Are most online quotes on car insurance reliable?

Most online quotes on car insurance are reliable when you comparison shop with the insurance company directly or with accredited comparison websites like this one. While most online quotes on auto insurance are reliable, it’s important to realize they may not be entirely accurate. Car insurance rates vary based on the age, gender, and location of the driver. Getting auto insurance quotes online can give you an idea of what you’ll pay for insurance, but you won’t know your final rate until you officially apply for coverage.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2021

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Insurance experts often advise drivers to get a new quote for car insurance approximately every year, if not sooner. This is a practice that can help you to save money on this common driving-related expense. Insurance rates can change over a short period of time, and shopping for new car insurance rates periodically can help you to avoid paying more than is necessary for car insurance. You can shop for new rates right now by entering your ZIP into the FREE comparison tool on this page. However, you may be wondering if you can find the best quote online?

Why You Need to Shop For Rate Quotes Periodically

Before you spend your valuable time shopping for online quotes and comparing rates between different insurance companies, you may be wondering why this is important to do. Drivers often fail to realize just how many different factors go into calculating their car insurance rates.

As these factors fluctuate, a driver’s rates with a specific company can change. Insurance companies each have their unique way of analyzing these factors, so one change in one of the factors can make one company’s rate more affordable than another. Factors that affect insurance rates include:

  • accidents and traffic citations on a driver’s driving record
  • the age and gender of a driver
  • the replacement value and average repair cost for the vehicle
  • if the driver or vehicle qualify for car insurance discounts
  • where a driver lives and demographic information for the home area
  • the driver’s credit rating

These factors can change regularly, as can a car insurance company’s unique rates. Shopping for car insurance rates is the best way to make sure you never have to pay more than you need to for car insurance.

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Different Ways to Shop for Quotes

While shopping for new car insurance rate quote from time to time can help you to uncover great ways to save money on car insurance, there are several different methods you can choose to use to shop for rates. You can certainly call companies directly, and many drivers feel comfortable in trusting a rate quote they receive over the phone from an insurance company’s representative.

However, this method can take a significant amount of time. Another option is to work with an auto insurance broker, who will shop around for you and gather together quotes. However, the concern many drivers have here is that the auto insurance broker may not find the lowest rate possible.

Shopping for online quotes by requesting rates through an online submission form sounds like it would be the easiest and most convenient way to gather quotes.

However, some people do not trust this method because it does not involve direct human interaction.

A Closer Look at Online Quotes

When you gather rate quotes online, you actually have two different ways you can request quotes. One type of quote is an estimate whereas the second type is a full rate quote. It takes very little time to compare insurance estimates. With some websites, you only have to enter a minimal amount of information, such as your zip code, in order to receive many different rate estimates back for your own comparison.

These rate estimates are based on the information you provided, and they may not be a full rate quote. The other option, which is getting a full rate quote, involves you entering all of your driving-related data into an online form on the insurance company’s direct website.

This includes your driving history, vehicle data, home address and more. The more information you submit, the more reliable your rate quote will be. However, this method takes a significant amount of time, so drivers often do not request numerous full rate quotes.

When Online Quotes May Change

Now that you understand more about online rate quotes, you can see that online rate estimates are most reliable when you provide a car insurance company with all of the information they need to generate a full quote. In some cases, a rate estimate that is based on partial information may be lower than what you a full quote with the same company may indicate. In other cases, however, a rate estimate may be higher.

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Using Online Estimates

While rate estimates are less reliable to you than full quotes, they are also faster and easier to obtain and compare. There is a way to strategically use online estimates to your advantage. Consider the benefit of first using an online rate estimate site to compare rates for companies based on a partial list of criteria.

For example, a rate comparison site may compare rates for you based on the zip code where you live. This information can help you to discover which companies offer the lowest rates where you live. This can help you to narrow down your list of companies to shop with for full quotes. Some drivers may choose to take the first two companies on this list to get full quotes from, and another may choose to shop for full quotes with the top four or five companies.

While shopping with more insurance companies can help you to identify greater savings, the top few companies from a rate estimate comparison often will have the lowest rates. So it may not be necessary to shop with more than a handful of companies for full quotes after comparing rate estimates. It is understandable that you may feel uncertain about the insurance rate estimates that you receive after using an online rate request form.

Many people do find the experience of talking to a live person to be more trustworthy.

However, getting rate estimates and quotes online is a faster and easier way to shop for rates, and this process is entirely reliable. It can be completed any time of day or night, so you don’t have to wait for regular business hours to gather rate quotes. If you want to get started shopping for rates and comparing estimates, just type your ZIP in the link above to get a FREE rate comparison today.

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