How to Get and Compare Car Insurance Online

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  • How to Get and Compare Car Insurance Online

Unless you’ve been living under a very large rock, you’ve probably seen commercials or advertisements about buying car insurance online. It’s just as legitimate as buying it through an agent, but buying online offers greater convenience and more control.

You’re just responsible for making all the decisions about your auto policy yourself. This is why it’s crucial to understand how to get car insurance online and what to look for when comparing auto quotes from different providers. Here’s what you need to know about buying car insurance online.

How to Get Car Insurance Online

Most well-known insurance companies offer a way to buy their policies online. Instead of being tied to one company at a time, though, many insurtech companies, like Clovered, allow you to compare quotes from multiple companies at one time. You should always get more than one quote when looking for insurance to guarantee you’re getting good coverage at a good rate. 

Information You Need to Have Ready

When looking for an auto policy online, there’s some information that every provider will need in order to give you a plan. This includes:

  • The make, model and year of your car
  • Home address, including zip code
  • When you bought your car
  • The safety features on your car (locks, brakes, etc.) 
  • Drivers license number
  • How many drivers you want to insure on your policy
  • Policy start date

To offer you the best possible policy, some insurers may also ask you about your:

  • Marital status
  • Past driving violations and accidents
  • Past car insurance claims
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • How many miles you’ve accumulated and how often you drive
  • If you use your car for ridesharing (Uber, Lyft, etc.)

The insurance company needs your zip code to determine the minimum amount of liability coverage you’re legally required to get in your state. Other nonessential information like how much you drive, the safety features of your car, and your marital status can affect your rate and qualify you for discounts.

Having a spotty driving record will likely negatively affect your auto insurance. A lot of tickets and accidents mean you might not be the safest driver, which many insurance companies don’t prefer. Similarly, if you’ve filed many auto claims in the past, your rate is likely to be higher since you constitute a greater financial risk for the insurance company.

Depending on what state you live in, an insurance company may also perform a soft inquiry on your credit score before offering you a final policy. Your history of borrowing money is an indicator of how timely you’ll be on your insurance payments.

Unlike a hard credit pull for buying a car or home, the check your car insurance company performs shouldn’t affect your credit at all. Your credit score is a part of your auto insurance score.

How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes

While the factors that affect auto premiums largely stay the same throughout the industry, the way car insurance companies use them to determine rates differs. This is why it’s so important to compare quotes. Once you get a few quotes, here’s what you should keep in mind when deciding which to buy:

Amount of Auto Coverage You Want

As we’ve touched on previously, the minimum coverage you’re required to have is called liability coverage. When getting a policy, you can opt for just liability coverage, or you can protect your car further with comprehensive and collision coverage. Often bought together, comprehensive and collision coverage are also referred to as full coverage.

Minimum liability coverage will always be cheaper than full coverage, but it leaves you way less protected. It isn’t recommended to get just liability insurance for your vehicle. Collision coverage financially guards your car in case of an accident — no matter who’s at fault — while comprehensive coverage protects your car while it’s not being driven. This includes damage from vandalism, falling objects, hail and more. 

Many people get full coverage for their car, and many insurers will try to sell you full coverage. You may also have the option to purchase gap insurance and uninsured motorist coverage with your policy. These cost more but give you even more forms of protection for your vehicle.

Auto Insurance Deductibles and Limits

When buying an auto policy online, you might have the option to adjust your deductible. Generally speaking, raising your deductible is a quick way to lower your premium. But, having a higher deductible means you’ll have to pay more out of pocket before your insurance will kick in to help you out.

Know what you’re comfortable paying for yourself before hiking up your deductible. They usually range between $200 and $1,000, with $500 being a common deductible people choose.

You should also be aware of the limits of your policy before you settle on one. When looking at plans, you might see numbers presented like $100,000/$300,000/$50,000, or 100/300/50. These are your policy limits. It means your plan will pay up to:

  • $100,000 per person for injuries
  • $300,000 per accident for injuries
  • $50,000 for property damage (including to cars) per accident

The more you drive your car, the higher the chances you get in an accident. So, generally, the more you drive, the more bodily injury liability you should get. 

Available Car Insurance Discounts

Some insurers will subtract the discounts they’re going to give you right when you get your final estimated premium to show they’re saving you money. While this is helpful, you should be aware of the potential discounts you could be getting from other providers that could save you even more money. 

Some commonly available car insurance discounts are:

  • Safe driving 
  • Student or military or senior
  • Homeowner 
  • Low mileage 
  • New car

In addition to these potential discounts, another common one insurers offer is a bundling discount. If you trust the same provider with both your home and auto insurance, called bundling, the company will usually reward you with a lower car insurance rate.

Once you’ve acquired the policy, you should be able to download and print your proof of insurance immediately. Also, a good thing to remember is if you’re switching car insurance providers, you don’t want a gap in coverage.

You want to make the effective start date of your new auto policy right after your current plan expires. Or, remember to cancel your old plan if the start date of your new one overlaps with it so you’re not dealing with two insurers at once.

The Best Way to Compare Auto Insurance

If you’re in the market for car insurance, Clovered has what you need. Our quoting form allows you to get rates from the nation’s top providers to find the car insurance you need at the price you want. With all the information we’ve mentioned in this article, you’re bound for a successful quote.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.