Buying Car Insurance Online

Buying Car Insurance Online

 Is it better to purchase your car insurance online or work through an agent? That depends on your insurance needs and what you’re comfortable doing. In this article, we at the Guides Auto Team explain where you can purchase online car insurance and when you might be better off calling an agent.

If you already know you want to buy your car insurance online, use the tool above to get started by comparing free quotes from several of the best car insurance companies.

Can I Buy Car Insurance Online?

Yes, it’s easy to get car insurance online. It can take an hour or less if you’re prepared with basic information about yourself, your driving record and your vehicle. An online car insurance policy can go into effect as soon as you make the first payment.

How Does Buying Car Insurance Work?

The online insurance purchase process is similar for most companies. If the insurer offers car insurance online, you can get any standard type of coverage you’d need right from your computer or phone. But if you’re looking for specialty auto coverages like classic car insurance, you may have to call an agent to explain your situation.

The standard types of car insurance include:

Best Way To Buy Auto Insurance

The best way to buy insurance depends on your situation. Car insurance purchased online is usually about the same cost as car insurance purchased through an agent — though you might pay slightly more if you use an insurance broker.

 Below are some key differences between buying insurance online versus through an agent:

  • Online: If you already know what auto insurance coverage you need, it can be a good idea to purchase car insurance online. Buying online can save time and money. Many of our recommended national providers offer online auto insurance quotes and purchasing.
  • Agent: If you aren’t sure what kind of car insurance you need, you may be better off working through an agent. An agent can answer your questions and help you figure out your best coverage options.
  • Should I Buy Car Insurance Online?

    We don’t recommend choosing an insurer based on whether or not you can purchase a policy entirely online. You should choose your insurer based on which company offers the best car insurance rates and coverage for your needs. If that insurer happens to offer online car insurance quotes, you may want to take advantage of it. 

    It is generally cheaper to buy car insurance online, as there are no agent fees or markups. However, an agent can guide you through the purchase process and help you select the best coverage. Agents may also help you find car insurance discounts you might not otherwise know about.

    Either way, research any provider before committing to a policy. Even if you want to work through an insurance agent, it can be a good idea to compare quotes online first. This way, you can get a better feel for the cost of car insurance and which insurers to contact.

    How To Buy Car Insurance

    There are three ways you can purchase auto insurance: contacting a company agent, working with an independent broker or buying car insurance online. You can also use a free auto quote tool like ours to help you determine the best car insurance coverage, rate and provider.

    Here are some steps to follow to get car insurance online:

    1. Get an online car insurance quote

    The first step is to get a quote either through an insurer’s website or by using a free car insurance quote tool like the one below.

    To receive your quote, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name and address
  • Driver’s license number
  • Make, model and year of your vehicle
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Description of accidents, tickets or insurance claims filed in the last several years
  • 2. Compare quotes

    After you provide the necessary information, some sites may offer instant car insurance quotes that allow you to see the cost for the level of coverage you select. Other companies may ask for your telephone number or email address and have an agent contact you with your quotes and options. Reach out to a few companies so you can compare insurance plans.

    3. Select coverage

    Insurers that allow you to purchase a policy online will guide you through the purchase process, which should be straightforward. You’ll be asked to select the coverage you want as well as add-on options like roadside assistance, towing or accident forgiveness.

    4. Pay

    Set up a payment method and input the necessary information. Most insurers may allow you to pay with a credit card, though some will charge a fee for this. Your other option is to pay through a bank by providing your routing number and account information.

    5. Print your card

    Finally, print your insurance card from home. Your insurer may also mail an id card to you.

    What To Know When Buying Car Insurance

    If you’ve decided purchasing auto insurance online is right for you, there are some important things to consider. In the sections below, we’ll highlight some things to look for when purchasing auto insurance online.

    Where Can I Buy Car Insurance Online?

    Most major auto insurers offer coverage online. Providers that do not offer online purchases require that you speak to an agent before finalizing your policy. However, most of the purchase process can still be completed on the insurer’s website.

    Online Auto Insurance Companies

    Here’s a snapshot of which major insurance providers offer car insurance online:

    Car Insurance Rates Online

    According to our rate estimates, full coverage car insurance costs an average of about $144 per month ($1,730 per year) for good drivers. These estimates don’t include policy discounts you may qualify for, such as a homeowners discount or a discount for bundling auto with home insurance or life insurance. Other common discounts include: 

  • Teen driver discount
  • Safe driving discount
  • Good student discount
  • Military discount
  • Defensive driving course discount
  • Safety features discounts
  • Also, keep in mind that car insurance rates change over time. Premiums can be affected by state regulations, the rate of claims in a location, population growth and more. In our January 2022 car insurance survey, we found that 41% of respondents had experienced a rate increase without an obvious cause.

    Cheap Online Car Insurance Companies

    Car insurance prices also vary by provider, of course. Here’s how major providers rank based on cost:

    Online Auto Insurance Quotes

    Buying auto insurance online usually involves getting a free online quote. Car insurance quotes are based on a number of factors.

    Factors that affect car insurance rates

    The cost of any auto insurance policy will depend on a number of factors, including your:

  • Location
  • Driving history
  • Credit score (except in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan)
  • Vehicle
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Coverage selection
  • Deductible
  • Car Insurance Costs by State

    Even if you purchase car insurance online, costs can vary considerably by location. Here are annual and monthly car insurance cost estimates by state.

    Purchasing Auto Insurance Online: Conclusion

    In this article, we reviewed the process of purchasing car insurance online, provided tips for how to buy car insurance and highlighted some of the best places to find auto insurance on the internet.

    Buy Car Insurance Online

    Whether you’re buying car insurance online or in person, it’s important to compare several options so you find the best rates. Use the tool below to compare online car insurance quotes from top companies in your area, or read on to learn more about two of our recommended providers, Geico and USAA.

    Geico: Editor’s Choice

    In our industry-wide review, we rated Geico among the top car insurance providers in the country. Geico policies can be purchased online and are often the cheapest car insurance option for drivers. Discounts like those for being a good driver (up to 26% off), being a good student (up to 15% off) and having multiple vehicles on your policy (up to 25% off) are only a few of the ways to save with Geico.

    In addition to standard car insurance coverage, Geico offers add-on policy options such as:

  • Emergency roadside assistance
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI)
  • Rideshare insurance
  • Learn more in our Geico insurance review.

    USAA: Low Rates for Military

    To be eligible for a car insurance policy with USAA, you must be a member or veteran of the United States military or have a family member or spouse that is a USAA member. If you are eligible, you can purchase a USAA policy entirely online.

    In addition to standard insurance coverages, USAA customers can purchase:

    Learn more in our USAA insurance review. To compare the two insurers in more detail, read our USAA vs. Geico review.

    Buying Auto Insurance Online: FAQ

    Below are some frequently asked questions about buying car insurance online:

    Other Types Of Insurance To Consider Our Methodology

    Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers that scored the most points topping the list.

    Here are the factors our ratings take into account:

  • Cost: Auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services and discount opportunities were both taken into consideration.
  • Coverage: Companies that offer a variety of choices for insurance coverage are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Reputation and experience: Our research team considered market share, ratings from industry experts and years in business when giving this score.
  • Availability: Auto insurance companies with greater state availability and few eligibility requirements scored highest in this category.
  • Customer experience: This score is based on volume of complaints reported by the NAIC and customer satisfaction ratings reported by J.D. Power. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each insurance company’s customer service team based on our own shopper analysis.
  • Our credentials:

  • 800 hours researched
  • 45 companies reviewed
  • 8,500+ consumers surveyed
  • *Data accurate at time of publication