How to get free car insurance quotes
There are several ways you can get free auto insurance quotes. You can buy directly online or over the phone, from a “captive agent” (who works for only one company), or from an independent agent or insurance broker.
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Look into car insurance companies’ complaint records and customer satisfaction. Auto insurance reviews are a good place to start.
Get at least three car insurance quotes online or from an agent so you can evaluate whether you’re getting a good price for the coverage you want.
Understand coverage limits. When comparing quotes, check that each policy has comparable liability limits and deductibles.
Auto insurance quotes online or over the phone
Getting free auto insurance quotes online is one of the easiest ways to shop for car insurance. Most companies offer free online auto insurance quotes, including State Farm and Allstate, which let you start online but assign you a captive agent to finalize your quote on the phone. Purchasing a policy online (or over the phone) is referred to as buying car insurance “direct” from the insurer.
Buying insurance directly without the help of an agent gives you more freedom to adjust coverage and see auto insurance quotes for yourself, but there are also drawbacks.
Choosing the right coverages for your car insurance quote
Beyond the coverage required by law, the amount of insurance you need is determined by your personal needs.
As discussed, full coverage car insurance can be expensive, and generally includes a combination of coverage types including liability, collision and comprehensive insurance. You may need to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage if you have a car loan or you lease your vehicle, per your financing contract.
Full coverage might be worth the investment if:
You own a new or expensive vehicle.
You drive in heavy traffic as part of your daily commute.
You can’t pay for repairs to your car if it gets wrecked or stolen.
Your location is prone to extreme weather, animal collisions or high theft rates.
Here’s how these common types of insurance work:
Liability insurance pays out if you cause an accident and damage another person’s property or cause injuries. Most states require all drivers to have a minimum amount of liability insurance.
There are two main types of liability insurance:
Bodily injury liability covers medical expenses and lost wages for another person.
Property damage liability pays for damage to another person’s car, property and valuables.
A “liability limit” is the maximum amount your coverage would pay out if you caused a wreck. Choosing higher liability limits will cause your auto insurance quote to rise, but will better protect your finances if you have a bad accident. Certain states will let you buy liability insurance with a limit for both injuries and property damage per accident.
These limits are generally shown as three numbers such as 100/300/50. In this case, your liability coverage would pay up to: Here are some of the most common types of insurance to include on your auto policy:
$100,000 for injuries per person.
$300,000 for injuries total, per accident.
$50,000 for property damage per accident.
Nerdy tip: Not sure how much liability insurance you need? Consider getting at least enough to cover your net worth so a lawsuit won’t wipe out all your assets.
How much should my car insurance be?
Because car insurance quotes can vary widely from person to person depending on your car, location and driving record, among other factors, we can’t predict the exact auto insurance quote you’ll receive, but our analyses determined these averages.
National average car insurance rates for minimum required coverage are:
$565 per year for a 40-year-old with good credit and a clean driving record.
$642 per year for a 25-year-old with good credit and a clean driving record.
Full coverage can cost more than double the price of minimum coverage insurance. Rates shown for full coverage include liability coverage, uninsured motorist protection, comprehensive and collision insurance.
Here are national average car insurance rates for full coverage.
$1,592 per year for a 40-year-old with good credit and a clean record.
$1,857 per year for a 25-year-old with good credit and a clean record.
Those with at-fault accidents or DUI infractions on their record will generally pay higher rates, as will those with poor credit in most states. Below, see the average annual cost of car insurance for various driver profiles:
How to get the cheapest car insurance quote possible
Regularly shopping around for car insurance quotes is the only way to find the best policy and cheapest auto insurance for you. Even if you have a clean record and are happy with your insurance company, you might find a better deal elsewhere.
Still, your current insurance company may end up being your cheapest option. The only way to know is to compare car insurance rates.
Nerdy tip: We recommend shopping for car insurance at least once a year and getting quotes from a minimum of three companies each time. That way you’ll make sure you’re paying the best price.