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How To Shop For Car Insurance

September 11, 2020

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While car insurance shopping isn’t as fun as buying a new outfit, it can save you a lot of money. 

Today, we’re going to help you find car insurance that works better for you so you can get the best deal.

Where should I look?

There are three main types of car insurance companies: national, local, and pay-per-mile. 

It’s up to you to decide which type makes the most sense for you.

And always shop around for the best deal.

National companies

Who it’s best for: Name-brand shoppers

How to find it: A quick Google search will bring up many national companies, like Geico, State Farm, Nationwide, and Allstate.

Local companies

Who it’s best for: Local shoppers and deal hunters

How to find it: Search online for auto insurance near you. This should bring up smaller companies based in your area.

Pay-per-mile companies

Who it’s best for: Low-mileage drivers

How to find it: Look into Metromile or Mile Auto, or do an online search for pay-per-mile auto insurance. Nationwide and Allstate also have pay-per-mile programs in some states.

What kind of coverage do I need?

The type of car insurance you need depends on which state (or states) you live or drive in. 

For example, if you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, you aren’t required to keep car insurance. 

For all other states, though, you need some types of car insurance. 

And even if it’s not required, you may want car insurance anyway to avoid a hefty repair bill in case of an accident.

The three main types of coverage are:

  • Liability insurance: covers damage to other people, their vehicle, or their property if you’re at fault for an accident 

  • Collision insurance: covers damage to your car, no matter who’s at fault 

  • Comprehensive insurance: covers damage not caused by an accident (wind, hail, vandalism, theft, fire)

Liability is the only insurance required in most states. Full coverage usually means you have both liability and collision insurance. 

Find out from your state’s motor vehicle agency what minimum coverage it requires you to have, and then decide if it makes sense to add on any extra coverage. 

If you lease or finance your car, the lender often asks you to get additional insurance.

Finding the best car insurance rate

Each month, you’ll pay a premium, an amount you owe to hold the policy. 

To get the best premium, ask for quotes from at least three companies. 

Before you can get a quote, you’ll need to provide:

  • Your car’s make, model, and year

  • Your car’s VIN number, which is a 17-digit number located on your dashboard.

  • The number of miles you drive per day, on average

  • Your age and gender

  • How many accidents you have had in the last few years

Once you get the quotes, make sure you can afford the premium.

Then, look at the deductible, which is the amount you have to pay when you file a claim before coverage kicks in. If the deductible is $1,500, you need to be able to afford that amount before insurance helps you out with coverage.

Finally, read what the insurance policy covers. Never skip over the fine print. If not, speak with an agent to adjust the quote.

Get a deal on car insurance

There are many ways to get discounts on car insurance. 

Try bundling renter’s or homeowner’s insurance with your car insurance to get a better deal. Often, companies are happy to shave a bit off your premium if you already have a plan with them for other coverage.

Also, look for multi-car discounts. If you insure more than one car through the same company, they might be willing to lower your rate.

If you’ve been driving for a few years with no accidents, you may get a good driver discount as well. 

Save on your car insurance

By getting quotes from different car insurance companies and asking for discounts, you can pay less to insure your car. 

Switch to the company that makes the most sense, both in terms of coverage and price. 

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).
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Tiffany Verbeck

Tiffany Verbeck

Tiffany Verbeck is a personal finance freelance writer and podcaster. You can find her full portfolio and the latest episodes of The Poor Me Podcast at

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