Compare rates, explore your options, and get car insurance that works for you.
After you’ve decided on the car of your dreams, the next step is finding a car insurance policy. And while the car insurance industry has made a lot of technological progress in recent years, getting an auto insurance policy can be a taxing process.
The below guide describes the best ways to get car insurance in 2020, with a few handy tricks to ensure you find the best possible insurance rate for your vehicle. Let’s get started.
*These are the most basic requirements for a quote. If you want to get an accurate auto insurance quote, have these at the ready. While these details aren’t always required up front to get a quote, they will eventually help determine your rate.
An auto insurance company pulls a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) when creating your quote. An MVR is an abstract of your driving record. Insurance companies use your MVR to project what kind of driver and client you might be and to price your policy accordingly. If you've provided inaccurate information during the insurance quoting process, your premium will be updated after the fact — there's no way around it.
Almost every state has certain minimum insurance requirements that must be met in order to be a legal driver. In many states, this may only be liability coverage, though it could also include other coverages such as:
Everyone's situation is different. The level of insurance coverage that you choose depends on a number of factors, including what your drive and how much you drive. In general, it's recommended that everyone increase their liability limits to the highest amount you can reasonably afford. On top of any other mandatory coverage your state requires, use this guide to help determine some of the additional types of coverage that you should consider.
If you have a car that is less than four years old or that still holds a high resale value, the following coverages are recommended along with your state minimums:
Those financing an older vehicle may still be required by their bank or lender to carry physical damage coverage. Have a look at the following recommended coverages:
In most states, the mandatory minimum coverage is not enough to keep you properly protected. As such, it's recommended that you consider adding the following:
Everyone is looking for ways to save money. Luckily, most car insurance companies are willing to play ball. Here are some of the ways that you may be able to receive a discount or a lowered rate on your auto insurance policy.
The math on this one is pretty simple: a higher deductible means lower payments. The reasoning for this is that you are assuming more of the risk in the event of a claim.
A car security system is a great way to put your car insurance company at ease and to lower your chances of your vehicle being stolen.
Car insurance companies see a strong credit history as a sign of responsibility, which can save you money.
Insurers love drivers who can keep a clean driving record. Taking such a course could get you an instant discount and also help you become a better driver, which saves you more money in the long run.
By driving less, you lower your chances of getting into an accident. Those who only need a car for short drives may look into usage-based insurance programs, also known as telematics, which determine your premium by measuring your driving habits.
You can save money by paying your entire premium up front.
This may be the best tip of all. Because each company has a slightly different method of determining rates, you can save quite a bit by regularly shopping for insurance quotes.
There are a few ways to acquire car insurance coverage for your new vehicle. Your personal preferences may determine which car insurance shopping method works best for you. You can get an auto insurance policy through an insurance agent dedicated to one particular insurer, an agent or broker representing multiple insurance companies, via a car insurance company's website, or by using an online car insurance comparison engine — this last option is a great way to avoid auto insurance broker fees.
These agents are known as “captive,” meaning they work for one insurance company exclusively, selling only that company’s policies. The benefit of working with a captive agent is their exceptional familiarity with the insurer's coverage options.
The other way to pay for car insurance with an agent is through an independent agent or broker. Unlike a Farmers agent, who only sells Farmers products, independent agents are able to sell other companies' insurance products (as long as they have a relationship/partnership with them). The benefit of this is the ability to compare premiums from different insurance companies while developing a trusting relationship with an agent. One downside of this approach is the potential for additional car insurance broker fees.
A common way to buy car insurance is to purchase a policy directly through an insurance company's website. Your user experience may vary, as some companies invest more in their online user experience than others. This a good alternative if you want to handle things yourself and you already understand the coverage you need. The downside of this is that you see only one company’s insurance rates.
The best way to shop — regardless of the product — is to find the cheapest price. Comparison tools (like The Zebra) show auto insurance premiums from different companies to help you find the best rate. The benefit of this is clear: you can see prices from a variety of insurance companies and get a cheap quote.
If you’re looking for more information on buying car insurance, including how to save and how much coverage you might need, see our guides:
The Zebra is an independent, third-party source of unbiased insurance information, seeking to help our readers find the right coverage at lower rates. Consult an insurance agent or insurance provider before selecting a policy, as everyone's situation is different.