A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Sep 24, 2021

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Important facts to know...

  • Getting quotes from at least five providers will give you a good idea of which insurers have the best rates
  • Insurance rates are based on the safety record of the vehicle that you own and it’s important to see which vehicles have more affordable rates than others
  • When you have a list of the vehicles that you’d like to compare rates on, you can solicit quotes directly from companies in-person, online, or on the phone
  • When you’re getting a quote, you’ll need to provide accurate information on the vehicle that you’re insuring, the drivers who live in your home, your driving history, your driving habits, and the type of coverage that you want
  • When you choose a policy, you need to submit your application complete with your license information and other identifying information that the underwriter needs to review

Auto insurance is something every driver needs; even in the two states that don’t mandate it — New Hampshire and Virginia — have certain requirements drivers must meet before they can legally drive on public roads.

If you’re about to buy a vehicle or you’re going to branch off from your parents’ car insurance, you need to know how to get the right auto insurance for you. There are two qualities that matter most when buying a car insurance policy:

  1. coverage
  2. price

Finding a balance between these two is a process, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Unlike most consumer goods that you can buy in retail stores, insurance isn’t a packaged product that you can pick up and put into your basket.

Before you even make a trip to buy coverage you need to know what type of insurance you need and which carriers are most respected in the marketplace. After doing this, you’ll be asked a series of questions before you can even get your personalized quotes.

Get started right now by using our free rate comparison tool above!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get the right insurance:

Step 1: Research Insurance Requirements In Your State

Insurance companies that are licensed to sell insurance in a specific state must offer you at least a minimum amount of coverage. It’s your duty as the legal owner of a personal car to know how much insurance you have to buy.

If you go from state to state, you have to buy insurance written in the state where the vehicle is registered.

Mandatory insurance laws are regulated and modified by the state. If you don’t have a minimum amount of insurance in a state where the coverage is compulsory, you can be cited for being uninsured or fined by the DMV.

It’s common for a state to require Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage, but no-fault states will even require first-party medical coverage called Personal Injury Protection.

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Step 2: Make a List of the Cars That You Are Interested in Owning

If you already own a vehicle that you’re going to insure in your name, you can skip this step. If, however, you’re going to be buying a car for the first time, it can be helpful to get quotes for cars that you’d like to own before you visit a dealership.

This will help you make an offer on a car that you can afford to buy insurance on.

One of the reasons why you need quotes on the cars that you’re going to test drive is because rates vary from car to car. The company will charge less for insurance on a car with a good safety record or a car that costs less than the average vehicle to repair.

By getting quotes, you’ll be able to tell if a car is risky to drive or costly to repair.

Step 3: Decide How Much Coverage You Need

All auto insurance policies are not created equal. You have the choice to buy a policy that offers a very limited amount of protection or one that will cover you in several different situations. In some scenarios, you can’t choose a basic policy.

In others, it doesn’t make sense to buy a full coverage plan.

When you’re choosing limits, there are a few things to consider. You need to be sure that you have sufficient coverage to protection your assets and that you have coverage that complies with any leasing or lending agreements that you have in place.

Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when choosing your coverage:

  • Is there vehicle financed? If yes, you are required to carry full coverage
  • Is the vehicle leased? If yes, you have to carry full coverage and higher limits of liability
  • What is the vehicle worth? If the vehicle doesn’t hold much value, you can forgo buying collision coverage
  • Do you live in a high-traffic or touristy area? If yes, you should consider carrying Uninsured Motorist Protection
  • Do you have a high-deductible medical insurance plan? If yes, you should elect to carry Medical Payments coverage
  • Do you own a home or have assets to protect? If yes, you should carry higher limits of third-party liability coverage to protect yourself if you’re sued

Step 4: Decide How You Would Like to Get Quotes

Auto insurance quotes are estimates that are given to prospective clients when they’re interested in pricing the cost of coverage through a certain carrier.

The only way to really shop for insurance is to get quotes so that you can compare every provider’s personalized pricing. Just remember, quotes are never guaranteed.

There are a few ways that you can solicit quotes when you’re ready to budget for insurance expenses. If you like face-to-face transactions, you can visit a broker or agent in your area.

You can also use a company’s official website or call a 1-800 number any time of the day for quotes after business hours. One of the quickest ways for savvy computer users to get quotes is to use an online comparison tool.

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Step 5: Provide All of the Information That’s Requested for an Accurate Quote

When you’re getting quotes, you don’t need to send in your license or your vehicle title but you do need to provide accurate answers. All of the answers that you give will be used to turn a base rate into a custom rate.

Most of the questions that you’re asked are pretty basic. Here’s some of the information that you should have handy:

  • Vehicle year, make, model, and safety features
  • Drivers names, vehicle assignments, ages, occupation, and years licensed
  • Accident history for all rated drivers in the home
  • Violation convictions in the past three years for all drivers
  • Credit rating
  • Vehicle usage (pleasure, commute, business)
  • Annual mileage
  • Is the vehicle financed or leased?
  • Coverage limits

Step 6: Research Each Auto Insurance Carrier

When you get quotes from several insurers, you can easily see which companies have the better rates. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t stop here. You should always look beyond price when you’re buying a buffer of financial protection.

The coverage that you’re paying for doesn’t protect you if the company is known for denying claims.

Not all insurance companies have great reputations or great financial ratings. Since there are so many consumer tools that you can use to qualify a company, it’s quite easy to cross the sub-standard companies off of your list of possibilities. Here are some things to consider:

  • Financial rating through agencies like A.M. Best
  • Complaint record through the state or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
  • Customer satisfaction ratings through JD Power and other consumer agencies
  • Licensing status in the state
  • Product offerings
  • Discounts and special coverage options available
  • Contact methods available (online, phone, local offices)

Step 7: Submit Your Application for Coverage

The last step to getting insurance is to submit an application. Once you choose your policy and carrier, you need to provide all of the specific information that underwriters use to verify your answers. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • License number
  • Prior insurance documents
  • Grades for students
  • VIN for each vehicle
  • Banking information
  • Exact dates of accidents and convictions

Getting insurance doesn’t have to take ages. You can log on to a comparison shopping tool on your laptop and get quotes in minutes. Start by comparing prices and then you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to bind a policy fast.

Compare now by entering your zip code below!