Online Car Insurance Quoting Questions: What You Need and Why
Quote shopping for car insurance may seem complex; but in reality, it’s simple when you break it down. Insurance companies need specific information to provide an accurate quote.
Understanding what details you must have at your fingertips, and why car insurance companies ask those questions, will simplify the process.
Questions About Your Vehicle
How many miles do you drive each day?
Car insurance companies want to know how far you drive on a daily basis, because the more you drive, the greater your chance of getting into an accident. When you’re at a high risk for accidents, you pose a higher risk to the insurance company, so you’ll likely pay higher premiums.
Do you own your car outright?
If you lease a car or have a lien against it, you may be required to hold both comprehensive and collision insurance in addition to the state-required liability coverage.
Also, you may be a good candidate for gap insurance, which will cover the difference between how much you owe and the car’s current value in the event that it gets totaled.
Do you use the car for business?
A car used for business might require commercial insurance, so you may be redirected to get a commercial car insurance quote.
Is your vehicle equipped with safety and anti-theft devices?
Certain safety and anti-theft add-ons can reduce the premium for your insurance because they reduce your risk of both theft and injury. When going through the quote process, be prepared to provide specifics about these features in each of your vehicles to help you get a lower rate.
How many cars are you insuring?
The company will need to know how many vehicles you’re insuring so they can give you an accurate estimate. Also, insuring multiple vehicles can get you a discount on your respective rates. Note that there may be a maximum number of vehicles per policy.
How many licensed drivers are in your household?
Everyone you live with theoretically has access to your car, so your insurance company considers the other drivers a rating factor.
Do you wish to exclude any drivers?
If you live with someone who has a bad driving record, excluding them from your policy can help reduce the cost. However, if there’s any chance this driver will use your vehicle, this is not recommended. Also, some states prohibit drivers from making exclusions.
Does your vehicle carry a salvage title?
Many insurance companies will not cover vehicles with salvage titles until full repairs are complete.
Questions About Driving and Insurance History
How many violations and tickets are on your record?
Insurance companies base your premium rates on how much risk they absorb by insuring you. Your driving record indicates the level of risk you pose, by showing them your accident and violation history. On average, the company will only be interested in violations from the last 3-5 years.
Who is your current insurance company?
Your current carrier may affect your rate. Some insurance companies only provide policies to drivers with clean records and good credit. If your current insurance company is considered a high-risk company, you may be quoted a higher premium because you would be considered a high-risk driver. Conversely, if your current provider insures primarily low-risk drivers, you may get a better rate.
Additionally, coverage gaps are another risk indicator, so if you’re currently uninsured, this may affect your premium as well.
When does your current policy expire?
Some companies view early shopping as an indicator of responsibility. So if you are shopping for insurance early (e.g., 7 days or more before your policy’s expiration date), you might be eligible for a discount.
What is your birth date?
Young drivers/drivers with no or few years of experience are at higher risk for accidents and so pay higher premiums.
What is your gender?
Gender also factors into the risk equation. Women have fewer accidents on the whole and generally pay less than their male counterparts.
Are you married?
Married drivers tend to get lower rates because the insurance companies view married drivers as more responsible and less likely to get into accidents. You may also qualify for a discount if you’re in a registered domestic partnership.
What is your Social Security number?
Your SSN is used to pull your driving record in order to determine your risk. Depending on your state, your credit may also be pulled. Do note that when an insurance company views your credit history, it is considered a “soft hit” and does not affect your score.
Do you own a home?
Homeowners are considered more responsible by car insurance companies and often get lower rates as a result. You may also be eligible for a discount if you bundle your homeowner’s insurance and your car insurance. Homeowners may also want to consider higher liability limits to protect their assets.
What do you do for a living?
Certain professions are associated with lower accident rates, and vice versa. For this reason, your job can actually affect your quote.
How many quotes should you obtain?
The more quotes you acquire, the better your odds of finding an affordable rate that meets your needs. The difference between looking 1 quote and 3 quotes could be several hundred dollars in insurance premium savings.
It’s important to remember that different car insurance companies will weight certain factors differently. For example, one company might give more consideration to your profession than another company. For this reason, it’s important to look at multiple companies.
Thanks to the Internet, it's much easier to shop for insurance than it used to be. You can easily compare insurance rates online from multiple providers, without spending a lot of time.