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There isn’t one driver out there who enjoys overpaying for car insurance, so millions of drivers are searching for better car insurance quotes every day. There are many different ways to conduct a car insurance search, and the smartest searchers use car insurance comparison sites to maximize their efforts.
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Car insurance comparison sites are one part of a car insurance search, and they have many benefits for those looking to compare auto insurance quotes. Certainly, there are other ways and resources for comparing insurance quotes, but they usually take a lot of time and effort.
Car Insurance Comparison Sites
Car insurance comparison sites allow you to input basic information in order to receive car insurance premium quotes from multiple auto insurance companies. One of the first pieces of information that is required is your ZIP code. Auto insurance premiums vary depending upon geographic location, so giving your ZIP code to the companies is essential. Factors such as car theft rates and auto accident rates for a certain area can affect the price of your quotes; a simple ZIP code can impart all of this information.
Once you have filled out the necessary information on car insurance comparison sites, the sites send it out to auto insurance companies. Those companies then email price quotes for insuring your vehicle or have an agent call you to give you your quote and start the purchasing process. Generally, you can indicate your preferred method for having your quotes delivered to you.
Sometimes, an auto insurance company will need to get further information from you to provide the actual cost to insure your vehicle.
A quote might change if you have issues that were not reported in the original information or issues that you were not truthful about, such as having an accident in the last three years or needing SR-22 coverage; SR-22 is a requirement related to DUIs or violations such as driving without insurance. Auto insurance companies will look up such information before they agree to insure your vehicle.
The Benefits of Using Car Insurance Comparison Sites
The advantages of using car insurance comparison sites over other methods are numerous. If you do not want to rely entirely on web-based auto insurance quotes, you can also use them to supplement more traditional methods of getting quotes. The benefits of using car insurance comparison sites are:
- They are easy to do. You will know most of the information required right off the top of your head.
- You can get quotes from the comfort of your own home. The use of the Internet allows you to get quotes in your pajamas.
- You can get quotes any time of the day or night. You aren’t restricted by a company’s regular business hours.
- You can get your quotes quickly. Many quotes will be sent to you almost instantaneously.
- You can get multiple quotes from different companies without having to enter your information repeatedly. This allows you to avoid the hassle and confusion of visiting multiple sites.
- You can get quotes from companies that you might not have thought of. The biggest companies will not always have the best quotes for you. They certainly have the biggest advertising budgets, and that is why you are aware of them. Smaller, local car insurance companies that you don’t know about just might have the perfect quote for you!
- You can compare your quotes quickly and easily. The multiple quotes you will receive will allow you to get a ballpark figure of how much it will cost to insure your vehicle. You will see which companies have really high rates and which companies have such low rates that their coverage must be suspect or incomplete.
Other Avenues for Your Car Insurance Search
Of course, you can use other ways for getting car insurance quotes to compare auto insurance rates if you dislike the quick and easy route. You can also use these routes to supplement your quotes from comparison sites, or you can use them solely if you have a lot of free time and nothing better to do. Other ways to get auto insurance quotes include:
Opening up the phone book and calling an auto insurance company’s 1-800 phone number for quotes. You will likely speak with an agent who will want you to purchase insurance on the spot. Plan to spend a long time on the phone, and then repeat the whole process with a different insurance company. Then call another and another. Make sure to keep notes about each company’s quotes and practice declining intense sales pitches with how you are only looking for quotes at the moment.
You could drive all over town to speak with agents. Make sure you have all of your information with you and prepare for possible pushy sales tactics, but in person. You should also hope that the savings from the insurance that you eventually choose are enough to cover the cost of gas to drive all over.
Get a quote from each insurance company website that you can think of. Of course, you won’t be able to get quotes from companies that are unknown to you; most likely you will only be able to think of the big corporations that have commercials on TV or in print. Expect to put your information into so many forms on so many different websites that the words start to lose their meaning.
Know About Coverage Options
Anytime that you are getting a quote for insurance, you will need to have some idea of what level of coverage you want. This is true whether you are getting quotes online or speaking to a real, live person. The first thing you will need to know is your state’s minimum levels by law for insurance.
All states require Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability, which usually pay for injuries and property damages caused by the at-fault driver.
However, not all states have the same minimum requirements. For instance, Florida has the lowest minimum requirements with $10,000 in coverage per person and $20,000 in coverage per accident; and Maine, one of the highest, requires a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
Because of this variation, the experts at the Insurance Information Institute caution that only buying the state minimum requirements is often not enough coverage. If you cause an accident while driving your car in Florida, and you injure three people who each require $10,000 in medical bills, then you can be held liable for any amounts over the $20,000 per accident limit. Similarly, if you injure just one person, and that person’s medical bills exceed $10,000, you will also likely have to pay any amount over $10,000.
In the same vein, some states require Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. PIP coverage pays for your medical bills and possibly lost wages, while uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pay for your damages caused by an at-fault driver who lacks insurance or who doesn’t have enough coverage. Again, state minimum requirements might also not be enough to pay for your damages.
Furthermore, auto insurance companies also offer optional coverage such as collision and comprehensive.
Collision coverage pays for the damages to your vehicle when you are the at-fault driver, and comprehensive coverage pays for loss or damages to your vehicle from theft, vandalism and non-collision related incidents.
When searching for car insurance, you need to consider collision and comprehensive coverage for many reasons. Firstly, if your car is a lease or you are still paying on the loan, then your lender more than likely requires you to maintain collision and comprehensive coverage. Secondly, most people cannot afford to pay for damages from a crash or loss from theft, fire, or weather. You need to assess if you can afford not to get collision and comprehensive. Can you afford to pay thousands of dollars to fix damages to your vehicle or buy a new one if yours is stolen? Can you stand to drive around with huge dents from when you hit a deer or where a branch fell onto your car?
Usually the answer is no, you can’t afford to go without collision and comprehensive coverage. So then, you need to assess how much you can afford to pay, because you will need to specify a deductible along with your amounts of coverage for your collision and comprehensive coverage. A deductible is the portion of the bill you will pay in the event of a loss, and the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums for optional coverage will be. For instance, if you have $10,000 in collision coverage with a $500 deductible, and you cause $5,000 in damages to your vehicle, then your insurance will cover your damages minus $500. The insurance will pay $4,500 and you will pay $500.
Knowing the types of coverage you need, the amount of coverage you should buy and the deductibles you can afford is important when searching for car insurance whether using a car insurance comparison site or not. It will speed up the application process as well as help you from being convinced to buy too much coverage.
How to Protect Yourself from Fraud
Your vehicle is an investment. It helps you get to work or school and all other necessary places such as the grocery store and the doctor’s office. Car insurance protects that investment, so you should also put a lot of thought and research into which auto insurance company you trust to safeguard your investment. After you get your quotes from this car insurance comparison site, you will want to investigate your shortlist of car insurance companies to make sure they are on the level.
The first place to visit in your investigation is the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Consumer Information Source website to make sure that your potential insurance companies are real, licensed business entities. Unfortunately, insurance fraud in the form of bogus insurance companies does exist. You can look up a car insurance company to make sure that it is licensed to sell insurance in your state. The last thing you want after an accident is to find that your auto insurance company doesn’t actually exist!
How to Protect Yourself from Bad Insurance
Now, just because a car insurance company is licensed to sell insurance does not mean that they are a good place to get auto insurance. An insurance company with poor customer service will not be helpful if you have to make a claim. Researching customer-based ratings is an excellent way to get an overall picture of the quality of an auto insurance company.
Look up ratings at JD Power and Associates to view yearly, customer-based ratings on everything from prices to claims.
Another ratings source that should be checked out is financial ratings. Another real blow after an accident would be to find out that you car insurance company is on such a shaky financial footing that it cannot pay your claims. Standard & Poor’s Rating Service will allow you to easily view the financial status of an insurance company.
So, get going by clicking here to enter your ZIP into the FREE box to start your car insurance quotes search right away!