If you’ve got a car (and you don’t live in Virginia or New Hampshire), you are required by law to carry car insurance. Insurance is a layer of financial protection against the unknown and you’ll be glad you have it if you get into an accident. Paying high premiums isn’t something to love, though. The good news is that a number of online resources can help you save on auto insurance.
If you’re shopping around for a better deal on car insurance coverage, consider giving one of these three tools a try.
Online price comparison tools
1. Credit Karma
For many consumers, Credit Karma is the go-to spot for free credit scores or credit advice. You might be surprised to know that you can also use the site to research car insurance. The company recently launched its auto insurance marketplace tool, which lets you compare car insurance rates.
It works like this: the tool analyzes government data on drivers and vehicles, as well as data from the credit bureaus and public insurance rate filings to give you a list of customized insurance suggestions.
I logged into my Credit Karma account and uploaded my vehicle’s make and model details to check my car insurance recommendations. You can also get a short list of insurers to consider by plugging in your marital status, age, gender, zip code, and estimated credit score.
One cool feature of logging in is that you can see your auto insurance credit score and an estimate of how much you might save by switching insurers. You can also see your vehicle’s estimated resale value and any outstanding recall notices for your car’s make and model type.
2. The Zebra
The Zebra offers car insurance options “in black and white” (of course they do), and they claim to be the most comprehensive site for getting auto insurance quotes around. Getting a quote is easy. You start by entering your zip code, then answering a few questions about your car, driving habits and current coverage.
The process for getting a quote is a bit involved, but in just a few minutes I had quotes from nine car insurance companies. The Zebra breaks quotes down into four categories depending on how much coverage you need and want: Minimum, Basic, Better and Best. Across those categories, my starting quotes ranged from $34 to $74, which at the high end is what I’m already paying for car insurance.
The tool also showed me seven car insurance discounts I potentially qualify for, along with an Insurability Score, which is based on factors like home ownership, driving record and education level. The Zebra lets you apply different discounts to filter through your car insurance quote results and drill down to the policy that looks like your best personal fit.
Overall, the site is very comprehensive, comparing quotes from more than 200 insurers nationwide. And it did give me several options for potentially saving money on car insurance that I might not have considered if I was shopping for coverage on my own.
Clearcover is an insurtech startup that uses artificial intelligence technology to provide smarter car insurance policies. The company’s focus is on helping car insurance shoppers find the absolute cheapest rates, without skimping on coverage.
You can apply for coverage and buy online in just a few minutes. Clearcover isn’t available yet in my home state, so I wasn’t able to get a quote for car insurance but I did learn a few things about how the company works.
First, Clearcover offers the same type of insurance you’d find with traditional insurers. That includes bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability, and collision coverage. But, you can also get some add-ons that you may not find with every other insurer. For example, you can add a ridesharing endorsement that covers you when you’re driving for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft.
Second, low cost really is the number one priority at Clearcover. The company operates with cost-efficiency in mind to help its customers get the lowest rates possible and only pay for the coverage they truly need.
Third, Clearcover emphasizes a customer-friendly user experience. You can view your policy and file claims through the Clearcover mobile app to get things moving as quickly as possible after an unfortunate event.
How often should you shop for car insurance?
These three tools make finding more affordable car insurance easy, but that begs the question of just how often should you be looking for a better deal?
I’ve had the same car insurance for the last four years and I haven’t considered another insurer during that time. According to some experts that could be a mistake. They suggest comparison shopping for car insurance at least once a year, if not every six months.
Why? Because you may be able to save on car insurance if:
- Traffic violations or tickets have fallen off your driving record.
- Insurance companies have reduced their rates across the board.
- A new insurance company emerges to offer lower rates.
- Your credit score has improved.
- You’ve had a birthday or added another year to your driving record.
- Your vehicle has depreciated in value.
- Your driving habits have changed and you’re driving less.
- You’ve bought a home.
All of these scenarios could make you eligible for discounts or lower premiums on car insurance. So it’s worth spending an hour or so every six months to check out available rates.
While you’re shopping around, pay attention to the coverage offered and the insurer’s reputation in addition to the rate quotes. Landing a better price on car insurance and saving money is a no-brainer. But it’s also important to get covered by a reputable company and avoid sacrificing essential policy benefits.
Chelsea Brennan is the founder of Smart Money Mamas, a personal finance blog that focuses on family finance, investing, and reducing money stress. Chelsea is an ex-hedge fund investor whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, including Forbes, Business Insider, and more.
Haven Life does not endorse the companies or offer the products, services and/or strategies discussed here.