Is it a good idea to buy car insurance online?

Yes, buying car insurance online is fast, safe, and convenient. You can often buy coverage directly through an insurance company website or through an online marketplace like Policygenius.

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By

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Updated|5 min read

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For decades, the only way to buy car insurance was to sit down with a live agent during traditional work hours, but technology has made it possible to get car insurance with nothing more than a credit card and a smartphone, and to compare quotes with just a few clicks. 

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Despite the convenience of an online marketplace, lots of people still aren’t comfortable with the idea of buying car insurance on the internet. But online shopping can be an excellent way to find the right auto insurance company for you without the hassle.

Key takeaways

  • Buying car insurance online is a safe, easy, way to get the coverage you need.

  • Reading customer reviews, checking with organizations like the BBB and NAIC, and choosing popular, well known companies can help keep you safe from scammers online.

  • When buying car insurance online, you will need to choose your coverage, gather your personal information, compare quotes to make sure you are getting the lowest price, and, once you’ve made a decision, print or save your temporary ID cards.

  • GEICO and State Farm have the lowest average rates, but you will need to get a quote to know how much you’ll actually pay for coverage.

Why should I buy insurance online?

Buying car insurance online is a safe, easy, way to get the coverage you need in case of a car accident. Although buying insurance has traditionally happened in an insurance agent’s office, getting auto insurance online means drivers can get a policy no matter where they are, 24/7.

Drivers who are buying a new car or want to add extra types of coverage to their policy, like comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, can purchase whatever coverage they need without ever seeing an agent in person (or even having to talk to someone on the phone).

Buying car insurance online through a marketplace like Policygenius also makes it easy to compare quotes from multiple companies all in one place, and without having to enter the same information over and over again.

Is it safe to purchase insurance online?

Yes, like any purchase, buying car insurance online is perfectly safe as long as you are shopping with a legitimate insurance company or trusted online marketplace. Make sure to do your research and check out any website before you make a purchase. 

Reading customer reviews, checking with organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and choosing popular, well known companies can help you feel secure in the knowledge that you’re not going to fall victim to a scam.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

How to buy car insurance online

Getting a car insurance quote is generally a simple process, but there are several steps you should take before buying insurance online that will help make the process as smooth and simple as possible.

1. Choose your coverage amounts

Decide ahead of time what type of coverage you need so you can make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Doing a little research ahead of time can help you know how much liability coverage is right for you, whether or not you need full coverage insurance, how much your deductible should be, and whether or not to purchase extras like roadside assistance

Don’t forget the coverage types, like gap insurance, that you may need if you are financing or leasing your vehicle.

2. Gather your information

To get an accurate quote, you need to have all of the necessary information available. Expect to share your address, date of birth, driver’s license information, VIN number, annual mileage, and any information about accidents or moving violations you’ve had in the last three years.

3. Compare quotes

After submitting your information you’ll get an auto insurance quote. Whether you are getting quotes directly from an insurance company, through an agent, or through an online marketplace like Policygenius, you should get quotes from multiple companies, including some smaller insurance companies, and compare them to find the best insurance company for your needs. 

Comparing car insurance quotes can be tricky; one may be for a six month policy while another is for a full year, or one policy may offer extra coverages, like first accident forgiveness, at no additional cost. Make sure you’re comparing more than just the price, so you can be confident you’re actually choosing the best deal.

4. Choose your company and get your final rate

Once you’ve compared policies, it is time to choose the one that’s right for you. But don’t get too excited yet — once you’ve chosen your policy, the insurance company will review all of your information, including your driving record and, potentially, your credit score

If the insurance company reviews your information and finds something they weren’t expecting, like an accident or DUI you didn’t disclose, your rate could still change.

5. Print or save your temporary ID cards

Congratulations, you’ve been approved for a car insurance policy! Once everything is official and you’ve made your first payment, your insurance company will either email you temporary ID cards or give you access to them through the company’s mobile app. 

Make sure you print or save these cards so you have them in case of an emergency. As soon as your policy goes “in-force,” meaning becomes active, you can start driving knowing you’re protected.

Where to buy car insurance online

Many insurance companies, including GEICO, Farmers, and Progressive, offer customers the option to buy insurance directly through their websites. If you know the insurance company you want to work with sells policies directly to customers, you can go online to their website to purchase a policy — but remember to gather at least three quotes before picking a policy, so you .

There are also online marketplaces — like Policygenius — where you can safely compare quotes from multiple car insurance companies before choosing a policy. Policygenius is an insurance marketplace, which means we offer insurance policies from multiple companies to help you find the best possible coverage for your needs.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

What’s the cheapest car insurance online?

Insurance rates are based on a number of factors, which means you could pay a very different rate than someone else, even if you drive the same type of car. Our analysis found that GEICO and State Farm have the lowest average rates, but you will need to get a quote to know how much higher or lower your rate will be than the average.

Drivers who want to save money on their car insurance coverage can use an online marketplace like Policygenius to compare quotes from several different companies.

Insurance company

Annual rates for full coverage car insurance

GEICO

$1,179

State Farm

$1,240

Allstate

$1,991

Progressive

$1,814

MetLife

$2,450

Nationwide

$1,569

Travelers

$1,586

Farmers

$1,968

USAA

$1,128

→ Learn more about the cheapest car insurance companies

Frequently asked questions

Why is it a good idea to shop around before purchasing an auto insurance policy?

The best way to make sure you are paying the lowest possible insurance rate is to compare quotes from multiple companies. That way you’ll know you’re not missing out on a cheaper option somewhere else.

How accurate are online car insurance quotes?

Online car insurance quotes are reasonably accurate. However, it is important to keep in mind that an insurance quote is only as accurate as the information you provide. If you don’t provide the right information your quote may be higher (or lower) than you think.

Why do car insurance companies ask so many questions?

Insurance rates are based on a number of factors, including your age, ZIP code, and what type of car you drive, which means the only way to get an accurate car insurance rate is to provide all the necessary information while getting a quote.

What should I look for when buying car insurance?

When shopping for car insurance, you should consider which company offers coverage that meets your needs, who offers the lowest rates, and which company has the best customer service ratings.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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