Car insurance companies are making it easier than ever to shop for coverage, but there is still a certain amount of information that you must provide in order to get an accurate quote. Before you contact an insurance agency, have the following information readily available to smooth the process.
The first thing you are typically asked to provide is your name and driver's license information, plus the names and license information of everyone on the car title and any additional drivers you want listed on the policy. The insurance company will verify that all are legally licensed, and they will also pull data concerning driving records and any violations. Some insurance agencies will even require you to provide this information not just for car owners and drivers, but for every licensed driver living in your household, making the assumption that they are also potential operators of the car. If any drivers are students, be sure to include positive information not available by pulling license date, such as safe driving courses completed and good grades while in school, as these can often lead to lower premiums.
The type of car you drive, its age, even its color, are all factors that companies can use to determine how much your policy will cost. You will be asked to provide the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) which can be located on the title or the registration paperwork. This allows the insurance company to verify legal ownership and other vehicle details.
The insurance company will require you to declare whether there are any lien holders for the vehicle. While basic liability insurance is a legal requirement for operating a motor vehicle practically everywhere, lien holders typically require you to obtain additional collision and comprehensive insurance to protect their investment. If you are making payments on your car to a finance company, car dealership or even a title loan company, you will likely need this increased insurance coverage.
There can be a big difference in the cost of insurance based solely on where the car is driven and parked. Congested areas with a lot of traffic, neighborhoods prone to auto break-ins or thefts, even residences where garages are unavailable and cars must be parked on the street can impact rates. Conversely, you may save money if you live in a quiet area with little crime and limited traffic.
The more miles you drive your car, the more likely you are, statistically speaking, to be involved in an accident. You will be asked whether the car is used as transportation to and from work, and how many miles annually that you are likely to be on the road. If you vehicle is used in a business capacity and not just driven to work, you will need a different level of insurance, so be certain to make this point clear.
Most newer model cars come with standard safety features such as anti-lock brakes, self-locking doors and air bags, but additional items like GPS tracking, onboard assistance calling or ignition kill capability may decrease your premiums.
While you may not have available, or even know, your credit and insurance scores, the insurance company will likely disclose that these scores will be used when making a decision about your rates. They will ask for information from you to obtain these scores such as social security number, date of birth, full and maiden name, current and prior addresses and possibly more. Good credit and insurance scores can save you a sizeable amount of money. Lower scores make insurance companies believe that you may not take good care of your assets and they will price your premium accordingly whether it is true or not.
Insurance companies consider homeowners to be more stable than those who rent, thus less risky to insure. Likewise for people who have a long employment history with the same company, or at least no gaps in employment. Homeowners may receive additional discounts for bundling homeowner's insurance with auto policies. Multiple cars on one policy also leads to lower premiums per car.
If your car is already insured, the level of coverage that you are carrying gives other insurance companies the ability to give quotes apples to apples, unless you are planning to add or remove certain coverage details. Some companies also penalize gaps in coverage if it appears that you were negligent in letting the coverage lapse.
Providing accurate information to your insurance company means you get the coverage that is appropriate for your situation at the lowest possible cost. Make sure you have the right level of coverage in case you ever need to use it.