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Comparing auto insurance quotes is easy

One of the best ways to save money on car insurance is to compare quotes. Prices can vary by hundreds of dollars among companies, so time spent getting prices can really pay off.

It's easy to get quotes. EverQuote can match you to insurers that best fit you. And auto insurance quotes are free -- no matter who you get them from.

Types of car insurance

It's good to have an idea of what kinds of auto insurance you want when you're ready to compare car insurance quotes. Here are the main coverage types.

Liability insurance. This is required in most states and is the foundation of auto insurance policies. Liability coverage pays others for accidents you cause, including injuries and property damage. Note that liability insurance does not cover any damage to your own car.

Collision insurance. This pays for damage to your car if you hit something, such as a pole or tree.

Comprehensive insurance. This pays out if your car is stolen. It also covers damage to you car if you hit an animal or if you have damage from flood, fire, hail, vandalism or falling objects (such as a tree branch).

Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance. If you're injured by a driver who has no liability insurance, this coverage pays medical bills. In some states you can also buy a version that covers car damage from an uninsured motorist.

Personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments (MedPay) coverage. These pay for injuries of you and your passengers, no matter who was at fault. Some states require PIP, where it is sometimes called "no-fault insurance."

Rental reimbursement insurance. If your car is in the shop due to an accident covered by your policy, this helps pay for a rental car. It typically has a daily and total maximum that it will pay.

How much auto insurance do you want

Before you set out to get a car insurance quote, have an idea of what levels of coverage you want. The minimum you must buy will be decided by your state. State requirements can include liability insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection (called PIP or no-fault). You may want higher coverage levels for each than what's required.

Here are examples of levels of coverage for liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Your own car insurance need often depends on how many assets you would have at risk in a lawsuit. It also depends on whether you want insurance that will pay out for weather damage, hitting a fence or a stolen car.

Highest level

  • $250,000 per person/ $500,000 per accident bodily injury liability
  • $100,000 property damage liability
  • $250,000 per person/ $500,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist

Typical level

  • $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 property damage liability
  • $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist

Lower level

  • $50,000 per person/ $100,000 per accident bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 property damage liability
  • $50,000 per person/ $100,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist

Minimum level (state requirements might be higher)

  • $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident bodily injury liability
  • $5,000 property damage liability
  • $15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist

What's full coverage car insurance

You may have heard the term "full coverage car insurance." It generally refers to a policy that has liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. That means you have insurance for damage and injuries you cause others (liability), and damage to your own car and theft (collision and comprehensive).

How much will auto insurance cost

The average premium paid for full coverage is about $138 a month, based on premiums reported by EverQuote users. That's based on good drivers with the "typical" level of coverage shown above.

Of course you can spend less by buying less coverage, but you might regret it later if you're in an accident.

How car insurance quotes are calculated

Rates vary so much among companies because they all have their own way of calculating prices. Still, here are factors generally used in an auto insurance quote:

The drivers. Age and driving experience affect quotes. So do moving violations such as speeding tickets. This includes all the licensed drivers in your household.

Past claims and accidents. Having caused accidents and made claims will usually mean higher rates.

How the vehicle is used and where it's parked. Do you use the vehicle for personal or business reasons  Where is it parked at night These typically affect car insurance quotes.

Credit. Poor credit can mean higher auto insurance rates. The insurance industry correlates poor credit to a higher chance that a driver will make a claim. This practice is banned in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

The vehicle. Insurers often use data on past claims on a vehicle like yours to calculate car insurance quotes. If other drivers of your model have made a lot of claims, or the vehicle is expensive to repair, that can be reflected in a car insurance quote.

The cheapest cars to insure

Make and model Annual premium paid
HONDA CR-V $1,620
KIA SOUL $1,680
TOYOTA RAV4 $1,752
FORD F-150 $1,752
Source: EverQuote, based on premiums reported by EverQuote users. See more of the cheapest cars to insure.

Switching car insurance companies

A car insurance policy generally lasts for six or 12 months. But you don't have to wait until the end of the policy to switch companies. Common reasons for switching before the policy is up include life events that also generally lead to a rate change:

  • Moving
  • Buying a new car
  • Getting married or divorced

If you plan to switch insurers at the end of a policy, try not to wait until the last minute. Start to gather auto insurance quotes a week or two before to give yourself time to look at your options. Price isn't the only important factor in choosing a company. You also want good customer service in case you have claim.

You can find customer satisfaction scores in our best car insurance companies rankings.

It's important to proactively cancel your old policy, whether you're at the end of the policy period or in the middle. If your policy is ending, the insurer might renew it automatically, and when you don't pay the bill it could be recorded as a policy lapse. You don't want a lapse on your record.

How to get lower car insurance quotes

No matter where you live or what your driving record and credit history look like, there are ways to get cheap car insurance. Here are some to consider:

Bundle auto and home insurance. That means buying your insurance policies from the same company. The "bundling" discount is usually one of the better car insurance discounts. You can often bundle renters, condo, boat, RV and other policies with auto insurance.

Ask for a review of discounts. Ask your insurance agent to review possible discounts to make sure you're getting all the savings you can.

Do everything electronically. Many insurers offer small discounts for paying by EFT (electronic funds transfer) and receiving bills and policies electronically. That means no more writing checks or getting policies from the mail carrier!

Increase the deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. A deductible is the amount taken out of an insurance check if you make a claim. By raising your deductible you can save money -- as long as you don't mind getting a smaller check if you have a claim. (There's no deductible on liability insurance claims.)

Compare auto insurance quotes from multiple companies. Taking the time to gather multiple quotes can give you the biggest bang for your buck. Because quotes vary so much by company, there is substantial potential savings by comparison shopping.

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