Are you looking 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 online car insurance is that you can quickly get quotes from insurers without calling and repeatedly 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’re bound to find the most affordable policy and save more money.
- To get accurate car insurance quotes, you need to give a lot of information about your car and the other drivers in your household.
- Auto insurance companies will ask questions to determine which discounts you qualify for.
- You can typically buy same-day coverage from large insurers online.
- Once you’ve purchased your auto insurance policy online, you can download proof of coverage.
- How do you buy car insurance online?
- What are auto insurance quotes?
- How much does online car insurance cost?
- Can I buy car insurance instantly online?
- Which insurance companies sell same-day car insurance?
- What are some reasons you can’t get car insurance online instantly?
- Is it cheaper to buy car insurance online or from an agent?
- FAQs: Shopping online for car insurance
- Resources & Methodology
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’re currently paying (per month and annually) and understand your coverage limits. You might have to give permission for insurers to check your credit report and driving record. In most states, both play a key role in determining your rates.
Step 1: Compare car insurance quotes from different companies
Now that you’re organized, get a sense of how much car insurance you should buy, what average car insurance rates are for your ZIP code for your age group and your preferred level of coverage. Then, you’re ready to begin researching quotes from carriers – get quotes from at least three insurers when doing a car insurance comparison.
Step 2: Select coverage limits to buy car insurance online
You’ll need to purchase liability insurance as it’s required in nearly all states to legally drive a car. 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 to 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 on online car insurance
There are a few ways to save money on car insurance when shopping for a policy online. Increasing your deductible and maximizing discounts can save you big bucks.
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 the amount of money 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 print your proof of insurance card
Once you’ve purchased your auto insurance policy, you can download an insurance card for proof of coverage. Then, you can cancel your existing policy to begin saving money.
What are auto insurance quotes?
An auto insurance quote is what you will probably pay, and an insurance rate is what you will pay. So, a car insurance quote and your rate will be close but not necessarily the same.
Here’s the breakdown:
- A quote is based on the information you can give the insurer: Your name, your address, your driver’s license, your age, etc.
- Your rate is based on the information that comes from credit bureaus, the Department of Motor Vehicles, etc.
How much does online car insurance cost?
Like any other insurance quote, how much car insurance costs for you is based on personalized factors such as your credit score, address and ZIP code, driving records of any 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 a number of 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?
Many companies advertise same-day car insurance – many don’t use that term – but will sell you same-day car insurance. If a car insurer sells you a policy online with a day effective on the date you’re buying the insurance policy, that’s “same-day” car insurance.
Some of the companies that will insure you the very same day include:
- American Family
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
What are some reasons you can’t get car insurance 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
Is it cheaper to buy car insurance online or from an agent?
It depends on the company from which you buy a policy. Typically, if the car insurance company sells coverage both online as well as through agents at its offices, it might not be cheaper to buy online. Regardless of whether the carrier has agents working out of offices, there are discounts associated with buying online that may lower your rate.
FAQs: Shopping online for car insurance
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.
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.
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.