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: Oct 15, 2021

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If you are shopping for a value-priced car insurance policy, the first thing you must do is request insurance quotes. In the insurance marketplace, a quote is a free, no-obligation estimate that shows the prospect how much they can expect to pay for their coverage on a specific car.

Because every insurer has their own system when it comes to rating, comparing auto insurance quotes from the best known carriers is a must.

When you are requesting auto insurance quotes for standard or sub-standard policies, it is important that you are prepared to give all of the information requested.

Failing to provide information or giving inaccurate information could lead to misquotes and higher premiums.

If you are not sure what type of information you will be asked for, read this guide to preparing for a car insurance quote and learn everything that you need to know.

Use the FREE comparison tool above to start your search for car insurance! Simply enter your ZIP code to get started.

Why is it so important to give the right information during a quote?

Providing the wrong information when you are speaking with an agent or filling out the fields in a quoting form can actually cost you your time and your money.

You are asked for specific pieces of your personal information because the agent needs the details to rate you.

When you are buying coverage, the way that you are rated is what is used in the determination of your premiums. During the quoting process, entering inaccurate details can lead to a misquote.

A misquote is determined after an application has been submitted and reviewed.

During the review process, which is called the underwriting period, the underwriter will review the records and compare them to the answers that you gave.

If your records show that you have filed claims, that you have violations, or that someone lives in your home that you did not list, the company may decide to charge you more for the same amount of coverage.

While it may seem unfair, misquotes are completely legal as long as the representative of the company did not intentionally give you a low quote to lure you in. The only way that you as a policyholder can avoid being misquoted is to gather the right information and double check your application for errors.

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What information do you need for the most accurate car insurance quote?

Insurance companies may have their own rates that target a specific rating class, but most companies will use the same general information to assess risk and to give you a quote.

If you know what personal details and background information the company is going to ask you for, you are likely to get quality quotes that you can trust will stay the same.

Here are the different categories of information that you are going to need either when you are shopping for coverage or applying for a quote that you are happy with:

Vehicle Information

Vehicle information is very important because the base rate of the vehicle is where premiums will start. A rate for a vehicle is set by assigning a classification code. This classification code will direct the price in a higher or lower direction.

Rates for cars, SUVs and personal trucks are generally based on the car’s safety record. While many assume that a vehicle’s value is what will really affect the cost of car insurance, value is only part of it. What is important to the insurer is the safety record of the vehicle, its crash test results and how much damage the body style could cause when it collides with another.

The actuaries of the insurance company will use the data that they have compiled and other data on claims records to set the base rate for each coverage on the car that you are covering. After the base rate is calculated, the price could go up or down based on the person who drives and based on how the motor vehicle is used. Here is the vehicle information you will need:

  • Year, make, model and submodel of the vehicle
  • VIN for most accurate rating
  • Odometer reading
  • Lessor or lender information
  • Safety devices and restraints
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Who will drive the vehicle and how many miles it will be driven
  • Usage for work, pleasure or business

Personal Information and Driver Information

When you insure a car you also need to insure a driver. This is why having your driver information is a must. Insurance companies will consider the age of the driver, how long the driver has had their license, if they have any accident, and if they have been convicted of traffic violations when determining how to rate a policy.

Here is the information that you need to give that can change your rate quote:

  • Name and date of birth of all household drivers
  • Current state-issued driver license number
  • Previous driver license number if from another state
  • Age licensed
  • Occupation
  • Driver assignment
  • Accident history for the last 3 to 7 years
  • Traffic violations within the last 3 to 7 years (10 in some states)

The company may even charge more for riskier drivers who are assigned to more expensive vehicles. A risky driver could be a younger operator, a person with accidents, or someone who has a major violation.

Risky drivers and high-performance cars do not mix well because they are much more likely to file a claim that leads to damages or injuries.

This is something to keep in mind as you are deciding on a vehicle to buy or on which car everyone in the home should drive.

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Policy Discount Information

Once you enter the driver and vehicle information, the next step is to get the discounts that you qualify for. In most cases, the discounts that you are eligible for will automatically be included in the quote.

Sometimes, there may be instances where you are not asked for specific bits of information that could have qualified you for savings.

Here is some of the information that you should provide to keep the rates as low as possible:

  • Policy number of other vehicles you own insured with same carrier
  • Policy number of property policy with same carrier
  • Certificate of completion to driver training or mature driving courses
  • Transcript for proof of good grades
  • Oil change or statement of odometer for low mileage ratings
  • Letter of experience from prior insurer for proof of claims-free record
  • Letter of experience for proof of prior insurance
  • Proof of anti-theft device that reports to a central station

Coverage Limits and Options

You will never be able to finish a quote questionnaire without selecting the types of coverage you want to buy. If you are not sure how much coverage you really need, this can be a daunting process.

After all, buying a bare bones policy can leave you at risk and buying a policy with expansive options may break the bank.

This is why you have to find the perfect balance when you are shopping. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Selecting Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is required in almost every state.

State requirements are often very low, which means that it is important to look past the minimum limits and look towards your assets. You will always need to have enough coverage to protect all of the assets that you have accumulated over the years.

Even people with very little net worth need coverage to protect their income.

Most experts recommend that people carry at least $100,000 to cover each person’s bodily injuries, $300,000 to cover all injuries total and $100,000 to cover property damage.

This is a recommendation, but you can choose more or less when you are selecting Bodily Injury and Property Damage limits.

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Selecting Physical Damage Coverage

If your car is damaged in a loss, do not assume it will be paid for unless you know exactly how your policy works. The only time that your car is covered by your insurer for physical repairs is when you carry physical damage cover. This consists of comprehensive and collision cover, which pays for repair or replacement costs.

You will need to decide if the premiums justify the coverage, if you can repair your car with your own money, and which deductibles are best. If you elect to reject physical damage, the only time your car will be paid for is if the other party is at-fault.

If you have all of this information on stand-by, you should be setting yourself up for accurate quotes. If you are price shopping and want to find multiple quotes, it does not have to take you forever scouring the web or driving around your town. Instead of doing this, you can use an online tool from your home computer and get dozens of local rate quotes off of the same platform.

Enter your information once, reduce the chances of errors, and comparison shop online so that you can find a policy that offers you value. Use the FREE tool below to get started!