Shopping for car insurance

Shopping for auto insurance can help you save, but it can feel daunting — especially if it's been years since you last looked for a better rate. However, all you need to shop for car insurance is a little info, an idea of what coverages you need, and a few spare minutes to compare quotes.

2 min to read
Driver shifting into the “coverages” gear

How to shop for car insurance

The best way to shop around for car insurance is to find out your coverage and premium options from different companies. Follow these steps to start shopping:

  1. Understand your coverage options

    A policy with only auto liability coverage will get you a cheaper rate, but it might not satisfy your needs. If you lease or finance your car, your lender likely requires comprehensive car insurance and collision car insurance. Even if your car is paid off, if it's new you should consider comprehensive and collision coverage to avoid paying an expensive repair bill yourself. Learn more about common auto coverages and "full coverage" car insurance.

  2. Select your limits

    Your car insurance limit is the maximum amount your insurance will pay out for a claim. You'll have different limits for different coverages. For liability, selecting your state's minimum required coverage will reduce your rate, but it might not be enough to satisfy what you owe to the injured party, depending on the accident. You'll also need to determine the right limit to set for other coverages like uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Use our car insurance calculator to get an idea of how high you should set your limits.

  3. Choose your deductible

    Your car insurance deductible is the amount you need to pay toward a claim before your coverage kicks in. You typically only have a deductible for comprehensive, collision, and gap insurance coverages. The higher your deductible is, the lower your rate will be. However, you should always make sure your deductible isn't so high that you'd struggle to pay for repairs before your insurance kicks in.

  4. Compare premium quotes

    The car insurance premium is your bottom line — exactly how much your insurance will cost per payment cycle (options for payment frequency will vary).

    If you already know the coverages, limits, and deductible amount you want, make sure each quote you compare has the same amount so you're comparing apples to apples. If you're not sure yet, use the quoting process to see how your premium might change when you add coverage.

As you shop for auto insurance, keep in mind that cheaper car insurance isn't always the best choice. Rather, the best policy is the one that satisfies all your needs for the best rate.

To get started, compare car insurance quotes from different companies. You'll get a quote from Progressive, and then you can choose to compare it with rates from other insurers.

When to shop for car insurance

Quoting car insurance at least once a year can be beneficial, as rates change frequently. If you're paying too much, don't wait to switch. Your current company will refund you the unused portion of your policy when you cancel. Just make sure you're covered with your new company before cancelling.

Adding a teenager to your car insurance is also a good time to shop for auto insurance, as you may find an insurer that offers discounts for teen drivers.

Pro tip:

Progressive gives discounts for drivers listed on your policy who are 18 years old or younger,* as well as students with a B average or better.

Here's a quick rundown of what you need to shop car insurance, as well as how to compare quotes and more:

What do you need to quote and buy car insurance?

Before you start shopping for auto insurance, you'll need a few pieces of info to get an accurate quote, including:

  • Your car's make, model, and year: At a minimum, you'll need your car's make and model, its year, and your address to get an accurate quote.
  • Your driving history: Providing an honest account of tickets or accidents you've been in will increase the accuracy of your quote. Remember, lying to get a better rate is considered car insurance fraud.
  • Your car's mileage: Some insurers will ask for this to get a rough estimate of how much you drive.

To purchase a policy, you'll typically need to provide one or more of the following for verification purposes: driver's license number, Social Security number, and vehicle identification number (VIN).

With the above info in hand, you can start shopping for car insurance online, over the phone, or through an agent. Quoting car insurance online is a quick way to compare rates yourself, though an agent can save you time if you prefer someone else to do the shopping for you. Keep in mind that prices can vary based on how you buy.

How to compare auto insurance discounts

In addition to a teen driver discount, if you're a new customer shopping for auto insurance, see if you can earn additional discounts like:

  • Multi-policy: This discount can help you save if you plan to buy two or more policies from the same insurer.
  • Multi-car: Adding two or more vehicles to your policy could also save you more.
  • Continuous insurance: Many insurance companies offer a discount if you've previously had insurance through another company.
  • Usage-based insurance: Some insurers offer an additional discount that's based on how safely you drive while participating in their usage-based insurance program, like Progressive's Snapshot® program.

How to get car insurance

You can buy a policy from Progressive any way you'd like, both online or over the phone (prices can vary depending on how you buy). You can even see pricing from other companies with our rate comparison tool, AutoQuote Explorer®. Start shopping for a better car insurance rate:

Go online

We ask easy questions, and you customize your coverages.

Get a car insurance quote

Call a rep

Talk with a licensed representative who can guide you through the process.

Call 1-866-749-7436

Through an agent

Connect with an independent agent in your area.

Find an agent online

Looking for more information about auto insurance? Our car insurance resource center has you covered.

Quote car insurance online or give us a call

Learn more about car insurance policies.