Compare Car Insurance Rates & Shop Quotes Online (2024)

Compare Car Insurance Rates & Shop Quotes Online (2024)

4. Research Car Insurance Companies

After you’ve considered the different types of companies to compare, it’s best to research the ins and outs of insurance policies from different options. Emily Goenner, an assistant teacher of business communications at St. Cloud State University recommends the following:

“Research is the best way to prepare to select an auto insurance policy. Research each company you are considering. Some independent consumer protection organizations will provide fair information about companies. Consider these independent ratings in addition to customer reviews.  

Next, contact agents from different companies and talk with them. Ask about discounts for ‘smart’ tools like apps or trackers you might place in your car to demonstrate your driving. Ask about other discounts you might qualify for. Ask about coverage and deductibles, what other steps you might take to reduce your premiums. Be sure to carefully read the policies the agents propose before you agree to purchase them.”  

5. Look for Usage-Based Insurance Options

If you’re a good driver and don’t use your vehicle often, you can find lower rates with a usage-based or pay-per-mile car insurance provider. As the name suggests, you’ll receive rates based on your driving habits through a monitoring app or a plug-in to your car. While it may be uncomfortable to have your driving tracked, it is still a worthwhile consideration if you are a low-mileage driver and want low rates.

Read more: What is Usage-Based Insurance?

Read more: Best Pay Per Mile Car Insurance

6. Get Car Insurance Quotes

Once you’re armed with all the information you need, you can begin getting quotes from multiple companies. Prachi Gala, an assistant teacher of marketing at Kennesaw State University recommends looking at how deductibles and coverage affect costs while measuring against your budget constraints, as well as assessing insurer’s reputations, financial stability and policy extras. “Lastly,” she says, “Check customer reviews and seek recommendations to guage overall satisfaction with the insurer’s services.” Once you have plenty of quotes, you should compare pricing along with the pros and cons of each insurer.

7. Purchase a Policy

When you’re happy with the coverage and pricing you’ve found, you can purchase that policy online, over the phone or in person. You can get same day car insurance after you make the first payment, or schedule it to start on a future date. Be sure to overlap your new car insurance policy with your current coverage by one day to avoid any lapse in coverage.

8. Regularly Compare Car Insurance Rates

We recommend getting multiple quotes each time your auto policy is up for renewal and repeating the steps above. Auto insurance rates fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, so your company may not be the best fit as soon as six months have passed. 

It can also be good to shop for auto insurance if you experience a significant life event or if something changes, such as:

  • Moving to a new area
  • Getting married
  • Moving in with family members and combining policies
  • Raising your credit score
  • Starting a new job and driving much less
  • Three years have passed since your last at-fault accident or moving violation

Read more: How to Shop for Car Insurance

Car Insurance Coverage

Car insurance can cover you up to a certain limit for injuries or damages due to accidents or environmental hazards. It’s essentially the opposite of an extended car warranty, which only covers you for breakdowns from vehicle malfunction.

There are many coverage options to compare and choose from so below we’ve broken down the basic types and add-on policies.

Types of Car Insurance Coverage

The six main types of car insurance coverage are described below:

Type of Coverage Description
Liability This is split into bodily liability (BI), which pays for medical expenses and property damage liability (PD) which covers damaged property when you’re at fault.
Collision This type of coverage adds to liability coverage by paying for damages to your vehicle or replacements from an accident or road hazard, regardless of who’s at fault. 
Comprehensive Comprehensive protection covers items such as theft, animal and environmental damage.
Medical payment (MedPay) Medical bills and final expenses of your or your passengers in an accident are covered under MedPay.
Personal injury protection (PIP) PIP covers the same things as MedPay, but can also include lost wage protection.
Underinsured/uninsured motorist This covers you in the case you get into an accident with someone who has too little coverage or none at all.

In addition to the basic coverages mentioned above, there are options for pay-per-mile car insurance. This coverage determines your premiums based on your driving habits including mileage, speed, braking and phone usage through either an app or plug-in device for your vehicle. These can offer the same coverage as traditional plans and tend to be much more affordable if you’re a low-mileage driver with a good driving record.

Car Insurance Coverage Add-ons

While the basic types of car insurance can provide you most of the coverage you need, there are other options for additional protection:

  • Roadside assistance: This covers things such as lockout assistance, towing and fuel delivery when your car breaks down or you can’t access it.
  • Accident forgiveness: Stop your vehicle insurance premium from increasing after an accident with this add-on coverage.
  • Total loss: When another driver is at fault for totaling your car, this covers replacement costs up to a higher amount than collision coverage.
  • Gap protection: If you have a loan or lease and your car’s value is below the amount you owe, this covers the difference.
  • Rental car coverage: If you break down on the road, you can get coverage for rental car costs for up to 30 days from most companies.
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance: This is a cheaper version of an extended warranty and covers you for mechanical breakdowns from faulty workmanship.
  • Rideshare insurance: If you use your car for a rideshare service, this covers you for liability and collision damages while on the job.
  • Original parts: This coverage ensures that repairs under insurance are done with manufacturer original parts.
  • New car replacement: This allows a totaled car to be replaced with a completely new vehicle.
  • Diminishing deductible: With this add-on, the longer you go without claims, the cheaper your deductible will be.
  • Classic car insurance: Older vehicles with especially high values would be covered on this policy.
  • Pet coverage: This option covers the death and injury of your pets in an accident.
  • Death and dismemberment: When a person dies or is dismembered in an accident, this provides additional coverage for medical and final expense costs.
  • Umbrella insurance: In the case you are sued, umbrella insurance provides much higher liability coverages than a basic policy can.
  • Glass repair: Should the glass on your car windows or windshields get damaged, this would cover any dings, cracks and replacements up to a limit.
  • Valuables coverage: If you regularly carry valuable items like computers in your vehicle, they can be covered by this separate add-on.

Read more: What Does Car Insurance Cover?

Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates

Ultimately, car insurance rates are based on the likelihood that a company will have to pay out claims on your behalf. The more financial risk you represent, the more you’ll have to pay for auto insurance.

Compare Car Insurance Rates & Shop Quotes Online (2024)Compare Car Insurance Rates & Shop Quotes Online (2024)

Here are the main factors used to determine auto insurance quotes simplified:

Car Insurance Rate Factor Category Car Insurance Rate Factors How They Affect Costs
Driver Information Age, marital status, gender, driving history and credit history Each of these factors has different rates of risk for insurers, causing rates to be higher or lower.
Vehicle Details Age, model, make and mileage Newer and less-used vehicles are more reliable and less likely to cause an accident. Certain makes are also more reliable than others and cost more to replace and repair.
Location City and state Densely populated areas have higher rates of accidents, vehicle theft and vandalism, so people in these locations generally pay more.

Read more: 10 Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates

Car Insurance Discounts

Below we’ve detailed discounts available for auto policies to decrease costs:

  • Multi-policy discount: If you have multiple different types of insurance policies with a company, you’ll get a discount at most companies.
  • Multi-vehicle discount: Have multiple cars insured under the same provider and save.
  • Homeowner discount: If you have a home, you’ll receive a small discount with some providers.
  • Good driver discount: Those who have no accidents in the last three to five years could receive a substantial premium reduction.
  • Good student discount: People who are students under 25 with a B average or higher could be eligible for lower rates.
  • Driver’s education discount: Take a qualified defensive driver or education course to get around 5-10% off.
  • Distant student discount: If you leave your insured car home when going off to school, you’ll save a large sum.
  • Autopay discount: Setting up automatic online payments can help you save.
  • Paperless billing discount: Sign up for e-billing and documentation to get a small premium discount.
  • Military discount: Military car insurance can be cheaper with some companies.
  • Vehicle safety discount: If you have select safety devices in your vehicle, you can save on premiums.
  • New car discount: If your car is three years or younger, you can get a discount.
  • Teen driver discount: Those aged 16 to 19 can receive discounts from some companies.
  • Low annual mileage discount: Low mileage drivers can save due to a decrease in risk for the insurer.
  • Accident-free discount: If you have had no accident history, you’ll receive much lower rates.

Read more: Car Insurance Discounts

Compare Car Insurance Quotes: The Bottom Line

In this review, we compared insurance rates and went over the steps that go into getting an auto insurance quote. What you pay for coverage can vary significantly between providers — that’s why it’s important to compare car insurance rates from multiple companies each time you shop.

Car Insurance Comparison Tool

You can use a free price comparison tool such as the one below to get quotes from major insurers including State Farm, Travelers and Geico with our partner Everquote. 

Compare Car Insurance: FAQ

Below are common frequently asked questions about comparing car insurance quotes:

You can expect Geico and Nationwide to have some of the cheapest car insurance rates on the market. Geico has the cheapest average minimum liability car insurance at an average rate of $38 per month while Nationwide has the cheapest full coverage at $119 per month.

“When comparing prices, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. You may have one insurer who tells you that they can save you money on the premium but does so by reducing coverage.”

– Steven Gattuso, assistant professor of economics and finance at Canisius University

We recommend choosing full-coverage car insurance (liability plus comprehensive and collision) and high limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Minimum coverage may be more affordable, but it doesn’t cover damages to your car or injuries if you cause an accident. Ultimately, the best auto coverage for you depends on your needs, budget and preferences.

“When comparing car insurance quotes, there are several major factors to consider but they vary amongst consumers. Unless money is no object, price should be paramount. But drivers should also consider customer service, helpful apps and the flexibility of making a claim.”

Angelo DeCandia, MBA, instructor of business at Touro University

Based on our cost research, Allstate has some of the highest average car insurance rates in the nation, costing $2,598 per year on average for a full-coverage auto insurance policy. But prices vary by the individual, meaning your quotes will differ from others’ based on your driver profile and provider.

“Major factors that drivers should consider when comparing car insurance quotes are the types of coverage (including liability, collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage), policy limits, deductibles, an insurer’s financial strength and the quality and reputation of its claims service.”

Jeungbo Shim, Ph.D., associate professor in the risk management and insurance program at the University of Colorado Denver

Due to the pressure put on businesses during COVID-19, prices have skyrocketed to offset the costs of limited activity and supply chain issues. This has pushed the prices of goods overall higher in all sectors, making the overall cost of living, including insurance costs grow at unprecedented rates.

We interviewed Stephen Yao, an expert of insurance and risk management and this was his take on the trend:

“Once inflation is reflected in the general price levels, prices tend to stay at a higher level,” he said. “Even [a] lower inflation rate still means price levels continue to increase.”

Angelo DeCandia, MBA, instructor of business at Touro University says, “All drivers would benefit greatly from taking the time to understand the basic types of car insurance available. Always consider the three most important distinctions:

  • Liability insurance: This is the type of insurance that protects you from being sued, whether for damage or medical bills. 
  • Collision coverage: When there is damage to your car due to an accident, this is the type of coverage that will pay to get your car looking spiffy again.

Comprehensive coverage: Sometimes the damage to your vehicle is not the result of a collision, but something else entirely. Maybe a tree fell on your car, or it was vandalized or even worse, stolen, well that’s where comprehensive [coverage] comes into play.”

“Selecting car insurance is not a simple decision,” says Luther. “It requires an understanding of the car insurance industry and how it sets rates, your state’s regulations, coverage requirements and options and of course annual costs. It also requires research into the reputation and reliability of individual car insurers. But ultimately, it requires an assessment of what you can afford and what level of risk and/or protection you are comfortable with.”

There are several things you can do to try to keep your auto insurance premiums down. Here’s what Goenner recommends: 

“Try to maintain a safe driving record and good credit scores. Insurance companies consider both factors when preparing quotes.  When researching companies, watch for discounts you may qualify for — such as military, good student and more. Finally, shop often. You may qualify for new discounts or changes in company ratings, so be sure to review your policies annually.”

Our website offers a tool higher up on the page that allows you to source several quotes at once in exchange for information about you and your vehicle. However, this isn’t your only option.

“There are many online resources that provide you with the most major changes, help you compare multiple insurance policies and provide you with the gist of everything you need to know about insurance policies.”

Dr. Kunter Gunasti, associate professor of marketing and international business at Washington State University

An auto insurance premium is the rate you’ll pay for coverage over a certain period of time. It’s usually expressed as either a monthly rate or a total price for a six-month or one-year period.

No, shopping for car insurance shouldn’t usually hurt your credit. Insurance companies may look up your credit score during the quote process, but they typically use soft credit pulls that don’t affect your report. You can look up insurance quotes without your credit being affected.

It’s usually more expensive to have business car insurance because the minimum limits are greater than standard car insurance limits. If you use your car for business, you should have a business car insurance policy. With standard policies, companies often exclude coverage during commercial use.

You can purchase auto insurance coverage without a driver’s license. However, many insurers ask for driver’s license information as part of the quote process, and you may be turned down if you can’t provide any details.