Car Insurance Quotes

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Getting car insurance quotes easily and quickly

After spending countless hours finding your perfect car, choosing the right car insurance is a significantly less exciting task. It’s boring and most of all, it’s very expensive. Still, when it comes to protecting your investment, shopping around and getting car insurance quotes is really the only way to go. Given its necessity, let us outline some ways to save on car insurance, as well as how to compare car insurances quotes quickly and easily.

In this article, we'll discuss:
  1. What do I need to get a car insurance quote?
  2. Do insurance quotes cost money?
  3. What actually goes into my premium?
  4. Best ways to save on car insurance
  5. Car Insurance Quotes: Summed Up

How to get car insurance quotes simply and easily

If you don’t want to spend your entire day dealing with car insurance companies (um, who does?), make sure you have all the following information present for your quote.

  1. Your and any drivers on the policy driver’s license and personal information: This includes date of birth, address, occupation, and marital status.
  2. Your Car: The VIN of your or a potential vehicle—every vehicle, regardless if it’s from a private seller or still at a dealership has a VIN. It's unique to every vehicle and tracks the individual history of the vehicle. If you can’t provide an exact VIN, make sure you can at least provide the year, make, and model. However, you’ll eventually need the VIN.
  3. Mileage
  4. Date of purchase
  5. Driving History: Your and any drivers recent driving history including accidents, citations, claims, or completed driving courses.
  6. Insurance Record: Some car insurance companies require you have six months to a year of continuous auto insurance prior to issuing you a policy. So, make sure you have an idea of your insurance background.

Don’t be fooled by “free” car insurance quotes

Lots of companies advertise their ability to give free auto insurance quotes. Any car insurance (or home and renters, for that matter) quote you receive is and should be free. Insurance companies want to incentivize you to get a car insurance quote with them, so they’re not going to charge you for that service. When shopping around for insurance, make sure you don’t fall for their advertisements of “free.”

What goes into your quote

After getting your car insurance quote, you might wonder what exactly they are factoring in. Within any type of insurance, the main goal of the company is to better predict where risk will occur so they can financially prepare themselves for it. In order to do this, car insurance companies look at your entire driving profile. There are many things that go into your rate that are dependent and independent of you and your driving history. But, the general factors we are going to focus on will be where you live, who you are, your insurance history, how you drive, and what you drive.

  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 can influence the ways insurance companies do business in certain states. In Michigan, a no-fault state, state regulation requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage which drastically increases the cost of car insurance. Below is our State of Insurance analysis, featuring the most expensive and least expensive states to get auto insurance. Although we have this broken down by state, insurance quotes are determined as granularly as your zip code.

Most Expensive States v Cheapest States by Average Annual Car Insurance Premium

Most Expensive States Least Expensive States
Michigan - $2,610 North Carolina - $901
Louisiana - $2,225 Virginia - $901
Kentucky - $2,050 Maine - $927
Rhode Island - $2,004 Iowa - $1,015
Florida - $1,878 Idaho - $1,018
Texas - $1,810 Vermont - $1,027
Nevada - $1,802 Ohio - $1,037
Mississippi - $1,800 Wisconsin - $1,040
California - $1,731 Hawaii - $1,079
Delaware - $1,700 New Hampshire - $1,083

Looking at your car insurance premium in greater detail, car insurance quotes are calculated based on your zip code. If you live in a zip code that is heavily populated, with a high number of claims filed the previous year, you can expect your premium to be higher 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 be paying more based solely on the area of town in which you live.

2. Who you are

"Who you are" is a pretty broad way to talk about the kind of risk and client you represent to an insurance company. While every company and state takes different factors into consideration (which will we highlight), we'll break down this section based on the following:

How gender affects car insurance quotes

Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premium paid by women versus men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic with male teen drivers paying nearly $600 more per year than female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and preparing for risk exposure. Car insurance companies use historical data which tells them young male drivers are more likely to take greater risks while driving than female drivers in the same age group. And, and we’ll see with our other section, any time there is any risk an insurance company will protect themselves by charging higher premiums.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Age and Gender

Age Male Female
16 $2,794 $2,440
17 $2,645 $2,325
18 $2,449 $2,180
19 $2,154 $1,191

How age influences auto insurance rates

Your age goes a long way toward determining your car insurance premium. Statistically, a young driver is less experienced and thus 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., higher premiums for younger drivers. This is similar to what we’ve seen with male versus female premiums in the teen years.

The step change in premium does begin to decrease once you turn 19 and again at 25 as car insurance companies begin to see you as less likely to drive recklessly. This remains consistent until you get into your 60s, where your rate begins to increase.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium

Age Group Avg. Annual Premium
16-19 $5,151
20-29 $1,918
30-39 $1,407
40-49 $1,355
50-59 $1,258
60-69 $1,287
70-79 $1,514
80-85 $1,804

How marital status affects car insurance quotes

While the difference is small, married car insurance clients do see some savings compared to those who are single, divorced, or widowed. Looking back to the idea of mitigating risk, car insurance companies see individuals who are married as more likely to share driving responsibilities. Moreover, historical data shows that married couples are less likely to file claims than are unmarried couples. All of this equates to a less expensive client to insure.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Martial Status

Martial Status Premium
Single $1,427
Married $1,347
Divorced $4,425
Widowed $1,394

How homeowner status changes car insurance costs

On average, renters have higher car insurance premiums than do condo or homeowners — about $35 per year. Homeowners are considered more financially stable, and thus less likely to file a claim.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Homeowner Status

Renter w/ Multi-Policy Condo Owner w/ Multi-Policy Homeowner w/ Multi-Policy
$1,350 $1,280 $1,260

How education level affects auto insurance quotes
Although it’s not hugely impactful, drivers who held a Masters or Ph.D. save $44 per year on their car insurance premium, compared to those without a degree. Car insurance companies see clients with higher education levels as less risky to insure and reward that decreased risk with a lower premium. The only states that do not consider education when determining rates are California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Hawaii, and Montana.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Level of Education

Education Level Premium
None $1,460
High School $1,443
Bachelors $1,427
Masters $1,416
PhD $1,416

How credit score raises or lowers car insurance premiums

Unlike your education level or gender, your credit has a big impact on your insurance rate. Drivers with poor credit (524 or below) pay more than twice what those with excellent credit (823 or more) pay for auto insurance. Again, this has to do with how insurance companies view drivers with poor credit in terms of risk. Typically, 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 their risk by charging those with poor credit scores higher rates.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Credit

Credit Level Premium
Poor $2,687
Below Fair $2,191
Fair $1,800
Good $1,495
Excellent $1,257

3. Your past insurance

It’s important to consider how your previous car insurance history reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in car insurance or maintaining the bare minimum coverage can increase your quote, as insurance companies see you as financially unstable and thus risky to insure. A long insurance history with high limits can help lower your insurance premium going forward.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Insurance History

Insurance History Avg Annual Premium
No Insurance $1,599
1 Year with 50-100 BI Limit $1,463
3 Years with 50-100 BI Limit $1,427
1 Year with 100-300 BI Limit $1,424
5 Years with 50-100 BI Limit $1,398
3 Years with 100-300 BI Limit $1,390
5 Years with 100-300 BI Limit $1,367

4. How you drive

How your drive entails more than you might think. Within your car insurance quote, an 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: how you drive and your car insurance quotes

How you use your vehicle can have big impacts on your car insurance quotes. Using your vehicle for pleasure, the category under which most people typically insure their vehicle, will place your premium at around $1,427 annually. However, if you're a traveling salesman who uses your vehicle for that purpose, your average increase could total $152 per year.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium

Vehicle Use Premium
Farm $1,348
Pleasure $1,427
Work/Commute, 10-15 Miles $1,436
Business $1,577

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

If you’re working for Uber and Lyft, you should speak with your insurance company about getting a Rideshare Endorsement. With this endorsement, you often don’t need to change any aspect of your policy and it protects you from getting denied coverage if you’re in an accident while working. For more information on this type of coverage, see here.

How annual mileage affects car insurance quotes

Annual mileage is a tricky aspect for companies to cover in their car insurance quotes. If you live in California, the only state where mileage makes a significant impact, it’s less of a gray area. On average, there is a 25% premium increase for that state in average annual premium between those who drive 0-7,500 miles per year and those who drive more than 15,000 — about $370 per year.

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

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Annual Mileage

Annual Mileage Annual Premium
0-7.5K $1,368
7.5-10K $1,427
10-15K $1,440
15K+ $1,449

Violations: how driving safety impacts auto insurance quotes

When we look at the big things that impact your car insurance quotes, driving history is probably the most significant. The reason for this is pretty simple, how you have driven is a pretty good indicator of how you will drive. So, if you have a history of speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or any other kind of violations, you can expect your premium to reflect that. In other words, your premium is going to be high.

Things like speeding tickets, DUIs, and other violations can drastically increase your premium and your car insurance quotes. Of the major driving violations, a DUI can raise your rate as high as 80% — with some states seeing an increase of 185% (California). If you have a poor driving history, you can expect auto insurance companies to charge you accordingly.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Violation History

Accident/Violation Average Annual Premium Increase
None $1,427
Driving too slowly $287
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH Over Limit $298
At-Fault Accident - Greater than $2,000 $687
Reckless Driving $1,054
DUI $1,092
Racing $1,101
Hit and Run $1,218

Another big thing to think about with these types of violations is the length they stay on your insurance record. For most at-fault accidents and violations, you will continue to be charged for 3 years. In California, you can actually be charged for a DUI for 10 years! Don’t drink and drive: it will cost you.

5. What you drive

Naturally, a big factor in your car insurance quote is the car you drive. Vehicles built for performance, with high MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) — and foreign-built models — tend to be costlier to insure. Vehicles that don't cost as much to repair or aren't built for riskier driving (i.e., powerful engines), such as a van or sedan, are correspondingly cheaper to insure.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Premium by Vehicle Type

Vehicle Type Average Annual Premium
Cars-Sedan $1,724
Green $1,654
Luxury $2,018
SUV-Crossovers $1,579
Trucks $1,535
Vans $1,484

Best ways to keep your car insurance quote low

Now that we’ve outlined why it can cost so much to get an auto insurance quote, let’s look at some big ways to save.

Be smart with your claims

As we outlined with your violation history, having at-fault accidents on your insurance record can seriously hurt you. But, if you’re not very 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 to your vehicle, most of the time it will make more sense financially to pay for damages to your vehicle yourself than involve your insurance company.

Here’s a quick breakdown to determine whether or not you should file a claim:

Be smart with your coverage

When you’re getting car insurance quotes, an agent you speak with might be throwing on coverage that you don’t really need. Unlike your home, the value of your vehicle depreciates. In terms of your car’s insurance, the coverage you once had might not be necessary. For example, collision and comprehensive coverage. These coverages are designed to protect your vehicle from damage. But if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, it’s generally thought that the value of insurance payout you would receive doesn’t justify the value of premium you are paying.

So, when shopping for car insurance quotes, have a good idea of what your vehicle is worth. You can do this through Kelley Blue Book and NADA (do both). If, however, you determine that your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you’d still like 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 removing your deductibles as well as raising them.

Average Annual Car Insurance Premium by Coverage Level

Coverage Level Average Annual Premium
Liability Only $672
$500 Deductible $1,427
$1,000 Deductible $1,268

Double check for discounts

Some of the discounts that an insurer will offer 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.

Shop around

As you can see from the data and evidence we presented, your auto insurance quotes can vary based on the details of your life. So, any time you change, your premium will change as well. What this means is that you should shop around for new car insurance quotes as often as possible! For the most part, you’re not locked into a contract with your insurance company. If you find a better rate elsewhere, you’re able to cancel your current policy and move on to the next. The remaining unused premium should be refunded back to you. Opportunities to look for cheaper rates are when you move, add or change a car to your policy, get married, or have a birthday.

Getting 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 more risky you appear to your insurance company, the more you will be charged. When it comes to factors like age, marital status, and homeowner status, there isn't much you can change. Avoiding filing unnecessary claims, being smart with your coverage needs, and shopping around for car insurance quotes every so often are great ways to save on car insurance.

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