What you need to get an instant car insurance quote
Last updated: September 2023
Have your personal information ready
Some insurers use personal information as factors to determine the price of your auto policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Personal information can include things like:
- Your address, which may help determine your vehicle's exposure to certain risks specific to your area, such as severe weather.
- Your Social Security number.
- Your driver's license number, to prove you're a licensed driver.
- Your vehicle's make, model and year.
- Your car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Your car's odometer (mileage) reading.
- Details on any security features, like car alarms or GPS anti-theft devices. Some security features may land you a discount on your car insurance policy.
- Whether your car has safety features like front-and side-impact airbags or anti-lock brakes. Same as above, you might earn a discount for being safer.
Your driving history
How you use your vehicle—and your driving record—may also factor into your car insurance quote. You might want to gather notes on the following before getting an online quote:
- How many miles you drive per year (can be an average). According to the III, the more you drive, the higher your possibility of getting into an accident and paying more for an auto policy.
- Specific details on moving violations and accidents of note that appear on your driving record, according to the III. You'll also likely be asked to provide dates and details. To make the process as fast and as easy as possible, consider ordering a copy of your driving record from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
Five Moments to shop for car insurance
Now that you know what information to have handy when shopping for insurance, it's also helpful to know when it is a good time to actually shop around. Here are five moments that might be a good time to look for car insurance.
- Insuring your first car
It's a great feeling to adjust the seat and steering wheel "just so" on your very first car. However, that excitement also comes with some significant financial responsibilities. It's important to be sure your car insurance adequately covers possible damage to your vehicle—as well as other people's property.
- Evaluating your finances
It makes sense to reassess your finances from time to time—and that may include shopping around for a lower rate on car insurance elsewhere.
- Getting married
You might qualify for a multi-car discount if you and your new spouse merge your car insurance policies. It could make sense to review both of your policies and see if it helps save you any money to switch to a single, shared auto policy.
- Adding a teen driver
It's actually possible to insure your teenage driver without breaking the bank. It may seem tempting to eliminate certain types of coverage and increase deductibles. But those methods may not be the smartest way to save money with a teen on your policy. Consider adding your teen to your existing family policy to help cut down on the cost of car insurance.
- Insuring your older car
If your reliable, older car is still running strong, you may be able to save some money on your car insurance. If you own the car outright (without an outstanding loan), you might trim your insurance costs by adjusting some coverages or increasing your deductible.
Remember, having all of your information on hand will make getting multiple car insurance quotes online that much faster and easier. If you're already insured and have questions about your policy, be sure to reach out to your insurance company.
Know the car insurance coverages you may need
What coverages you choose—along with their limits and any deductibles—may directly affect your online car insurance quote. If you're not sure how much insurance you need, first review your state's requirements. Here are some of the common coverages you may want to read up on before you start your quote:
- Liability coverage
If you cause a car accident, this coverage may help pay for the other person's medical bills or property damage.
- Collision coverage
If your car is damaged in an accident, this coverage may help pay for repairs.
- Comprehensive coverage
This coverage may help pay to repair damage to your vehicle that isn't from a collision. Incidents include things like fire, theft or vandalism.
- Medical payments coverage
This coverage may help pay medical expenses for you or your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Similar to medical payments coverage, PIP helps pay for you and your passengers' medical bills after a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
If you're involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this coverage may help pay for your medical bills or property damage (depending on the coverage available in your state).
Also, make sure to choose the same coverages and deductibles for each quote, so that you get the most accurate comparisons possible.
How much does an instant car insurance quote cost?
Instant car insurance FAQs
As mentioned above, it's good to have pertinent information handy to quickly get an insurance policy. You'll typically need the following information:
- A valid driver’s license
- The vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The address where the vehicle will be parked or stored
- Social Security number
There’s also information that may help you earn discounts on your premium. For instance, if you’re a homeowner or an honor student, you may be able to lower your rate.