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 22, 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...

  • Online purchasing is becoming one of the most popular ways for busy modern-day shoppers to obtain their needs, and auto insurance is no exception
  • Most auto insurance companies now provide easy online shopping options; allowing consumers to obtain auto insurance quotes based on where the vehicle is located, make comparison with competitors, purchase insurance, and print out insurance documents
  • Comparison shop is the best advice when buying anything online, but especially something as expensive and important as auto insurance

One of the most important things on the agenda for a car owner is buying adequate auto insurance.

Online purchasing is becoming one of the most popular ways for busy modern-day shoppers to obtain their needs, and auto insurance is no exception. Compare auto insurance companies with our FREE comparison quote tool!

Many Insurers from Which to Choose

Most auto insurance companies now provide easy online shopping options; allowing consumers to obtain auto insurance quotes based on where the vehicle is located, make comparisons with competitors, purchase insurance, and print out insurance documents.

Among the companies with the greatest online presence are:

  • Geico
  • Allstate
  • Progressive
  • Esurance (an Allstate company)
  • Liberty Mutual
  • USAA

The six companies listed above are the main companies offering online service for Maryland zip code 20878, the Gaithersburg area. USAA is a company offering coverage to certain categories of military and government employees and requires membership for coverage.

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Know Before You Go — How to Comparison Shop Online

Auto insurance coverage requirements vary from state to state, so the first thing a shopper should do is determine the legally required coverage in the state of residence, or in the state where the car will normally be garaged.

Most of the states, for instance, require insurance for any driver, including those driving on learner’s permits. When making comparisons on which insurance is best, it is also necessary to know the minimum insurance requirements for the state of residence.

This is useful when doing a cost comparison among the various companies. This information can be obtained from the state insurance commission.

Obtaining the minimum insurance provides legal coverage, but buying the minimum insurance, depending on driving experience, local conditions, and driving habits is seldom a wise idea.

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Understanding the Coverage Provided

Most insurance coverage is comprehensive, meaning that coverage is provided for bodily injury and damage to vehicles.

State minimums are given, for example,  25/50/20, which means that the coverage for bodily injury liability is $25,000 per person injured, with a total limit of $50,000 per accident, and $20,000 for damage liability.

What this means is that if three people are injured in an accident, and if injury claims are $25,000 only the first two people applying would receive payment. The driver at fault would be personally liable for the remainder.

Before settling for the minimum coverage, it is wise for the insurance buyer to know the prevailing rates for medical coverage in the area. In most cases, the cost of medical care for serious injury exceeds the minimum coverage required, placing drivers in a risky financial position in the event of an accident causing injury.

The same holds true for damages. Depending on the extent of damage to vehicles in an accident, minimum coverage can often leave even insured motorists holding the bag.

State minimums are legislatively determined, based on the accident history in the state, but are sadly often behind the economic conditions of the state.

Insurance premiums are also impacted by the deductible buyers chose. This is the amount of any liability claim that a buyer commits to pay out-of-pocket. The buyer’s financial status is the key determining factor in deciding on the amount of deductible and can be different for injury and damage.

For instance, the driver of an older car might decide to take a lower deductible than for a more expensive vehicle. Amounts of deductibles vary from zero to several thousand dollars.

Guide to Buying Insurance Online

Comparison shop is the best advice when buying anything online, but especially something as expensive and important as auto insurance. Don’t be swayed by the TV ads promising great savings over other companies.

Advertising claims might not apply in the purchaser’s case, so it’s best to check four or five companies, and the rates charged for the coverage desired, line by line. Check the requirements for filing claims, and the companies’ histories of serving clients.

This can be done through the local Better Business Bureau, or with other drivers in the area.

A company with low rates, but which has a record of slowness in settling claims, for instance, might not be the bargain it appears on a quote document.

The first sign of whether a company makes the short-list of insurance providers is the ease with which quotes can be obtained. Companies requiring upfront commitments, as an example, should probably be avoided, as perhaps should companies requesting too much information before they will give a quote.

Check to see if the company offers auto insurance discounts for low driving mileage, good students, seniors, or safety devices on the vehicle. These discounts can reduce a premium significantly, and it might be advisable to avoid companies not offering them.

Finally, while you might be able to buy cheap car insurance online, make sure you will also be able to manage your account as much as possible on line as well.

Most companies will require hard copy documents; accident reports, repair quotes, etc., at some point, being able to file an initial claim online is a convenience factor worth considering.

Once a consumer is satisfied with what the company offers, the next step is to complete the application, pay, and printout proof of insurance documents, which in most states must be kept in the insured vehicle.

Buying auto insurance online is simple, easy, if a buyer does sufficient research on companies and their offerings, carefully comparing rates and coverage, before making a commitment to buy. The same principles apply as when buying in person, always read the fine print, and if something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Find cheap car insurance quotes with our FREE comparison tool below! Just enter your zip code and start saving today!

References:

  1. https://www.geico.com/
  2. https://www.allstate.com/
  3. https://www.progressive.com/
  4. https://www.esurance.com/
  5. https://www.libertymutual.com/
  6. https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_logon/Logon?redirectjsp=true