3 tips for buying car insurance online

When you’re shopping for car insurance, you need to be prepared. We’ve put together top tips for buying car insurance online. (iStock)

Buying car insurance online is about as simple as buying anything else. Not only does the ability to shop from any device make it convenient, but you can compare quotes with a wider net of options when you do your shopping online.

In fact, Credible makes car shopping online easy, giving users a snapshot of potential coverage options and the ability to compare quotes online for free. Visit Credible today to get started.

Once you make your purchase, you can typically expect immediate coverage. As with anything, there are best practices that will help someone through the process of buying car insurance online. Here are three tips to follow as you begin your search.

  1. Find out what auto insurance coverage you need
  2. Compare quotes
  3. Organize your information and be honest about your record

1. Find out what auto insurance coverage you need

First and foremost, the requirements for auto insurance vary by state and buyers need to do their homework and choose the right car insurance coverage. The amount of coverage you need may also depend on other factors such as your assets, other insurance and the type of vehicle being covered. Here are six common coverage and policy options to consider when you start shopping:

  • Liability: Required in most states, drivers must purchase the minimum amount of auto liability coverage that is determined by state law. Auto liability coverage can be broken down into two components: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. 
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist: This type of coverage protects you if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance to cover the cost of damages. This could cover medical expenses or damages to your vehicle. This is required in some states but not all.
  • Comprehensive: This coverage offers protection from theft or damage to your vehicle other than from a collision. This is usually optional unless it’s required by your lender. 
  • Collision: If you’re in an accident involving another vehicle or you hit an object such as a tree or pothole, collision coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle up to its cash value. Collision coverage is not mandatory by state law but it may be required by your lender. 
  • Medical payments: Mandatory in some states, medical payments coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver or passengers of the insured vehicle. 
  • Personal injury protection: Personal injury protection (PIP) is not available in all states. It may cover medical costs from an accident and other expenses such as lost income. This may be required in some states where it’s available. 

There are additional options available for your car insurance policy. This is why potential buyers need to shop around and do some research. You can explore pricing and find the right auto insurance plan that fits your needs on Credible.


2. Compare quotes

Each auto insurance company has a formula for calculating car insurance rates which is why potential buyers need to compare quotes. You could pay much less with one company over another for the exact same coverage plan.

Comparing multiple insurance quotes can potentially save you hundreds of dollars per year. And, it’s so easy to get a free quote in minutes through Credible’s partners here.

When you start comparing, make sure you:

  • Compare at least three quotes online.
  • Compare quotes with the same types and levels of coverage.
  • Understand coverage limits and check that each policy has similar deductibles and limits.

Once you compare rates, choose the car insurance policy that best aligns with your needs, finances and state requirements.


3. Organize your information and be honest about your record

The provider will require some personal information for an accurate rate when you’re buying auto insurance online. Here’s what you should have on hand:

  • Personal information: This is information about each driver that is covered by the policy. The provider typically asks for age, address, a valid driver’s license number and the start date for coverage. 
  • Vehicle details: You will be asked about the make, model, and year of the car as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN), how many miles it will be driven annually, and whether it’s paid off, leased or financed. 
  • Driving record: Insurance companies want to know about any tickets or violations within a specific time frame and how long you’ve had a valid driver’s license. 

Giving significantly false information or withholding any important details to lower your rates could lead to coverage denial, losing your policy, fines, a higher premium or legal action. If you want your claim to be paid should something happen, make sure you’re honest with your insurer. When you have your information prepared, you can compare auto insurance companies and shop their plans via Credible.


The bottom line

When you’re in the market for car insurance, the importance of shopping and comparing can’t be stressed enough. Comparing quotes is important, but it can take time. With Credible's partners, you can eliminate the time-consuming part of your search.