5 things to know when buying car insurance online

By Allstate

Last updated: October 2023

No doubt about it, the Internet has made buying auto insurance more convenient than ever. Knowing what to expect — and how the choices you make can affect your online quote — may make the process easier, as well. Here are a few things to know before shopping for car insurance online.

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1. Information to have ready before you get a quote

Whether you're buying car insurance at an insurance agent's office or getting a quote online, you may have to provide information such as your driver's license number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or the make, model and year of your vehicle, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). You may also be asked detailed questions about your vehicle (such as its mileage or safety features) in order to receive the most accurate online car insurance quote. It helps to have this information handy when buying car insurance.

2. Compare coverages before you buy

The type and amount of insurance coverage you choose may affect how much you'll pay for car insurance, says the III. Before requesting a car insurance quote, it's a good idea to research the coverages that make sense for your particular situation. If you're unsure of how much or what types of insurance you need, this may be a good starting point:

Additionally, these resources offer more in-depth explanations on car insurance coverages:

3. Deductibles, limits and the cost of an accident

The deductibles and limits you choose affect the cost of your car insurance policy.

Limits refer to the highest total amount your insurance will pay after a covered loss. The higher your policy's limits, the higher your auto insurance premium will be. Most states require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage. However, the III says you may want to increase your liability coverage limit to more than the state requirement. It's important to be aware of your coverage limits so you know how much protection you have in place if you have to file a claim.

A deductible is the amount you pay toward a covered loss before your insurance kicks in. The higher your deductible is, the lower your auto premium will be. Keep in mind, however, that with a higher deductible, you'll end up paying more out of pocket to repair your car if you have a claim

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4. Explore insurance discounts

Insurance companies may offer different car insurance premium discounts. Factors such as your lifestyle and driving habits may help determine what discounts you qualify for, depending on the insurer. According to the III, some discounts may apply for the following:

  • Completing a defensive driving course
  • Maintaining good grades
  • Certain car safety and security features

The III suggests that you get price quotes from at least three insurers when you're shopping around. It's important to make sure each quote is based on the same types of coverage, limits and deductibles so you can make an accurate comparison.

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