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: Jan 15, 2020

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Auto insurance comparison is a key step in finding the best auto insurance rates. But how do you compare auto insurance quotes side by side? Although many drivers are only interested in the cost of insurance, you really need to compare a lot more than just the premiums.

The cost of auto insurance may be attractive, but this should always be the final step when comparing auto insurance side by side. If you only compare quotes by cost, then you are missing out on the most important thing about any auto insurance policy — the details of coverage.

Sure, you may save $200 less by choosing provider A, but if they are offering $100,000 less in coverage than provider B, will you still have sufficient coverage in a car accident by accepting the cheaper quote?

Never risk being uninsured or underinsured because you didn’t take the time to read your policy coverage. Auto insurance is something you will have to pay for most of your life, so learn how auto insurance works and how to compare auto insurance quotes side by side by using our FREE quote tool now.

The following steps should help you make a better decision on which policy to choose.

Make a List of the Types of Insurance You Need

This should be your first step. Much like shopping for a new car, it’s pretty easy to make a list of the types of auto insurance you need. Liability insurance is required by state law, but how about collision, comprehensive, GAP, personal injury protection, and other coverage?

While auto insurance is typically paid under one policy, there are still many different types of auto insurance available. Whether it’s a full-coverage car insurance policy or just enough to comply with state minimum requirements, you should fully understand what type of insurance you need.

For drivers who have unique needs — such as owners of collector cars or modified cars — then it’s also important to define the specific requirements you need in an auto insurance policy, which may be vastly different than insurance for typical cars.

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Define How Much Insurance You Need

After you define what types of auto insurance you need, then it’s time to define how much coverage you require. Having comprehensive car insurance is great, but having only $10,000 in coverage is sort of like going to the ice cream store with 50 cents.

Sure, you can probably buy some kind of ice cream, but it’s not the type you went there for. So many drivers end up underinsured in a car accident because they didn’t take the time to understand how much coverage they were buying.

Common limits are around $100,000 or more, so consider the cost of your vehicle, the high cost of medical care, and vehicle repair costs and make sure the coverage amount you settle on is sufficient enough to cover any foreseeable damages in a car accident.

Know How Much You Can Pay Out of Pocket

The cost of auto insurance can be manipulated quite easily by changing your policy deductible. In fact, some policy premiums can vary by up to 20 percent or more by simply raising a deductible.

When comparing auto insurance quotes side by side, it’s critical to look at the policy deductible and make sure they are all the same. When you file a claim, the policy deductible will be the amount you have to pay “out-of-pocket” before your insurance kicks in.

Many drivers have a $250 deductible, but imagine choosing a lower-cost policy to save $10 a month only to find out your policy deductible is $2,000. This happens more often than you may think. Any two auto insurance quotes without the same policy deductible are not policies with equal coverage.

Make sure to compare apples to apples.

While these items are not every aspect of auto insurance, they certainly do provide the framework you need to understand before comparing the actual cost of auto insurance.

The goal of auto insurance comparison is to compare policies of equal coverage by cost. While some auto insurance companies may have a “brand value” or intangible benefit you, still need to compare policies of equal terms and coverage in order to truly find the most affordable premiums.

Anything less is like you are not comparing at all. Compare auto insurance rates today by using our FREE quote tool now!

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