Shopping for Automobile Insurance Rates by Zip Code


Every Vehicle Owner Needs Automobile Insurance

Most states require not only that you carry insurance to protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers but you must also provide proof of insurance or financial responsibility to obtain vehicle registration and sometimes even an operator’s license.

Going about shopping for the right policy for the right coverage at the right rate can be a daunting task with the many options and policies available. With that in mind a potential purchaser of insurance coverage should do some homework before even venturing into the process.

Check with your state to see what the legal requirements are in your specific area. Laws regarding mandated coverage vary greatly from state to state making this an important first step.

Determine what your own personal needs are. If you drive a luxury vehicle that could put you in financial straits if the car were to be destroyed with a large balance owed to the bank, minimum coverage is probably not in your best interest. Some insurance carriers provide optional gap coverage to cover discrepancies between the vehicle’s value and your loan balance. Many lienholders will require gap insurance today when financing high balances that will have a negative net worth for an initial period of the loan.

Nearly every state requires at least minimum levels of liability insurance that protects other drivers from damages caused by accidents that are deemed to be your responsibility. Beyond that minimum coverage there are additional insurance options that you need to understand when requesting automobile insurance rates:

  • Collision – this takes care of your expenses from accidents as opposed to the minimum liability coverage that covers expenses of other parties.
  • Comprehensive – covers non-accident damages such as theft, vandalism, and natural disasters
  • Uninsured motorists (or underinsured motorist) – these coverages take care of your expenses should the driver at fault in an accident not have insurance, or not enough insurance.
  • Personal Injury Protection (often referred to as PIP or ‘no fault’ insurance) – takes care of medical expenses, lost wages, and possible funeral expenses should the other driver’s coverage prove inadequate. This is another type of coverage now required in many states.

Your financial situation may very well be a determining factor in how much coverage – or which types – you can afford. Certainly you don’t want to be underinsured, but there is a point where you become insurance rich to the detriment of your bank account.

How Do You Get Automobile Insurance Rates?

Once you’ve determined the coverage required by your state and the types of coverage that are right for you there are additional preparations you need to take before you start your rate search:

Contact the department of motor vehicles in your area for an update of your driving record. Insurance companies will check your record so it’s wise to investigate the accuracy of their records much as you would check your credit record before applying for a home mortgage. This gives you the opportunity to clear up any misinformation that may affect your automobile insurance rates.

If your driving record includes traffic violations that can be contested or even erased by attending safety or other classes, by all means take them. Clearing as much negative information from your history as possible can impact your automobile insurance rates.

Now you’re ready to proceed with obtaining rate quotes. One way is to pick up the phone and start calling insurance companies in your area for their rates on the coverage you need. After talking to two or three agents that present you with multiple options including their ‘best’ rate quotes for your specific situation, you will probably wish there was an easier way.

There is – with the advent of technology and online services you can access insurance company web sites to obtain accurate automobile insurance rates quickly and easily, without talking to high-pressure agents that may attempt to upsell products and coverage that you’ve already determined you don’t want or need. You can shop for a company’s insurance rates by simply entering your zip code, personal information, and vehicle data.

The Best Method of Obtaining Automobile Insurance Rates by Zip Code

Even better, instead of visiting a number of company web sites and evaluating them individually (not to mention the need to enter your information multiple times), there are online resources you can utilize to enter your specific information one time, and shop multiple insurance carriers. Searching for insurance rates by zip code on a single site is the most efficient and quickest way to find the quotes that meet your criteria for insurance coverage.

Once you’ve reviewed several options and are ready to sign up with an insurance provider take one more step to check out the company itself. They will be researching you, so it makes perfect sense to reciprocate with some research into their reputation and history. J.D. Power is one resource with a good reputation for providing financial and reputation information related to public companies.

Don’t forget social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Such sites are good resources for customer praise as well as complaints that can provide insight into the service levels and responsiveness you can expect from your proposed insurance provider.

Before signing up with any insurance company, be sure to verify their consumer information through the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This will ensure that you’re not committing to coverage through a company with a history of complaints from policy holders.

Proceeding through these steps to acquire your automobile insurance rates by zip code will give you the confidence that you’re making the right decision for your coverage. One more tip – don’t forget to ask for discounts. Most companies offer a variety of discounts for customers for many reasons:

  • College degrees or other higher education
  • Veterans
  • Safe drivers
  • Multi-policy holders (automobile, life, home) is the quickest and easiest way to get quotes tailored to your needs from the convenience of your office, home, or mobile device.

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