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Tips to Get a More Accurate Insurance Quote

Tips to Get a More Accurate Car Insurance Quote

It happens all the time. You shop around for car insurance and get a quote. Then, when you go to purchase your insurance, the premium doesn't match what you expected based on the quote you received.

You can prevent unpleasant surprises like this with these tips to get a more accurate auto insurance quote.

Know Your Needs

Before shopping for car insurance, make a list of what you need from your car insurance policy. First, decide which coverage types you are looking for. Your state may require liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage as a minimum; however, you may also be interested in additional protection, such as collision or comprehensive insurance coverage.

You might also want to increase your coverage limits above the minimum required amounts, or combine policies if you have multiple vehicles in your household.

Know Your Budget

The insurance that you can afford depends on your budget. A higher budget allows you to pay a higher premium for your auto insurance, which can include:

  • A lower deductible – This is the amount you will pay out of pocket before your insurance begins paying on your claim).
  • Higher coverage limits – This refers to the maximum amount your insurance company will pay toward a claim.
  • Additional coverages – These include optional coverages such as collision, comprehensive, rental reimbursement, towing and labor, and more.

Know Your Driving History

Your driving record affects your rates, since car insurance companies base their rates on how likely you are to have an accident.

When you get a quote, understand that if you've been in an accident or received tickets for moving violations, this will affect your rates. If you are not truthful about your violation or claims history, you might see lower estimated rates than when you actually get your policy. Your car insurance company will check your record, so it's best to disclose this information right away.

The difference between the estimate and your actual cost may be relatively big if you use an online car insurance calculator instead of a full quote form, since car insurance calculators ask only for very basic information, such as:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Zip code.

If you can't remember what's on your driving record, you may wish to request it so that you can see exactly what's on it. Generally, car insurance companies are only interested in information from the last 5 years.

NOTE: You should also know the history of your spouse if you are combining policies, as their record will affect the rates as well.

Consider Recent Life Changes

If you've had a major life change, this can have a significant effect on your car insurance rates. For example, if you've recently had children, this could lower your rates because car insurance companies see parents as more responsible drivers.

When you're getting a quote, make sure it accounts for any recent life event. Some examples include:

  • Getting married - This can lower your rates, since married drivers tend to be in fewer accidents than unmarried ones.
  • Moving – This can raise OR lower your rates. For example, if you move further from your workplace and lengthen your commute, you could see a rise in rates. However, if you move to an area with lower crime rates, you could see a drop.
  • Getting a new job – Certain professions are associated with higher and lower rates. If your job changes, this could drop your rates.

For more information, visit our Life Events and Car Insurance page.

Be Prepared with the Necessary Information

Your quote will be more accurate if you can provide more complete information.

Before you call to get a quote or start using an online tool, gather your facts together. In addition to your zip code, date of birth, marital status, and e-mail address, you will be asked more detailed questions, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Occupation.
  • Year, make, and model of your car.
  • The VIN for your car(s).
  • Your annual mileage.
  • Whether your car has anti-theft devices installed.
  • Social Security number.
  • The number of vehicles you are insuring.
  • Current insurance premiums and coverage.
  • Expiration date of your current car insurance policy.
  • Driving history.

To find out more about which questions are asked and why, please visit our page on Online Car Insurance Quoting Questions: What You Need and Why.

Be a Savvy Shopper

As with any other product, shopping around for car insurance can pay off. Don't settle for the car insurance company that provides your first quote.

It's smart to get at least 3 car insurance quotes before making a decision. The more quotes you receive, the more likely you are to find the best car insurance coverage at the cheapest price point.