Car Insurance Quotes

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How to get cheap car insurance quotes easily and quickly

After you've found your dream car, it's time for a less-exciting task: finding the right car insurance policy. This process can be boring, inconvenient, and expensive, but in order to protect your investment and follow the rules of the road, it's a necessity. Fortunately, getting cheap car insurance quotes isn't difficult — let's review tips on how to find and compare quotes to end up with an affordable insurance premium.


How to get free auto insurance quotes:
  1. What documents do I need to get a free car insurance quote?
  2. Are insurance quotes free?
  3. What actually goes into my premium?
  4. Best ways to save on car insurance

How to find free auto insurance quotes online

If you don’t want to spend your entire day dealing with car insurance companies, have the following information on hand to get an accurate online auto insurance quote.

  1. Driver's license and personal information for any drivers on the policy: Necessary info includes date of birth, address, occupation, and marital status.
  2. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): If you're getting a car insurance quote for a new car, reach out to the private seller or dealership to get the VIN. If you can't provide an exact VIN, you'll need to furnish the year, make, and model of the car to get a preliminary quote.
  3. Mileage
  4. Date of purchase
  5. Driving history: Your recent driving history — and that of any other driver on the policy — with accidents, citations, claims, and any completed driving courses.
  6. Insurance record: Some car insurance companies require at least six months of continuous auto insurance prior to issuing you a policy. Have on hand a brief history of your auto insurance background.


Are car insurance quotes free?

Many companies advertise free auto insurance quotes. Any car insurance quote you receive is and should be completely free. Insurance companies want to incentivize you to purchase a car insurance policy from them, so they’re not going to charge you for an upfront assessment (the quote). When shopping around for insurance, remember you can find online car insurance quotes for free from a variety of sources.


Compare rates today!

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What goes into car insurance quotes?

It's important to understand the primary goal of an insurance company is to effectively predict risk and assign premiums based on the risk a particular driver may pose. Car insurance companies assess your entire driving profile to estimate this risk, including factors such as location, demographics, insurance history, driving record, and vehicle.

  1. Where you live
  2. Who you are
  3. Insurance history
  4. How you drive
  5. What you drive

1. Where you live

Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, the law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance report).

average rates by state 2019 data

Whether you can get a cheap car insurance quote may come down to your zip code. If you live in a densely populated area, with a high number of auto insurance claims, your premium will be more expensive than that of a person living in a less dense and less claim-laden part of town. Even if you haven’t filed any claims, you could pay more based solely on your neighborhood.

2. Who you are

"Who you are" is a pretty broad way to talk about the kind of risk you represent to an insurance company. Every company takes different factors into consideration, including these below:


How gender affects car insurance quotes

Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.


















How age influences auto insurance rates

Your age helps to determine your car insurance premium. Statistically, a young driver is less experienced and more likely to receive a citation or cause an accident. In the eyes of an insurance company, that means more risk and a greater need for financial protection, i.e., a higher premium.

Your likelihood of getting cheap auto insurance quotes increases once you turn 19, and again at 25, as you become less likely to drive recklessly. This remains consistent until you get into your 60s, when rates start to tick up again.


age group 2019 data


How marital status affects car insurance quotes

While the difference is small, married drivers are more likely to get affordable car insurance quotes than singledivorced, or widowed drivers. Car insurance companies see married drivers as more likely to share driving responsibilities and less likely to file claims.

Marital Status
Average 6-month premium

For more information related to how your marital status affects how much you pay for your insurance policy, see our here.


How homeowner status changes car insurance costs

On average, renters face higher car insurance premiums than do condo or homeowners — by about $82 per 6-months compared to a homeowner. Homeowners are considered more financially stable and less likely to file a claim.

Homeowner Status
Average 6-month premium
Condo Owner
Home Owner
Renter With Multi-Policy
Condo Owner With Multi-Policy
Home Owner With Multi-Policy

For more information regarding renters, condo, and home insurance, see our guides below:


How education affects auto insurance quotes

Although it’s not impactful, drivers with a Masters or Ph.D. save $20 per year on car insurance premiums, compared to those without a degree. Car insurance companies see clients with higher education levels as less risky and reward that decreased risk with a lower premium. The only states that do not consider education when determining rates are CaliforniaMassachusettsGeorgia, Hawaii, and Montana.

Education Level 
Average 6-month Premium
High School


How credit score impacts car insurance premiums

Unlike your education level or gender, your credit has a big impact on your insurance rate. Drivers within the "worst" credit tier pay more than twice what those with excellent credit pay for auto insurance - about $811 for a 6-month policy. Again, this has to do with how insurance companies view drivers with poor credit in terms of risk. A driver with poor credit is more likely to file a claim than a driver with excellent credit. Moreover, when a claim is filed by a driver with poor credit, the claim payout by the insurance company tends to be higher. Insurance companies cover this risk by charging those with poor credit scores higher rates.


credit tier 2019


California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts are the only states that do not allow your credit score to be utilized in your car insurance quote. Outside of this, you can find lower car insurance premiums by looking at usage-based programs. UBI, backed by telematics, use the way you drive in order to determine your premium. See our article here for more information.


3. Your insurance history

It’s important to consider how your previous auto insurance record reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in insurance — or periods spent with bare minimum coverage — can increase your rate, as insurance companies see those who have been uninsured or underinsured as financially unstable and more risky to insure. A lengthy insurance history with high limits and minimal claims can lead to cheap online car insurance quotes.

history history 2019


4. How you drive

An insurance company's assessment of how you drive entails more than you might think. When assigning a quote, an auto insurance company will look at the primary way you use your vehicle, how many miles you drive annually, and your driving record.

Primary vehicle use and car insurance quotes

How you use your vehicle can impact the affordability of car insurance quotes. Using your vehicle for pleasure — the most common usage — results in an average premium of $735. 

Primary Vehicle Use
Average 6-month premium

It’s important to consider the difference between a business-use personal policy, outlined above, and a commercial car insurance policy. If you’re using your vehicle to transport goods or lending your vehicle to employees, you may need a commercial insurance policy.

If you’re a rideshare driver working for Uber or Lyft, consult your insurance company about getting a rideshare endorsement. This endorsement protects you from being denied coverage if you’re in an accident while working.


How annual mileage affects car insurance quotes

How much you drive reflects how much risk you represent to your insurance company. If you live in California, your annual mileage makes a big difference. There is a 26% difference between those who drive 0-7.5k miles per year and those who drive 15k+ per year. This amounts to around $218 per year. 

If you live anywhere else in the US, mileage may have less of an impact, but it isn’t ignored altogether.

Average Annual Mileage
Average 6-month premium

If you'd like more information regarding car insurance by how much you drive, see our low-mileage car insurance guide here.


Violations: how driving safety impacts auto insurance quotes

Among the factors that go into generating online car insurance quotes, driving history could be the most significant. To an auto insurance company, how you have driven is a good indicator of how you will drive. If your driving résumé includes speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, driving without insurance, or other violations, expect your premium to reflect that. In other words, you're going to pay a lot.

Speeding tickets, DUIs, and other violations will make it tough to get cheap car insurance quotes. A DUI may raise your rate by as much as 80% — with some states penalizing drivers by more.

violations 2019

Depending on the specific violation and your state, the number of years these violations will remain on your premium can vary. Most companies will charge you for an at-fault accident for three to five years. However, a DUI can stick on your insurance record for up to 10 years. For more information on finding car insurance with a bad driving record, see our guide here.


5. What you drive

The car your drive makes a big difference in your insurance rate. Vehicles built for performance, with high MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price), and foreign-built models are often costlier to insure. Vehicles that don't cost as much to repair or aren't built for faster driving — such as vans and sedans — are correspondingly cheaper to insure.

Vehicle Type
Average 6-month premium


How to compare cheap car insurance quotes and keep your rates low

Now that we’ve outlined why insurance can cost so much, let’s look at some ways to save.


Be smart with your claims

At-fault accidents can lead to expensive insurance rates. If you’re not familiar with the way insurance companies price policies, you might be inclined to use your collision coverage if you’ve damaged your vehicle. But unless you’ve done significant damage, it may be worth paying for damages yourself and declining to involve your insurance company.

Should you file a claim? Follow the steps below to find out:

  • Get an estimate for the repairs at a local mechanic
  • Use The Zebra's State of Insurance analysis to determine what the average premium increase would be if you were to file a claim in your state. Remember: this compounds over three years.
  • Compare the cost of repairs to the total rate of increase plus your deductible to the total cost of repairs.

If you're unsure of whether or not to file a claim, see our guide here.


Be smart with your coverage

Unlike your home, your vehicle will rapidly depreciate in value, meaning the coverage you once had might not be necessary after a few years. For example, collision and comprehensive coverage are designed to protect your vehicle from damage. But if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, the value of insurance payout you would receive may not justify the cost of your insurance premium.

When shopping for affordable car insurance quotes, come in with a good idea of your vehicle's value via Kelley Blue Book and NADA. If you determine your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you need to save money, consider raising 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 is affected by adjusting your deductible.

Coverage level
Average 6-month premium
State Minimum Liability Only
50/100/50 with 500 Comp-Coll
100/300/100 with 500 Comp-Coll

For more information on car insurance coverage options, see our related articles below.


Seek out car insurance discounts

Some car insurance discounts are automatically added to your auto insurance policy when they pull your driving report. But, you will want to make sure they’re not forgetting anything. Here are some potential discounts and cost-cutting programs you can participate in. Certain restrictions apply, of course.


Be aware of auto insurance basics

Below are a few common types of car insurance, along with some typical additional coverage options. Being well-versed in these details will help you get a great deal, whether you're getting auto insurance quotes online or through an agent.


Shop around for insurance quotes

Your auto insurance quotes can vary based on your circumstances. You should shop around for new car insurance quotes online as often as possible! For the most part, car insurance policies are non-binding. If you find a better rate elsewhere, cancel your current policy and move on to the next. The remaining outstanding premium should be refunded back to you. Opportunities to look for cheaper rates include when you move, when you add or change a car to your policy, get married, or celebrate a birthday.


Compare insurance companies and find a policy today!

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Getting cheap car insurance quotes: primary takeaways

Auto insurance companies attempt to predict and price the risk you and your vehicle pose in order to reduce their exposure. Keeping in mind the factors we just covered, the riskier your driving behavior makes you seem, the more you will pay. Factors like age, marital status, and homeowner status are less easy to change.

Avoiding unnecessary claims, being smart with your coverage, and shopping around for car insurance quotes are the best ways to save on car insurance.

For more information on auto insurance rates, reference our 2019 State of Insurance Analysis. To learn more about how much insurance costs in your area, view our state-by-state auto insurance rate analysis

Recent Questions:

Car Insurance Quotes

Is there a way to get car insurance quotes without having a car first?

You don't have to physically own or possess a vehicle to get a car insurance quote, but you will at least need a year, make, and model of a vehicle you're interested in purchasing to get a quote. The great thing about is that it's easy to get updated quotes for any vehicle you may be interested in purchasing.

How do I estimate my insurance rate if I don't want to provide personal info for a quote?

We have published a State of Insurance report that shows average rates for various scenarios. You can use that guide as a general rule of thumb, but ultimately the rates available to you will be specific to your information.

Are car insurance quotes free?

You should never have to pay for a car insurance quote. Since auto insurance is so specific to each person, it would be impossible for companies to advertise a set price to take out a policy.

Do car insurance companies price match?

Insurance companies use a complicated math equation, called an algorithm, to determine how they price their coverage. This means that each company prices their coverage differently since they don't share this information so rates will differ depending on your personal information. While your company won't be able to directly "price match" with a competitor, it might be worth contacting them for an updated quote since you've been able to find a lower rate elsewhere.

Additional Resources:

Car Insurance Quotes

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