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Car Insurance Articles » How Accurate are Free Car Insurance Quotes?

If you have ever considered using the internet to request a free car insurance rate quote, you have probably wondered about whether or not the quote will be accurate. Will an online service adequately understand your situation and price a policy correctly? Will your needs be understood such that the policy isn’t filled with features you don’t need or want?

This car is very small!

I wonder how much THIS guy pays for his insurance?

The accuracy of the rate quote you receive is directly related to the accuracy of the information you provide when filling out your application. When filling out online quote forms, it can be tempting to “erase” a ticket, an accident, or even something as serious as a DUI or DWI charge from your reported driving history, know that this information will eventually come to light. Insurance companies do check this information and when they do (notice we didn’t say if), you will be billed appropriately; in many cases, you will have to pay back amounts owed. A lie or omission is also a good way to get your policy terminated without reimbursement. Always strive for honesty and integrity when requesting a free rate quote.

Don’t forget either that changes in your life can affect your car insurance rate quote. Getting married or divorced, having children, growing older, having a wreck, getting a ticket, moving, and many other life changes and situations can cause a change in your insurance rate. Therefore, make sure you always request a rate quote based on your most up to date information. Also, once you have insurance, alert your agency of any such changes in your life. Annual “insurance checkups” are always a good idea and are part of a healthy financial regiment. Soliciting quotes online and comparing them to your existing policies (even if you don’t switch insurers or otherwise change your policy) is a wise financial move.

While online rate quotes may be inaccurate at times, they tend to be inaccurate in your favor. What we mean by this is that you are quoted a premium that is higher than the one you actually end up having to pay. This is generally the result of discounts or other deals that you find you qualify for as you get further along in the process. For instance, you may have forgotten to list the car alarm that you installed after you purchased the car on the initial rate quote information form. This anti-theft device might come to light as you review the final policy or communicate with the insurance agent, which results in a discount to your premium. Be sure to explicitly inquire about discounts as well, as some agencies are, unfortunately, less than forthright with such information and will only offer discounts if you specifically ask about them. A good agent will walk through these discounts with you to find the ones that apply to your situation.

Occasionally you may be quoted a rate this is lower than what you eventually end up paying. While this doesn’t happen often, it is usually a result of inaccurate information on the application form or inaccurate information “on file” with the insurance company (if you are a past customer for instance). Be sure to bring these issues up with the insurance company. Some companies may even offer you the lower price as a gesture of goodwill or as an apology for their error. Comparing multiple rate quotes (or your existing premium/policy to online rate quotes) is a good way to identify these types of issues.

Fortunately, the insurance business is highly regulated. In addition to federal regulations, each state has a dedicated organization to regulate insurance companies operating in that respective state. These organizations exist to protect consumers, and all that regulation applies to insurance purchased through online services. While it may not ferret out the sites that offer horrible customer service, these regulations and regulatory bodies do help to ensure that you end up with an accurate policy.

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