How to Get an Auto Insurance Quote

Quick Answer

You can get an auto insurance quote by gathering your vehicle and personal information, choosing coverage amounts, comparing insurers and requesting quotes from multiple companies.

Woman leaning against her car and using a smart phone to get an auto insurance quote.

An auto insurance quote is an initial estimate of how much you can expect to pay for an auto insurance policy. Obtaining an insurance quote from several insurance providers is a great starting point when deciding on a new policy or replacing an existing policy.

The quote you obtain may differ from the premium you're ultimately provided, but being as specific as possible with the information you provide to the insurer upfront can help you get a more accurate quote. With quotes in hand from competing insurers, you'll be able to make a more informed decision about which one may provide the best policy for the money.

What Is a Car Insurance Quote?

An insurance quote is a rough estimate provided by an insurance company, rather than a final confirmed offer. A quote is based on the minimum amount of information necessary, which usually speeds up and simplifies the process.

Insurance companies typically rely on the same key information when providing an estimate.

Key Factors Affecting an Auto Insurance Quote

Let's take a look at what some of the factors that go into calculating your quote and how exactly they can affect your premium.

  • Vehicle details: The vehicle you are looking to insure plays a key role in calculating your premium. Whether it's due to the price of the car itself or the availability of repair parts, the more expensive it is to replace or repair the vehicle, the higher quoted premium you can expect.
  • ZIP code: Insurance companies base their calculations on statistics, and where you live is an important factor they consider. Areas with higher population density, poorly managed transport infrastructure or higher claim and theft rates are considered more risky. If you live in an area which is statistically more likely to cause you to file a claim, your quoted price will be higher.
  • Drivers: The number of drivers on the policy as well as their experience behind the wheel will affect your quotes. Most companies require you to fill in the basic driver details, including when the drivers on your policy first got their license. A higher number of drivers and a lack of experience behind the wheel can contribute to a higher quote.
  • Coverage: The coverage limits will affect your quotes. Quotes for basic coverage will be lower than a policy that includes add-ons like full coverage, rental reimbursement or roadside assistance.
  • Driving and claim history: Not all insurance carriers and insurance comparison sites need this information to provide a quote, but it can allow for a much more accurate estimate. This information has the potential to affect the final cost of your policy, which is determined after you receive your initial quote and choose to proceed with coverage.

Information You Need to Get a Car Insurance Quote

To get an auto insurance quote, you will need several documents:

  • First, you will need the vehicle registration document or title, as this will give information about the car, including the year, make, model and VIN.
  • Check your car's odometer reading. The annual expected mileage is also an important factor when calculating your quote. An estimate is all the insurer needs to provide a quote, but your premium can be adjusted later if the number of miles you drive differs from the estimate you provide.
  • The driver's license number of anyone driving the car might also be required by some companies to check driving and claim history. Other companies ask for this information at a later stage, when preparing your final confirmed offer.
  • Additionally, information about any previous insurance policy will be necessary. Have the recent declaration pages of any companies you have been insured with on hand.

How to Get an Auto Insurance Quote

Getting auto insurance quotes can sound intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few steps you should follow to help you make the experience simple.

  1. Gather your vehicle and personal information, including your car make and model, driving record and current insurance policy.
  2. Decide what coverage you need and what your budget is. If your vehicle is financed or leased, be sure to check in with your lender; most of them have minimum coverage requirements.
  3. Research and compare various insurance companies and their policies. Use an online auto insurance comparison tool or speak with insurance agents.
  4. Request quotes from multiple insurance companies.
  5. Review the quotes and policies carefully, paying attention to premium cost, coverage limits, and deductibles.
  6. Ask questions and clarify any confusion about the policies you are considering. If you are requesting quotes through an online insurance comparison tool, they might have their own insurance agents available.
  7. Choose the quote that best fits your needs and budget, and request your final offer.

How to Get a Cheaper Car Insurance Quote

Knowing your options is key when making a decision about insurance coverage. One way to get the cheapest auto insurance quote is to opt for less coverage. This means choosing a plan with lower coverages and benefits, which will also result in lower premiums. There are trade-offs to having less coverage, however, so be sure to weigh the risks first.

Other factors that can help lower your insurance premiums include maintaining a good driving record, taking advantage of discounts, bundling your insurance policies and even improving your credit. By taking these steps, you can find the most affordable auto insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.

The Bottom Line

Getting an auto insurance quote is a great way to avoid overpaying for coverage. Despite what online reviews, past experience and even your trusted friends tell you, it's always a good idea to check what's out there before agreeing on coverage you may ultimately have for years.

Thankfully, you have options when it comes to finding auto insurance coverage. And since insurance companies are competing to provide the best and most comprehensive offer at rates drivers are willing to pay, getting multiple quotes can be a good use of your time. With Experian's auto insurance comparison tool, you can get quotes from multiple insurers at the same time.

Learn more about Auto Insurance Quotes