Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 8, 2021

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Finding great discount quotes for auto insurance online is certainly one option if saving money on your car-related expenses is important to you. You also have other options including calling some of the better-known insurance companies on the phone or getting in touch with an independent agent in your area.

Regardless of the option you choose, you might be surprised at how the cost of auto insurance fluctuates from company to company once you start digging around.

There are discount car insurance policies out there; you just need to enter your ZIP code into our FREE search tool to start looking for them!

You are probably aware of the fact that not all car insurance policies are the same. Some offer just minimum liability insurance along with other things your state might require.

Others include comprehensive and collision coverage for those who still have outstanding vehicle loans.

Still others are bumper-to-bumper coverage that seems to take into consideration every possible scenario known to mankind. As a consumer, you just need to know what you’re looking at and what it means.

Start with Liability Insurance

In the simplest terms possible, liability for automobiles is an insurance policy that pays the financial costs of bodily injuries, deaths, and property damage that result from an accident for which you are held liable.

For example, if you were to strike a vehicle backing out of a parking space at your local mall, and the police investigation determines the accident was your fault, you would be responsible for paying the medical bills of the other driver and any passengers.

Your liability policy covers that.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles breaks down liability coverage into three distinct items: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and personal injury protection. The bodily injury liability

portion is what was discussed in the previous example. It pays the medical bills of others you injure. The property damage portion pays for the repair of the other driver’s vehicle as well as any other property you might damage, such as the light poles in the mall parking lot.

In terms of personal injury protection (PIP), it’s not true liability coverage in the same sense as the other two. Instead, it is insurance coverage that will pay for your medical bills if another driver without proper liability insurance were to hit you.

It’s basically insurance that covers you against other drivers who either don’t have insurance or don’t carry enough of it.

 Liability Policies: The Least Expensive

The discussion of discount auto insurance always starts with liability policies because they are the least expensive.

If you drive an older vehicle with no outstanding loan, and you don’t have a lot of valuable personal assets that need protecting, you can probably get away with just purchasing this minimum amount of insurance.

As long as you keep your record clean you will probably find the cost of liability to be relatively low.

If you need more protection, your premiums will obviously go up.

If you are still paying off your car through a bank or auto lender, you most likely already carry collision and comprehensive insurance. Both of these options are designed to protect the bank so they don’t lose their money if you get into an accident.

Dropping collision and comprehensive coverage is one means of significant savings once you reach the point where carrying them is no longer financially feasible.

Beginning Your Search

When you’re ready to begin your search for discount auto coverage quotes online you need to know what is minimally required in your state. The best place to find that information is your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or insurance department.

Using Arizona as an example, that state’s Department of Transportation website lists insurance requirements because they are the state agency with jurisdiction in the matter.

Their website reveals that Arizona drivers need both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.

If you live in the state of Iowa, checking with the Department of Transportation reveals that your state has no compulsory liability insurance mandate.

In other words, Iowa drivers are not required to purchase car insurance or provide a surety bond before registering a vehicle and driving on public roads.

There are other legal requirements you’re obligated to meet, but it’s safe to say that you have the cheapest car insurance option in America.

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Get as Many Quotes as You Can

With your search underway, it’s important for you to get as many quotes as you can from different car insurance companies. You might want to get a few from nationally known companies as well as some from regional or statewide companies.

In doing so, you’ll expose yourself to the widest range of options possible. You can get online quotes in one of two ways.

The first is to simply start visiting the websites of the insurance companies in which you’re interested. Almost all of them offer some sort of online quote tool readily available to consumers.

You enter a bit of personal information, information about your car and how often you drive, and a few other pertinent things such as the number of drivers in your household.

In most cases, the tool will then give you a rough estimate for the different coverages you selected.

The other means of collecting insurance quotes is to use an online quote tool like the one on this website. With these tools the process is similar from a user standpoint but different from the insurance company standpoint.

Again, you’ll enter information about your car, how much you drive, and the types of auto coverage for which you are looking. The tool then either submits that information directly to insurance companies for you, or it will return a list of insurance companies with approximate prices.

Sometimes the fluctuation in prices between the different quotes is due to the fact that, at this point, these are only estimated costs.

Speaking with a Representative

There may be one or two online insurance websites that allow you to complete the entire purchase process without ever speaking to a human being. But they are the exception. Most of the time you’ll be interviewed by a representative before any policy is offered.

The reason behind this is the fact that the insurance company must verify the information you provided in order to write a policy that protects them at a price reasonable to the customer.

If you’ve used an online quote tool provided by an insurance company website, rest assured you’ll probably get a phone call or an e-mail within just a few minutes.

If you’ve used a third-party quote tool like the one described earlier, it may take a day or two for you to hear back. But one way or the other you will be contacted.

When you do speak with a representative, make sure you’re honest and upfront throughout the interview. More and more states are setting up online systems in response to mandatory insurance reporting laws, like the one in place in Kentucky.

While the system is in place to allow insurance companies to immediately report insurance information to the state, the connection actually works both ways.

The insurance company can also easily access your driver information with the click of a mouse.

Closing the Deal

Before you can close the deal on a given insurance policy you need to compare your quote line by line. Start with the liability portion to see if policies are offering just what’s required by the state or if the limits are higher.

The Texas Department of Insurance recommends that most drivers increase their liability limits beyond state requirements due to the high cost of modern medical care and the value of today’s vehicles.

After liability coverage you’ll next want to pay attention to comprehensive and collision. If you’re required to have it because you still owe money on your vehicle, that’s one thing.

But if it’s included in a quote for a vehicle on which it’s not necessary, you may not want to pay the extra for it.

Also look for things like fire and theft coverage, roadside assistance or towing and labor coverage, emergency travel assistance, and more.

It’s not uncommon for these extras to appear on quotes just as a means of letting drivers know they are available.

With all of your online quotes compared line by line, the last part of the equation is to assess the value of each one. By value we mean how much you’re paying in comparison to how much coverage you’re getting. This requires a little bit of abstract thinking.

For example, you may be offered an excessively high bodily injury liability amount ideally intended for someone who lives in a major metropolitan area. But it may not be worth the extra cost to you if you live in the middle of Montana.

When you’re finally done with the process and you have a car insurance policy in place, you should feel confident that you got the best price. Don’t forget that you’re free to shop around again at renewal time. You’re never locked into the same insurance company for the rest of your life.

Our FREE search tool is one of the quickest ways to get online insurance quotes, so get started right now by entering your ZIP code below!