Car insurance quotes FAQ

Which car insurance quotes should I get?

You should be looking for a policy that gives you the cover you need at a price you can afford. Equally important is the insurer’s reputation for claims handling. Check the website of your state’s Insurance Commissioner to ensure the companies you ask for quotes give a good service.

What are the main types of cover?

The three basic types of cover are liability, collision and comprehensive. In all but one state, liability cover is mandatory. If you are using an auto loan, collision and comprehensive cover will be required. When asking for car insurance quotes, always ensure you ask for an adequate amount, particularly if you are insuring medical costs arising from accidents.

What are the main differences between insurers?

Some insurance companies have a general approach, insuring all-comers and marketing themselves as providing peace of mind. Others are specialist and focus on specific groups of drivers or types of vehicle. For example, some will offer better terms to teens, women drivers or seniors, or their policies will be offered to alumni of different universities, trade and professional associations and so on.

How are the premium rates calculated?

Insurance companies make their money by estimating how much the policyholders will claim, collecting in that amount plus a percentage to cover their administrative costs and make a profit. The business of putting a value on this risk falls to actuaries who have databases full of statistics on who is most likely to have an accident.

What are the main risk factors?

This starts with your personal details: how old, what sex, what job you have, how far you will drive in a day, whether you have previously had accidents or picked up tickets, etc.; and then moves on to details of the make and model of the vehicle, where it will be parked at night, how easy it is to steal, etc.

What happens after an accident?

When asking for car insurance quotes, consider whether you want to ask for additional cover to pay the costs of roadside assistance, towing to a safe place, storage while you wait for repairs, and a replacement while your vehicle is off the road. Some insurers also pay for overnight accommodation if the accident strands you a long way from home. Always read the small print to see what limits are placed on the amounts you can claim.