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Getting Car Insurance Quotes, from Beginning to End

The average American driver spends about $700 a year on car insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). This is a significant amount, so it is important to be sure you are getting the best car insurance quotes—up front—before you decide on a policy.

Car insurers base quotes on several factors related to both you and your car. Your driving record is one of the most important factors considered. A large number of tickets or insurance claims make you a higher claims risk, resulting in higher rates.

Where you live also helps determine what you pay, as does your age. Certain areas have higher incidence of car theft and accidents, and mature drivers tend to have fewer insurance claims. If you drive a more expensive car—or one that costs more to repair—you can expect to pay more for auto insurance. Large coverage amounts also translate into higher prices.

Your car's sticker price, safety standards and the likelihood of theft also come into play when getting quotes on car insurance. So if you are buying a new car, look for safety features and anti-theft devices. Many insurers offer policy discounts for these features.

Where to Buy Insurance

You can find what you need in various places, but the first and most commonly searched place is the Internet.

With the almost daily expansion of the World Wide Web, many car insurance companies like InsureMe now give you the ability to search for competing quotes online. This enables local insurance agents to provide you with quotes by email or over the phone, saving you time and money.

Rate quotes are also available through employer plans, over the phone and by U.S. mail. You can pick up the phone and contact insurance companies listed in your phonebook's yellow pages, or write to insurance companies at the addresses listed to find out what car insurance will cost you. These methods, however, are generally more time consuming—and may not result in the affordable car insurance rates you can get on the Internet.

How to Lower Cost

Even with all these defining factors, car insurance can vary greatly from one agent or company to another.

The III supplies these money-saving tips to lower your car insurance premiums:

  • Comparison shop, using resources such as your state insurance department for information. (The InsureMe Web site is also a great informational resource!)
  • Compare insurance costs before you purchase a new car. Different types of cars mean different quotes.
  • Ask for higher deductibles. This can substantially lower out-of-pocket expense.
  • Reduce or drop coverage on older cars.
  • Buy multiple policies from the same insurance company.
  • Maintain a good credit history.
  • Ask about group insurance through your employer, or a professional or educational association.
  • Seek out all possible discounts.

How to Select an Insurer

Choosing an insurance company is not an easy task. Consider these things when deciding which one to go with:

  1. Price—can vary greatly from company to company
  2. Stability—helps ensure future claims payment and availability
  3. Service—includes efficiency and customer satisfaction
  4. Comfort—makes dealing with the company less stressful and more satisfying

In most states, there are dozens or even hundreds of car insurance companies to choose from. Prepare yourself ahead of time, do your research and request your free quotes today.

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