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How to compare car insurance quotes

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Calculate your car insurance premiums and easily compare policies.

Comparing a lot of car insurance quotes side by side can take a long time, especially if you’re new to the whole process. Calling around might give you a better idea, but is far too time-consuming to be worth it. So what are your options?

  • Car insurance calculators. Unfortunately, a car insurance calculator won’t tell you exactly how much it will cost, because there are too many factors involved. You might use a calculator provided by the insurer, but this is basically just the same thing as getting a quote.
  • Car insurance estimators. If you think you’re paying too much for car insurance you can estimate your own premiums, based on your circumstances and the average cost of car insurance in the US.

However, the most accurate way to compare car insurance is generally to get quotes, and then compare them side by side. The easiest way of doing this might be to simply get quotes individually from each insurer online or to use a comparison tool like ours.

After you do, there are a few things to watch out for to make sure you’re comparing them accurately.

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Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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How to compare car insurance quotes

Ever wondered why quotes for similar coverage might be very different from one another? You might not be comparing equivalent prices.

  • Does the quote include discounts? The quote you’re given will often be the lowest possible price. For example, sometimes it might include a hefty 25% car insurance discount for buying online, while another insurer might offer the same discount, but not include it in the quoted price.
  • How much information did you provide before getting a quote? If you simply provided your car make and model for a quote, but haven’t yet given your age, address and other information, the quote might not be your final price. Generally, the more information you’ve provided, the more accurate your quote will be.
  • Is the coverage equivalent? Even two comprehensive policies might be very different, which can lead to significant price differences.
  • Do you need a special type of car insurance? Driving for business, carrying passengers for pay, specific coverage add-ons and other factors can all impact your premiums significantly.

Ready to compare car insurance policies?

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Root
Included free
No
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
USAA
Included free
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

Consider special insurance options

The first step is to work out whether you want or need special coverage to make sure you’re comparing the right policies and won’t be paying too much for car insurance.

What to do after you get a car insurance quote

  1. Consider how much information you’ve provided for an understanding of how accurate the quote is. If you know the factors that affect the cost of car insurance, you can guess whether it might be too high or too low.
  2. Consider whether the quote also includes any discounts or other factors that may affect the final price.
  3. Look at the different coverage elements side by side, and see whether that accounts for the price difference.
  4. Rule out the prices that are too high, or the coverage that doesn’t work for you, and create a shortlist.
  5. Get detailed quotes from your shortlist of providers and take out coverage online for more discounts.

The wide range of factors that affect car insurance prices means a quote might not be finalized or accurate until you provide all the details and choose your coverage. These variations mean a car insurance calculator will typically not be very accurate.

Coverage options to consider

Until you decide on the following, your car insurance costs might change.

  • What type of car insurance you’re taking out, and whether it’s liability only, collision coverage, or comprehensive.
  • Agreed value or market value
  • Whether you’ll be getting any optional add-ons
  • Whether you’re entitled to any multi-policy discounts, online discounts or other savings
  • If you can pay less thanks to car security systems or because you park it in a secure area
  • If you’ve provided your age, zip code and make and model of car
  • Whether or not you’ve specified any applicable business use
  • Whether or not you’ll be restricting or nominating drivers

When you compare car insurance quotes, one insurer might draw you in with the cheapest prices, only for them to go up as you provide more information and make more coverage decisions.

Another provider might do it the other way around, starting with a higher quote that gets cheaper as you make more coverage decisions.

Bottom line

There probably isn’t a quick and accurate car insurance calculator that can help you with all the calculations you need to do. So instead, it might be worth taking your time, shopping around carefully and getting multiple detailed quotes to make sure you’re comparing equivalent coverage types and looking at accurate prices.

Picture: Shutterstock

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.


Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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