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Understanding Your Online Car Insurance Quote

Getting a fast online car insurance quote is easy—it's getting an accurate online quote that can require a bit of work and preparation on your part, and may take more time. But, it's entirely possible. When shopping for competitively priced auto insurance, your best bet is to have easy access to the following information that will determine how much you pay and what level of coverage you'll get for that price.

Woman reading information about her online quote

Review your driving record.

When you submit an online car insurance application, the insurer obtains your official driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles database of your home state. This record tells the company how many prior accidents you have been involved in and about any convictions you have. Taking this information into consideration is key to helping a car insurer provide you with a quote that's accurate. Since you'll be asked questions about your driving history, it's important that you not leave anything out—even if it's something you'd rather not admit. Order a copy of your driving record and review it prior to submitting an online application. If you see anything on your record that's erroneous or that should have fallen off by now, take steps to address this with the DMV so that your record will accurately reflect your driving habits

Know how much insurance you need ahead of time.

Establishing coverage limits is key to determining the cost of buying car insurance. For example, if you only want the bare minimum state requirement for bodily injury liability, your quote will likely be far lower than if you were to opt for the maximum allowable amount. If you're not sure how much insurance you need, first review your state's requirements, then consider the following with regard to some of the most common insurance coverages available:

  • Liability coverage pays for bodily injury and property damages resulting from an accident you caused. This should be set at an amount that will protect you from having to pay out of pocket if those damages exceed your insurance limit.

  • Medical payments coverage pays medical expenses incurred by you or your passengers, regardless of who's at fault in an accident. If you already have good health insurance coverage, you may only need a minimal level of coverage. But if you're not enrolled in an existing health benefits plan, you may want to select higher medical payment coverage limits.

  • Uninsured motorists insurance isn't always mandatory, but it could come in handy if you cross paths with the one in seven uninsured drivers that the Insurance Research Council says are on the road today. This type of insurance usually pays for damage caused by the uninsured driver.

  • Collision coverage pays for damages done to your car, but if your car isn't worth much and you don't owe any money on it, spending too much on this coverage might be ill advised.

  • Comprehensive coverage pays for any losses that don't come as a result of a collision, like a fire, theft or vandalism.

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How a car insurance quote is determined.

Once you've provided all of the necessary information, you'll be given a quote for coverage. The quote you receive is impacted by the following factors:

  • Your driving record.
  • Your past insurance claims history.
  • Your vehicle type and value.
  • Included safety features in your car, which could effectively limit the extent of bodily damage you suffer in an accident.
  • Included security features in your car, such as anti-theft alarms or devices, which are likely to have an impact on preventing your car from being stolen.
  • Where you live, which could directly influence the safety of your car with respect to theft and certain natural disasters.
  • How often you drive, which tells an insurance company how frequently your car is exposed to risk.
So, when you're getting your online car insurance quote, it's important to provide complete, accurate information to make sure you receive a good quote.

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Published: September 2012

Coverage subject to terms, conditions and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate New Jersey Property and Casualty Insurance Company.  © 2015 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.

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