Maybe it’s your first time shopping for car insurance or maybe you are just looking to switch from your current plan. Either way, getting an insurance quote and comparing rates has been made easy thanks to the all-knowing internet. These days, you can shop for car insurance without even having to step foot outside your front door.

Keep reading for more information about how you can go about getting a car insurance quote right from the comfort of your home.

What Is A Car Insurance Quote?

All drivers in most states need at least some type of car insurance in order to abide by state laws and regulations. In our fast-paced consumer world, it’s pretty fair to say that we are always looking out for the best deal with the most value. A car insurance quote is basically an estimate of the price you will be paying for your insurance policy. This estimated value is computed based off of some key information about your situation. This information may include but is not limited to:

  • Your age.
  • The type of car you drive.
  • Your driving history.
  • Where you live.

Every insurance company has their own special method of calculating car insurance quotes for their potential customers. This means that you can give out all of the same information to various companies, and they will still all likely get back to you with a different number. When shopping for car insurance, it is highly recommended that you get as many quotes as you can to raise your chances of finding the most affordable car insurance company for your budget.

How To Get A Free Car Insurance Quote

There are many different ways that you can go about getting free car insurance quotes. You can either start the process online or over the phone. There are two different routes you can take:

  • You can work with a “captive agent” who is only employed with one insurance company; or
  • You can work with an independent agent or insurance broker.

Regardless of which route you decide to take, here are some tips to get you started on your research:

  • Dive into the car insurance companies’ customer reviews and complaints records to evaluate customer satisfaction.
  • Try to get a minimum of three insurance quotes just to give you an idea of what a fair price would be and how much you would be willing to pay.
  • Read closely about each company’s coverage limits. This way, when you compare quotes, you can make sure each policy has comparable liability limits and deductibles.

Online Car Insurance Quotes

Many companies will offer free auto insurance quotes online to prospective customers. Many companies, like State Farm and Allstate will allow you to start shopping online first, and then they will assign you to a captive agent to tie up the quote over the phone.

When you buy an insurance policy over the phone, directly from an agent, it’s considered buying it “direct” from the insurer. While buying insurance online without assistance from an agent gives you a little more agency to make adjustments, there are also some downfalls of doing so as well.

Here are the pros of getting insurance quotes online:

  • It’s simple and convenient to be able to shop from the comfort of your own home without any added pressure.
  • You have the ability to compare quotes from various companies instead of just looking at one.
  • You have the free range to modify policy details and explore several price options.

Conversely, the cons include:

  • The quotes you get online without assistance from an agent may not be 100% accurate.
  • Car insurance websites will sometimes give you less information than you would attain if you were discussing things with an agent.
  • Your inbox might get flooded with follow-up emails.

Captive Insurance Agents

These are the insurance agents who only work for one company, such as Geico, Allstate or Farmers Insurance. Their job is to gather information about your situation and help you determine what kind of policy would be right for you. Once they collect your information and make an assessment, they are then able to give you a quote.

A lot of times, they will receive commission if they are able to sell you a policy. Working with a captive agent can be beneficial because they are knowledgeable about the company they work for and provide you with a lot of guidance. If you have a complex set of needs, they are able to help you make the best choices for you and your family.  On the flip side, shopping with a captive agent can increase the pressure it puts on you to make a decision since they are highly motivated to make sales and receive commission.

Independent Insurance Agents And Brokers

Now that you have an idea of what it would be like to shop with a captive agent, you might be wondering what your other options could be. If you want to have some guidance while shopping for quotes, without restricting yourself from viewing multiple options, an insurance agent could be the right choice for you.

Independent insurance agents and brokers aren’t committed to one company, so they can offer you details about policies from multiple insurers. A couple of the more popular insurance companies who do this are Progressive and Travelers. Independent brokers charge a broker’s fee and are more upfront with you from the beginning about how they make their money.

The major benefit of dealing with an independent insurance agent is that they can give you personalized counseling from a wide range of companies, however they may not be able to give you quotes on companies that only use captive agents.

How does my insurance quote get calculated?

There are many factors that will ultimately affect your insurance quote, but each company is slightly different. Some companies might raise your premium by a significant amount just for living in an area with high crime rates, while some might not place such a high importance on this.

Here are some of the factors that can affect your insurance quote:

  • Personal characteristics: Your age, gender, marital status and level of education may all be taken into account when compiling an insurance quote. This is because research has found correlations between certain demographics and their likelihood of being involved in an accident. For example, teens are known to have higher instances of accidents than older, more experienced drivers.
  • Your driving record and how much you drive: If you have an extensive history of traffic violations and accidents, insurance companies are going to evaluate this to assess risk.
  • The kind of car you have: If your car has pretty good safety ratings, your insurance company might see this as a safe bet. However, if you drive a luxury car that is more expensive to repair, this could cause your insurance quote to be higher. Companies will also consider statistics and assess the likelihood of your car being stolen. 
  • Location: Customers who live in an area with high incidences of crime should expect to have a somewhat higher premium. This is because there is a higher chance of your car being vandalized or stolen.
  • Credit history: There’s a good chance that your credit history will impact the overall cost of your car insurance. Insurance companies will look at your credit-based insurance score to weigh out the chances of you filing a claim. While this is pretty similar to your regular credit score, the two are not interchangeable.
  • Car insurance history: Insurers are also going to take a look into your auto insurance past and take note of:
    • Whether or not you have had an insurance lapse.
    • Any previous insurance claims that you have filed to see if any were your fault.
    • The amount of time that you stuck with your most recent insurer.
    • Any questions that you may have asked an insurance agent, regardless of whether or not a claim was filed. Inquiry-based raises on insurance rates are not legal in certain some states, but it is allowed in a few.

Here is the information that you will need to have on-hand to get your free car insurance quote:

  • Basic information about yourself such as your name, place of residence, job, and birthdate.
  • The car insurance company that you currently have a policy with (if applicable).
  • Driver’s license information.
  • Car mileage.
  • Information about your car, such as leasing information, your vehicle’s identification number and its safety features.
  • A general idea of your driving history within the last five years.
  • What kind of coverage you are looking for.

When it comes to car insurance, there are so many possibilities and options for you to explore. As you can see, shopping for car insurance quotes isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. No matter which route you decide to take, do your research and only settle upon the best deal for you and your family

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