Updated January 5, 2019 . AmFam Team
Choosing the right auto insurance sometimes can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many different companies offering many different rates and coverage options. We understand — and we’re here to show you how to find the best coverage and the best deal while stressing less.
This step-by-step guide can streamline and simplify the process, so it’s easier and quicker to make the right decisions when choosing your auto insurance coverage.
Prior to starting your search, make sure you’ve got key info handy: the year, make, model, and VIN of your car, your driving record or insurance claims from the past five years, and a general idea of your credit score. Also, be prepared to provide basic info, like your birthday, gender, marital status, zip code and the name of your current car insurance company if you already have a policy.
Enter your information consistently. When requesting quotes from multiple sources, it’s important to keep all of your information consistent. For instance, some car insurance coverages allow you to adjust your deductible, so make sure the deductible you choose is the same for every quote you request. Entering the same information will ensure you’re comparing auto insurance rates accurately.
Don’t worry about others’ rates. Insurance rates are based on a range of factors that are unique to each individual, so the price each person pays for the coverage can widely vary. If a friend or family member told you they got insurance for a particular price, don’t overanalyze the price difference. Your monthly premium will depend on your own circumstances.
Be patient. If you’re looking for car insurance quotes online, don’t be surprised if you don’t actually get an instant quote. Some insurance companies may have an insurance agent follow up with you in order to build the best policy for you.
What’s in an insurance policy? If you’re looking for car insurance, you already know it’s intended to protect you financially in case of an accident. But it’s also required by law in most states. When it comes to coverages, here’s what you need to know:
Liability coverage. This includes coverage for damage you cause and are legally liable for, including property damage and bodily injuries. Liability coverage helps pay for damage you cause, including to another driver, their passengers or any property, giving you a sense of security in the event of the unexpected.
Collision and comprehensive coverage. Though these coverages go hand in hand to protect your vehicle against most forms of damage, they have very distinct differences. Collision coverage specifically protects against collision or rollover damages, regardless of who caused the accident. Comprehensive car insurance protects you from the unexpected, such as hail damage, fire, flooding, theft, vandalism, etc. Neither of these are required by any state, but they’re often two common add-ons by drivers.
Keep in mind, some insurance companies may only allow you to purchase collision if comprehensive is also purchased. And if you borrowed money or lease your car, the lender will most likely require you to have both coverages.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Some states require that drivers have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, where you or your passengers will be covered for bodily injury if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have enough, or any, car insurance.
Personal injury protection(PIP)/medical expense coverage. Regardless of who’s at fault, PIP/medical expense coverage covers medical expenses for you and your passengers. This is common in “no-fault” states, where each party is responsible for his or her own damages in the case of an accident.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with additional auto insurance terms in order to better understand your potential car insurance coverage. And, you definitely should understand the legal requirements surrounding car insurance in your state, so you know the minimum coverage required by law.
It’s smart to make a list of what you consider most important when you’re comparing insurance companies. Here’s what you should think about:
Discounts. Many insurance companies offer discounts on policies, but it’s important to read the fine print. Some discounts have limits and lifespans, and can flex depending on your location. Read through each discount you’re offered, that way you’ll have a clear picture of each company’s discounts and how you can best take advantage of them.
At American Family Insurance, you could be eligible for a wide variety of discounts. Whether you’re a long-time loyal customer or you’ve got multiple vehicles on your policy, you can save money. Contact your American Family agent (Opens in a new tab) to see what discounts you’re eligible for.
Premium and deductible price. Instead of only looking at overall price, it’s important to take a close look at what goes into that final number. Many coverages include a deductible, which is the amount you’ll pay before that coverage can kick in. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium (the amount you pay for coverage), and vice versa.
Coverage. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is very true when it comes to insurance. In many cases, the cheapest policies offer the least amount of coverage. So when it comes time to compare policies, make sure you’re getting the most you can with your budget.
Limits. The higher your coverage limit — the amount that’s paid out on your behalf — the more financial protection you’ll have if you’re ever involved in a collision. But keep in mind that higher limits will mean you’ll pay more for your insurance.
Companies. A lot of insurance companies take the “set it and forget it” approach. In other words, you’ve purchased your coverage and now have it tucked safely away in the glove box. But when it comes down to it, your insurance company should work hard in other ways to keep you and your loved ones safe. Thoroughly evaluate multiple companies, not just for the right quote, but for everything else they have to offer. Do they have great customer service? Cutting edge technology? 24/7 claims service? Be diligent and don’t settle on just anyone to take care of what matters most to you.
Now that you know how to compare auto insurance quotes, get out there and start exploring your options! American Family offers smart, customizable options to create the right protection for your specific needs. We’re ready to give you support every mile of your journey ahead, so you and your loved ones can keep pursuing what’s important in life.