Do you want to buy car insurance online?
Buying car insurance online is great if you want to shop on your schedule and save time and money. The benefit of buying car insurance online is that you can quickly get quotes from insurers without repeatedly calling and providing the same information.
And because you can shop whenever you want, it’s convenient. Best of all, because you can get multiple quotes quickly, you can find the most affordable policy and save more money. Keep reading for more about buying car insurance online.
- To get accurate car insurance quotes, compile detailed information about your vehicle — such as the make/model and VIN — and the driving records of the people in your household.
- Ask insurers which discounts you qualify for – bundling with homeowners insurance is a big one.
- You can buy same-day coverage online from many large insurers.
How do you buy car insurance online?
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of buying car insurance online, and answer some of the most common questions about the process.
First, figure out how much you currently pay (per month and annually) and understand your coverage limits. You might have to permit insurers to check your credit report and driving record. In most states, both play a crucial role in determining your rates.
Step 1: Compare car insurance quotes from different companies
Figure out how much car insurance you should buy, what average car insurance rates are for your ZIP code for your age group and preferred level of coverage. Then, you’re ready to begin researching quotes from carriers – get quotes from at least three insurers when comparing car insurance.
Step 2: Select coverage limits to buy car insurance online
You’ll need to purchase liability insurance since it’s required in nearly all states to drive a car legally. Bodily injury liability coverage covers other people’s injuries if you’re at fault in an accident. Property damage liability insurance pays for the damage to another vehicle or other property caused by your car.
While you can legally drive after buying your state minimum liability coverage, it’s not recommended because the cost of a car accident can be much higher than what your insurance will pay out if you have only minimum coverage.
Unless your income and assets are minimal – you do not own a home or have savings or investments – the Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends purchasing insurance coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
Buying extra liability insurance to protect you and your assets is typically affordable. It’s an example of how the best car insurance may not be the cheapest.
Once you’ve set your liability limits, decide if you want to purchase optional coverages, such as:
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Gap insurance
- Uninsured motorist/under-insured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
Step 3: Save money when you buy car insurance online
To reduce your car insurance expenses, consider increasing your deductible and maximizing discounts.
Increase your deductible
Shoppers can save 9% to 23% by increasing their deductibles from $250 to $1,000 on a full coverage policy, according to 2022 CarInsurance.com data analysis. See the table below for how much you can save on your car insurance policy by increasing your deductible.
Maximize discounts on car insurance
During your online buying process, you will be asked questions that will let insurers know if you qualify for car insurance discounts, which will help you get the cheapest car insurance, such as discounts for
- Occupation/professional membership
- Safety/anti-theft devices
- Good driving
- Telematics programs
- Bundling with home/renters policies
Step 4: Pay for your new car insurance policy and get your insurance card
Once you’ve purchased your auto insurance policy, you can download an insurance card or print your proof of coverage. Make sure your new policy begins before your old policy ends so you don’t have a gap in coverage. Then, you can cancel your old policy.
How much does online car insurance cost?
Like any other insurance quote, how much car insurance costs is based on personalized factors such as your credit score, address and ZIP code, driving records of all drivers on the policy and the make/model of the vehicle you’re looking to insure.
Can I buy car insurance instantly online?
In most cases, yes, and you’ll typically pick a date for coverage that can be the current date. As in today – once you pay, you’ll be covered. There are several pros and cons of buying auto insurance online.
Pros of buying car insurance online
- It’s convenient: Compare quotes from multiple insurance companies at once.
- It’s fast: With an online quote, you fill out a short form, get quotes, and see the insurance companies that best match you.
- It’s flexible: Shop online for car insurance at any time.
- It’s low-pressure: Even if you need insurance immediately, you’ll avoid sales pressure by shopping online.
Cons of buying car insurance online
- You’re on your own. Some people prefer expert advice on auto insurance options from an experienced agent. If so, shopping online might be a starting point before contacting an agent.
Which insurance companies sell same-day car insurance?
Several insurers provide the option to purchase car insurance with coverage that becomes effective on the same day. While not all may explicitly label it as “same-day” car insurance, if they policy’s start date is the same as the purchase date, it qualifies as such.
Some of the companies that will insure you instantly include:
- American Family
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
When is car insurance not available online instantly?
When you get a car insurance quote online, companies use basic information to give you a quote – your address, make and model of the vehicle, etc. So, if you don’t have this information or if an insurer has to look at whether it can provide coverage, it can prevent you from getting a same-day policy.
Here are a couple of reasons you might not be able to get same-day coverage:
- You don’t have a permanent address
- You have a poor driving record
- You drive a classic or specialty vehicle
- You have bad credit
FAQs: Can you buy car insurance online?
Here are some common questions you may have about how to buy car insurance online and expert advice so you can shop with confidence.
Is it safe to buy car insurance online?
Yes, it’s safe to buy car insurance online. Just as you would take precautions when buying any other service or product online, you want to be sure the vendor is legitimate by researching the company’s history, reading the site’s “About Us” section and its terms of privacy and security.
You can also check with your state’s insurance commissioner to see if the company is listed and how many complaints it has received, as well as the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Is it cheaper to buy car insurance online or from an agent?
It depends on the company from which you buy a policy. Buying online might not be cheaper if the car insurance company sells coverage online and through agents at its offices. Regardless of whether the carrier has agents working out of offices, there are discounts associated with buying online that may lower your rate.
Will shopping for car insurance online hurt my credit?
No, says Rocky Lalvani, a financial coach, an enrolled agent with the IRS and Profit Comes First consultant. He’s based out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
“The type of information the company looks at creates a ‘soft inquiry,’ which does not affect your score,” Lalvani says. “However, saving money on car insurance that you can use to pay down your debt will increase your credit score.”
Why the connection between car insurance and credit scores?
“Insurance companies are looking at risk, and they use a variety of claims and financial data to determine your rates,” Lalvani says.
A solid credit score may indicate lower risk, potentially leading to better rates.
Resources & Methodology
Insurance Information Institute. “Auto insurance basics—understanding your coverage.” Accessed January 2023.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Consumer Resources.” Accessed January 2023.
BBB.org. “Better Business Bureau.” Accessed January 2023.
CarInsurance.com commissioned the Auto Coverages Report 2022 to field rates for a 40-year-old male driver of a Honda Accord LX 2021 with good credit, full coverage and a $500 deductible.
– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.