If you’re buying a new car or you’re tired of paying too much for your existing auto insurance coverage, it’s time to consider soliciting carriers in the industry for insurance quotes. Years ago, the only way for someone who owned a car to get a quote was to pack up and drive to an office where the vehicle would be inspected and premiums would be calculated via an archaic computer system. Times have changed and there are more options than ever. Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!
With the world wide web and new and innovative programs developed by insurers, it’s never been easier or more convenient to get accurate rate quotes. As a consumer, you’re free to choose whether you want to stay home and retrieve quotes or if you’d rather speak with an agent in person. Read on and learn tips and tricks to getting car insurance quotes so that you can effectively compare prices on your own schedule.
What is an auto insurance quote?
An auto insurance quote is a price estimate for insurance coverage on a specific vehicle for a specific amount of coverage. While you don’t actually need to have a VIN for the vehicle you want a quote on, you’ll need to know the year, make, model and body style to get your quote as accurate a possible. You’ll also need to answer some general questions about your driving habits, household operators, and your driving history.
Are quotes for auto insurance binding?
It’s important that you know that, no matter how competitive the price might sound, car insurance quotes are never binding. A carrier’s rates can change at any time and certain details you provide might not be accurate. The rates are nothing more than a starting point that helps consumers learn which companies are competitive and which aren’t. Without insurance quotes, consumers would walk into the process blind when they’re budgeting for new coverage.
Your Options for Soliciting Car Insurance Quotes
There’s a handful of ways you can go about price shopping when you’re looking for a new insurance policy. While there’s not just one ideal way to retrieve quotes, many consumers prefer the convenient methods over the traditional ones that require more time and effort. Here are some of the options that you should consider along with what makes them attractive:
- Contact an Exclusive Agent Direct
Some companies that have traditional roots may still employ agents who sell directly to customers. These are referred to as exclusive agents because they only sell products from a single carrier. Agents have their own offices and set their own hours. They can be contacted by phone, by appointment or by email. The agents will be experts on the products they sell, but they’re also representatives of the company.
- Call a Toll-free Direct Number
To save on costs, some insurers are transitioning from agents to contact centers where they house hundreds of customer service professionals who are licensed to sell and service policies. Calling a 1-800 number is convenient and you don’t have to rearrange your schedule for quotes. With this being said, you’ll almost never speak with the same agent when you’re buying or servicing your policy.
- Use the Company’s Online Quoting Tool
Larger insurers have spent the resources to develop online quoting tools that consumers can use all by themselves to compare prices and adjust their own rate quotes. These are extremely easy to use and have a buy feature, but only provide quotes for that carrier’s products. If you do buy coverage from the insurer’s quoting system, you can print ID cards and other documents straight from the site.
- Contact an Independent Agent
Independent agents, also known as brokers, are licensed professionals who are appointed by several carriers to sell their products in exchange for a commission rather than a salary. Since the agent isn’t employed by the company, they represent their client instead of the insurer. The only setback with brokers is that you’ll pay a broker fee set by the professional for their work when you select a policy, which offsets the savings.
- Use an Online Comparison Tool
One of the newest methods to comparison shopping is to use an online comparison tool. The tool itself is similar to doing business with a broker because it gives you access to several quotes in one contact. One advantage these tools have over brokers is that you don’t have to pay a fee for the dozens of quotes you’re given.
How long does it take to get quotes?
There’s not just a straightforward answer as to how long you can expect to take getting a car insurance quote. Some carriers promise you’ll be out the door or off the phone in a matter of 15 minutes or less. Others have very quick quoting systems online. You should commit at least 15 minutes to online quoting but may spend several hours getting traditional quotes from agents or brokers in person.
Having all of the information that you need on-hand can shorten the experience. It can also prevent misquotes or cancelations for material misrepresentation. Be sure you have:
- Name, date of birth, license number and year licensed
- VIN, odometer, mileage, vehicle usage
- Coverage limits and coverage options
- Dates of infractions or accidents in the past 7 years
How many quotes should you get?
When you’re comparison shopping for the sake of finding the most affordable premiums, it’s best that you get as many quotes as possible. Experts recommend getting at least 3 to 5 quotes to get a big picture of market segmentation and how a company’s rates stack up.
If your priority is to get accurate quotes quickly, use an online comparison tool and you’ll only need to enter the details just once. After your information is entered, the system will forward you to quotes with leading providers in the state so that you can select the ones that suit you best. Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!