How to get a car insurance quote
Getting an auto insurance quote is the best way to see personalized rates and coverage options from insurance companies. While traditional car insurance companies do offer free quotes, this process can be inefficient as it only results in a single option. With The Zebra, drivers can enter some basic information and receive quotes from hundreds of the most trusted insurance companies within minutes.
If you're shopping for a new policy, use the following steps to help you find great coverage with rates you can afford.
1. Set a budget
The first thing most customers look at when comparing quotes is price. It's important to keep your car insurance costs within budget, but remember: the cheapest option isn't always the best. Cheaper coverage from an auto insurance company with a poor track record or poor customer service may not be ideal. This is where your knowledge of coverage types will come in handy.
2. Consider your coverage
Knowing what coverage you need ahead of time can help you in your search for car insurance. While some drivers just want to get minimum car insurance coverage, there are a lot of reasons to look beyond just basic liability insurance. For one, you risk paying out of pocket for damages that exceed your liability limits after an at-fault accident. Second, some insurance companies see drivers with a history of state minimum coverage as risky. If any insurance company sees you as a risky customer, they will account for that risk with a higher premium.
3. Research insurer reputation
Making yourself familiar with how insurance companies treat their customers is a very important step in the insurance shopping process. You'll want to look for things like claims satisfaction and customer complaints, along with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and J.D. Power. Another great place to start is with our list of the best car insurance companies.
4. Choose how to get your quotes
After doing some research on the best insurers, the next step should be deciding how to receive your insurance quotes. Regardless of the method you choose, it's important to get multiple quotes. This can be done through the following methods:
Why use The Zebra?
The Zebra is an independent insurance advisor and comparison site that can streamline your research process by delivering personalized insurance quotes from top companies.
The Zebra helps take the guesswork out of which insurers will be best for you by allowing you to quickly and easily compare quotes online. We partner with companies both large and small to help you find a policy that fits your needs.
With The Zebra, you can:
- Save time by getting multiple quotes at once
- Find the cheapest car insurance companies based on your driving profile
- Learn what coverage is best for your needs
- Get assistance from our knowledgeable in-house agents
- Feel confident your personal info is safe and secure
The Zebra really does take your privacy seriously: you won't receive any spam (we don't even take your phone number!) and we will never sell your information.
Start the process online or reach out by phone to speak to one of our agents. Our in-house agency is appointed to sell policies on behalf of most of the top insurers across the country.
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Find cheap car insurance quotes
We know that cost is the number one reason why people shop for auto insurance, in fact 40% of our users believe that they are paying too much for their current coverage. To help, we've listed out some ways to help get you the cheapest quotes on car insurance.
Compare auto insurance rates
Generally speaking, you should compare car insurance quotes every six months to make sure you're with the right insurance company. Even if nothing changes with you, your rates could go up for a number of reasons during that timeframe. However, there are a few life events that could qualify you for cheaper rates that include moving to a new state, adding a new vehicle to your policy, getting married and even getting older.
If you find a cheaper rate elsewhere (ideally for the same coverage), cancel your current policy and move on to the new insurer as soon as you can. For most companies, the process to cancel is very straightforward. Depending upon how much time you have left in your auto insurance policy, the remaining premium can be refunded back to you.
Do you have any claims on your record?
Keep in mind that:
- At-fault accidents can lead to expensive insurance rates
- If you file a claim, it's likely to stay on your record for 3-5 years
- For cheaper quotes, it may be better to pay for some damage out of pocket
- Use The Zebra's claims calculator to help determine when you should file a claim
Use car insurance discounts
Some car insurance discounts are automatically added to your auto insurance quote when they pull your driving report, but you should always make sure they’re not missing anything. Below are some potential discounts and cost-cutting programs in which you can participate to help get you the cheapest quote.
Change your deductible
A general rule in the insurance world is if the vehicle you own is worth less than $4,000, you can consider dropping collision and comprehensive (i.e. full coverage) insurance. The reasoning is simple: the after market value of your vehicle isn’t worth the cost to insure it. However, if you’re like the 50% of our customers that lease or finance your vehicle, you’re usually required to keep full coverage. If it's necessary for you to have full auto insurance coverage but you want to save money, consider adjusting your deductible.
Because your car insurance deductible and premium are inversely related, you can lower your bill by raising your deductible. Looking at the chart below, you can see how your premium will change with a $500 and $1,000 deductible.
|Coverage||Avg. Monthly Premium|
|State Minimum Liability Only||$50|
|50/100/50 BI/PD with $1,000 Deductible||$129|
|50/100/50 BI/PD with $500 Deductible||$147|
Quotes comparison example
After receiving numerous car insurance quotes, a price-minded shopper has narrowed down their options to the three below. Cost is a major consideration, but the customer also wants to make sure they have comprehensive and collision coverage to add further peace of mind. Based on the information presented, which quote do you think they should choose?
Note that the format for liability coverage is X/Y/Z where:
- X = bodily injury/person
- Y = bodily injury/accident
- Z = property damage/accident
All three options were close in price, but #1 offered less liability coverage. Between #2 and #3, the only real difference was in the deductible, which was more expensive for the third option. Because this customer isn't overly concerned about a higher deductible, #2 is the best option.
Find cheap auto insurance quotes right now!
Information needed to get insurance quotes
In order to receive a car insurance quote, you'll need to have the same basic information handy. To speed up the process, make sure have the following ready to share:
Name, address (or your vehicles garaging location), and birthday are required in addition to gender and marital status. Some insurance companies will also require your Driver License number.
You need to know the year, make, model, and trim of your primary vehicle. While you don't need to know your vehicle identification number (VIN) during your quoting stage, you will eventually need it to buy your policy.
Vehicle status (owned or leased), primary use and average miles driven are typically asked for as well.
Have you had continuous coverage or are you currently uninsured? Some car insurance companies require at least six months of continuous auto insurance to issue a policy.
Lastly, you'll be asked about any accidents or citations (excluding parking tickets), so having a clean driving record is ideal. Credit score and highest-level of education will also be needed to understand what kind of risk you might be.
Car insurance quotes: frequently asked questions
What is a car insurance quote?
A car insurance quote is an estimate of what you can expect to pay for insurance coverage from a specific company. Auto insurance quotes are determined by the personal information you provide. Credit score, driving history and age are all factors that contribute to auto insurance rates.
Are car insurance quotes free?
Auto insurance quotes should be available for free, either online or over the phone. Major insurers offer a free car insurance quote, as do insurance comparison sites like The Zebra, which allows you to receive quotes from hundreds of the most trusted insurance companies in minutes.
What is the best place to get insurance quotes?
The quickest and easiest way to get car insurance quotes is through an online comparison site like The Zebra. Free tools like this allow you to view side-by-side quotes from as many companies as possible allowing you find the best rate for the coverage that suits your needs.
Is it safe to get car insurance quotes online?
Viewing and purchasing auto insurance quotes online is just as safe as doing it with an insurance broker. In fact, getting quotes this way will likely save you both time and money.
Who has the cheapest car insurance?
According to The Zebra, USAA ($94/mo) and GEICO ($102/mo) are among the cheapest companies for auto insurance right now. This of course depends on pricing criteria unique to every individual driver but our data shows that on average these are the best options.
About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.