Comparing car insurance quotes can save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.

Reducing your car insurance premium by shopping for quotes

Tell someone that they’re going to have to do some shopping, and the reaction is usually either a smile or a groan. Mention that the shopping is for cheap car insurance quotes and watch as that person hurriedly leaves the room, suddenly remembering that they have other things to do.

Shopping for car insurance gets something of a bad rap. That’s a shame, because it’s actually really important to get it right. If you get into an accident and you aren’t properly covered, your financial future (not to mention your eligibility to get behind the wheel) could be at serious risk. You don’t want to take that chance.

Rather than wait for a great quote to fall in your lap, there are steps you can take to get a low insurance premium from the outset. Saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year starts with shopping around for insurance quotes. From there you can determine exactly what you’ll have to pay, potentially qualify for discounts, and lower your rate.

Don’t settle and think your car insurance has to be expensive. There’s no reason to be paying more than you should. Simply follow these steps to shopping for quotes and you’ll find your car insurance premium is anything but the pricey hassle you might have imagined. Instead, it will be something you’re proud of, because you alone made it happen.

Know exactly what you need

Some people go shopping without a set idea of what they’re looking for. Others only go with a clear objective in mind. When affordable car insurance is what you’re after, it pays to be in the latter group. That’s why the first step to finding great coverage is to know exactly what you need.

Insurance requirements vary from state to state, so you’ll need to research the kind of coverages you’re obligated to buy and which supplementary coverages make sense to add on. For example, while collision coverage isn’t required by many states, it’s a good idea to have it if you’d like to actually repair your damaged vehicle after an accident.

Determine insurance costs before you buy

Here’s something to consider: The year, make, and model of the car you’re going to insure play a major part in how high or low the insurance rate will be. You want to give this some serious thought before – not after – you purchase the vehicle.

That brand new, beautiful, turbo-charged convertible sitting in the dealer lot might look like it’s in your price range. The reality won’t hit until afterward, when you see how the monthly payment stacks up with your new high insurance premium. Suddenly the used, practical crossover a few cars down from the convertible looks much more appealing.

When you’ve got two or three cars you’re seriously interested in, get in touch with providers. Ask them to quote you a rate for each vehicle. It could save you lots of money on your rate.

Getting more than one quote

Some factors that determine your premium – age and gender, for instance – are totally out of your control. You can’t do anything about them. But for practically everything else, you can have a big effect. This is especially true when it comes to shopping around for quotes.

Different insurance companies offer very different prices. From one company to the next, you could end up paying double or half. Hence the importance of contacting a variety of providers. When you compare car insurance quotes, it becomes clear just how big the discrepancies between carriers can be. The difference could potentially be hundreds of dollars per month.

Always fill out at least three quotes from different providers. That’s a bare minimum for your search. Each provider will assess your driving record, necessary coverages, qualifying discounts, and rewards programs in its own way. Be honest during the quote process and don’t try to obtain lower rates with false information.

Instead, provide any and all information that might have an impact on the decision-making process. You could tell carriers about additional safety features on your vehicle (like anti-theft measures, blind spot warning, or a forward collision alert/prevention system), your annual mileage (particularly if it’s below average), and your occupation if you think it’s relevant.

If you’re looking for an idea of who the low-priced providers are in your region, there are a number of online tools – including one from NerdWallet – that can help to compare rates across multiple companies. Reaching out to family and friends for recommendations can also be helpful.

Ask each company about the discounts they offer. Many providers offer low-mileage discounts or incentives for bundling car insurance with other coverages. Get an idea of who offers what and if it fits the bill with what you’re looking for in an insurer.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It may not reflect the official policies of Elephant Insurance or current developments.