Best free car insurance quotes

auto insurance quotes

If you own a car or have a valid driver's license, you'll probably need to purchase car insurance before you can hit the road. The easiest way to find coverage you can afford is to get a free auto insurance quote, or better yet, multiple quotes, either online or by contacting an insurance company or independent agent. These rate quotes are based on a number of factors, including your age, where you live, the type of vehicle you own, your driving record, and more. Getting multiple car insurance quotes can help you compare rates and find a policy that fits your needs without breaking your budget.

If you're looking for car insurance but aren't sure where to start, our ranking of the best car insurance companies can help. In it, you'll find valuable information about the best-performing companies across the country, their average rates, and additional tips and information that can guide your search.

Most companies make it easy to get a free auto insurance quote, either online, over the phone, or by working directly with an insurance broker. Regardless of which method you choose, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends that you get quotes from no fewer than three different insurers to get a clear idea of coverage options and costs.

To get a free auto insurance quote, you will likely need to provide the following:

  • Driver’s license number
  • Social security number(s) for each driver on the policy
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The car’s make, model, year
  • Current mileage, also referred to as the odometer reading
  • Vehicle safety and security features like anti-lock brakes or a GPS device that can track your car if it's stolen
  • Where you park your car, such as in a garage or on the street
  • Estimate of how many miles you drive annually
  • Desired coverage levels and deductible amounts
  • Whether you own the car outright, are financing it, or are leasing it
  • Any other drivers in your family that you plan to insure

After you submit your quote request, you can receive rate information right away and have the opportunity to purchase coverage on the spot. In other cases, you may receive an email or phone call from your insurer providing information on rates and purchase options.

If you want to compare multiple rates at once, consider using a comparison website such as Submitting a form on these sites will make it easy to review quotes and coverage information from multiple insurers at the same time.

Getting Quotes Online vs Over the Phone

Free online auto insurance quotes are quick and easy, but they don't always reflect your final rate. Not all insurers collect the same information during the online quote process. If the insurer doesn't ask for your Social Security number, VIN, or driver's license number, the estimate you receive may not be very accurate. Similarly, online quotes do not always reflect discounts for which you may be eligible.

Getting free car insurance quotes online is a great way to gather information and review your options, especially if you want to compare multiple insurers. Once you narrow down your search, following up with an agent can help you get a more personalized quote, address any questions you have, and discuss any additional savings or discounts available.

Auto insurance rates are highly personalized and based on several key pieces of information. Although each insurer's formula for determining rates is different, the following factors are often used to determine your rate:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Address
  • Credit score 
  • Driving record (e.g., speeding tickets, accidents, DUIs.)
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Type of coverage (e.g., liability, uninsured motorist, collision)
  • Educational level 
  • Marital status

Your rate also depends on the amount of coverage you choose. Policies with higher limits, or the amount of money your insurer will pay for a claim, are more expensive than policies with lower limits. Higher deductibles, or the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in, usually lead to lower rates as well.

For more information, check out our guide to the cheapest auto insurance companies.

There are several types of auto insurance coverage and policy add-ons available. Some are required by state law; others are optional. Check with your state department of motor vehicles for the most up-to-date insurance requirements. As you shop for insurance, you'll likely see the following coverage options:

  • Liability insurance covers bodily injury, property damage, and other associated costs if you are at fault in an accident. In most states, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, making this type of coverage a mainstay in the auto insurance industry. There are some exceptions. New Hampshire is the only state that does not require drivers to have any type of auto insurance. Virginia requires drivers to have insurance or pay an uninsured motorist fee, while Florida requires only property damage liability coverage.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can help pay for damages if you're in an accident with a driver who doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance to cover costs related to the accident. Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance is required in some states.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP), also known as no-fault car insurance, covers medical expenses related to accidents, including medical bills, ambulance fees, and lost wages. Policies generally cover the policyholder, as well as their passengers and anyone driving their vehicle (with permission), regardless of who is at fault. PIP coverage may also cover the policyholder if he is injured as a passenger in another vehicle or if he is struck by another vehicle while walking or bicycling. Like uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, PIP is required in some states.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage covers accident-related medical bills for the policyholder and their passengers. Although similar to PIP, MedPay coverage is limited to medical bills only, while PIP coverage extends to associated costs such as lost wages.
  • Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle that results from a collision with another object, whether it's another vehicle or a stationary item, such as a tree, fence, or house. You may be required to purchase collision coverage if you finance your vehicle.
  • Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage caused by other incidents, such as fire, natural disaster, theft, or vandalism. Like collision insurance, lenders often require comprehensive coverage when a driver is financing a vehicle.

In addition to the main types of coverage listed above, most insurers also offer optional coverage, including:

  • Roadside assistance, which provides help in the event of a mechanical breakdown, puncture, empty fuel tank or similar mishap on the road or at home
  • Gap insurance, which is designed to cover any balance due on an outstanding car loan and the actual value of the car in the event the vehicle is seriously or completely damaged.
  • Pay-per-mile insurance, which charges a flat fee for coverage plus a usage fee in exchange for (potentially) lower rates.

Most insurance companies offer discounts to customers who purchase more than one insurance policy, such as auto insurance and homeowners or renters insurance. Insurers call this a bundle or multi-policy discount and tout savings of 20% or more. In some cases, however, combining policies may not save you money. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends getting quotes for multi-policy coverage from one insurer and separate policies from multiple insurers, and then comparing cost savings.

How much car insurance do I need?

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to buying car insurance, but there are a few factors that can help you determine how much coverage you need.

State Laws – Each state sets mandatory minimum amounts of bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) liability insurance coverage. These are expressed as a series of three numbers, such as 25/50/25. The first two figures refer to bodily injury coverage, while the third represents property damage limits. For example, the state of Alabama requires drivers to have $25,000 individual BI coverage, $50,000 total BI coverage, and $25,000 PD coverage. You can opt for more liability insurance than your state requires, but doing so will increase your premiums. Contact your state department of motor vehicles or insurance regulatory agency for the most up-to-date requirements for minimum levels of liability insurance.

Lender Requirements – If you finance your vehicle, your loan agreement will likely include insurance requirements. The type and amount of coverage you need can vary by lender, but typically includes comprehensive and collision insurance. Once your loan is paid in full and you own your vehicle, you can reassess your coverage needs.

Personal Assets – Auto insurance is designed to protect you and your family from the financial consequences that can follow an accident. If you don't have insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for vehicle repairs, medical bills, property damage, and other costs associated with an accident. After meeting state or lender requirements, consider how much insurance you need to cover your personal assets, including your home, vehicle, and savings.

For more information, see our How Much Car Insurance Do I Need? guide.

Auto Insurance FAQs

Do I need auto insurance?

Most states have laws that require drivers to carry minimum liability coverage, although some states require Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM), or Medical Payment coverage . Contact your state department of motor vehicles or insurance department to determine the precise type and amount of coverage you need.

You may also need to purchase insurance if you finance or lease your vehicle. Always discuss insurance requirements with your lender before signing your finance or lease agreement.

How do I buy auto insurance?

You can buy auto insurance directly through any insurer that is authorized to sell coverage in your state. Most insurers allow you to purchase policies online, over the phone, or directly through an agent. You can also purchase coverage through an insurance broker.

How can I pay my car insurance premium?

Every insurer is different, but most allow policyholders to pay their premium by debit card, credit card, online bill pay, or electronic funds transfers (EFT). Some insurers offer discounts to customers who choose auto pay, allowing policyholders to set up an automatic payment using the payment method of their choice. Your insurer may also offer a discount for paying your auto insurance policy premium in full instead of making a monthly payment. Contact your insurance agent to discuss your payment options.

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