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 family policy is also a good time to shop for auto insurance, as you may find an insurer that offers discounts for teen drivers.

What you need to quote and buy car insurance

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

  • Your car's make, model, and year: You'll usually only need this 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.
  • Your car's mileage: Some insurers will ask for this to get a rough estimate of how often you drive.

To purchase a policy, you'll typically need 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 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. Just bear in mind that prices can vary based on how you buy.

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

How to shop around for car insurance

The best way to shop for car insurance is to compare quotes from different companies to see different costs and coverage options. Pay attention to these four aspects as you go:

  1. Deductible

    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. You'll typically pay a deductible for comprehensive, collision, and gap coverages.

  2. Coverage types

    A liability-only policy will grant you a cheaper rate, but it might not satisfy your needs. If you lease or finance your car, your lender will require comprehensive and collision. Some lenders may even mandate a certain amount of liability coverage over the state minimum. Even if your car is paid off, you should consider comprehensive and collision coverage if your car is new to avoid paying an expensive repair bill yourself. Learn more about common auto coverages.

  3. Coverage limits

    This is the amount your insurance will pay out for a bodily injury or property damage claim. Selecting your state's minimum liability coverage will reduce your rate but might not be enough to satisfy what you owe to the injured party. Use our car insurance calculator to get an idea of how high you should set your limits.

    Learn more about auto insurance limits.

  4. Premium

    This 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 and deductible amount you want, then make sure each quote includes them so you can make a true comparison. If not, you can vary each quote to see how your car insurance premium changes when additional coverages are added.

Compare auto insurance discounts

In addition to a teen driver discount, new customers shopping for auto insurance should also see if they could 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. Start shopping for a better car insurance rate:

Go online

We ask easy questions, and you customize your coverages.

Call a rep

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

Through an agent

Connect with an independent agent in your area.