Compare Insurance Quotes

Knowing how insurance companies calculate the quotations they provide you might help you compare vehicle insurance premiums. 

Your auto insurance prices are generally influenced by a variety of personal characteristics, such as your driving history, age, credit history, vehicle, and local risk profile, in addition to the kind and quantity of coverage you select. 

Your premium reflects the weight that insurance companies assign to these characteristics. For instance, having little driving experience or a low credit score might significantly increase your costs.

Compare Insurance Quotes

How Do I Get Free Car Insurance Quotes?

Here are two ways to get car insurance quotes, which are always free:

1. Online. Many auto insurance companies offer free car insurance quotes online. You can visit several insurance company websites and compare quotes. To save time, use a website that provides quotes from multiple companies.

2. By phone or in person. Speak with or visit a local insurance agent who can help you find affordable car insurance options and get you a car insurance quote.

There are generally two types of insurance agents:

1. A “captive” agent works for one insurance company and can give you a quote only from that insurer

2. An “independent” insurance agent can sell policies from multiple insurance companies and can get quotes from different insurers.

There are benefits to both approaches, and there’s no law against contacting multiple insurance agents. It doesn’t hurt to get online quotes and also speak with an agent who can help you identify your coverage needs and tailor a policy that’s the best fit for you.

How to compare car insurance policies

Now that you understand what contributes to your car insurance premium, let’s talk about how to shop for car insurance. First off, you need to decide on what’s most important to you in a policy. 

Is affordability top of your list? Are you dead set on having a responsive and courteous customer service team? Do you prefer having the highest level of coverage to keep you and your assets protected?

Ideally, you will find a policy from a company that can provide all of the above. To do that, follow these steps for comparing car insurance policies.


1. Gather some personal information

Unless you want to spend a significant amount of time talking to an insurance agent, you'll need to make sure to have certain pieces of information ready when you begin your car insurance shopping process.


What you need to start a policy

  • Personal information of anyone on the policy, including date of birth, driver’s license number, and address (if different from your own).
  • Driving history of all drivers on the policy.
  • Insurance history of all drivers on the policy.
  • Vehicle information of all vehicles on the policy, including VIN.
  • Payment: If you’re getting a policy for the first time, the insurance company will likely require a down payment before the policy is bound (accepted).

2. Get quotes

This used to be the most tedious part of the insurance buying process. It required customers to contact an agent or multiple companies to get enough quotes to make a comparison. 

Nowadays, auto insurance comparison sites – like The Zebra – make this quick and easy. Input your information to get several quotes from top insurers.


Compare the policies not only by price, but also by the level of coverage they provide. A cheap policy that doesn’t provide sufficient coverage isn’t often worth considering. 

Narrow in on a few carriers that offer affordable policies with coverage options that meet your needs. For more on how to find out how much car insurance you need, consult our informative guide.

3. Compare car insurance company reputation

With quotes in hand, now is the time to dig into which individual carriers will provide the best overall policy and customer experience. To begin, consult customer ratings from trusted sources such as J.D. Power and The Zebra customer survey. 

You can also use the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's (NAIC) website to look up a company’s complaint trends. Reviews from third-party sites and the Better Business Bureau can also give you a good idea of what to expect as a customer of these companies.

Once you have an idea of overall customer satisfaction, revisit your short-list to decide on the carrier – and policy – that is best. The level of customer service you can expect could very well be what tips the scales in favor of one company over another.

Compare Insurance Quotes

What Information Do I Need to Get Auto Insurance Quotes?

To make the process go as smoothly as possible, it helps to have the following information on hand:

  • Driver’s license. If there are any other drivers in your household, you’ll need their driver’s license information as well.

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN). You can typically find your VIN on the vehicle’s driver’s side dashboard or printed on a sticker in the driver’s side door or door jamb. If you haven’t purchased the vehicle yet but know what you’re going to buy, ask the seller for the VIN. If you haven’t picked out your car yet, you can usually get a quote with a vehicle make and model.

  • Mileage. If you own the car, have the odometer reading handy.

  • How much coverage do you want? You’ll want to know what coverage types you want to buy and how much coverage you need. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to speak with an insurance agent who can help answer your questions.

The auto insurance company will gather additional information about you, such as your driving history, past auto insurance claims, and (in most states) your credit.

What Is the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Our analysis of the best cheap car insurance nationwide found that, on average, USAA has the cheapest car insurance quotes. But USAA auto insurance is only available to active members of the military, veterans, and their families.

If you don’t qualify for a policy through USAA, our analysis found that Erie, GEICO, and State Farm offer competitive rates, based on nationwide averages. It’s still good to get quotes from multiple companies because the cheapest car insurance companies can vary depending on your state, driving record, and more. 

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