It’s time to shop for a new auto insurance policy. Whether your current insurer just isn’t offering what you need or you just want to shop around for the lowest rate, you’re going to want to find the best option for your wallet and your driving habits.
When you shop online, you’ll be offered the opportunity to “get your quote today” and to “use our insurance calculator.” If you’re serious about finding the best rate, you’ll need to know the difference between car insurance quotes and calculators. Let’s take a look.
What is a Car Insurance Calculator?
If you’re just beginning your search for the best car insurance rates, there are a few things you’ll want to become familiar with. The first is a car insurance calculator.
Have you ever shopped around for a credit card? Sometimes, credit card issuers offer the opportunity to “prequalify” for a card. This is accomplished through something called a soft inquiry. The bank will ask for basic information about you. Based on your answers, the financial institution will let you know if you’re likely to be approved for a card.
The same principle applies to car insurance calculators. The insurer will ask for information such as:
- Your name
- Your zip code
- Your accident and insurance history
- The VIN or license plate number of your vehicle
- The mileage of your vehicle
- How you use your vehicle (pleasure, business, commute, etc.)
- An estimated range of your credit score
You can simply enter your best estimate of these answers and still receive a quote. There is no impact on your credit score, and you’ll get a general range of how much you’ll pay for your insurance each month or year.
What is a Car Insurance Quote?
If you’re looking more seriously into purchasing a new insurance policy, you’ll want to ask for a quote. Remember that credit card you were interested in? Requesting a quote is equivalent to submitting your full social security number, your employer’s information, and other specific details.
When you receive a car insurance quote, an insurer will take a look at your driving record from the DMV. They’ll usually pull a credit report, which will be a “hard inquiry” and may drop your score a point or two. You’ll need to provide your actual mileage and a bit of information about your current insurance and lapses. Each of these bits of information will factor into how much you pay for your car insurance.
When you receive your car insurance quote, either through your agent or online, you’ll usually be presented with the option to purchase a policy. If you need a little more time to shop or to decide, that’s okay. Most insurance companies will save your quote and allow you around a week to make that final decision.
Quotes vs. Calculators: Finding the Best Car Insurance Rates
You may be wondering how much car insurance costs, what kind of car insurance coverage you need, and to what extent you are covered. It’s good to be budget-conscious, but there are also several times when the cost of car insurance becomes even more important. You could be moving to a new state. You could be unsatisfied with your current insurance provider. Maybe you think you’re paying too much for auto coverage.
When you’re beginning your preliminary search for car insurance coverage, it’s a good idea to get a feel for what your new premiums will cost. For this, you can use a car insurance calculator. This will allow you to get a general idea of what your insurance will run you each month.
When you’ve settled on an insurance company that has coverages and options you’re comfortable with, it’s time to get a quote. Remember that in some states this may impact your credit score, but the inquiry will fall off your report after a while (two years in most cases).
What Factors Will Affect My Auto Insurance Quote?
As you shop for car insurance, you may find that your estimated monthly premium is higher or lower than you’d expected. There are several factors that may affect the premium you pay.
- Your marital status. Divorced and single drivers will generally pay more for car insurance than married drivers.
- Your driving history. Speeding tickets, DUIs, and other serious infractions will likely mean your premiums will be higher. Accidents, of course, will raise your rate as well.
- Your car insurance payment history. If you have recent or frequent insurance lapses, your insurer will probably quote you a higher price for insurance.
- Your location. If you’re in a high-crime or densely populated area of your state, this will probably mean higher car insurance rates for you.
Conclusion: Car Insurance Coverage Calculator vs Quote
When you’re shopping for car insurance, there are online tools that will make your decision easier. Use car insurance quotes and calculators to make your search for insurance simple and painless. You can also discuss car insurance rates with agents while making sure to compare and contrast.