Buying car insurance online

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Auto insurance is a necessary purchase for vehicle owners in most states. If you are looking for a car insurance policy, you might be considering purchasing car insurance online, a method that has grown in popularity in recent years. Buying insurance online is often faster than purchasing insurance through an agent, which means, if you find a lower rate, you could start saving sooner.

With the increase in digital tools, buying car insurance online is becoming an increasingly popular option. If you are planning to search for car insurance online, there are some things you should know before purchasing a policy.

What to know before purchasing car insurance online

Although it might seem convenient to buy insurance online, there are many factors to consider. Since you will not be sitting down with a licensed agent, it is important to know what type of coverage you want and need so that your policy fits your specific situation. Although it might take research beforehand, you may want to answer the following questions:

  • If you have a loan or lease on your car, does your financial institution require you to have certain minimum limits and deductibles?
  • If you do not have a loan or lease, do you want full coverage or are you comfortable with liability only coverage?
  • Do you want a company that provides a mobile app?
  • Do you want a bundling discount for future policies?
  • How important is it for your company to have a support phone number in case you have questions?
  • What is the claims process and do you feel comfortable with it?

If you plan to buy auto insurance online but you do not understand the different types of coverage available, you may want to look for a company with customer service phone or chat support.

Additionally, you will likely need details like your vehicle identification number (VIN), your driver’s license number and prior insurance history before actually buying a policy. These specifics may change your quoted insurance premium, especially if you received a quote by only providing partial information.

Best online car insurance companies

Now that you may want to shop online for car insurance, you are probably wondering where to start. There are dozens of popular auto insurers out there, but not all of them may be right for you. We reviewed numerous auto insurance companies by examining factors like customer satisfaction, ease of the online application process, available discounts, mobile app availability and claims satisfaction to help you to find a company that might be right for you.

Company Best for…
Geico Best for convenient mobile app
Allstate Best for customer support options
Amica Best for easy application process
State Farm Best for online claims management

Geico

Geico is a company that offers quick and easy quotes and generally cheap rates. Geico ranks highly for customer satisfaction, utilizes a user-friendly quoting system and makes it simple to file a claim. Geico’s mobile app is a standout in the industry. Policyholders can do everything from making policy changes to paying a bill and filing a claim within the app. You can even download your proof of insurance ID cards for easy access. Plus, Geico’s website allows you to complete certain tasks without even logging in, which is great for anyone who easily forgets their password.

Allstate

Allstate offers users a multi-functional website. Better yet, Allstate makes it simple to get direct customer support if handling your policy yourself becomes overwhelming. You can even reach Allstate via e-mail or through a digital chat. Allstate offers a variety of discounts and plenty of agents nationwide in the event that you need to talk to someone face-to-face after you have purchased your online policy.

Amica

If you want an easy and hassle-free option, you might appreciate Amica’s online application process. You begin by entering in your address and answering just a few simple questions that will help determine if you are eligible for a quote. The application is then broken down into five simple sections — your information, vehicles, drivers, discounts and your quote summary. If you need to step away from your computer, you can save a quote and return to it later. As an added benefit, Amica received the second-highest rating from J.D. Power for claims satisfaction.

State Farm

State Farm offers a convenient and well-designed claims management system that is easy to navigate. Choose the type of incident you are dealing with and the website will break the claims process down into five steps. Even third parties involved in an incident with a State Farm driver, but who are not insured with State Farm themselves, can create an account to track a claim. Additionally, there is a digital chat button on every claims page so you can easily chat with a representative if you have a question.

How to save on online auto insurance

Buying car insurance online is not necessarily a cheaper option than more traditional methods. However, that does not mean that you will not be able to find affordable coverage. Here are some of the easiest ways to save money on your online auto insurance:

  • Shop around: The online quoting process is usually simple, so it may be in your best interest to get a quote from more than one company. As long as you are getting quotes for the same coverage, you should be able to compare rates and select the one that is most affordable.
  • Bundle your policies: You might qualify for a multi-policy discount if you insure more than one policy with the same insurance company. If you already have a homeowners or renters policy elsewhere, you may want to quote it alongside your car insurance policy to see how significant the discount is.
  • Explore every discount: Many car insurance companies have several discounts available. You may be eligible for a reduced premium based on your driving record, your grades, your employer, your vehicle’s safety features and even your driving frequency.

When shopping around, remember that the cheapest price is not always the best option. Be sure that you are getting quotes for the coverage that you need and not just the cheapest available. If you are not sure how much coverage to purchase, it may be best to start your auto insurance search by talking to a licensed agent.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best online car insurance company?

The best online car insurance company will depend on what you are looking for in your car insurance. Whether you want an efficient claims portal or a convenient mobile app, you can shop around to help determine the best car insurance company for your situation.

Can a car insurance policy be purchased online?

Although purchasing car insurance online starts with a quote, many companies will let you purchase the policy, pay your premium and get proof of insurance instantly. Be prepared to provide information like: the dates of birth and driver’s license numbers for all the drivers in your household, the VIN of each of your vehicles, your prior insurance company’s name and your policy number, lienholder information and your driving history to complete the policy purchase.

How do you obtain proof of insurance from an online policy?

Once you purchase a car insurance policy, there will likely be several ways you can obtain proof of insurance. Many companies will allow you to download ID cards or a declarations page instantly or even pull up proof of insurance in a mobile app. However, you can usually also request a copy by mail.

Written by
Jessie See
Insurance Contributor
Jessie See has a year of experience writing for Bankrate.com, Reviews.com and other insurance domains. She has covered topics ranging from auto and homeowner’s insurance to life insurance. She has been writing professionally for over a decade with experience in a variety of different topics and industries. Prior to becoming an insurance writer, she worked as a legal assistant in the field of personal injury law and as a licensed sales producer at various insurance agencies.
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