How an Auto Insurance Quote Estimate Works

Auto insurance quotes are affected by things like your driving record and credit history. Compare quotes and provide accurate info to lower your rates by up to 20%.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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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: Oct 19, 2021

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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...

  • Make sure you have information such as your address, credit score, and vehicle’s VIN available when looking for a quote
  • Using online websites to compare a variety of insurance quotes can save you time, energy, and frustration
  • Insurance companies use several different factors to determine insurance rates, so find out about any discounts you can have

With the proliferation of websites and tools on the Internet, people who are looking for car insurance have a great place to turn to for quotes.

You no longer have to spend time going to agent after agent just to get a few quotes. However, just how does the process work? Are the quotes online accurate?

Find out more about how we can bring you free quotes on your auto insurance and how this can save you a lot of money.

Get your FREE quotes right here just by typing in your ZIP into the box!

Information to Have Available

Before you start getting your quotes, you’ll need to have access to some information.

An important thing to remember about getting auto insurance quote estimates is that they will be more accurate when you enter truthful information.

You’ll obviously need the names and drivers license numbers of all the drivers who will be on the policy. Then you probably will also be asked to provide ages or birthdates for them as well.

Also, have the VIN for each of the cars to be insured. If you’re not sure where the VIN is, look on your current insurance policy or the registration paperwork from your state.

You also need to be able to answer questions about your driving record, like how many tickets or accidents you’ve had in the last five years.

While some of these may be puzzling to you, the insurance companies use this information to see if you are eligible for discounts.

Just remember that the more information you provide them, the more accurate your quote will be.

You’ll also need to decide how much insurance you want to have on the new policy. While state requirements vary widely, experts pretty much agree that they are too low for most people.

Some states also require you to carry uninsured motorist and personal injury protection. Decide before you start getting quotes whether you need these.

Uninsured motorist is highly recommended since an estimated 14 percent of all drivers today are breaking the law by not having basic liability insurance.

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Let the Online Websites Do the Work for You

There are a few different ways to get online insurance quotes.

You can go to the websites of individual companies and get them. Most of them have 24-hour a day quote service. Some sites can get you a quote in seconds, but others may email the quote to you later in the day.

In order to get a better idea of what your best deal on auto insurance is, you’ll need to repeat this process with each company you want a quote from.

If you’re not sure where to find these companies, you can do a web search.

You can also visit the department of insurance website for your state. They list the names and often the websites of companies that are licensed in your state.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has put together a map that can quickly take you to the department of insurance in your state.

While this process is still faster than making appointments with multiple agents, there is an easier way.

Find a third-party car insurance quote website that will ask you to enter your ZIP code and then tell you which companies offer services in your area.

These sites will ask you the same questions as an individual insurer’s website would. The difference is you only have to enter the information once and the information is then sent to several companies for you.

Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for the quotes to come rolling in.

How Insurance Companies Determine the Quote

How do the insurance companies use this information? Car insurance companies use information to determine how much of a risk you will be for the company.

Insurance companies look at many factors. One is where you live which will tell them if you live in one of the following areas:

  • a high crime area
  • a large city
  • a more rural setting

Since larger cities mean more accidents, people who live in them are at higher risk than those who live in small towns or in the country.

Your age, gender, and marital status also play a huge role. Studies have shown that married drivers have fewer accidents than single people do.

Men statistically are involved in more accidents, and young drivers under the age of 25 pay more than any other age group.

Perhaps the most important factor is your driving record. If you’ve shown yourself to be a safe driver with few to no tickets or accidents, then you’ll be considered a much lower risk than someone who has had a few.

Most companies even look at your credit score, as those who are responsible with money have been shown to be responsible behind the wheel.

The Insurance Information Institute explains more fully how insurance companies use your credit score.

Do Some Research

Now that you’ve gotten a collection of quotes, it’s time to do some research. While you want to pay the lowest price possible, you also want a reliable company who is good to work with.

Before picking the absolute lowest price, take a few minutes to find out a bit more about them.

Ask around to your family, friends, and neighbors to see if anyone has had experience dealing with the company you are thinking about going with.

You can also call a local mechanic or body shop to find out how easy they are to work with. These guys are usually great sources of information about good, and not so good, insurance companies.

There are also some independent sources on the Internet that can give you more information about them.

Check out agencies such as J.D. Power & Associates’ ratings, which are based on customer satisfaction.

You can also check with the state department of insurance again. In addition to listing the companies in your state, they also provide information about them, like how many complaints have been filed against them.

Don’t just check up on the company, but check up on the policy. You’ll want to know exactly what it does and does not cover before you sign on the dotted line.

Click here to start saving now by typing your ZIP into the FREE search tool provided!



Free Auto Insurance Comparison

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

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