Are you in the market for auto insurance? Whether you’re switching carriers or buying car insurance for the first time, it's essential to do your research and compare rates before you decide.

Fortunately, modern car insurance shopping is easy. But remember: not all car insurance policies are created equal, so be sure to ask lots of questions and read the fine print before signing up.

By doing some simple research and comparing quotes from different providers, you can find the best policy for your needs and budget. Let’s break down how to shop for car insurance and the most important things to look for while you shop.

3 SIMPLE STEPS TO SHOP FOR AUTO INSURANCE

1. Ensure you have everything you need.

Car insurance companies need several details before they can secure your plan — or even create an accurate quote. Here’s what you’ll need to collect:

  • Names and dates of birth for all drivers on the policy
  • Driver’s license numbers for all drivers on the policy
  • Vehicle’s make and model
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) for the vehicle
  • Address where the vehicle is kept
  • Current policy (if applicable)

How are auto insurance rates calculated?

Insurance companies use the information above, along with driving records, insurance history, marital status, highest level of education, claims history, how the vehicles are used and even gender, to create a quote to insure your vehicle.

2. Decide what coverage you’ll need.

Each auto insurance quote should reflect the exact limits of coverage you want to get an accurate comparison of prices.

Not sure what limits you need? Start by looking at your current coverage and finding similar policies. That way, you'll know you're comparing quotes on the same level playing field.

If you don’t currently have car insurance, inquire directly with insurance agents, who should be able to give you both a recommendation for coverage, along with an auto insurance quote.

Once you've decided on coverage, you can start shopping around for the best deal. Word of warning here: don’t sacrifice coverage for the price. The cheapest option isn't always the best option and sometimes, it pays to spend a little more for peace of mind (and better coverage).

Read more: Car insurance lingo a little confusing? Check out The Ultimate Auto Insurance Glossary.

3. Shop around and compare insurance companies and policies.

When it comes to car insurance, it's essential to compare quotes from multiple carriers to get the best possible rate. Most insurers offer discounts for things like safe driving, good credit, and bundling policies, so it's worth considering all of your options before deciding.

However, each insurer will have its own set of discounts, so do your research before committing to a policy. By gathering quotes from multiple carriers, you can be sure that you're getting the best possible deal on car insurance.

Simply gather online quotes from the agencies that feel like the best fit for you or, better yet, work with a reputable insurance broker which can compare multiple car insurance company quotes.

Choose the policy and company that makes the most sense for you and your budget, lifestyle, and needs.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR CAR INSURANCE?

Though everyone has certain priorities with insurance (perhaps you want a low premium or maybe you want to ensure you have roadside assistance), there are some key items that are non-negotiables for all insured drivers.

The most important things to look for when shopping for auto insurance include: state requirements, potential discounts, and how claims affect your premium. Let’s dive into each one.

State Requirements

Depending on your state's requirements, you may be required to have certain levels of liability coverage to drive legally. There are two primary components of liability insurance — bodily injury and property damage.

Bodily injury liability coverage pays for damages to others in the event you injure someone in an accident. Property damage covers damages to another person's car or other property.

Additionally, many states also require that drivers have uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage to protect them if they are involved in an accident with a driver who does not carry sufficient insurance.

Overall, liability coverage is an essential part of car insurance and plays a crucial role in protecting drivers on the road.

Potential Discounts

It just makes good sense to take advantage of any and all potential discounts available to you with your car insurance policy.

During the shopping process, don’t forget to inquire: does the insurance carrier offer any discounts? As we mentioned, many car insurance companies offer discounts to customers who meet specific criteria.

For example, many insurers provide a safe driver discount to customers with a clean driving record. Other standard discounts include discounts for bundling car insurance with different types of insurance, such as homeowner or life insurance. Additionally, you may see discounts for bundling multiple vehicles with the same carrier.

Many companies also offer discounts to customers who pay their premiums in full or sign up for automatic payment. Other insurance carriers will offer discounts to customers who take a safe driving course or don’t drive very often.

To find out if you qualify for any car insurance discounts, contact your insurer and ask about available discounts. You may be surprised at how much you can save simply by asking for a discount!

How Claims Affect Your Premium

When you’re involved in a car accident, your priorities are your own safety, along with the safety of anyone else involved. Once everyone is out of harm's way, you’ll exchange insurance information with the other driver and, in many cases, file a claim with your car insurance company.

At this point, you may be wondering how this will affect your premium. The answer depends on several factors; including the severity of the accident, who was at fault, and whether you have any accidents or violations on your record.

In some cases, your premium may not increase at all. In others, your rates may go up slightly. However, if you have multiple accidents or violations, you can expect your rates to increase significantly.

Some car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, which means that your rates will not go up after your first accident. Before you purchase car insurance, be sure to ask about this feature. That way, you’ll be prepared if and when you need to file a claim.


Now that you have a better idea of the steps involved in car insurance shopping, along with what’s important, get started with your policy search!

If you need help finding the best car insurance coverage for the best price, start by speaking to a SimplyIOA agent at 833.872.4467 or get an auto insurance quote online now.