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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Car insurance is one of those monthly payments that you can adjust to your personal needs in order to save money. Not set in stone like your car payment, you can adjust your car insurance rates whenever you want. Knowing the best places to find rates will help you to find the perfect insurance coverage at the best price.
You can get multiple car insurance rates by inserting your ZIP in the FREE tool found on this page!
However, you also have to ensure that you do not sacrifice coverage in an effort to save money. Not having enough coverage will cost you a great deal more if you are in an accident or suffer a loss through theft or non-accidental means. You should also remember that your car insurance needs would change with different life events, so searching for new car insurance rates will be something you will need to do more than once.
Having Enough Coverage
Every state requires a minimum amount of car insurance coverage. Without that minimum amount of coverage on your vehicle, you will be breaking the law every time you drive. However, those state minimums are not guidelines for insurance.
Oftentimes, state minimums are not enough to cover you in the event of an accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
All states require that you carry a minimum amount of Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability. The first generally pays for injuries you cause to others in an accident and the second pays for damages to another driver’s car or other property such as fences, telephone poles, and buildings. State laws require you to purchase a minimum amount of Bodily Injury Liability per person and per accident as a whole; Property Damage Liability is just a single amount.
Each state has its own minimum amounts of coverage, and the amounts are usually expressed with slashes in the format of: Bodily Injury Liability per person/ Bodily Injury Liability per the accident/ Property Damage Liability. For instance, Florida has the lowest amounts of mandatory insurance with 10/20/10. Florida requires drivers to purchase at least $10,000 in Bodily Injury Liability coverage per person, $20,000 in Bodily Injury Liability per the accident and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability coverage.
Other states also require Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The first covers your injury bills and the second provides another layer of coverage in case you are in an accident caused by a driver with no insurance or too little insurance. Again, each state has its own requirements for minimum coverage.
In reality, $10,000 will not be near enough coverage if you cause a serious accident. Hospital bills can run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more to cover the costs for an ambulance, ER procedures, testing, surgery, extended hospital stays, and physical therapy.
Similarly, if more than two people are injured, $20,000 will probably not cover all of the costs from even a moderate accident. You may be liable for any costs over the minimum amounts that your car insurance provider will not cover.
Other states have higher amounts of mandatory coverage. For instance, Alaska is one of the highest with requirements of 50/100/25.No matter where you live, you need to assess your car insurance needs and your risk of being in an accident.
You will need to know how much coverage you want before you start to look for car insurance rates.
Choosing Optional Coverage
There are also two different types of optional coverage that you should consider if you have a relatively new car. However, these two types of coverage are usually a requirement of your lender if you are still making payments on your vehicle.
The first is collision coverage. This coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from an accident even if it was your fault. The second is comprehensive coverage, which pays for damages from non-accident related incidents, such as theft, vandalism, and weather-related or nature-related damage. Both require a deductible, which is the dollar amount you will cover. The higher your deductible is, the cheaper you car insurance rates will be.
Events That Will Lower Your Insurance Rates
Car insurance companies use many different factors to calculate your personal car insurance rates. These factors change over time, so the following are times when you might want to look for lower car insurance rates if your current insurer does not offer you lower premiums.
One factor is age. Young drivers are statistically the most reckless, and thus insurance rates for younger drivers are just about always more expensive. However, once you turn 25, your insurance rates should drop a bit if you have a clean driving history.
Another factor that should lower your rates is marriage.
Statistically speaking, those who are married tend to take fewer risks, and thus have fewer accidents.
Graduating from college also should lower your rates. An insurer’s viewpoint is that college graduates have better reasoning skills and are more likely to see the negative repercussions of risky driving. Your rates should go down with each advanced degree of higher education you receive.
One last factor is the vehicle that you drive. If you get a safer vehicle, if you get a vehicle that is worth less or you install anti-theft features, then your insurance costs are likely to go down.
Events That Will Raise Your Insurance Rates
Similarly, there are events that will raise your car insurance rates, so you might want to consider finding new insurance if your rates are too high with your current company.
The first factor is, interestingly enough, also about age.
Older drivers tend to have more accidents from age-related factors such as failing eyesight or slower reflexes;because of this, auto insurers usually assess drivers over 65 higher insurance rates.
Another factor of course, is causing an accident. If you were at fault, your car insurance company will see you as a bigger risk, and they will more than likely make you pay higher rates to compensate. However, your insurance rates should not go up if you were in an accident that was not your fault. If that happens, then it is certainly time to find a new insurance company.
One other factor that can raise your auto insurance rates is if you get a different car that costs more to ensure than your old one. A vehicle with less safety features, a car that is more expensive to repair, or a vehicle that comes with a loan can all raise your car insurance rates. Check out safety ratings for your vehicle at the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration to find the safest car possible.
The Best Places to Find Car Insurance Rates
There are many options for places to find car insurance rates. You can call around to all of the insurers listed in the phone book or look up the websites of all of the car insurance companies you can think of. You could even drive around to car insurance offices in your area.
However, the very best place to find car insurance rates is with a car insurance comparison site. With just a few minutes online, you will receive quotes from multiple car insurance companies. The benefits of using a car insurance comparison site to get many rate quotes are numerous. Benefits of auto insurance comparison sites include:
- It only takes a short time.
- The forms are easy to fill out, and you only need to fill out one form.
- You can get quotes day or night.
- You get many different quotes to choose from.
- You get quotes from companies that you might not have found on your own.
Research the Insurance Company First
Once you have received your multiple auto insurance quotes, you will have some decisions to make. While you will have a wide range of rates to choose from, you need to make sure that the insurance company you choose is legitimate and has excellent customer service.
You certainly don’t want to pay for fraudulent car insurance, and your hard-earned dollars should go to an auto insurance company that truly puts customers before the company’s profits.
Unfortunately, car insurance scams in the form of fraudulent companies are much more common than you would think. In order to provide car insurance, a company must be licensed by the state. Anyone who is handy with a computer can create a website that looks like an honest-to-goodness car insurance company, but only the real car insurance companies have a license number.
The best thing to do is to research a prospective auto insurance company before you part with your money. Visiting the website for the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Consumer Information Source will link you to your state’s Department of Insurance in order to research your potential car insurance companies.
If you cannot find the companies you are looking for, or the information does not match up, then do not give your money to that insurance company! There should even be a form for you to report suspected fraud on your state’s Department of Insurance website so that such criminals scam no one else, either.
Another point to research is the level of service provided by your potential car insurance companies. Since you have to pay for auto insurance, your money might as well go to the insurer that is the best in the business.
Comparing consumer-based ratings with JD Power and Associate’s PowerCircle ratings is a great way to get the lowdown on your would-be insurers. Steer clear of companies that have low ratings concerning pricing and claims; those companies just aren’t worth the headache!
Start your search right here by putting your ZIP code in the FREE box to find car insurance rates that are perfect for you!