Understanding Car Insurance Quotes

Definition and Examples of Auto Insurance Quotes

Auto insurance quotes are estimates of how much you will pay for a certain type and amount of auto insurance coverage based on the information you provide.

  • Alternate names: Auto premium quote, car insurance quote, auto quote

You can collect quotes from different auto insurers through agents or through websites before you decide which insurance is right for you―and they are free. You might even get more than one quote from an insurer for different coverage amounts or types of insurance.

So, if you want both auto liability coverage and comprehensive and collision coverage for your 2020 Honda Civic, an insurer will provide you with an estimate. You can ask other insurers what it would cost for the same coverage, then compare those quotes to find the best rate.

Quotes are typically for six months or 12 months of coverage. Be aware of the terms of the quotes you're comparing, so you can compare them correctly.


Is auto insurance coverage mandatory?

Auto insurance requirements vary from state to state. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have its own requirements. Nearly every state requires car owners to carry:

  • Bodily injury liability – which covers costs associated with injuries or death that you or another driver causes while driving your car.
  • Property damage liability – which reimburses others for damage that you or another driver operating your car causes to another vehicle or other property, such as a fence, building or utility pole.

In addition, many states require that you carry:

  • Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP), which provides reimbursement for medical expenses for injuries to you or your passengers. It will also cover lost wages and other related expenses.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage reimburses you when an accident is caused by a driver who does not have auto insurance—or in the case of a hit-and-run. You can also purchase under insured motorist coverage, which will cover costs when another driver lacks adequate coverage to pay the costs of a serious accident.

Even if PIP and uninsured motorist coverage are optional in your state, consider adding them to your policy for greater financial protection.

How can I find my previous tickets or claims to include when getting an auto insurance quote?

You can get your driving record from your state's entity governing such records, such as the department of motor vehicles. You can also see a complete history of your claims information history by ordering a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report, or CLUE report, from LexisNexis.

How can you get the best insurance quote?

We all want to know we’re getting the best insurance coverage at the lowest rate, but how can we be sure?

There are a number of different ways to obtain insurance, including direct from retail insurance companies, via independent agents who represent multiple companies, and through Internet insurance companies.

Below, we’ve highlighted a series of tips in the insurance quote process to help you obtain the best rate when dealing with an independent insurance agent:

1. Get online insurance quotes first. You can get multiple quotes online in just minutes by answering a few questions. Online calculators can sort through countless companies to get you quotes from companies that make sense for you. This is true whether you have a clean driving record or one with an at fault accident or two.

2. If you want to work with an insurance agent, check out the company beforehand. Look at their online and other reviews. See what insurance companies they quote for, and ask them about any specialized coverages you’re looking for before you choose an insurance company.

3. Prior to providing your personal information, ask your agent for a list of all the insurers they represent who offer the type of insurance you need. This could include liability, comprehensive coverage, specialty parts, and much more. At this point, the agent will likely be more honest with you, as they’ll try to impress you with the number of insurers they can offer quotes from.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts and promotions. If you see promotional materials from a company that offers homeowner’s insurance, be sure to ask for a quote from that company, or an explanation as to why you didn’t get one (of course, it is possible that that particular insurer doesn’t fit your needs).

5. When the agent tells you they’ve found the best policy for you, remember to ask to see all the other quotes as well. They can offer advice, but you should see what your options are firsthand. If you don’t understand what you’re looking at, ask the agent. A major reason for using an agent is the fact that they can help you understand what you’re looking at.

6. After you’ve seen all the quotes, ask the agent why they think the one they picked out is the best choice. Don’t just go for the lowest rate. The agent should have tailored the policy for exactly what you want/need, so it shouldn’t be difficult explaining why it is best.

7. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch agents or see multiple agents if you’re working with captive agents who only quote for one company. Comparing options from different companies is critical to getting the best pricing and coverage in one.

Purchasing insurance isn’t the easiest task in the world, but if you apply the steps above in conjunction with a little bit of research, you’ll give yourself the best shot at getting the deal you deserve.

Remember, an independent agent has to balance your interests with theirs and the insurers they represent, which can leave you with the short end of the stick. At the end of the day, your interests should come first, so make that clear when you begin shopping for an insurance quote.

Do Car Insurance Quotes Hurt My Credit Score?

When car insurance companies pull your credit score for a quote, it’s what’s known as a “soft inquiry.” Soft inquiries will show up on your personal credit report, but they won’t ding your score or show up to lenders. “Hard inquiries,” the types of pulls that do knock points off your credit score, usually happen when you’re applying for new credit cards or loans (which is why you should avoid trying out too many credit cards). But when it comes to auto insurance, you’re safe to get as many quotes as you want without worrying about a credit backlash.

Compare auto insurance quotes by make and model

One of the biggest premium rating factors for auto insurance is the type of vehicle you drive. Your vehicle’s make and model can impact everything from safety features to repair costs. The table below shows the average full coverage premiums for vehicles best suited to a broad range of lifestyles and budgets. On your quote, you may notice that your vehicle type affects your coverage costs. For example, collision and comprehensive costs may be higher on a vehicle with more expensive replacement parts than on a vehicle that has cheaper and more readily-available parts.

The price of medical coverage may be partly based on the vehicle’s safety features, which help protect you and any passengers in your vehicle. If you are shopping for a new vehicle, you may want to obtain quotes for each vehicle you consider purchasing, as they will have different rates.

Make and model Average annual full coverage premium Average monthly full coverage premium
BMW 330i $2,270 $189
Ford F-150 $1,523 $127
Honda Odyssey $1,542 $129
Toyota Prius $1,924 $160


Meaning of insurance quote in English a statement of the amount of money that an insurance company calculates as the cost of providing (4)

An insurance quote is an average rate for what drivers are paying in your area for a similar policy on a similar vehicle. Insurance quotes are (5)

Quotes are non-binding estimates of what a policy (or coverage) might cost and what it would cover. This means that both parties, the insurance company and the (6)

How to get an insurance quote

Getting an insurance quote has never been easier or faster. See for yourself how easy it is to get renters insurance quotes at Lemonade.

Looking back just a few years ago, to get a quote you’d have to call an insurance agent and give all of your details over the phone, or even fill out a long questionnaire in person (yikes!). Insurers would pass on your info to others that’d crunch the numbers and eventually get back to you with a quote.

Nowadays, there are companies that can get you an online quote in no time, and even some that can you get a quote through your phone through an app.

Here at Lemonade HQ, it takes seconds to get a renters or homeowners insurance quote (literally!). People looking for insurance simply open the Lemonade App or go to lemonade.com, fill out a few questions with our chatbot, Maya, and instantly get a quote. Pretty cool, eh?

7. What are car insurance premiums? [2022 guide] MarketWatch

Click here to learn what car insurance premiums are, how they are calculated and tips for saving money. Compare car insurance quotes (21)

What does “full coverage” car insurance mean? Call 1-866-731-8075 or get a car insurance quote online—we’ll help you craft a policy that offers the (22)

We’re here to help. Browse our insurance glossary for the knowledge to fully understand your coverage. Get an Auto Quote. ZIP Code is required.(23)

What is the average car insurance rate?

The average premium for liability coverage was $611.12 in 2017, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ January 2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. The average premium for collision coverage was $363.08, and the average for comprehensive insurance was $159.72.

But because there are so many factors that influence the cost of car insurance and insurers use different rating factors to calculate price, premiums vary considerably by state, insurance company and policyholder.


  • Getting a car insurance quote should never cost money. Free auto insurance quotes are available from every insurer online, via phone, or in person from a licensed insurance agent.

  • People have to provide some details to get car insurance quotes, including their name, age, address, gender, driving record, and marital status. Consumers also tell the insurer about their vehicles. This is necessary so the insurer can assess the risk of providing coverage and give an accurate price quote. Most insurers ask for a person's Social Security number and vehicle identification number (VIN), but they don't have to provide this information to get a quote. Offering it can streamline the process and ensure that auto insurance quotes are as accurate as possible.

  • A person's driving record and vehicle are the most important factors affecting car insurance quotes. Good drivers with no history of accidents or moving violations are less likely to make claims, so they pay lower premiums. Inexperienced drivers or those with a record of accidents, drunk driving incidents, or moving violations are considered higher risk. Insurers charge them more for coverage. The vehicle itself is also important. Its safety features affect the likelihood of serious and costly injuries, and the value of the vehicle impacts the amount the insurer pays to repair or replace it if something goes wrong.

  • Most insurers check credit scores, but getting insurance quotes doesn't count as an inquiry or affect someone's credit score (because they aren't applying for credit).

  • There's no downside to getting multiple car insurance quotes. It's important for people to get quotes from several insurers so they can be sure they're paying a fair price for coverage.

  • The cost of car insurance varies depending on many factors, including age, gender, marital status, driving record, who else drives the vehicle, the type of vehicle, and where it's kept. Consider researching average auto insurance premiums based on demographics to see what people similar to you pay.

  • A car insurance quote may be high because the policyholder has a spotty driving record; lives in a state with expensive insurance; or has raised other red flags with the insurer. For example, car insurance quotes are higher for drivers with poor credit or who have received lots of tickets.

  • The national average car insurance premiums are $2,646 throughout the country. However, average car insurance quotes do vary by state and based on demographic status and driver history.

  • There is not any one insurance company that provides the cheapest car insurance. Some companies are less expensive for certain drivers, while others will be cheaper for motorists with a different driving profile. That's why each individual motorist should get their own car insurance quotes to find the cheapest coverage for their needs.

  • It is possible to get a car insurance quote before buying a car. Motorists wishing to do so will need the vehicle make and model information. Getting car insurance quotes before purchasing a car can be smart as different vehicles cost different amounts to insure.

What’s the best way to get auto insurance quotes?

If you’re in the market for an auto insurance policy, there are three main ways to get a quote.

  1. Online — Many car insurance companies offer the ability to get a free car insurance quote online. And third-party websites can help you shop around quickly by allowing you to compare multiple quotes from different companies.
  2. Captive agent — If you prefer to speak with someone about your insurance needs, an agent can help. Captive agents represent one insurance company and can provide you with a quote from that company.
  3. Independent agent — An independent agent can make shopping around for car insurance coverage easier. Independent agents represent multiple companies and can give you quotes from different insurers to help you find the coverage that best meets your needs.

What to know about car insurance quotes

Different insurers have different processes for getting car insurance quotes. Some allow drivers to get quotes online and others require a phone call to an agent. Providing personal details to insurers is important to get accurate quotes because many different factors affect the cost of auto insurance. It's also a good idea to have a rough estimate of how much insurance should cost so drivers can compare quotes and see how their prices compare to the average.

Are Car Insurance Quotes Accurate?

Online car insurance quotes are as accurate as the information you provide. For a company to assess your risk level — and therefore give you a correct quote — it needs detailed information about you, your car, your driving record, and so on. If you rush through the quote form or give false information (like ignoring that pesky speeding ticket on your record), your online quote will be different from your final price.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re getting an accurate car insurance quote? Come to the table prepared. Whether you’re speaking with an agent or using an online quote tool, you’ll want to have the following information on hand:

  • Personal information: birthdate, address, age first licensed, home ownership status, etc.
  • Driver’s ;license and Social Security Number (insurer’s might ask for one or the other)
  • Make, model, year, and mileage of vehicle your insuring
  • Your driving record, including all past accidents, infractions, and tickets
  • The driving record of anyone else who will be insured under your policy
  • Information about your current insurance: the provider, your coverage levels, how long you’ve been insured with it
  • Information about your insurance history: previous insurers, claims filed, total losses incurred from any given accident, etc.
  • Vehicle safety specs, anti-lock brakes, air bags, anti-theft device, etc.
  • Information about any driver safety courses you’ve completed
  • Information about employment or special organizations you belong to (this could be considered for discounts)

Take note: Every quote form will require different information. Some might only ask a few questions — like your age, vehicle specs, and accident history — while some might hit all the topics listed above and then some. Though the more in-depth quote forms can be tedious to fill out, these are the ones that will return the most accurate quotes. It’s worth taking the time to fill out every question in detail so you end up with an accurate estimate.

Get a free quote

Get a personalized online home insurance quote in just 5 minutes and see how much money you can save by switching to Square One.

Get an online quote now

Do insurance quotes hurt your credit?

There’s a common misconception that getting insurance quotes can harm your credit rating.

Many insurers will run a credit check as part of the quote process. However, these checks are soft credit checks, which means they do not affect your credit rating.

How Often Do I Have to Pay My Premium?

Different insurance companies will ask you to pay your auto insurance premium at different intervals. The most common options are monthly, twice a year and annually.

Many insurance companies will let you choose how often you’d like to pay—and you’ll typically get a “paid in full” discount when you pay pay more upfront.

>> LEARN MORE: Car Insurance Discounts You May Be Eligible For

However, in some cases, you may be required to pay your entire term upfront. This is particularly common if you’re deemed an at-risk driver—for example, if you previously let your insurance lapse or you require an SR-22. This is one way insurance companies reduce the risk of insuring at-risk drivers.

What is gap insurance and do I need it?

Collision and comprehensive only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for it—and new cars depreciate quickly. If your car is totaled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. Note that for leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.


Next steps: Check out this handy infographic on the types of required and optional drivers insurance coverages.