Updated: March 2017
Q: I'm shopping for a new vehicle, and was wondering: Can I get an insurance quote on a vehicle before purchasing it? Or, do I have to wait until I buy the car?
A: Yes, it's possible to get an estimated car insurance quote while you're still shopping around, says Kristine Kiefer-Vik, an Allstate agency owner in Oakdale, Minnesota. Though the quote will only be an estimate, it can provide you with a strong indication of the price you're likely to pay once you actually own the vehicle, adds Kiefer-Vik.
In fact, it can be to your advantage to shop around and compare estimated car insurance quotes while you're considering which vehicle to purchase, since it can help inform your overall costs of owning the vehicle, says Kiefer-Vik. And the Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests would-be buyers compare at least a few quotes prior to making a decision.
"Having a baseline understanding of car insurance costs through quote estimates can help you better choose which vehicle to purchase," says Kiefer-Vik.
But you can't actually buy car insurance for a car you don't yet own.
"You can't get insurance coverage until you actually own the vehicle. We can give you an estimated quote, but we can't sell you coverage until you purchase the car," says Kiefer-Vik.
There are a number of factors involved in calculating a car's potential insurance costs, so the more information you can provide your agent, the more likely you will receive an accurate estimate, says Kiefer-Vik. Be prepared to provide your agent with as much information as possible on the cars you're considering.
"I recommend prospective buyers have the car's make, model and vehicle identification number or serial number available for the quote. Other factors, such as your driving record or neighborhood, may also affect the estimate," says Kiefer-Vik.
According to Kiefer-Vik, some of the factors that might affect your estimate include:
- Your driving record
- Demographic data
- The car's make or model
- The car's accident or incident history (the VIN or serial number is most helpful here)
- Any discounts for which you may qualify, such as homeowner or good driving record discounts
A car's safety rating, too, can affect its insurance costs, and Kiefer-Vik recommends consulting with websites such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to better understand your intended car's safety profile and the potential impact on insurance cost.
"Just as not all drivers are the same, not all cars are made equal," she says. "Some models are safer than others, and you'll see that reflected in your quote."
Above all, says Kiefer-Vik, it's important to be thorough in your search for a new car, and your insurance agent can help you make better-informed purchase decisions.
"It's our job to help you understand your insurance options. The closer you work with us, the more accurate a quote we can provide you to help inform your car buying decision," says Kiefer-Vik.