Have you ever gone online to get auto insurance quotes and then had 11 agents call you during the day? If it’s happened to you, you’re certainly not alone.
A lot of the online insurance quoting platforms are lead generation websites disguised as an insurance company or broker. These folks take your information and instantly sell it to an agent who has subscribed to their lead program.
You can certainly get a quote this way, but do you really want a dozen insurance agents calling you to sell you car insurance. And by the way, the will keep calling you until you give them an emphatic NO!
The good news is there are plenty of websites that you can get instant quotes from an insurance broker or company and nothing else will happen except for getting an email from the website you used that is simply offering to help you with your insurance purchase. No phone calls, just an email or maybe two.
There are ways to get the best auto insurance quotes without having to communicate with multiple agents or companies, and in this article, we’ll discuss how to get great auto insurance quotes using tested hacks that will save you money.
The Primary Factors that will affect your Auto Insurance Quotes
You’ve probably heard the term “underwriting.” In simple terms, underwriting is a process of acquiring data about a person, place, or thing in order to determine the amount of risk an insurer is taking by offering to insure that person, place, or thing, and in this case, that means you (and all other drivers that will be listed on your policy) and the vehicle or vehicles you wish to insure.
What the Insurer will want to know about You
Since you own the car, drive the car, and make the insurance premium payments, the insurance company is going to know certain things about you. They’ll also want information about other drivers in your household that will access to the car. Here’s what you can expect to be asked about as far as drivers are concerned:
Age and Driving Experience
It’s no secret that young drivers with minimal driving experience are a higher risk and will pay higher rates than a middle-aged man or woman who has a lot of driving experience. Although it’s not prevalent, there are people (New York City residents for example) that may wait until later in life to buy a vehicle so they will be considered inexperienced as well
What most people don’t know, however, that many vehicle insurance policies begin to go up in price when a person turns 70-years-old. Not because insurers don’t like older drivers but because actuarial data might indicate that older drivers have more accidents than middle-aged drivers.
Additionally, the insurance company will want to know the age of every driver that will be listed on your policy. So if you are 35 and have a 17-year-old son, be ready for some sticker shock.
The Gender of all Drivers
Whether your gender matters when you’re buying insurance depends on the state you live in and the insurer you’re shopping with. We have found that women between the ages of 16 and 24 are likely to about 15% less for car insurance than men in the same age group.
However, we’ve also found that men and women between the ages of 25 and 65 are typically within about 5% of each other and then at age 75 women’s rates begin to be less than men.
Historical data indicates that married couples have fewer accidents than a single person and therefore pay less for car insurance. In fact, many insurance companies offer a discount for newlyweds.
Most everyone understands that an auto insurance company will want to check your driving record to confirm the number of tickets or accidents that you or other drivers on your policy have been charged with. Depending on the insurer, they will ask for your violation history for the last 3 to 5 years. Certainly if your driving record is tarnished with multiple tickets and accidents you will pay much more for your car insurance and in fact, you could even be denied coverage.
Claims History (C.L.U.E Report)
Your claims history plays a large part in establishing your cost of auto insurance. Most accident claims are on your driving record because you got a ticket if you were at fault, but many people submit claims for non-accident reasons such as a cracked windshield, vandalized vehicle, or a stolen vehicle. These claims do not appear on your driving record so your insurance company will order a C.L.U.E. report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange) that contains claim data from all member companies of the exchange.
Most auto insurance companies use your insurance score (your credit score) to determine whether or not you are going to pay your premium promptly. Why you might ask? Because when you don’t pay your bill on time, the insurer has to send you a cancellation notice (late notice) and then when you finally pay your bill late (before your cancel date), the company has to send you a reinstatement notice.
Certainly, a lot of people receive their notices electronically (there’s a discount for that) but many do not. So, if you are constantly paying your bills after the due date, your insurance company is having to send three pieces of mail: the bill itself, the late notice, and the cancellation notice, all of which increases their cost of providing you insurance.
Prior Insurance History
Insurance companies will consider a lapse in coverage between insurance companies a red flag unless you are in the military and were deployed and turned in your tag while you were away. Some companies will not even entertain the idea of insuring your vehicle if you’ve driven your vehicle for any length of time without having it properly insured.
Applicants with a criminal background are going to be considered higher risk than those without a criminal background especially if the crimes were leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular homicide, or driving under the influence. And let’s not forget grand theft auto, that’s a big no-no as well.
Annual Miles Driven
It makes sense that the less you are on the road, the fewer chances you have of being in an accident. Your insurance company will want an estimate of the miles you drive annually and will rate your policy accordingly. By the way, if you are going to offer a low number like 4,000 miles per year, be ready to show proof.
Many car insurance companies will consider your occupation as part of the underwriting data. For example, if you are in real estate, your clients will likely ride in your car when you are showing properties. This increases your liability risk because you could be in an at-fault accident and your clients could be injured or even killed as a result of the car crash.And if all of these are not enough…
Your Garaging Address
Yes, sir, where you park your car matters. A car parked in a locked garage at night is less likely to be stolen or hit by another vehicle than a car parked in an open lot or on the street.
What Insurance Companies will want to know about Your Car
The car portion of the online quote is fairly simple since the VIN tells the insurance company a lot about your car. It even indicates the company it was manufactured in and the color of your car. Here’s the information they’ll ask for other than the VIN.
Year, Make, Model, and Sub-Model
The type of car you drive matters, especially if you will be purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage.
If your car is damaged or a total loss, the insurer is responsible for paying the repair bills (minus your deductible) or replacing your vehicle if it’s deemed a total loss or stolen and not recovered. The amount they are responsible for is known as the “actual cash value” which is determined at the time of the loss.
Even if you are insuring a 2005 Lexus, the insurance company must determine the cost of that car new in 2005 in order to calculate the depreciation to determine its actual cash value in 2019. The value of your car can have a significant impact on your comprehensive and collision rates and the safety features on the car can have a significant impact on your liability rates.
Even if you are not buying comprehensive and collision insurance, the liability rates will be impacted by the car’s safety features.
Finally, your insurer will ask if your car is financed or leased. Typically leased vehicles must carry at least $300,000 in liability coverage which costs more than your state’s minimum, and financed vehicles are usually kept up better than a beater.
Which Coverages would be Best to Carry?
All personal auto policies are sold as a package deal. You can cherry-pick which coverages you want to carry accept for liability insurance which is required by the state in order to register and tag your car, and comprehensive and collision if your car is leased or financed.
Every state has its own minimum liability requirements and the instant quote form and your agent will know what they are when you plug in your zip code.
If you are a first time driver or new to your state, you can confirm your state’s minimum liability insurance online at the Insurance Information Institute’s website.
Most states only require that you carry bodily injury liability and property damage liability but some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist, PIP (in no-fault states), and medpay.Here is a list of coverages that are typically available in the personal auto policy package:
|Bodily Injury Liability||Pays for injuries to other drivers or passengers in an at-fault accident subject to the limits in the policy.|
|Property Damage Liability||Pays for repairs or replacement of another person's vehicle or property during an at-fault accident subject to the limits of the policy.|
|Medical Payments||Medical Payments covers medical expenses for you and other passengers in your vehicle in an accident no matter who's at fault. This coverage will even cover you for injuries sustained in another person's vehicle or as a pedestrian up to the limit in the policy.|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||PIP covers the driver, all passengers, or a pedestrian involved in an accident no matter who's at fault. PIP helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of services, and funeral expenses up to the policy limits. This coverage is typically mandatory in "no-fault" states.|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist||Uninsured/Underinsured motorist covers your medical expenses if the other driver (at-fault) is uninsured or underinsured. Some states also allow uninsured/underinsured property damage that covers your vehicle as well.|
|Comprehensive Coverage||Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle after a non-collision event such as fire, vandalism, theft, or acts of nature subject to your deductible.|
|Collision Coverage||Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident that involves another vehicle or object subject to your deductible.
|Emergency Roadside Assistance||Roadside assistance is available if you are locked out of your vehicle or required roadside assistance like a tire change or fuel for an empty tank. Your coverage for each event is subject to the limit you purchased on your policy.|
|Rental Reimbursement||Rental reimbursement helps pay for rental expenses if you are in an at-fault accident or
hit by an uninsured driver. Most policies will have a limit per-day and per-accident.
What are the Hacks that will save me money on my Auto Insurance?
There are several ways to save money on your car insurance so you might want to print this article so you can refer to it while you’re shopping for car insurance.
We’ll consider the underwriting part of this article and the vehicle part of the article first.
You really can’t do anything about your age but you can take a driving course and an online defensive driving course to help soften the blow of inexperienced driver rates.
Getting tickets will cost you more than just the ticket because your insurance will go up. Obey the driving laws and keep a lookout for other drivers who are driving erratically
Most people’s C.L.U.E. report can hurt them by disclosing comprehensive insurance claims. These claims are usually the result of a cracked windshield, vandalism, and theft. You can mitigate your comp claims by keeping your car parked in a gated lot or garage and never park it overnight on the street.
If your credit score is below average or poor, start taking steps now to improve it. There is a lot of information online that will provide advice about steps you can take to increase your credit score thus lowering your insurance rates (car and home).
If you’re the type of person that has let their car insurance lapse without a legitimate reason, stop doing that! Even if your car needs repairs and you don’t plan to drive it for a few months, keep your insurance in force. The money you save by not making the insurance payments will be far less than you increased insurance costs.
The vehicle you own or are planning to purchase will play a substantial part in your cost of insurance. Stay away from vehicles that lack safety features, convertibles, and performance cars if you want the lowest insurance rates possible. Check out websites like ValuePenguin.comto identify the vehicles that cost the least to insure.
Although we recommend that you buy as much coverage as you can possibly afford, consider going with your state’s minimum liability limits, select a higher deductible for your comp and collision coverage, and stay away from add-ons like pet insurance and identity theft.
Discounts are the most effective way to reduce the cost of car insurance. Your intention going forward is to work at getting every discount possible and try and do business with the companies that offer a lot of them. Here’s a list of the most typical discounts that can substantially reduce your cost of insurance:
- Pay-in-full or Auto-pay
- Electronic documents
- Defensive Driver course
- Driver training
- Multi-policy (bundling)
- New customer
- Good Student
- Claims free and accident-free
- Low annual miles
- Safety features
- Hybrid vehicle
- Affinity purchase (buying through a group like an employer or AARP)
To get the lowest insurance rates possible, do two things, reduce your risk to insurance companies wherever you can, and look for discounts that you can qualify for. For example, if you pay your insurance in full, even if you use a credit card that charges 10 or 15%, you’ll still save money on your car insurance because most companies offer a 20% discount if you’ll pay in advance.
You cannot control your age and you’re certainly not going to get married for insurance reasons, but you can improve your credit score, drive safer so you won’t get tickets, and buy a car that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to insure.
Finally, stay away from online quote engines that actually lead generation platforms, instead go directly to a company’s website or use a platform like QuoteWizard, Gabi, or The Zebra.