your vehicle when you're in an at-fault accident, or when you crash into a structure (even if that structure is your own home). It can also pay for towing to get your car off the road and to the repair shop.
- Comprehensive Coverage pays for damages to your car outside of your control. This could be from theft, vandalism, hail damage, fire, flood, or any other so-called “act of God.” A collision with an animal would be covered by your comprehensive policy, not by your collision policy. Because it covers so many possibilities, it’s worth considering even if you opt to skip collision.
Personal Injury Protection policies will pay for medical costs and lost wages for you or your passengers in the event of an accident. Some states will require you to have a PIP insurance policy to be legal to drive.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage can pay the difference between the total cost of property damage and medical expenses and what you received from the other driver or their insurance company. Some states require this policy to be legal to drive.
The cost of cutting insurance coverage
With all the car insurance companies out there, you may be tempted to find the one with the cheapest insurance premiums and go with that one. But car insurance comparison is a little more nuanced than that. You have to take into account the coverage limit, deductible, and how many policies each has. If you have to make a claim, will your insurance policy do you any good?
If you only get liability, then you leave yourself exposed to a lot of possibilities that could leave you without a working vehicle. If you can’t afford to replace your car, then your insurance policy isn’t doing you much good. Even if you have cheap car insurance, you will pay a lot more out of pocket if your car is stolen or you’re injured in a crash.
Unless you have plenty of cash to spare, you’re probably not prepared to deal with the financial burden of an expensive car crash. Rather than cutting back to liability only, choose the insurance coverage that works for you. Then you can compare car insurance rates to find the best deal.
How to find cheap car insurance
As we discussed earlier, each insurance provider uses different algorithms to determine your car insurance premiums. They also all have different discounts. Finding the company that offers the most advantageous combination of discounts for you is crucial to finding the best deal.
If you’re a high-risk driver, standard insurance policies might be hard to come by. Non-standard insurance options are available from some companies, and they can help you get the coverage you need to drive legally. If you are unable to find a policy, your state’s DMV will usually have an assigned risk system in place to get you covered. It won’t be cheap, but safe driving habits will eventually lead to lower rates, and you can find your way back to the standard insurance market.
Once you’re rolling, you can often use a telemetric device to monitor your driving habits. Demonstrating safe driving practices will earn you discounts, and you can get an even better deal by taking a defensive driving class. Other kinds of discounts are low mileage discounts, accident free discounts, and various driver status discounts. These can include good student, veteran, and senior discounts.
Cheap car insurance isn’t always about the discounts. Certain features and policies add value to the premium you pay, like accident forgiveness. If you need to make a claim, accident forgiveness policies will keep your rate from shooting up after a collision. And, roadside assistance can save you a lot of money if you’re stuck somewhere in need of a tow. Many of the polices have networks of service stations and can get you discounts when you need to make repairs. Progressive’s PerkShare program is just one example of this.
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- Complete one set of questions to instantly start your car insurance comparison with free quotes from multiple top companies.
- Choose to buy your policy online with a few simple steps and print out your proof of coverage.
OnlineAutoInsurance.com allows shoppers to compare quotes with no credit check from multiple companies in an instant instead of having to get each quote individually. Comparing car insurance quotes online is a quick way to find quality carriers offering affordable coverage. Since prices from insurance companies vary widely, it is important to complete a comparison in order to find out which one will offer a particular driver the lowest rate.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average car insurance premium was about $866 in 2014, the most recent year for which their data is available. However, the average premium by state varies widely. In New Jersey, the average premium was $1263.6 which was the highest in the country. The state with the lowest average premium was South Dakota, with an average cost of $601.33.
Our goal is to provide consumers with the easiest and fastest way to compare quotations without the hassle of repeating the same process over and over. We’re also happy to spare you from the pressure of talking to an insurance agent trying to close a deal before you’ve had the chance to do your research.