How to Buy Cheap Auto Insurance Online in 15 Minutes

by Nick Versaw Updated December 7th, 2021
Friends driving after learning how to find cheap car insurance online

OK, OK, we get it. You’re not interested in saving money on car insurance by plugging telematics into your car, taking a defensive driving course, or calling 5 different companies. You don’t have time for that. What you need is to buy cheap auto insurance, and you need it right now.

Ready to learn how to find cheap car insurance? Let’s do this.

What is a Car Insurance Quote?

Every car insurance company invites you to get a “free quote in minutes” on their website, but what exactly is a car insurance quote?

In short, a car insurance quote is an estimate of how much your car insurance will cost based on the information you provide. Remember when you get a quote, it’s not the final price, or you agreeing to use them as your carrier. You can get quotes from as many auto insurance companies as you want, so feel free to quote crazy to find the best rate.

What You Need to Find Cheap Car Insurance Quotes Online

When shopping around for cheap car insurance quotes online, you’ll need a few pieces of crucial information to understand what goes into calculating your final premium. This includes some of these basics:

  • Basic information: You’ll have to provide your name, address, date of birth, and occupation.
  • Driver’s license: Driver’s license information for you and anyone else you plan to have on the policy.
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN): Make sure you have the VIN, whether the car is owned or leased, and note any safety features in the vehicle.
  • Annual and current vehicle mileage: Note how often you drive and the purpose (commuting, pleasure, work).
  • Driving history: What’s your driving history for the past five years? Have a list of any traffic violations, tickets, or accidents.
  • Coverage needed: Choose the amount of coverage you need or list the coverage you currently have.

How Does Compare.com Know Who Has the Cheapest Auto Insurance?

There’s no single company that offers the cheapest car insurance for every person. Each car insurance company has its ways of judging risk and setting rates. One company’s quote could be hundreds of dollars less — or more — than another’s. So simply asking, “Who has the cheapest car insurance?” won’t get you anywhere. You need to run the numbers for yourself and compare them.

You can trust Compare.com to give you the most accurate and affordable car insurance quotes because we’re impartial (we don’t favor one insurer over another), and we’re free (we’ll never charge you to compare quotes). It’s also the quickest way to get multiple quotes because entering and re-entering your info on car insurers’ sites will take hours.

No one has that time to spend shopping for car insurance, so we’ve done the legwork for you. With one single online form, you’re given access to multiple, accurate quotes from licensed auto insurance companies across the nation. You only need to enter your driver and vehicle information once to receive accurate quotes instead of ballpark ranges.

In addition, Compare.com only provides quotes from licensed providers approved by each state’s Department of Insurance, so you’ll never have to worry about getting scammed.

4 Steps to Find Cheap Car Insurance Online

So, you’re ready to start searching for the right insurance provider online. You’ve got your personal info, car details, and your game face. But wait, what should you do next?

You didn’t think we were going to leave you hanging, did you? We know you’re just dying to start finding cheap car insurance online with Compare.com, so we’ve put together a step-by-step guideline on how to do it. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Enter some basic info on Compare.com.

Start on our auto insurance comparison page. Enter your ZIP code and hit “Start Comparing.” In some states, a little box will pop up that asks, “Want to save time?” If you say “Yes,” Compare.com may be able to speed up the process by finding your info for you. Then you just have to enter some basic information about things like:

  • Where you live
  • The car you drive
  • Your marriage and employment status
  • Your current car insurance

See, that didn’t take long!

Step 2: Choose the coverage you want for cheap auto insurance

It’s easy to get confused by coverage limits. How much bodily injury coverage do you need? What about collision/comprehensive? Don’t get overwhelmed. If your goal is to find the most affordable car insurance, you may opt for state minimum coverage. This is the least (i.e., cheapest) auto insurance you can carry in your state and still drive legally.

If your car is anywhere above total beater status, you should probably opt for collision/comprehensive coverage. To lower your premium, you can choose a higher deductible (if you can afford a higher out-of-pocket payment). Also, skip extras like rental car coverage and towing. While these are good to have, they’ll increase your insurance costs.

Step 3: Compare quotes to see who has the cheapest car insurance

In about 30 seconds, you’ll see several quotes pop up from different insurance companies. The very cheapest car insurance quotes may not be the best ones for you, however. Take a few minutes to compare what’s offered. If one insurer includes free windshield repairs with no deductible, that’s a nice perk. Or you may feel more comfortable with a big-name insurer instead of a small, regional one. However, there are plenty of reasons to go with a smaller insurance company.

Also, when you’re comparing cheap auto insurance online, it’s important to look at how much you can save by paying upfront. One company, for example, might offer a quote of $62 per month plus a $62 down payment to pay as you go vs. $56 per month if you pay upfront. Six bucks extra per month is no big deal, or so you think. But when you do the math, you spend just $676 per year upfront vs. $806 to pay as you go.

Step 4: Buy cheap car insurance online

Once you’ve found the quote and coverage you’re comfortable with, go for it! Some companies let you check out online just by clicking the button next to your Compare.com quote. Others ask you to call an advisor — just click the green button to get in touch. A rep for the insurance company will be able to see your quote and confirm your rates.

Now you have cheap auto insurance! We told you it was easy. But don’t stop there. The best way to keep your rates low is to shop around every 6-12 months and see if you can find a better deal. You may also want to increase your coverage if you need more protection for your car and assets. Drive safe!

Other Ways to Get Cheap Auto Insurance

Friends in car talking about how to find cheap car insurance Of course, everyone wants to know all the different ways to get cheap auto insurance, but it’s not always easy to find affordable rates. You want to both understand what impacts your rates and what you can do (if anything) to keep yours low.

Understand What Impacts Your Insurance Premium

While you can’t control all of the factors that impact your insurance premium, understanding them will help in your search for affordable car insurance. Here are a few of the factors that affect how much you pay for car insurance every month.

Your Address

Due to each state’s varying rules and regulations, your address has a significant impact on your insurance premium. While states like Florida or Louisiana are known for their high car insurance rates, states like Maine and Iowa offer residents much lower insurance premiums.

It doesn’t stop at the state level. Auto insurers pay close attention to your zip code when calculating your insurance rates. If you live in a more rural area with less crime, your rates will be lower. But if you live in an urban area with higher traffic accidents or thefts, you can expect to pay more for car insurance.

Unfortunately, besides moving, there’s not much you can do in this area to lower your rates. If you’re planning to move in the near future, it might be worth it to do some research on data related to crime rates and traffic accidents to see how this will affect your premium.

Your Vehicle Make and Model

Did you know the make and model of your vehicle impacts your car insurance rates? While newer cars have safety features that can qualify you for discounts, their higher value and repair costs can cause your premiums to skyrocket. Vehicles that are commonly stolen will also be more expensive to insure.

Now don’t rush to trade in your luxury car for a more sensible sedan just yet. Installing anti-theft devices and other safety devices in your vehicle can help you lower your rates and get discounted insurance. If your car is a bit older, you might also want to consider removing collision and comprehension coverage to lower your rates further.

Your Annual Mileage 

Insurance companies will always inquire about your annual mileage. They want to know how much time you spend on the road and your driving habits. After all, a weekly drive to a nearby beach is less likely to result in an accident than daily morning and evening commutes during peak time.

If you’re someone who drives less than 10,000 miles a year, opting for pay-per-mile insurance could help you save serious cash on your insurance premium. This kind of insurance plan is calculated by adding the number of miles you drive to a low base rate to come up with your monthly premium.

Your Driving History 

Your driving record is one of the most critical factors that contribute to the cost of your car insurance. A driver with a history of traffic violations or accidents is considered high-risk, making it much more difficult for you to find affordable insurance.

If your driving history isn’t crystal clear, you just need to wait until the violations on your record drop off and no longer impact your insurance premiums. As these violations or tickets near expiration, you can start shopping around for car insurance to find lower rates.

Your Age 

You might think age is just a number, but your insurer will beg to differ. Although there’s nothing you can do to change your age, it’s a factor in your insurance premiums. Insurance rates are generally higher for younger drivers as they have less experience and are more likely to engage in risky driving behavior resulting in more claims.

While your rates will start to lower after the age of 25, all hope is not lost for younger drivers. Consider taking a defensive driving course to lower your rates. If you’re currently in school, check with your insurer to see if you qualify for the good student discount.

Your Marital Status 

Have you recently said, “I do”? Couples will typically see their car insurance rates lower after they get married, and you can save even more by combining your policies. Your marital status itself doesn’t matter too much to your insurance company, but merging your policies and opting for a multi-car discount will result in less money leaving your pocket every month.

Choose the Right Liability Coverage Limits

Every driver will have different liability coverage requirements. While all drivers need to meet the minimum state requirements for coverage, these limits are often too low to protect you financially.

To choose the correct liability coverage limits, consider your current financial situation. How much can you afford to pay in monthly premiums? If you get in a collision, can you afford the financial repercussions?

To start, you can decide to get a liability coverage policy of 25/50/25. This breaks down to $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 property damage. Once you have the minimum coverage, you can always compare rates to get more liability coverage in the future.

Consider Raising Your Deductible

Drivers looking to cut back on car insurance costs should also consider raising their deductible. Although increasing your deductible means you’ll pay more out of pocket when you file a claim. It could save you hundreds or thousands in the long run.

If you’re on the fence about raising your deductible, use the following questions to help you decide:

  • What’s the current cost of your insurance? Increasing your deductible gives you an overall discount on your car insurance. If your yearly car insurance premium is $500, you need to have a deductible higher than your premium to see significant savings. However, a driver with an annual insurance premium of $2,000 might find it beneficial to increase their deductible by a few hundred dollars to save some cash.
  • How financially stable are you? The whole point of having insurance is to make sure you’re covered financially when unexpected costs arise. Raising your deductible won’t hurt if you’re financially stable and can handle out-of-pocket expenses. If not, a high deductible could make it impossible to afford to file a claim and get much-needed repairs on your car.
  • How often do you make insurance claims? If you’ve never made an insurance claim before, you might feel raising your deductible isn’t a big deal. After all, you’ve never been in a collision before – but there’s a first time for everything.

Secure Car Insurance Discounts

Most insurers offer drivers various discounts that can help you see lower rates on your car insurance with minimal effort on your part. Some discounts with significant savings include:

  • Multi-car discount: Insuring more than one vehicle on the same policy can help you save up to 25% on your policy.
  • Multi-Policy discount:  Bundle your car insurance with your home or renters insurance to save up to 25%.
  • Paid in full discount: If you’d instead make one payment at the beginning of the year instead of 12 smaller ones, you can qualify for the paid-in-full discount – which can save you up to 10%.
  • Safety features: Does your car have any anti-theft or other valuable safety features? You can qualify for savings on your premium.
  • Good student, good driving record, military, college & university alumni: Get discounts for being a good student, having a clean driving record, serving in the military, and being alumni. There are so many ways to save!

Don’t Get Comprehensive and Collision Coverage on Older Vehicles

If your car is more clunker than a cruiser, you might want to consider either removing or preceding comprehensive and collision coverage. Since states don’t require this coverage, it’s up to you to determine when to drop it.

In the past, many drivers would let go of their comprehensive and collision coverage once their car passed the six-year mark or had 100,000 miles – whichever came first. However, times have changed, and a lot more goes into deciding whether or not to get or keep this kind of coverage on an older vehicle.

In general, older cars still trucking along but have lost a lot of their value aren’t worth the comprehensive and collision coverage.

Improve Your Credit Score

Contrary to popular belief, your credit score does a lot more than just stress you out when it gets too low. Insurers often look at your credit score when determining your insurance premiums.

They use a credit-based insurance score that measures your history of making payments, the amount of debt you currently have, and the length of your credit history, among other factors.

Unfortunately, drivers with a low credit score can’t fix this overnight— but what you can do is improve your score over time. Try to make timely payments and reduce your debt to income ratio. It may also be worth it to call your insurer and explain why your credit score is what it is to see if they’re willing to budge.

Get an Updated Quote When Your Driving Record Improves

If your driving record leaves little to be desired, all hope for cheap car insurance is not lost. When your driving record improves, the first thing you should do is start shopping around for a lower insurance premium.

If you’ve recently gotten a ticket, you’re likely wondering how long it will affect your car insurance rates. This is entirely dependent on where you live and the severity of the initial ticket.

Most tickets will remain on your driving record for three to five years. Since your insurer only pulls your driving record for consideration around the time of your renewal, you have a bit of time before your rates increase. During this time, you can shop around to see what you can do to lower your rates.

Get an Updated Quote When You Go Through Life Changes

Have you moved across town? Did you get married recently? Retired from working a 9-5? Or have you thrown your graduation cap to the sky and said “sayonara” to your alma mater? If so, it’s time to get an updated car insurance quote. It’s always a good idea to shop around for car insurance when your policy is nearing its end, but a life change means you can start looking now.

For example, a retired driver won’t have the same driving habits as a person working full time in their 30s. Chances are your annual mileage will decrease, you’ll stop driving at peak times, and you might even move homes. All of these factors will affect the cost of your car insurance, so shop around for quotes to ensure you’re getting the best deals.

FAQs About How to Find Cheap Car Insurance Quotes Online

How do I get cheap car insurance?

You need to do your homework to find the cheapest car insurance. Each company has unique guidelines for determining your final monthly payment, so start using Compare.com to run the numbers and find the cheapest car insurance quotes.

Is there car insurance that doesn’t require a deposit?

While there isn’t a specific car insurance policy that doesn’t require a deposit, some companies do allow you to start your policy by paying a low deposit or no deposit at all. This is generally offered to low-risk drivers with an excellent record. Auto insurance companies like GEICO, Progressive, and State Farm offer low or no deposit options for your policy.

What is the cheapest type of car insurance?

The cheapest type of car insurance will look different for each driver. In general, state minimum insurance will cost the least.

What is the most basic car insurance you can buy?

If you’re on a tight budget and only want to purchase the most basic type of coverage, you should choose state minimum insurance. This is the cheapest type of car insurance coverage that will allow you to drive legally. 

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