How to Shop for Car Insurance Online
If you’ve ever shopped for car insurance, it’s likely that you began by seeking out at least one online quote. This makes sense because online quotes are quick and easy: enter your information, find the cheapest option, and contact that provider to purchase. Insurance is a complicated product, however, and the quote process is not as straightforward as it first may seem. Here are some insider tips to keep in mind when seeking online quotes.
1. Don’t “Self-Diagnose”
Insurance is complex — so complex that even insurance agents continuously need to educate themselves on the latest trends and offerings. Accordingly, simply identifying the type and amount of coverage you’d like to get a quote for can be tricky in and of itself. And if you don’t choose the coverage correctly, the quote isn’t useful.
2. Protect Your Information
An online quote is one of the easiest ways for your name to end up on an insurance agent’s sales-call list. Unless the quote form you fill out specifically gives you the option to turn down being contacted, expect many calls or emails within the next week.
3. Review Coverage
Online car insurance quotes can give you a fairly accurate price for your collision and comprehensive coverage, but liability — arguably the most important aspect of coverage — is much harder to accurately quote without detailed personal information. The same goes for underinsured motorist coverage, which is another vital protection.
4. Check for Extras
Each insurance provider offers extra “bells and whistles” that separate their policies from the competition’s, such as Accident Forgiveness and Diminishing Deductibles. These extras can provide a lot of extra value, and are difficult to evaluate when comparing online quotes.
5. Beware of Bait-And-Switch Schemes
If a price you are quoted online seems too good to be true, it probably is. These “lowball” quotes for dubious coverage are often just a way to grab your contact information, and the agents who eventually call you will try to upsell you to a much pricier policy.
6. Use AAA Washington’s Rate Comparison Tool
That all said, people are now conditioned to shop for goods and services online, and the insurance industry has evolved to give folks that convenience. There’s nothing wrong with researching rates online. Online quotes can be helpful and convenient for getting ballpark costs of comprehensive and collision coverage from a range of insurance providers. But you should exercise caution and only use online tools from a reliable source. For that reason, AAA Washington has rolled out a rate tracking tool where you can obtain quotes from a few of our carriers. Find the tool here.
Before you commit to a carrier, however, you should contact a trusted insurance agent directly. These experts can help you navigate the many complex options and find the coverage that offers you the best protection at the best value.
– Written by Matt Forrest, last updated in December 2022.