How accurate are online car insurance quotes?
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UPDATED: Sep 26, 2019
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While auto insurance is a financial product that a majority of consumers must purchase, the pricing of insurance is nothing at all like the pricing of consumer goods. When you buy a product on an e-commerce website or at your local big box department store, you will pay the marked price for the good regardless of your age, gender or zip code. When you buy insurance, however, the pricing is extremely personalized and based on a variety of different personal rating factors that can either drive your rates up or down. This is why consumers are willing to spend a great deal of time comparing auto insurance rates to find the most competitively priced carrier that does not skimp on coverage. Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!
If you want to find an insurer that is willing to offer you value-priced insurance without forcing you to compromise how much protection you will receive, you will need to start comparison shopping. As part of this process, you will receive 5 or more quotes, all from different carriers, that will show you an estimation of how much you will pay per term for coverage on a specific car with specific listed drivers. Most insurers, unless you are working with a broker, will provide you with quotes for free, but it is only natural to wonder how accurate these price estimates really are when you are weighing your decision on them. Read on, and learn about online quote accuracy and also how to avoid misquotes in the future.
What is a car insurance quote?
Before you can really learn about just how accurate an online quote can be, you need to fully understand what a car insurance quote is. Quotes in the car insurance industry are price estimates that are given by agents, brokers, or online quoting systems in an effort to show the consumer what their rate would be for coverage.
The quotes, regardless of how you get them, are based solely on the information that you provide while you are requesting a quote, so be honest!
Because just one answer can change a rate, it is important that you are as forthcoming as possible when you are shopping rates. While some insurers may be concerned with unique details, most companies will ask you for similar pieces of information as they are generating your rate quote. This is why preparation will be key when your priority is to find the lowest premiums that will not change once the policy is issued.
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Is it possible for your quote to go up once you buy your insurance policy?
Insurance rate quotes are not guaranteed. This is true when you get quotes traditionally or even when you use the Internet. The reason for this is because the company is using all of the information that you provide as a basis for the premiums that they should charge. If you give an inaccurate detail, you fail to disclose a ticket, you do not list a household driver, or you are not as forthcoming as you should have been, the rates can certainly change during the underwriting phase.
What is underwriting?
Underwriting is the verification process that every application goes through. The company will assign a professional to verify the answers you gave on your application and to run reports to look for details that may indicate that you are a greater risk than you initially led on. If the underwriters find out details that change the risk classification of the policy, they will re-rate it. This is what is referred to as a misquote in the industry.
The new price estimate will be sent to the policyholder and they will have the choice if they still want to keep the policy. If they would still like to keep it, the policy will be issued and the premiums will remain level unless changes are made. It is not until an online quote becomes an issued policy that the premiums are guaranteed.
How can you ensure that your rate quotes are as accurate as possible?
Since you are basing your decision-making process primarily on the dollar amount that you are quoted, you need to be sure that you set aside an appropriate amount of time to getting accurate quotes. After all, if your online quote is incorrect you really have no one else to blame but yourself. By gathering the right details, entering everything as accurately as possible, and checking over your application before it is submitted, you can avoid misquotes. Here are some valuable tips to avoid receiving inflated invoice notices in the mail:
- Have a Copy of Your Declarations Page
The most effective way to find low rates is to know exactly how you are being rated and exactly how much coverage you are currently carrying. This is called getting an apples-to-apples quote. To do this, you will need a copy of your declarations page that details what you carry, rating factors, and driving habits and copy exactly what it say before you make adjustments.
- Verify Your VIN
Just one incorrect digit on your VIN can cause a misquote. Most quoting systems have technologies that will be able to tell what the make and model of a car is based on the VIN, but not all the time. Make sure to double check your VIN and be sure that the 17 digits have been transcribed correctly.
- Run Your Motor Vehicle Report
You will need to list all of your moving violations within a specified period of time. Most companies want to know if you have minor violations in the last 5 years or major violations in the last 7 years. If you do not list the right dates or the right code for the violation, your risk class could be dramatically impacted during underwriting.
- Request a Claims Experience Letter
Another very helpful document is a claims experience or loss history letter. These will show you exactly what claims you have reported or that have been reported against you. It will show if you were at-fault, if there was a payout and if the claim was chargeable. It may also show you the period of time that you have been with your insurer so that you can get prior insurance credit.
Online car insurance quotes are very convenient and can help you save money even when you are on a time constraint. If you want to get quotes today, use an online tool that connects you to several insurers at a single time. Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below! Be sure that you enter all of your personal information as accurately as possible to avoid errors. Once you do the comparison, you can make your final decision on what to buy.