Compare Car Insurance Quotes Online: How to Shop and Compare Online

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Start a free online quote. Learn how to get an auto insurance quote, what they are and how to save.

  • Car insurance quotes provide an estimate of how much you’d pay for an auto policy.

  • Auto insurance quotes are personal to you and are based on multiple factors such as your car make and model, your age, location and driving history.

  • You can get an online car insurance quote for free using a comparison tool, an independent agent or by visiting an insurer’s website.

One of the best ways to find cheap car insurance quotes online is to shop around and compare quotes. You can use NerdWallet’s online car insurance comparison tool to find quotes from multiple companies in minutes.

If you have questions about car insurance quotes, it’s best to get the answers before you start shopping. Here’s everything you need to know, from what auto insurance quotes are to how to get the cheapest one possible.

What are auto insurance quotes for car insurance?

A car insurance quote is an estimate of how much you’ll pay for a policy. Insurers each use their own unique formula to calculate a car insurance quote, so even if you provide the same information to Geico, Progressive or any other company, no two quotes will be the same. The more auto insurance quotes you get, the better chance you’ll have of finding the cheapest car insurance company for you.

What goes into a car insurance quote?

Several factors affect your auto insurance quote, and they differ from company to company. For instance, one insurance company might raise your rates by 10% for living in a high-crime area, while a different insurer might charge only 5% more. Both companies are looking at the amount of crime in your neighborhood, but they calculate your insurance risk differently.

How to get car insurance quotes

There are several ways you can get free auto insurance quotes:

  • Online or over the phone.

  • Captive insurance agents.

  • Independent insurance agents and brokers.

  • Comparison websites.

  • Specialty agencies

Before you start making phone calls, though, remember these pro tips:

  1. Look into car insurance companies’ complaint records and customer satisfaction. Auto insurance reviews are a good place to start.

  2. Get at least three car insurance quotes online or from an agent so you can evaluate whether you’re getting a good price for the coverage you want.

  3. Understand coverage limits. When comparing quotes, check that each policy has comparable liability limits and deductibles.

What information do you need to get a free car insurance quote?

When you shop around for auto insurance quotes, make sure you have all the relevant information on hand and understand what goes into determining your final premium. That includes:

  • Basic information such as your name, address, occupation and birthdate.

  • Your current auto insurance company, if you have one.

  • Driver’s license information for you and anyone else on the policy.

  • Annual and current mileage on your car, as well as how often you drive and why (such as for pleasure or commuting to work).

  • Vehicle information, including whether you own or lease your car, vehicle identification number and any safety features.

  • Driving history for the past five years for all drivers on the policy, including tickets, accidents and other violations. Bear in mind — any company you choose will find your driving history before issuing a policy, so it’s best to be upfront to get an accurate car insurance quote.

  • How much coverage you need. If you already have a policy, the declarations page lists the coverage you currently have. You can use this for reference.

How much should my car insurance be?

Because car insurance quotes can vary widely from person to person depending on your car, location and driving record, among other factors, we can’t predict the exact auto insurance quote you’ll receive, but our analyses determined these averages.

Why you can trust NerdWallet:

Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our writing and data analyses. You can trust the prices we show you because our data analysts take rigorous measures to eliminate outliers and inaccuracies in pricing data, which include rates from every locale in the country where coverage is offered and data is available. When comparing rates for different coverage amounts, ages and backgrounds, we change only one variable at a time, so you can easily see how each factor affects pricing. Read our methodology.

Rates shown below are for full coverage insurance and include liability coverage, uninsured motorist protection, comprehensive and collision insurance.

Average auto insurance costs for a 35-year-old driver

Driver profile

Full coverage

Minimum coverage

Good driver, good credit



Good driver, poor credit



One at-fault accident, good credit



One speeding ticket, good credit



Recent DUI, good credit



How to get the cheapest car insurance quote possible

Regularly shopping around is the only way to find the best policy for you. Even if you have a clean record and are happy with your insurance company, you might find a cheaper price elsewhere. The only way to know is to compare car insurance rates.

» MORE: Find the best cheap car insurance

Besides shopping around (at least once a year), there are other strategies you can try to keep your premium down:

  • Work on your credit. Our car insurance rates analysis found that drivers with poor credit and a good driving record pay almost as much for car insurance as drivers with good credit and a DUI.

  • Shop for insurance before buying a car. Insurers will charge you more (or less) depending on the type of car you drive. A recent NerdWallet study found that the cheapest cars to insure include the Subaru Outback and Forester and the Honda CR-V.

  • Drive cautiously. Car insurance is almost always expensive for drivers with a history of car accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs or other violations in the past three to five years.

  • Look for discounts. You can save on your car insurance if you own a home, take a driver’s safety course or belong to certain organizations.

  • Raise your deductibles. Opting to pay more out of pocket if you file a collision or comprehensive claim will help reduce your monthly premium.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average car insurance quote?

According to NerdWallet’s rate analysis, the national average cost of car insurance is $1,630 per year for good drivers with good credit. However, any auto insurance quotes you get will be specific to you.

Why should you use NerdWallet to compare quotes?

Car insurance quotes are personalized based on your driving history, location, age and other factors. Each insurer weighs these factors differently when they determine your quote. That’s why shopping around is the best way to find the cheapest car insurance rate for you.

NerdWallet’s auto insurance comparison tool provides a completely free way to compare several auto insurance companies at once.

How do you get free car insurance quotes?

Most insurance companies offer free car insurance quotes through their website, on the phone or in person with an agent. You can also use an online car insurance comparison tool to see multiple carriers where you can get rates from at once.

Can you get an auto insurance quote before buying a car?

You can — and should — get a free car insurance quote before purchasing a vehicle. Auto insurance is an important aspect to consider when budgeting for a new or used car.

Does getting a car insurance quote affect credit?

Shopping around for car insurance quotes online will not affect your credit score. However, having a low credit score will generally increase your car insurance quote in all states except California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Why is car insurance so expensive?

One reason your rates may be higher is if you have a history of car accidents, speeding tickets or DUIs. Similarly, if you own a luxury vehicle, live in a high-crime area or have poor credit, your quote might be higher than average. But these are only a few examples of why your rates may have skyrocketed. Read our article on reasons why your car insurance is so high to find out more.

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