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What You Need to Get an Auto Insurance Quote

March 13, 2015
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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The process of finding the best auto insurance quote can seem so daunting that you may feel like sticking with your current insurer rather than making the effort to comparison shop. But the time spent getting a handful of quotes each year can help ensure that you aren’t paying too much for the right coverage.

Fortunately, most major insurers have easy and fast online car insurance quoting processes. And you’ll save even more time if you have the right information handy when you start your quote request.

Basic personal data. Who are you? Where do you live? When were you born? Most car insurance quotes will start with this information. Be sure to list the place where your car will be parked most often as your address, not a friend’s or family member’s home.

Vehicle information. The online quoting form will generally ask whether you own, finance or lease the vehicle you’d like to insure, what safety features it has, and how many miles you drive daily and annually. Have your car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) handy.

In addition, the insurer will want to know about the “use” of the car — for example, for driving to work or for pleasure. This helps the company give you an accurate auto insurance quote. If you use your car to do your job — outside of commuting — you should get a quote for a business auto policy. This typically costs more than personal auto coverage.

Driver information. The auto insurer will ask about you and any other licensed drivers in your household, including how long you’ve been licensed and whether you own your home. They’ll probably also ask what company insures you now.

Driving history. Most companies will want to determine how “risky” you are as a driver. Have any drivers in your household had a moving violation, an accident or a claim in the last few years? Some companies, like State Farm, consider violations as old as five years, so you may have to do some digging for the data you need. Try to find the dates of the problem so that you don’t have to guess.

Desired coverage limits. Have the declarations page of your current or most recent auto insurance policy handy. This will help you fill in coverage levels for liability, collision and comprehensive, and choose deductibles. Inputting your current coverage limits helps you compare apples to apples.

Geico and Esurance aren’t the only companies that can give you a quick auto insurance quote these days, especially if you’re prepared for the process. Online quotes will help you narrow down your options but they’re not always binding. Once you’ve submitted your quote, an agent or company representative should contact you. He or she may have follow-up questions and can provide a final price.

Alice Holbrook is a staff writer covering insurance and investing for NerdWallet. Follow her on Google+.

Image via iStock.