Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Things to Remember...

  • Almost every insurance premium calculator out there asks you a series of questions, usually beginning with a zip code
  • The Insurance Information Institute is a fantastic resource for educating yourself on how insurance works
  • Being honest with yourself about your driving history can save you some shock when you get an actual quote from an insurance company

A car insurance calculator can be a fantastic tool when searching for auto insurance for yourself or your family.

Occasionally, doing research before submitting zip codes to receive insurance quotes is handy because you will be fully aware of possible prices for the insurance type you are looking for.

Understanding the basics of how insurance premiums are calculated is also a good start. The Insurance Information Institute is a fantastic resource for educating yourself on how insurance works.

To find quality auto insurance quotes based on your current location, enter your zip code into the FREE box above!

How an Insurance Calculator Works

Almost every insurance premium calculator out there asks you a series of questions, usually beginning with a zip code.

The zip code provides general information about the demographics in which you live, such as:

  • Crime rates
  • Common amount of traffic
  • Whether you live in an urban or suburban setting

Any extreme weather conditions your area is prone to like hurricanes or tornados.

For most car insurance providers, they will offer an online insurance premium to give you an idea of what you would pay if you insured with them and what kind of coverage you may need for your current life situation.

You can also input all of the same information placed into a calculator when you call insurance agents for quotes.

They will ask you for the same information and give a premium, which would be a bit more accurate than filling out information on a calculator.

However, using a calculator can prepare you for asking agents for those quotes. It is only a first step, not a replacement for getting premium quotes.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Questions to Expect When Using an Insurance Calculator

There are a few steps of questions that most insurance calculators will ask you. For starters, you will have to give a zip code and possibly the state that you live in.

Secondly, you will probably fill out information regarding your personal living situation.

This could be questions about:

  • Marital status
  • How many drivers are in the household
  • Who would use the insurance policy
  • Your gender
  • How many cars would be insured on the policy
  • The frequency and amount of time the car is in use

The next step of questions will probably deal with things like the make and model of the vehicles being insured, Vehicle Identification Numbers  (VIN), and driving histories of each driver on the policy.

The type of vehicle and when it was made impacts premium rates drastically.

A newer car that qualifies as a sports vehicle would yield a far higher insurance premium than a family-friendly vehicle with a few safety features added in, like an anti-theft device.

If the insurance company could consider your vehicle at a higher risk to be in an accident, then you will see higher rates.

One aspect of insurance calculators that tends to trouble many people is how honest they are about their driving record.

When using a quality calculator, you will be asked questions regarding your driving record. Insurance companies base premiums not only on location and vehicle type but also on the driver’s history.

If you have a few minor tickets on your record, you have to make note of that in the calculator. If not, your premium rates that you receive once all your information is added in the calculator will not be accurate.

Being honest with yourself about your driving history can save you some shock when you get an actual quote from an insurance company. If you do not fill out all of the necessary information correctly, you are wasting your time using a calculator!

For further information regarding your driving record, you can check in with your local DMV.

Many DMVs offer driver records if you mail in a request form or go to their offices in person. Every state will have a DMV website. Most of them offer driver record request forms online. is a website designed to order records online.

To receive an official driver record, you will need to contact your local DMV.

The last few questions in most insurance calculators will focus on your personal economy. Your credit history, amounts of assets, and your current debt will all affect what types of coverage you may need.

Not only do insurance premium calculators give you pricing information, but they also will give you details as to what coverage fits your current situation. This is probably the most valuable tool an insurance calculator can provide.

The calculator may not give you actual quotes from companies, but it can give you an idea as to what your policy should look like.

Knowing information like liability coverage, the size of your deductible and whether you would need features like comprehensive coverage on your policy is good to know before asking for quotes.

Understanding what you need from a policy must be the first step before seeking out insurance.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Finding a Quality Insurance Calculator

Although it seems nice to only have to enter a zip code in a calculator to get rates, without an actual insurance company looking at the zip code, it is pretty much useless information with considering the other factors discussed already.

With that in mind, unless you are getting a quote from actual companies, using an insurance calculator that does not provide the necessary questions is trivial.

To begin with, make sure the calculator actually asks you specifics about where you live. Sometimes a zip code is not enough. In certain cities, zip codes cover a very large area, so specifics like a physical address is also important.

Those calculators that do not take into consideration actual addresses probably will not give you the most accurate premium.

In addition, calculators that do not ask you specific information about your vehicles are also probably not reliable. Make and model is important, but the current value of the car, as well as if it is owned, leased, or financed will also influence the price and type of coverage.

Another vehicle-related question that must be asked, otherwise the calculator is not reliable, is how much you drive your vehicle.

The number of miles put on the car will determine how the insurance company determines your risk-status. Without mileage, a calculator has no means to give you an accurate premium.

Finally, calculators that do not ask you specific questions about your finances will not provide accurate information.

Although giving information about your personal finances can be a little nerve-wracking, it is the only way for a calculator to give you quality information about what type of coverage you may need.

For example, if you do not have a lot of flexibility for out-of-pocket expenses, then you may need to have a low deductible. Without having a detailed description of your financial state, there would be no way for a calculator to consider things like deductibles.

Types of Calculators to Use

Because using a calculator is the first step to getting actual quotes, the smartest move is to use a calculator that is provided by an actual insurance company.

One that can give you specific information regarding a couple insurance companies would also be helpful.

The nice thing about using company calculators is that after you enter the information and receive general ideas to pricing, you will always have the opportunity to either contact an insurance agent or receive an actual quote online.

The calculators that are found on independent websites, although sometimes reliable, really defeat the purpose of using a calculator, which is to prepare you for asking for quotes.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Consider the Insurance Company

Another thing to consider when searching for an insurance calculator by state is whether the calculator takes into consideration the actual insurance companies. Some insurance companies are not licensed in specific states.

If that is the case, receiving a quote from that company is useless. In addition, insuring your vehicles is mostly about receiving money from a claim to help cover expenses in case of an event, like an accident or hail damage.

If the company you are insured with is not financially solid, you could have problems.

 Remember, an auto insurance calculator is just as much about cheap premiums as it is about finding a great insurance company.

Most calculators do not factor in company viability.

If you are still concerned about an insurance company’s financial solidity, there are a few independent agencies that track that data. Companies like A.M. Best or Standard and Poor’s Insurance Rating Services are great resources.

The only way to receive the closest prices you would pay for an auto insurance premium is by requesting quotes from an insurance company.  If used properly and honestly, calculators are fantastic tools,

For amazing quotes and rates based on where you live, enter your zip code in the FREE box below!