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Whether you're in the market for your first car -- and your first insurance policy -- or you've been insured for years and are considering a change, trying to compare auto insurance quotes can be a frustrating process. What kind of coverage does your quote include? Will it change once you've input your driving record? Are you in for any unpleasant surprises?
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to compare car insurance quotes online, try our Car Insurance Comparison Tool. It offers the opportunity to adjust your insurance quotes based on a number of variables, including how and how often you use your car, and who'll be driving it. While you can't control all of the factors that affect your premiums, you can do your research and pick the best company for you, based on your driving habits and demographics.
Who will be driving your car?
As anyone who's ever tried to insure a teen driver knows, the process will make your auto insurance quotes will go through the roof. Car insurance rates can be much higher for older drivers as well. However, some car insurance companies provide ways to offset the cost of insuring both younger and older drivers.
State Farm: Those insuring younger drivers might want to consider State Farm. The insurer provides a discount of up to 25% for full-time students under 25 with good grades. If academics aren't your young driver's strength, he can still save 15% if he's under 25, has completed an approved Steer Clear course, and has had a clean driving record for at least three years.
AARP/The Hartford: On top of the discount you get for being an AARP member, you can get an additional discount -- good for three years -- for completing a safe driving course. Drivers under 21 who've completed a safe driving course, or students under 25 who maintain good grades, are also eligible for discounts.
Allstate: Older drivers might want to go with Allstate, though the insurer offers discounts at both ends of the age spectrum. If you're at least 55 and retired, you can save up to 10% on your premiums, without taking a qualifying course. If you're under 25, single, and a full-time student with a solid academic record, you could save up to 20%. Younger drivers could save up to 10% for completing the teenSMART program.
Esurance: Older and younger drivers both have reasons to choose Esurance. Those 50 and over --- depending on their state -- can get up to a 10% discount for three years if they've completed a safe driving course. Full-time students under 25 with a 3.0 GPA or higher can also get a 10% discount.
Liberty Mutual: Full-time students, new graduates, and new retirees all qualify for discounts, depending on their residency and other factors.
How will you use your car?
While many Americans use their cars to commute between work or school and home, many also work from home or commute via public transit, using their cars mostly for convenience. The purpose for which you use your car can definitely affect your insurance rates. Most companies take it into account when preparing your quote, and some offer additional discounts.
State Farm: Like many other insurance companies, State Farm now allows drivers to collect and share information about their driving habits through their Drive Safe & Save Program. If you're paying too much for the amount you drive, this could lead to a reduction in your rates, but if you have any concerns about your driving, consider what else State Farm might learn about you before signing up.
Allstate: If you have a vehicle you use mostly for farm or ranch work, you'll save 10% on its premiums with Allstate.
How much coverage do you need?
With a few exceptions, all states require drivers to have some auto insurance coverage, but whether or not you purchase a comprehensive plan, or other optional add-ons, is up to you. If you're insured with Esurance, you could save money by electing not to use its roadside assistance program. Drivers in most states who choose another service -- like AAA -- can save up to 5% on their premium.
Do you have a good driving record?
It should come as no surprise that your driving history -- from speeding tickets to accidents -- can affect your premiums quite a bit. While making a few mistakes on the road can cost you, maintaining a clear driving record can also save you money.
State Farm: If you've gone three years without an incident behind the wheel, you can save up to 10% with State Farm.
Allstate: Longtime safe drivers will get the maximum discount with Allstate. Those who've gone three years without a moving violation or at-fault accident will save 22%. After five years, they'll save 35%.
Esurance: Gone five years without an at-fault accident claim or a DUI conviction? You can save 10%-25% off your Esurance premium. However, you must have switched to Esurance from another carrier to qualify.
Remember: Car insurance quotes aren't set in stone. After you run a car insurance comparison online, be sure to call the companies that seem to offer the best deals and tell them the specifics of your situation. The sales representative can be more precise about your prospective premium, including any additional discounts. It takes time, but if you put in the work -- looking for auto insurance quotes online and following up -- you'll be able to maximize your savings, while staying protected on the road.