Checklist: What you need to compare car insurance quotes

By John Malloy Posted : 05/12/2010

Shopping and comparing car insurance quotes? Smart. You're on your way to saving big bucks. That's because drivers who regularly compare car insurance quotes typically save hundreds of dollars on their premium - more than $500 on average, according to our research.

Here's a secret. Car insurance comparison shoppers who save the most -- both money and time -- know that accurate information equals accurate quotes. They provide the best information possible to get the best quote available and to spend the shortest amount of time shopping.

You can do the same thing, and insurance.com can help. The following checklist will help you gather the information you need to fill out your comparison shopping form fast and get up to four great car insurance comparison quotes in minutes.

Car insurance comparison quotes checklist

General info

Most of this stuff you've got in your head.

  • You: Name, address, date of birth.
  • Living situation: Do you rent or own your home, how long you've lived in your current location.
  • Social Security Number: Though this is optional - we know a lot of drivers don't like to share this - car insurance companies need this to retrieve your credit score. You can get a quote without providing your social security number, but you may not be able to get a final rate. And your credit could affect that rate, both good (a lower rate than you expected) and bad (a higher rate than you were quoted).

Vehicle stats

Gather up your owner's manuals.

  • Make, model and year: Be specific for each vehicle. Is your 2009 Honda CR-V an EX, LX and SE? This typically refers to the vehicle's trim - LX (luxury), EX (extra) and SE (special edition). Don't report an EX vehicle as an LX vehicle. You might lose a couple dollars in savings.
  • Safety features: To take advantage of possible discounts, know the safety features of each vehicle, like anti-lock brakes and the type of anti-theft devices (passive, active, audible and so forth).
  • Average miles driven: Tally up how many miles you drive a year, too. Less mileage could mean greater savings.

Driving record

Are you a safe driver? Have you been for the last five years?

  • Motor Vehicle Record: When you request a final rate after comparing car insurance quotes, the insurance company will pull your motor vehicle record or MVR. The number of claims and violations on your record will affect your rate. And the company will look at your driving record for the past five years. That's right. Five years. So providing the most accurate driving record information possible during the quoting process will generate a quote closer to your final rate.
  • Claims amount paid: Have an accident that was your fault? Know how much your insurance company paid in claims - to you and the other driver, if applicable. Consider this the nitty-gritty, because it will affect your final rate.

Keep these things in mind

Two final items to consider before you compare quotes.

  • Current Policy Information: Dig through your files and pull out your current auto insurance policy. When you first compare car insurance quotes, you want to compare against your present policy. Knowing how much coverage you have - including deductibles, uninsured motorists, medical payments - allows you to compare apples to apples.
  • How You'll Pay: Finally, consider how you'll pay for your new car insurance policy - and be ready if get a great rate. Rates change daily, so you will want to buy as soon as you find what you're looking for. Most companies will accept a credit or debit card and may accept just your first month's balance to bind your policy. But if you want to save even more on your car insurance quotes, pay in full. You'll save a few bucks by not paying processing fees for monthly installments.
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