I’ve had my car insurance through Nationwide for almost 30 years. My parents used Nationwide when I started driving, so that’s who I used. Of course, back then there was no Internet or easy way to compare auto insurance quotes. You had to call agent after agent to get rates. Today, comparing auto insurance is a snap.
In fact, searching for the lowest rates is so easy, it’s worth doing every year. A few years back I called Geico to see if they could beat the rates I was getting from Nationwide. Despite their commercials, they couldn’t. Still, it was worth the 15-minute call. Just last month, Nationwide decided to bump up my insurance rates by $100 a year. So I’ll be comparing rates this year, too. Here’s how to do it.
Compare Rates Online
The easiest way to do that is to use our auto insurance rate comparison tool:
A few weeks ago, we discussed most of the coverages available for auto insurance and showed a few different scenarios of just how your auto insurance provider works. Be sure to check out that article before you start shopping around for auto insurance quotes. You won’t know what types of quotes to get until you know what types and amounts of coverage you need.
Once you have that information in hand, it's time to start shopping. Luckily, you can get basic auto insurance quotes online through aggregators. These services put together quotes from a variety of insurance providers. That way, you don't have to enter your information on each individual insurer's website.
Look Up Additional Quotes
You can also go to most insurers’ websites to get a free quote. It just involves entering your information separately on each site. Here are links to several of the major carriers:
Vet The Insurers
That $61 per month rate at the top of my quote is pretty tempting. It's a lot less than I'm paying in car insurance now. But I've never even heard of this car insurance company. So I did some digging. Their customer service ratings? Terrible. I would hesitate to purchase insurance with a company that has such bad reviews and a bad reputation for actually paying out claims.
So before you just jump on an offer, look for the following information about a potential insurance company:
- Financial ratings: Most companies that have a good financial rating will list it on their website. You can also check the A.M. Best website for financial rating information. Companies with a higher rating are more stable, and, thus, more likely to be able to pay out your claim.
- Customer service: You can get this information online or even from your state’s insurance commissioner. While online reviews are often outliers--showcasing only the best or the worst--it’s good to start there.
- Additional discounts: Aggregators like these won’t take all a company’s potential discounts into account. So when you come down to applying for insurance, be sure to ask about any other discounts for which you might qualify.
- Flexibility of coverage: You can often make your insurance more affordable by bumping up your premium amount. Or if you don’t have a big emergency fund saved, consider going for a smaller premium that you can afford.
Look at all of this information before you actually apply for an auto insurance policy.
Apply with the Insurer
Aggregators like Compare.com don't collect every bit of information a potential insurer will want. So don't be surprised if you need more data, including your driver's license number and other personal information, when you apply for insurance. And don't be surprised if this additional information winds up changing your actual insurance costs. Aggregators are working off of only the information you've provided. If you left something out--like a ticket or fender bender you'd forgotten about--you may notice a difference in premiums.
The last step, though, is to apply for insurance. With some companies, you'll need to talk to a representative on the phone. But many these days will let you complete the application process entirely online. Just be sure you choose the correct start date for your new insurance, and be sure to cancel your old insurance, if necessary.
Shopping around for car insurance is a simple way to save money month after month. And with today’s technology, it doesn’t have to take very long, either. Just use these steps to compare car insurance quotes online, and you’ll be well on your way to saving big money.