A quick survey among friends and family quickly demonstrates the high variability in car insurance rates.
No two people will have the same rate, even if they drive the same vehicle and live in the same zip code.
Auto insurers have many statistics and risk studies that influence their quoted premiums, so to get a reliable quote, you need to supply the necessary information when using a car insurance calculator.
How to Calculate Your Car Insurance
If you compile a list of all the needed information beforehand, it makes the quote gathering process much more manageable. Following, you’ll find a quick rundown of the most requested items.
- Vehicle Information: Include VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), make, model, trim style, and year
- Safety equipment: Use your manual or the manufacturer’s website to create a list of the features on your vehicle
- Personal Information: This encompasses your age, gender, how long you have been licensed, driving history, what type of driving, whether you mostly drive on the highway or in the city, and approximate annual miles
- Location: This includes where you drive and park your vehicle
Insurance companies also offer a variety of discounts to policyholders. To benefit from any or all of these opportunities, be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Do you have any other policies with the company or would you be willing to take out another policy?
- Do you have any teen/student drivers and can you provide school records for honor students?
- Are you willing to pay via e-billing and pay your premium in full?
- Do you own your home?
- Are you a member of the military or another group, such as AARP?
Top Free Car Insurance Calculators
Visit Your State’s Free Rate Comparison Tool
Once you have your background information organized, you are ready to collect estimates.
However, before you begin your search for quotes, either online via a car insurance calculator or through an insurance agent or broker, you should take a little time and visit your state’s Office of Insurance Regulation or Department of Insurance.
This doesn’t have to be in person—most of them have comprehensive websites with auto insurance comparison tools that create instant rate samples based on preset criteria–without the use of your personal information–which means no pestering phone calls or emails days later.
Contact an Insurance Provider Directly
When you are ready to take your quote search to another level, there are two distinct ways of gathering estimates.
First is directly from the insurance company. Insurance providers want you to visit their website, and while they might not provide you with a quote right off the bat, many let you start the process online and then reach back to you via email or phone.
Other companies, such as Esurance, provide an immediate online quote.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are a few insurers whose business model promotes person to person service, so they only provide quotes through an agent.
If you are seriously considering a specific company, these direct quote methods may be a good option for you.
Check Out Online Websites
The second typical online quote comes from free online car insurance calculator websites.
These sites let you enter your personal information one time, and then they create lists of likely providers and their posted rates.
The benefit here lies in seeing all possible quotes side by side.
Comparative Shopping: Getting Quotes from Insurance Companies
Essentially, insurance shopping boils down to comparison shopping.
Regardless of whether you begin the process through an agent or an online tool, you’re going to need to weigh the different factors and choose the best car insurance company for your needs.
The following are a few to pay close attention to:
- Customer surveys and satisfaction studies: J.D. Power publishes annual studies that rate top providers concerning overall customer satisfaction, claims processing, and customer service.
- Complaint Studies: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners posts yearly complaint ratios based upon complaints received vs. premium dollars. Also, the California Complaint Study creates ratios from complaints received vs. actual written policies.
- Financial Strength: Independent rating agencies such as A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors, and Standard and Poor’s provide free credit reports on insurance providers. This way you can make sure your potential insurance provider can survive a large-scale disaster that could result in burdensome claim filings.
If you take the time to evaluate your insurance prospects before you begin the quote process, you can reduce the number of estimates you need to gather.
Also, the use of an online car insurance calculator website may speed up the process.
Once you have your price quotes and the results from the items discussed above, you should have available all the information you need to choose the insurance provider that is the right fit for you.
*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that “timely” information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.