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5 Things to Know When Shopping for Car Insurance Online

Updated: February 2016

No doubt about it, the Internet has made shopping for 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.

Woman on tablet shopping for car insurance.

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Have Information Handy

Whether you're buying car insurance from an agent or getting a quote online, you may have to provide information such as your driver's license number 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 shopping for car insurance.

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Compare Coverages

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

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

Think About Deductibles and Limits

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. One area where you might want to consider increasing your limits: liability coverage. Most states require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage. The III suggests you increase that limit and purchase more than the state requirement.

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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Explore Discounts

Insurance companies may offer different car insurance premium discounts. The III suggests that you get price quotes from at least three insurers when you're shopping around. 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

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Talk with an Agent

Choosing your auto insurance provider is an important decision. From online customer service to prompt claims handling, you need to be comfortable with the company you choose. Your best bet is talking with a local insurance agent — or better yet, meeting with them in person.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

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