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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 23, 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 insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

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...

  • The minimum levels of required coverage are different in each state
  • You may also need to purchase comprehensive and collision insurance if you still owe money on your vehicle or just want to be certain that you are fully covered
  • Additional coverage can be purchased such as personal injury protection, rental car coverage, roadside assistance, and underinsured/underinsured protection
  • You can find auto insurance rate quote forms online that you can access with your personal computer, smartphone, or tablet computer

Most people do not take the time to shop around for car insurance as often as they should, and when they do get quotes to compare, they might not really know how to understand them.

These days, insurers have had to become a lot more transparent about how they price different types of coverage in order to remain competitive.

Having more information is a good thing, but it is only really helpful if you understand how to read your auto insurance rate quotes.

Use the FREE auto insurance comparison tool to start your quote search. Simply enter your ZIP code above.

Read an Auto Liability Insurance Quote

For example, you might see your required liability insurance coverage expressed like this: 50/100/25. In fact, this example illustrates Alaska’s required minimum liability coverage. What do these numbers mean?

  • The first number represents the maximum property liability coverage of $50,000.
  • The second number represents the maximum total personal injury liability coverage of $100,000.
  • The third number represents the maximum personal injury liability coverage per person. In this case, it is $25,000.

Of course, these minimum levels of required coverage are different in each state, so if you do not live in Alaska, expect to see different numbers.

Of course, you may choose to purchase more than the minimum required coverage for your state, so you would see different numbers too. But now you should understand how to read a liability insurance quote.

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How to Understand Comprehensive and Collision Insurance Quotes

You may also need to purchase comprehensive and collision insurance if you still owe money on your vehicle or just want to be certain that you are fully covered. In this case, you should be covered up to the book value of your vehicle.

Some policies even offer to help you replace a new vehicle, so you would be covered up to the replacement value. That should be clearly defined in your policy.

In any case, quotes for collision and comprehensive coverage usually just specify the deductible and the cost. This deductible is the amount you need to pay for each claim before your auto insurance starts helping you pay the bill.

Typical deductibles might be $250, $500, or $1,000.

Adjusting this deductible can impact the price you pay for your policy quite a bit. For example, you can save money on your monthly premiums by raising your deductible.

This might be a good idea, but you also have to remember that you will end up having to pay more out of your own pocket if you ever do need to make a claim.

What Other Coverage and Benefits Might Be Included?

Different insurers in different states might package their coverage differently. For example, in some states, personal injury protection and coverage for uninsured motorists get included in a required minimum policy.

In other states, these are extra options that you can choose to add to your insurance.

The states that require this additional coverage have chosen to make sure that drivers are more fully protected, but this additional coverage can also increase the price of a minimum policy.

These are some additional options that you might choose to include in your policy:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist – This type of coverage compensates you in case you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver.
  • Personal injury protection – This compensates you and your passengers for medical bills and lost wages.
  • Car rental – This helps you pay for the cost of a rental car if you cannot drive your car because of covered damages. Typically, your quote has a maximum coverage limit and daily coverage limit.
  • Roadside assistance – Roadside assistance is not really insurance, but it is more like a motor club you can call if you need help with flat tires, dead batteries, etc.

Do You Need This Additional Coverage?

As you read your auto insurance quote, you may notice that each type of additional coverage increases your bill. You might be tempted to eliminate or reduce some coverage to lower your monthly payments.

This might be prudent, but you just have to remember that you could also risk paying a lot more out of your own pocket if you ever do to need to pay to repair damages to your car.

It is not easy to decide if you should purchase additional coverage or take a risk.

You might be wise to discuss your unique situation with a local insurance agent. Even though agents get paid by insurance companies to sell car insurance policies, they are legally bound to represent their clients.

A good agent should help you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing additional coverage, and he should also be able to help you find a policy that makes sense for your budget and requirements.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

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How to Compare Car Insurance Rate Quotes

These days, it is pretty easy to compare multiple auto insurance rates quotes. You can find auto insurance rate quote forms online that you can access with your personal computer, smartphone, or tablet computer.

All you have to do is supply some basic details like your location, the type of car you drive, and your age.

The quote system should supply you with a handful of competitive rate quotes to compare at your convenience.

In addition to giving you rate quotes, these systems should also give you contact information for local insurance agents or representatives of insurance companies.

You are free to contact these professionals to ask them more questions about their offers and the type of coverage that you should purchase.

Hopefully, you can use internet car insurance quotes to find some insurers that are eager to do business with you.

You might also take the time to contact agents to be certain that you are purchasing a sensible package of protection for you and your car.

This allows you to combine the power of the Internet with personal service in order to get the best coverage at the right price.

Enter your ZIP code into the FREE quote tool below to start comparing quotes!