Having the right amount of automobile insurance is a critical part of driving a vehicle. Insurance protects you and your finances if you get into an accident or damage your vehicle by vandalism, weather, fire, or another incident.
It can be overwhelming to try and assess all of the options on the market, and seem time-consuming to compare quotes and determine how to get the best deal for the insurance you need. However, most of the larger auto insurance providers have streamlined this process, allowing you to obtain a quote quickly (often within minutes) by entering some identifying information on their website.
Additionally, other third-party companies, like NerdWallet, the Zebra, and Compare.com, allow you to view quotes from multiple companies at the same time by entering your information once. This process allows you to get a quick overview of your options without visiting several different websites.
When shopping around for quotes, we recommend keeping a spreadsheet detailing the companies you contacted, the quotes received, and the coverage that the quote entails. When you finish your research, you’ll have a better snapshot of which company works best for you.
Here we show you an example of the online quote process through a single insurer and a third-party site. We use GEICO in our examples for the single insurer, and for the third party, we use Compare.com.
The following examples show you the steps that you will take to receive a GEICO auto insurance quote online. As mentioned, most other companies have a similar and just as easy process, although the information required and length of time to receive your quote may vary.
When visiting the website, the first thing to look for is the online quote option. For GEICO, you select the type of insurance for which you want to receive a quote and then click the “Start My Quote” button at the bottom of the page.
After selecting “Start My Quote,” the site brings you to a screen that asks if you want to bundle your policy with any other options. For the sake of this example, we will receive an auto quote only. Click “Continue” without selecting any other options.
Next, you are asked to enter your “Date of Birth.” Remember that premiums often vary based on the age of the driver and other demographic factors. Enter your birth date and click “Next.”
Next, you enter your first and last name and then your address information.
After you have verified your address and the location where your car resides, you must select the date that you wish for your policy to go into effect. If you already have auto insurance, this date would be when your old policy expires. If you are obtaining insurance for the first time, you would likely want it to start right away.
The system will then pull up some information about the types of vehicles that are associated with you. You can select one of those vehicles for which to receive a quote or choose to enter information for a new vehicle.
Select the current status of your vehicle and whether you own it, finance it, or lease it.
The company will then ask you about when you will primarily use the vehicle. Indicate the main use of the vehicle that you want to insure.
Now you will need to enter more specific details about the length of your commute and how many days a week you use the vehicle for that purpose.
Next, indicate the approximate number of miles that you put on your vehicle over the course of a year. If you do not know the exact amount, use your best estimate based on your odometer.
If you wish to add more vehicles to your quote and possibly qualify for a multi-vehicle discount, add those vehicles during the next step.
Now it’s time to enter some more demographic information to help the system get to know you better and provide a more accurate quote.
After that, you’ll need to enter some information about your living situation, such as whether you own or rent your home.
The next screen asks about your current auto insurance status and questions about your prior insurance history, including how many years you were insured with your previous policy.
Once you’ve provided information about your insurance history, you’ll get into some details about your driving history.
‘After that, you’ll need to enter some additional demographic and affiliation information to help determine if you are eligible for any specific discounts.
Next, you’ll tell a bit about what you do for a living.
If you are married, you will next be asked to provide some information about your spouse and whether or not he/she will drive the vehicle that you want to insure.
After you’ve entered all of the information about your spouse (if applicable), you will see a summary of the drivers that you entered that you wish to insure. You can also add other drivers from this screen (such as children).
Next, you will need to disclose any incidents that you have had such as accidents, DUIs, traffic tickets, license suspensions, etc. You will need to be honest about these incidents as if you proceed with signing up for a policy, the company will review your driving record.
GEICO then asks if you are interested in their DriveEasy program where you can save money by using a mobile device to track your driving habits. You can choose to show that you are interested, or indicate “Maybe Later.”
The final step before receiving your quote is to enter your email address and phone number. After entering this information, click “Take Me To My Quote” and you will see the results of your quote displayed immediately on the screen.
If you are happy with the quote and wish to proceed with purchasing a policy, click the “Next” button. From there you will be asked a series of additional questions, such as your driver’s license number and you will access the payment page where you can complete the required payment and obtain your policy.
If you don’t want to go through the entire process for each insurance company’s quote tool, you can use a third-party website to receive several quotes simultaneously. From there, you can decide which company or companies you want to pursue further. Keep in mind that these quotes may not be as accurate as those you receive directly from the insurer, and they may not include quotes from all major insurance companies. However, they can give you a ballpark figure for what you expect to pay and help you identify if other quotes you have obtained are on par or too high.
To begin, access the Compare.com home page at www.compare.com. Enter your zip code and click “Start Comparing.”
Next, you enter information about the make, model, and year of your vehicle. You will also enter information about the ownership of your vehicle and how you primarily use it.
Now that the site knows more about your car, it asks some questions to know more about you. You will tell a little bit about your demographics, education, and employment.
Next, the system wants to know whether you own or rent your home and how long you have lived in it.
You’ll then have to provide your license information and details about your driving history.
You can also choose to add another driver to your quote.
Finally, provide details about your current auto insurance status and when you would like your new policy to start.
At this point, your quote process is almost completed. You just need to add your email and phone number information. After entering that information, you are brought to a series of applicable quotes. From the quote page, you can choose ones that you would like to look into further. For some quotes, the system will connect you to an advisor. Other quotes you can purchase directly online through the website.
As you can see from the examples, obtaining a quote online for auto insurance is a relatively simple process. By going directly to an insurer’s website to use their quote tool or entering your information into a third-party site, you can quickly obtain a real-time view of what you might expect to pay for a policy.
Before starting the online quote process, make sure that you have the required information to complete the quote. As shown in both examples, you primarily need your vehicle information (as detailed as possible), spouse and demographic information, and information about your current insurer. If you decide to move forward with a quote, you will need your driver’s license number and, in some cases, need to provide a social security number.
Many people use these tools as guidelines to obtain a ballpark figure and compare auto insurance companies. Once you find a quote with which you are happy, you can often purchase it directly from the website or connect to an advisor from the company who can help you with the next steps. Either way, these online quote tools are extremely useful in researching and obtaining your vehicle’s right auto insurance policy.