If you’re new to car ownership, you might wonder what a car insurance quote is. Car insurance protects your vehicle and a quote estimates how much you’ll pay for your car insurance policy. 

Auto insurance quotes contain basic information about the drivers and vehicles included in the policy, as well as the policy’s coverage limits and premium amount. Here’s what you need to know about car insurance quotes.

Key Highlights
  • Car insurance quotes are calculated using an insurer’s proprietary risk assessment algorithm.
  • Car insurance quotes are influenced by various factors that insurers use to determine risk and pricing.
  • Your premium may vary slightly from the quote as insurance companies perform a more comprehensive evaluation of your risk profile before finalizing the policy.

What information do you need to get a car insurance quote?

To obtain a car insurance quote, several pieces of information are typically required. Firstly, personal information such as your full name, date of birth and address will be necessary to start the process. 

Information about your vehicle (make, model, year and mileage) and your driving history is essential in determining the risk associated with insuring you, influencing your quote.

“When shopping for auto policies, consumers should connect with a reputable captive or independent insurance agent or an insurance carrier’s salesperson in their area,” says Mark Snyder, principal consultant at Hi Marley, an intelligent communications platform for property and casualty insurance. “These professionals can help consumers assess their auto and lifestyle risk factors, appropriate deductibles, and any special coverage needs to determine the most appropriate coverage approach and strategy.”

Check out our detailed guide on how to get a car insurance quote

Car insurance quotes vs. rates

A car insurance quote is an estimate provided by an insurance company detailing how much you can expect to pay for your car insurance policy. It considers various factors, such as your driving history, the type of vehicle you drive, and the amount of coverage you desire. 

“By getting a purpose created, individual comparison quote from different comparison engines, reading online reviews of the companies you’ve had the quotes from, and then talking to a broker about the deals that you’ve found to find out if they can better them, and if they can tell you a little more about the companies you’ve got the quotes from. Always talk to a broker and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” says David Brewer, CEO and co-founder of Protect Line, an insurance brokerage.

On the other hand, a car insurance rate refers to the actual amount you pay for your policy once all factors have been fully evaluated and finalized.

How are car insurance quotes calculated?

Car insurance quotes are calculated based on insurers’ risk assessment algorithm. This algorithm considers various factors such as the driver’s age, driving history, and the car’s make and model, location and chosen level of coverage. Insurers use this data to predict the likelihood of an insurance claim being made and, thus, determine the cost of the car insurance quote.

How long does a car insurance quote last?

Most car insurance quotes last for 30 days, but it depends on the company. Remember, a quote is simply that – a quote – it’s not a price guarantee, so rates are liable to change.

Why do you need an auto insurance quote?

Shopping your car insurance policy frequently is key to ensuring you receive the best deal for your coverage needs. Providers often alter their rates, so staying updated with these changes is beneficial. 

By regularly comparing your current plan to other options in the market, you increase your chances of finding a more cost-effective policy or potentially better coverage for the same cost.

What information does a car insurance quote include?

A car insurance quote contains the following information: 

  • Primary registered owner
  • Joint registered owner
  • Vehicle registration state
  • Whether the vehicle is financed
  • Year, make and model of the vehicle being insured
  • Anti-theft and safety device information about your vehicle
  • Usage of vehicle (pleasure/business/farm)
  • Address where the vehicle is parked at night
  • How many miles the vehicle will be driven annually
  • Coverage amounts and limits

What factors influence car insurance quotes?

Car insurance quotes are influenced by several factors that insurers use to determine risk and pricing. These include the driver’s age, driving history, and the type of car they drive. The location where the car is driven and parked most often can also affect the quote, as areas with high crime or accident rates may lead to higher premiums. Lastly, the level of coverage chosen also plays a crucial role in the final quote.

How do you compare car insurance quotes?

The best way to compare car insurance quotes is to do an apples-to-apples comparison. Look at your current car insurance coverage limits and get quotes from three companies – get started with our list of the best car insurance companies of 2023 and see which is cheapest for you.

“In addition to assessing risk factors and determining a coverage strategy, the agent or salesperson can also help consumers navigate and understand the nuances of the auto policies of insurance to provide deeper explanations of potential gaps in terms of what is and is not covered, and any coverage conditions, limitations or exclusions,” Snyder says.

Learn more about What is car insurance and how does it work

Final thoughts: Car insurance quotes

Car insurance quotes can vary a great deal depending on your circumstances. One insurer may penalize you more for a ticket than another – and the same goes for adding a teen driver to your policy or getting a new car.

Ensure you get quotes every six months or annually before your policy renews to ensure you get the best value for your car insurance coverage.

“Always get multiple quotes, and always talk to a broker and ask as many questions about each policy as you possibly can. The more you know, the better the deal you’ll get,” Brewer says.

Frequently aks questions: What is a car insurance quote?

Is a quote the same as a policy?

A car insurance quote is vastly different from an insurance policy. A quote is an estimate or a prediction of what your policy could cost based on the information provided by you. On the other hand, an insurance policy is a binding contract outlining the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage, including the exact cost to you.

What happens when you get a quote?

Nothing – unless you pay a portion of the insurance premium for it to go into effect.

Which types of coverage appear on a car insurance quote?

Typically, a car insurance quote reflects four main types of coverage – liability coverage, comprehensive and collision coverage and personal injury protection (PIP). Each type of coverage is essential and provides different protections, so their inclusion in your quote will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.

Do you need a VIN to get an insurance quote?

No, you don’t need a VIN to get a car insurance quote. However, your quote will be much more accurate if you have the VIN.

Are online car insurance quotes accurate?

Online car insurance quotes can accurately estimate your potential costs, given that you provide detailed and accurate information. However, your premium may vary slightly from the quote as insurance companies evaluate your risk profile more comprehensively before finalizing the policy.

Learn more about how to buy car insurance online instantly

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.