How to Compare Auto Insurance Prices

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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 21, 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...

  • Prepare by identifying what you need goes a long way, then you can compare the car insurance prices fairly and a lot more easily
  • The insurer’s grading gives you an indication of how likely they are to be able to financially afford to pay out on your claims
  • The collision coverage refers exclusively to bumps, dents and damage occurring from an accident
  • Comprehensive coverage is for almost any other damage, such as hail, theft and a stolen radio, for instance

Even the most well-organized and methodical thinker gets thrown for a loop when trying to buy car insurance.

Company A offers a low premium but the deductibles are high. Company B sounds too good to be true. Company C has a premium that is higher but more moderate deductibles.

Then you remember that you wanted additional medical benefits, so you have to re-start your comparison. Again.

Confusing? You bet. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. A little preparation by identifying what you need goes a long way. Additionally, making parameters for what you expect from your car insurance carrier helps a lot too.

Then, you can compare the car insurance prices fairly and a lot more easily. The most simple way is by entering your ZIP in our free quote tool above now!

What to Look for in an Insurance Carrier

Good Credit Worthiness

  • Choice of Good Auto Body Shops
  • Favorable Customer Reviews
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Competitive Insurance Policy Pricing

Sites such as Moody’s or Standard & Poors evaluate and rate companies, such as your car insurance carrier, for their creditworthiness.

Go for the carriers who come in with A or B-range ratings. The insurer’s grading gives you an indication of how likely they are to be able to financially afford to pay out on your claims.

Customers who have made claims are the first to show their gratitude or outright anger toward their insurer. If they have made a claim, they will tell you how great or terrible a carrier is. Listen carefully.

Usually, they will mention the body shops and how they measured up too. From there, you can narrow down the prospects of which companies from which you are willing to buy a policy.

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Organize and Know What You Need

Know your state’s minimum coverage

  • Determine your net value
  • Shop for coverage according to your liability potential (see net value)
  • Decide how much collision and comprehensive to buy
  • Skip Medical if you have health insurance
  • Buy as much PIP as you can afford (in no-fault states)

Start by knowing the minimum coverage for the state where you live. Fortunately, quotes are auto-generated based upon state minimums, so you can trust the quotes from all of the providers.

If in doubt, take a quick look at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicle site or insurance commissioner’s website for the lowdown.

From there, determine your own net value, or assets minus liabilities.

Say you have a $300,000 house, a $200,000 life insurance policy, a $30,000 car and $30,000 in a retirement account. These are assets. Subtract the $50,000 credit card debt to arrive at net value. That’s how much liability coverage to buy, at the minimum.

In all likelihood, you want to buy more than the state minimum coverage.

The minimums are known for placing drivers unwittingly into the category of the underinsured.

Protect yourself from the financial devastation of lawsuits. Buy more than enough to cover your assets. Consider buying $500,000 and $1 million in coverage per person/per accident, along with $500,000 in property damage liability.

Some states have no-fault laws, which are covered by Personal Injury Protection, or PIP coverage. PIP provides money to cover injuries, sometimes lost wages, child care and rehabilitation for the insured in the case of an accident.

Only you can decide how much coverage you want and may need.

If you have health insurance, skip any offers for medical coverage. If you have a roadside assistance provider, skip such offers from the auto insurance carriers. For rental reimbursement, 30 days minimum is generally recommended by carriers.

If you have a backup vehicle, then you may rely upon that if your primary car needs to be in the shop for weeks or months.


Evaluate Risk and Rewards

Collision and comprehensive both cover the car, but under different events. The collision coverage refers exclusively to bumps, dents, and damage occurring from an accident.

Comprehensive coverage is for almost any other damage, such as hail, theft and a stolen radio, for instance. Look closely at the small print, though, to find out what is excluded.

You may need to buy a separate line of coverage if the windshield is damaged, or if there is a wind storm that causes damage.

Some people are huge proponents of dropping comprehensive and collision when the money recouped from a claim is less than the deductible for the car coverage and the value of the car.

The big caveat here is being practical.

Do you have the money to go out and buy another car today or tomorrow? If not, then you might want to beef up savings and keep collision and comprehensive.

Another way to look at this is to assess your risks. Live in an old neighborhood with huge, quaint trees? Doubly prone to ice storms? Park on the street?

Then you have a trifecta for a huge tree limb to crash down on your car. No comprehensive, then you will have to pay the repair bill yourself.

Live near a high school or college, where there are tons of distracted and young (read: inexperienced drivers), then consider keeping collision coverage always.

This is regardless of how old your car is. Or, have a cushion of savings to cover such liabilities.

Comparing Car Insurance Prices

Now that you know your needs and know which companies you can trust, you are ready to submit a quote and compare prices.

Answer the questions within your application honestly because lies will get your policy reneged and benefit payments denied. Yes, now you are ready to start shopping.

Let’s say there are 10 carriers in your results. Exclude the ones that did not make your list. Maybe you have three to five that remain.

Make sure they all are offering up the coverage limits that you requested and nothing less than that. You might be surprised that the list shrinks down a bit more.

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How Much Can You Afford to Pay?

Decide whether you want higher deductibles, only if you can afford to pay them if involved in an accident. That will force your premium downward.

Remember, unlike with health insurance, you have to pay the deductible every time you are involved in an accident requiring you to pay out for benefits.

It may not sound bad to pay $2,000 one time, but multiply it three times, and you get the picture.

Realize you could be called upon to pay multiple deductibles simultaneously. Again, imagine paying out $6,000 just for one accident on a car that is 15 years old.

Sure, you want to protect your assets and pay out to affected parties if you do harm, but be mindful of your financial outlay even with coverage.

Additionally, look at the perks not as offerings for the gullible, but as potentially money-saving devices.

One company offers reliable and fast roadside assistance for a fraction of the cost of national road assistance providers.

Making a Decision

Insurance is a product everyone needs, but no one wants to use. Backing into the comparison by defining your needs is the best way to shop wisely while saving money.

Be sure to share your shopping skills and experience with other drivers, so they too can enjoy savings. Enter your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool above to get started now!


Free Auto Insurance Comparison

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

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption