Getting a car insurance quote isn’t hard, but it’s easy to get a quote that ends up being inaccurate — either because the company you’re working with didn’t have all the information on your driving record, or because you qualify for discounts they’re not aware of. Whether you are planning for a new budget or undergoing a major life change, knowing how to get car insurance quotes that are realistic can help you avoid surprises when the policy is actually in your hands.
In this article, we’ll cover how to set your own expectations around auto insurance quotes, what information you’ll need to get accurate quotes, how to figure out what your auto insurance needs are, and how you can save money on car insurance.
How to Get Accurate Car Insurance Quotes
Step 1: Make sure your expectations are realistic. If you come into the car insurance process with expectation that are out of whack, you’re bound to be disappointed. If you have had an accident recently, are under 25, or have a bad credit score, your car insurance will be more expensive than the rates carriers are offering to other drivers who they deem to be “low-risk”.
If you think you are going to get a really cheap rate and you don’t, then you are going to be startled. At the same time, be prepared to tell the truth. The more forthcoming you are, the more realistic your quote will be, which means you can be more certain about the quote you receive.
Step 2: Have all personal information ready. The best way to make sure you’re getting accurate quotes upfront is to be as honest and transparent with your information as possible. This is the information you’ll want on hand when shopping around for car insurance quotes:
- Your name and address (rates differ greatly by state and even buy zip code!)
- Your social security number (SSN)
- Your driver’s license — the issue date, expiration date, and license number
- Your phone number
- You occupation (some jobs can qualify you for discounts)
- The details of your current policy if you’re looking to switch providers
Step 3: Determine your specific needs. One of the first things to consider is what sort of plan you’ll need: liability or comprehensive coverage.
If you have a newer car that is still being paid off, you’ll likely want comprehensive coverage, which will cover any damages to your vehicle in the event of an accident.
On the other hand, if your car is paid off and you want to keep your rates down, you may opt for liability coverage alone. Keep in mind, this sort of coverage is cheaper for a reason: only damage to other drivers will be covered.
Another aspect of your plan to think about is how high you want your deductible to be. The higher the deductible, the less you will pay on your insurance premium.
At the same time, it will take longer before your insurance company pays out. Depending on your situation, this could be a trade-off you are willing to make.
Think, finally, about other added services you might want. If you carry valuables in your car, you might want to make sure you have coverage in case of theft. You might want coverage in case your car needs repairs and is undriveable. Maybe you want roadside assistance included in your policy.
In the end, you should make a decision based on a holistic determination about what you need.
Step 4: Be aware of your driving history. You probably have a good sense for this, but look back at any records and get an full sense of your driving history.
Figure out how many tickets, accidents, and claims you have made and when you made them. Rates can change depending on the exact details of your driving history, and timeframe on these details matters. Your quote will be much more accurate if you can give a complete account of your record.
Step 5: Know the details of your car. You will want to provide your car’s make and model and where you will be garaging it.
Quotes can vary according to what type of car you drive and whether you will parking your car on the street or inside a garage.
Step 6: Take advantage of discounts. If you’re looking for a new car insurance policy you probably want one that’s fairly inexpensive! A final way to get the most accurate, cheap car insurance quote is by taking advantage of any discounts that apply to you — and being aware of what discounts you qualify for.
Often, these could be based on driving habits, as in the case of a low mileage discount. Or you could receive one for your occupation. Further, if you have home insurance, you could get a discount for bundling. There are a lot of possibilities. Be sure to check with your broker or insurance agent about what kinds of discounts each carrier has, because there are many lesser-known car insurance discounts you may not realize you qualify for!
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