Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 18, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

While there are a variety of ways to help you find the best car insurance deals, it really just boils down to those three very important things.

As you are looking around for the right car insurance option, remember that insurance is an individualized purchase. The best deal for a neighbor, friend, or relative may not be a good deal for you.

The variety of factors that are taken into consideration when setting rates means that quotes differ greatly from one person to another and even from one company to another for the same driver.

Take a look at the best car insurance deals that are available for you now by entering your ZIP code in this site’s FREE quote tool!

Understanding Coverage Is the Basis of Smart Shopping

Knowing what kinds of coverage are necessary and what each includes are a very important part of getting the best car insurance deal. With this knowledge, you can better understand the different ways to save without compromising good auto coverage.

When you are shopping for car insurance coverage, you will need to start with state minimums.

Every state mandates a certain amount of coverage that must be carried by those who own cars in that state.

Typically, that includes liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage, which pays for losses incurred by others when you are at fault in an accident.

State mandated limits are always much lower than recommended, so consider limits no less than:

  • $100,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $300,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $100,000 per accident for property damage

Some of the other forms of coverage that are mandated in certain states include ones that deal with bodily injury.

Three types of coverage dealing with bodily injury are:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Protects you and your passengers from certain medical costs incurred from a car accident that might not be covered otherwise
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage  Protects you in case you are involved in a car accident with someone who is uninsured
  • Underinsured Coverage – In case the at-fault party does not carry enough coverage to take care of your injuries and those of the people in your vehicle

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Know When to Protect Your Vehicle

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Understanding coverage so you can get the best deal means knowing when to carry physical property damage on your car. The two types of coverage that make up personal property damage include collision and comprehensive.

Collision coverage When there is a loss due to a moving accident where you are at fault

Comprehensive coverage When there is a loss due to a non-moving accident that is out of your control, like a windstorm, fire, or vandalism damage

If you have a vehicle that is financed, the lender will require you to carry this type of coverage. However, if you own the vehicle outright, the choice is yours.

Knowing the value of your car may help you. If it has a relatively high value and it would be financially difficult to replace it, you definitely want to carry personal property damage coverage.

If your vehicle’s value is lower, the cost of the additional premium for physical coverage may not be worth it.

There are other less important forms of car insurance coverage available that are often found on full coverage policies. The Insurance Information Institute can help you understand these and any other aspects of car insurance coverage that you might have questions about.

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Get Discounts for the Best Car Insurance Deals

So many different discounts are available from different insurance companies. While many of them are the same from company to company, others are unique. Therefore, as you are looking for deals, make sure you get every discount you possibly can.

Safety Feature Discount  The car you drive can earn you discounts. Good safety features will earn you a car insurance discount, such as:

Other things drive up the cost of coverage. One of the most expensive things you can do is add a teenager to your policy. However, you can earn some discounts at the same time to help bring down that expense, like the following:

Good Student Discount  If your teens get good grades or if you install a device that monitors their driving, make sure insurers know because many offer discounts for these things.

Low-Mileage Discount You may be eligible for a discount if you use your vehicle for a limited number of miles per month. Usually, insurers expect you to drive less than 8,000 miles a year, but some companies may have even lower thresholds.

The amount of use your car gets impacts the cost of coverage.

Defensive Driver Discount If you are an older driver who takes a defensive driving course, you qualify for discounts from many companies. Teen drivers who take a driving course typically qualify for discounts over those who did not take such courses.

In addition, many states have programs in place where you can get ticket forgiveness on your driving record if you take a driver’s education program, which will save you significantly on your premium.

Things Unrelated to Driving Can Get You Discounts

Quite often, discounts completely unrelated to driving are overlooked. These discounts can save you lots of money. Here are a few examples:

Paid in Full Discount One of the most important discounts. Because so many people opt to make monthly payments on things like insurance, quotes are often delivered with the cost of making monthly payments already built in. If you can pay in full, be sure to ask about the savings you will earn; you may save as much as 15 percent.

Home/Life Insurance While home and life insurance have nothing to do with your driving, if you have more than one type of policy with the same company, you usually can get a discounted rate on both policies.

Credit Score While not every insurer considers credit scores and some states have laws against it, a surprisingly large number of companies take credit into consideration when setting rates.

Statistics have shown that those with poor credit tend to make more insurance claims than those with good credit, so insurers charge them higher rates.

Therefore, if your credit is less than ideal, here is yet another reason to focus on improving it.

Club Membership Discount Things such as membership to professional associations, unions, alumni groups, and other organizations are afforded discounts.

Some insurers even offer discounts to those who subscribe to certain magazines, sign their policies online, or park their cars in a garage overnight.

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Shop Around to Find Deals

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Probably the single most important thing to do when looking for the best car insurance deals is to shop around. Blindly accepting a policy renewal or going with the first quote you receive is simply not a wise decision.

However, shopping around for car insurance is much more than just comparing price.

You also need to look at independent feedback from outside sources to determine how dependable a company truly is. Even if you get quotes and share them with your current provider you may find that they are then motivated to lower your current premium just to keep your business.

Independent Information To Get the Best Deals

Once you have narrowed down your car insurance options by price, you need to check out the companies that are offering the prices you like.

Be very suspicious of any company whose quote is significantly less than everyone else’s is.

Carefully scrutinize the details and find out all you can about the company because if it is almost too good to be true, chances are there is something wrong.

Check out any insurance company whose quote you liked by getting their financial strength rating and outlook from one of the independent insurance rating companies, like Weiss Ratings or A. M. Best.

These organizations analyze all insurers and give letter grades so you can see how they fare and whether you can trust them to meet their financial commitments or not.

Learning about how an insurer fares according to actual clients is important too. Traditionally this type of information was gathered by word of mouth, but now it can be easily obtained by doing an online search for reviews or by consulting a research group like J. D. Power and Associates.

J.D. Power and Associates produces a yearly study on Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction. The information the study provides will make it easy for you to decide if a given company is one you want to deal with or not.

By evaluating and tweaking the coverage you are looking for, getting all the discounts you possibly can and shopping around, you are sure to find a policy that is just perfect for you. The knowledge of how to get the best car insurance deal gives you a heads up in finding the perfect policy for you.

Put your ZIP code in the FREE toolbox below right now to start searching for the best car insurance deals possible!