Online Car Insurance Quoting Questions: What You Need and Why
Quote shopping for car insurance may seem complex; but in reality, it’s simple when you break it down. Insurance companies need specific information to provide an accurate quote.
Understanding what details you must have at your fingertips, and why car insurance companies ask those questions, will simplify the process.
Questions About Your Vehicle
How many miles do you drive each day?
Car insurance companies want to know how far you drive on a daily basis, because the more you drive, the greater your chance of getting into an accident. When you’re at a high risk for accidents, you pose a higher risk to the insurance company, so you’ll likely pay higher premiums.
Do you own your car outright?
If you lease a car or have a lien against it, you may be required to hold both comprehensive and collision insurance in addition to the state-required liability coverage.
Also, you may be a good candidate for gap insurance, which will cover the difference between how much you owe and the car’s current value in the event that it gets totaled.
Do you use the car for business?
A car used for business might require commercial insurance, so you may be redirected to get a commercial car insurance quote.
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Is your vehicle equipped with safety and anti-theft devices?
Certain safety and anti-theft add-ons can reduce the premium for your insurance because they reduce your risk of both theft and injury. When going through the quote process, be prepared to provide specifics about these features in each of your vehicles to help you get a lower rate.
How many cars are you insuring?
The company will need to know how many vehicles you’re insuring so they can give you an accurate estimate. Also, insuring multiple vehicles can get you a discount on your respective rates. Note that there may be a maximum number of vehicles per policy.
How many licensed drivers are in your household?
Everyone you live with theoretically has access to your car, so your insurance company considers the other drivers a rating factor.
Do you wish to exclude any drivers?
If you live with someone who has a bad driving record, excluding them from your policy can help reduce the cost. However, if there’s any chance this driver will use your vehicle, this is not recommended. Also, some states prohibit drivers from making exclusions.
Does your vehicle carry a salvage title?
Many insurance companies will not cover vehicles with salvage titles until full repairs are complete.
Questions About Driving and Insurance History
How many violations and tickets are on your record?
Insurance companies base your premium rates on how much risk they absorb by insuring you. Your driving record indicates the level of risk you pose, by showing them your accident and violation history. On average, the company will only be interested in violations from the last 3-5 years.
Who is your current insurance company?
Your current carrier may affect your rate. Some insurance companies only provide policies to drivers with clean records and good credit. If your current insurance company is considered a high-risk company, you may be quoted a higher premium because you would be considered a high-risk driver. Conversely, if your current provider insures primarily low-risk drivers, you may get a better rate.
Additionally, coverage gaps are another risk indicator, so if you’re currently uninsured, this may affect your premium as well.
When does your current policy expire?
Some companies view early shopping as an indicator of responsibility. So if you are shopping for insurance early (e.g., 7 days or more before your policy’s expiration date), you might be eligible for a discount.
What is your birth date?
Young drivers/drivers with no or few years of experience are at higher risk for accidents and so pay higher premiums.
What is your gender?
Gender also factors into the risk equation. Women have fewer accidents on the whole and generally pay less than their male counterparts.
Are you married?
Married drivers tend to get lower rates because the insurance companies view married drivers as more responsible and less likely to get into accidents. You may also qualify for a discount if you’re in a registered domestic partnership.
What is your Social Security number?
Your SSN is used to pull your driving record in order to determine your risk. Depending on your state, your credit may also be pulled. Do note that when an insurance company views your credit history, it is considered a “soft hit” and does not affect your score.
Do you own a home?
Homeowners are considered more responsible by car insurance companies and often get lower rates as a result. You may also be eligible for a discount if you bundle your homeowner’s insurance and your car insurance. Homeowners may also want to consider higher liability limits to protect their assets.
What do you do for a living?
Certain professions are associated with lower accident rates, and vice versa. For this reason, your job can actually affect your quote.
How Many Quotes Should You Obtain?
The more quotes you acquire, the better your odds of finding an affordable rate that meets your needs. The difference between looking 1 quote and 3 quotes could be several hundred dollars in insurance premium savings.
It’s important to remember that different car insurance companies will weight certain factors differently. For example, one company might give more consideration to your profession than another company. For this reason, it’s important to look at multiple companies.
Thanks to the Internet, it’s much easier to shop for insurance than it used to be. You can easily compare insurance rates online from multiple providers, without spending a lot of time.
What Is a Car Insurance Quote?
Your car insurance quote is the estimated rate—or premium—you’ll have with a certain car insurance company based on the information you provide them.
Remember, your quote is just that—a quote. It’s an estimate subject to change based on complete and accurate information.
Required Information for an Insurance Quote
Generally, when calculating your car insurance quote, agents or online quoting applications will ask you questions about the following categories:
Do you own your car outright?
What is your car’s make and model?
How often do you drive your car?
Do you use your car for business?
How many cars will you insure?
Does your car have a salvage title?
How many traffic violations have you had?
How many points are on your driving record?
How many at-fault accidents have you had?
How old are you?
What’s your birth date?
What’s your gender?
What’s your Social Security number?
Do you own a home?
Are you married?
What’s your occupation?
How many drivers are in your household?
Will you exclude any drivers from your policy?
Auto insurance history:
Do you currently have car insurance?
Who is your current auto insurance provider?
When is your policy set to expire?
Remember, these are just some of the questions you can expect. Each insurance company has its own system for determining rates and therefore has its own criteria for required information.
See “Comparing Quotes” below for even more information that can help determine your car insurance quote and premium.
Comparing car insurance quotes is crucial. When shopping around for car insurance, never stick with one company; always get quotes from several companies.
No two auto insurance companies are the same, and you could miss out on some serious discounts if you only apply for a quote with one. Try comparing at least 3 car insurance quotes—more if you have time.
Remember, once you settle on a company, it’s smart to continue checking quotes periodically. Always consider life-changing events that warrant comparing new car insurance quotes.
Some situations that might merit shopping around include:
Typically, mature drivers (usually 25 and older) get lower quotes than younger drivers.
Buying a new car (or a “new-to-you” car).
Rates can change substantially if you’re moving from an urban area to a rural area, or vice-versa.
Getting married or having children.
Adding a teen driver to your policy.
Buying a new home.
Some car insurance companies offer discounts for “bundling” different types of coverage together.
Improved credit score.
Because some companies use credit scores to determine insurance premiums, a major boost in your score could get you a lower quote.
Filing insurance claims.
Sometimes, filing a claim increases your premium, which means you could shop around for a lower quote; likewise, going a long period of time without filing a claim could make you eligible for good driver rewards programs.
Getting a traffic citation or being involved in an at-fault accident.
Both situations can increase your premium and prompt you to shop around for a lower quote; similarly—as mentioned above—going a while without either of these incidents could make you eligible for discounts.
Each of these situations could increase or decrease your premiums, but don’t expect your car insurance company to automatically know about them—especially the ones that could get you a discount!
Comparing quotes after one of these life-changing events could get you a lower premium.
When Quotes Don’t Match Premiums
Be honest when applying for a car insurance quote; more often than not, insurance agents do their research and learn about determining factors such as your credit score and traffic violations. If you’re not honest, you could end up getting a much lower quote than what your final insurance rate reflects.
Not sure about your driving history? Consider ordering a motor vehicle report to make sure you’re up to speed on traffic citations, at-fault accidents, and your current driver license status.
Ask About Discounts
Always ask about any car insurance discounts that might apply to you.
As mentioned above, no two insurance companies are the same, and some will offer discounts for factors like age, location, and a great credit score, where others will not. This is just another reason why it’s important to shop around with several car insurance companies rather than settling for the first one you come across.
Like death and taxes, car insurance is unavoidable if you want to keep your vehicle on the road and the right side of the law.
Fortunately, calling round dozens of insurers for a quote has been consigned to history — with GoCompare you only need to fill out a single form with your personal information, details of your car and any extra drivers you want to put on your policy.
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How to get a car insurance quote
If you know your number plate it’ll save you time, but if not just choose your make and model and you’re on your way to quotes galore.
Next, you’ll need to let us know:
Your car’s value
How much no-claims bonus you’ve amassed
Your annual mileage
Usage — social, commuting or business
Quotes that cater to you
Once you’ve got some quotes to look at, you can narrow things down a bit if you know exactly what you want:
Choose your voluntary excess
Opt to protect your no-claims bonus
Decide whether to pay monthly or annually
Change any of these and you’ll get a fresh set of prices to fit your new answers.
Whether you need comprehensive insurance, third party fire and theft or third party only for just the one car or many, it’s easy to get the cover you need.
You don’t need to take our word for it either — when you get your quotes they come along with helpful information and star ratings from financial researcher Defaqto, so you’ll see exactly what you’re buying.
Need to know more about car insurance?
We’re committed to keeping you well-informed and on the road, so if you’re puzzled by any aspect of your policy, roll up the door to our Car insurance garage for guides, tips and help on all things motoring and car insurance.
Did you know…?
67% of motorists pay the renewal price, potentially missing out on cheaper car insurance premiums
32% of drivers have been with their current insurer for three years or more
Telematics (black box) policies, women’s car insurance, older motorists, modified cars, young drivers, classic cars, and learner drivers – it’s all here.
There’s also plenty to read and delight on wider motoring issues.
Vehicle security, flood cover, optional extras on your insurance, fronting, crash-for-cash, how quotes are calculated, claim rejections, how driving convictions impact on premiums and money-saving tips — peruse at your leisure.