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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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The Internet has opened completely new avenues to everyday shoppers. You can buy books, clothing, even groceries online. One of the best things to buy online is car insurance.
We can help you find online car insurance quotes when you click here to enter your ZIP into our FREE search tool!
Though there are still insurance agents you can go to and buy insurance from, there are some really good reasons to shop online for car insurance rates. Read on to learn more.
Cut Out the Middle Man
Online car insurance companies can often sell car insurance cheaper than you can get it through an agent. It’s kind of like buying insurance wholesale, as the insurance companies then do not have to pay a sales commission to the agent. It’s less expensive for them to pay people to staff the computers than it is to pay the agents.
The way the companies compute your car insurance premium is the same whether you buy your policy online or through an agent. The company takes into account several factors about you, your driving record, and your car.
Drivers with tickets or accidents on their records will pay higher premiums than the ones with clean records. Companies also take a driver’s demographic information into account. For instance, women normally pay less than men, especially men in the 16 to 25 year old age range. Young men that age have the highest risk of being in an accident, and thus pay the highest premiums.
Married people also pay less than single people do and drivers in urban areas tend to pay more than rural drivers. Companies also consider your driving habits as well. If you commute a lot, you’ll pay more than if you worked from home.
The kind of car you drive will also affect the amount you’ll pay for car insurance, no matter where you buy it from. Sports car owners pay higher premiums because they tend to speed more than others do.
Many drivers don’t realize that insurance companies also consider your credit history when they determine your premiums. According to studies, people with excellent credit scores also tend to be safer drivers. For more information on the correlation between credit scores and insurance premiums, the Federal Trade Commission has put together this report.
Experts like those at the Insurance Information Institute recommend shopping around to find the best rates for car insurance. In the days before the Internet, this was a long process. You’d have to make appointments with various insurance agents, probably over a period of days. Then you’d have to give them the same pieces of information over and over again, just to get a quote.
Then you could compare the quotes you receive and decide which is the best fit. This process usually took days and was not something people wanted to do very often. Thanks to the Internet, this process can be easily accomplished in just a few minutes on the computer.
Not only can you access the websites of several insurance companies and get quotes from their sites, you can also use sites like this one. We take the guesswork and hassle out of getting quotes from insurance companies. With our site, you can get started simply by entering your zip code. We’ll ask you for some basic information just once and you’ll get quotes from several companies.
No matter where you find the quotes, be sure to do your homework about the company, especially if it’s one you’ve never heard of. The internet makes this easier as well. Sites like Weiss Ratings will give you important information about the financial strength and reputation about the company.
You can also check with your state department of insurance to see if there are any complaints made against them.
Getting quotes online can save time in other ways as well. There are many options with car insurance. While some parts are dictated by law, other parts are optional. Even on the parts that are required, often there are different levels of coverage you can choose from.
When getting quotes, it’s often helpful to get quotes for these different options. For example, each state legislates what the minimum level of liability you have to carry is. However, experts recommend that you carry more, enough to make sure that you can cover the damages from a bad accident. Usually they recommend that you carry at least 100/300/50 insurance.
So if you aren’t sure you can afford this level, you can get quotes from both levels to see how much the premium difference is between the two.
You can also easily see the difference raising your deductible can make to your monthly costs for insurance. If you aren’t sure whether you can afford PIP, you can add it to the quote and instantly see the new premium. These small changes take very little time online, but can help you make a much more informed decision about your car insurance.
One of the biggest pros to online car insurance rates to many people is the lack of an insurance agent. Some clients find an agent to be pushy. Insurance agents are paid by commission after all, so sometimes they might be pushing you into policies you aren’t comfortable with. While this is certainly not the case with all agents, some people find the anonymity of online insurance shopping a welcome change.
There is a drawback to getting rates and even policies online, though it is one that can easily be overcome.
One of the jobs of a good agent is to explain the complexities of an auto insurance policy to his clients. When you are getting quotes online, you might not get the clear explanations you need. Thankfully, there are ways to get this information and still benefit from buying insurance online.
For example, you can easily find the requirements for your state online. Just search for your state’s department of insurance, and it will outline exactly how much bodily injury liability, property liability, uninsured motorist, and medical insurance you must carry.
In addition, most of the companies who have an online presence also have toll-free phone numbers listed where you can talk to a customer representative free. If you have questions you can’t find the answers to on the Internet or questions specific to their company or quotes, you can still talk to a real person about it.
Without an agent to give you background on the company, you’ll need to check references for them as well, especially if it’s a new or previously unheard of company. Sites like Standard & Poor rate companies and are a good source of information about them. You can also check for complaints on the state department of insurance site.
Understand Your Policy
Almost anything you would need to know about car insurance could be found the same place you got your online quotes, the Internet. Since you are buying insurance without an agent, it’s up to you to educate yourself about car insurance so that you are fully protected.
There are four primary sections to an auto policy: liability, comp and collision, uninsured motorist, and medical. There are also optional riders you can purchase, like towing service, but they are accessory to the main parts.
Liability insurance is the part of the policy that pays for the damage you create when you cause as accident. It is made up of two parts, bodily injury, and property. The bodily injury sections pays for the medical bills, medication, therapy, lost wages, etc. to the driver and passengers in the other car. The property liability pays to repair or replace the other car. It will also pay if you run into someone’s fence.
The liability section is the part of the policy that you must have according to law. Each state sets the minimum requirements for that state, and they vary, so be sure you find out exactly what your state dictates. However, as stated earlier, most experts suggest carrying more than the minimum, usually 100/300/50.
Collision is the part that pays for your own repairs to your vehicle if you’re the cause of the accident. Comprehensive pays for non-accident damages, like theft or hail damage. They both have a deductible that you can set. This deductible is the out-of-pocket money you must pay towards your repairs. This part is optional, unless you have a car loan. The lender will require it even though the state doesn’t.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your repairs when the accident is not your fault, but the other person has no insurance. Even though he is legally bound to pay for the damages, it’s hard to get anything from people who don’t carry even then legally required minimums. Thus, many states require this coverage, and many experts suggest having it even if it’s not.
Finally, you can have either medical payments (med pay) or personal injury protection (PIP). Both of these pay for your medical expenses if you cause an accident, as well as those of your passengers. PIP also pays for lost wages and even funeral expenses.
One of these is required in many states, but some financial advisors suggest carrying PIP even when it’s not required unless you have excellent health and life insurance.
For even more information, visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners who explains the different parts of a policy and their functions.
Quotes are Estimates
Remember that online car insurance rate quotes are in reality, just estimates. While they are usually pretty close to the mark, they are not binding to the company, and not an exact amount you can expect to pay.
When a company issues a quote, it does so using basic information you enter into the website. Once they draw up a policy, however, they will get further information on you, like your driving record and credit score. These can change the final amount you’ll pay.
You might also make changes from your initial quote. If you change your deductible or add a car, it will also affect the premium. Be sure to go over every part of the policy before you sign the dotted line, so to speak, to make sure you understand you car insurance policy.
Getting FREE online rates has never been easier, just type your ZIP code into the box found here!