If you drive a vehicle in the United States, you need to have a car insurance policy in place. But you have a lot of options when it comes to car insurance. It’s up to you to decide who your provider is, how much coverage you have, and even what types of things your insurance policy covers.
Your journey to being insured starts with getting car insurance quotes. But what’s the right way to approach this?
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How to Get Car Insurance Quotes
Getting a car insurance quote may seem simple, especially with the number of companies offering 5-minute quotes online. However, if you want to save money and end up with the best possible policy, there are some important strategies to follow:
1. Consider your priorities.
Before you even start collecting quotes, take a moment to think about your main priorities. What are you hoping to get from your car insurance policy? Do you want a policy that offers you robust coverage in every possible area, so you have the greatest amount of protection?
Do you want to keep your monthly costs as low as possible while still having legally required minimum insurance coverage? Is there one type of coverage that matters more to you than the others? Understanding these priorities in advance will help you choose the right policy with a clearer mind.
2. Get quotes from multiple providers.
Too many people get a quote from a single insurance provider and accept it as reasonable. It’s much better to get quotes from multiple providers, usually 3 to 5. You’ll likely find that most of these quotes are close to each other in terms of both coverage and monthly price, but there may be a standout contender better than the rest. The only way to know if you’re getting a good deal is to shop with multiple providers.
3. Choose the right quote source.
There are different ways of getting a car insurance quote. For example, you can fill out a form online for a basic estimate, or you can talk to an insurance agent directly to discuss your options. You can also talk to an independent agent to try and score a better deal or get one-on-one advice. Each of these options comes with pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which approach is best.
4. Be familiar with the laws in your state.
Each state has a different set of laws dictating what type of car insurance must be held by drivers. Before you start shopping for insurance, you should understand what these laws are in your state. Chances are, your insurance provider will already know and guide you to the right policy, but it’s still helpful to have the information yourself.
5. Understand the terminology.
How can you be sure you’re getting the right policy if you don’t know what a “deductible” is? Before moving forward, make sure you understand the basics, including premiums (monthly payments), deductibles (the amount of money you’re responsible for paying when making a claim), limits (the maximum payout of the policy), and other terms.
6. Understand (and improve) your risk profile.
The higher your risk profile is, the more you’re going to pay for insurance. Your risk profile will include the safety of the area in which you live, your previous driving record, the number of miles you drive on a regular basis, the type of car you drive, and other factors. Many of these factors are in your control, giving you a chance to lower your insurance costs.
7. Know your monthly budget.
How much can you afford to spend on insurance each month? Since insurance is a requirement, you don’t have much of an option here. But you should have an approximate budget in mind before you begin your search.
8. Compare quotes apples to apples.
When you start pulling quotes from different providers and different sources, make sure you’re comparing them apples to apples. Don’t assume that the cheaper policy is better; it may offer substantially less coverage to get you that rate.
Finalizing Your Quote
Once you have several quotes lined up and you know your options well, you can move toward making a final decision. While this is an important decision, and one that could impact your finances for years to come, you should know that this isn’t an irreversible decision. If you find a better offer, or if you find that your needs have changed, you can always switch to a different policy in the future. In fact, it’s a good idea to get new car insurance quotes on an annual basis, or every few years, to see if there are any great deals available.