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Car Insurance Search

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 01/24/2011

Knowing what car insurance is, understanding different coverages, using local agents, and the internet to search for auto insurance.

Car Insurance Search: Detective with Magnifying Glass

Looking for car insurance can be a pain - but it doesn't have to be.

Looking for car insurance can be a frustrating process.  You are looking for something that is not tangible (you can’t touch it), you are being forced to buy it (by the state), it can be expensive, and you may not understand what the insurance salesman is telling you. Not exactly a walk in the park.

So where exactly do you start with the whole process?

Understanding Car Insurance First

Before you start the car insurance search, it is in your best interest that you understand what you are looking for.  You can start your education by checking out our car insurance definitions.

Learn the insurance lingo and know what an agent means when they say that the policy has 100/300/50 limits of liability coverage or what rental car coverage is.  If you don’t understand what they are talking about, don’t be afraid to ask.  It is better that you understand what you are buying and that it is a right fit instead of blindly buying something.

Don’t automatically buy the policy with the cheapest rates.  This usually means that you are buying the cheapest coverage as well. It might not provide you with enough coverage if you were in an accident.

For example, when we talked about the 100/300/50 liability limits above, that is the coverage available to cover the damages for the other person if you were to cause an accident.  The 100 is actually $100,000 in coverage for bodily injury (per person) and the 300 is the $300,000 limit that your insurance company will pay for all injuries to the other parties in the accident.  Finally, the 50 is the $50,000 limit that your insurance company will pay up to for damages to property caused by you in the accident.

So if you were to buy a cheap policy because the price was lower and the policy only had 25/50/25 liability limits, if you hit a person that was driving almost any new car out there right now, your $25,000 in property damage coverage would probably not cover the damages.  This means that you are left paying the difference out of your own pocket.

Also by knowing what you are looking for and what is available for insurance coverage, you can make sure that you are comparing policies with the same coverage.  This way you don’t mistake a lower priced policy as being the best value, when it is only the lower price because it offers less coverage.

Local Insurance Search

One way to search for car insurance is through local agents in your area.  This will help you in three ways.  First, they are in your area and you can physically go to their office and talk to them.  This is extremely helpful when you have been in a car accident and have someone there in town on your side instead of just a voice on the other end of the phone.

Second, a local agent knows the laws and coverage requirements for your state.  They will be able to make sure that you are purchasing at least the state minimums and have everything in place for your state.

Third, when you get your first quote for your car insurance a local agent will sit down with you and explain all of the coverages and answer any questions you may have.  They can also get you a quote immediately in writing so that as you go and get your other quotes, you have something in hand to compare it to.

You can also contact an insurance company through a toll free number that they offer on their commercials or print ads.  The phone numbers offer an insurance agent to talk to on the phone that can answer your questions. Bear in mind, these agents are not in your area to offer you local support and assistance.

Using the Internet to Search for Car Insurance

The internet is a great way to conduct your car insurance search.  Quotes can be obtained on your computer screen and you don’t have the pressure of an agent wanting to make a sale.  You also don’t have an agent there to answer any questions you may have or to explain any of the coverages.

We recommend searching for auto insurance through the internet first. It’s faster than calling a bunch of phone numbers, it lets the agents come to you (if you use a quote service like our above quote form), and it’s less hassle than keeping up with company websites or phone numbers.

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Todd Clay

Todd Clay is a former insurance agent with the largest insurance company in the United States. He earned his Bachelor’s from the University of Texas. He's worked in several fields but has specialized in insurance, financial-related information, and technology. He blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook. Connect with Tood on Google+

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