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10 Best & Worst Sites to Compare Car Insurance Quotes
Shopping for car insurance can be one of life’s more frustrating experiences. Let us help you find the best policy and price by avoiding common online mistakes.
Different car insurance companies often produce very different quotes for the same person, even if the policies being compared are identical. This makes comparison shopping a crucial part of buying auto insurance; wise shoppers will compare at least four or five different insurance providers to make sure they are getting a good deal.
Auto insurance comparison websites, which let you instantly compare quotes from multiple insurance providers, can be a huge help in your quest for affordable car insurance. They provide accurate, personalized rates, discounts, and coverage options all on one site—much like your favorite travel comparison site that gives you airline ticket or hotel room options all on a single page.
In order to provide an accurate list of options, comparison sites ask you for basic information such as your zip code, occupation, vehicle make and model, and driving history. These details allow the site to provide an accurate list of different insurance policies, options and rates.
However, not all sites that claim to provide insurance quotes are the real thing
How Auto Quote Comparison Sites Work There are two types of insurance comparison websites: quote comparison sites and lead generation sites. Auto quote comparison websites present users with rates based on information submitted during the shopping experience. You can then decide which quote to pursue, and the data you entered is transferred to the agent or company website, greatly shortening the purchasing process. These sites do not sell your information to insurance carriers or agencies.
Unlike quote comparison sites, lead generation sites simply sell your information to their advertising partners—typically insurance companies. These sites are not built to provide you with personalized quotes and are not much help when trying to compare car insurance rates. Avoid these sites unless you’re eager to receive tons of cold calls from insurance phone banks and desperate agents.
Insurance comparison websites can be further broken down into sites that provide real-time insurance quotes versus those that provide estimated ones. Estimated quotes are derived from historic data and are often out of date; to get the most accurate information you should use a site that provides real-time quotes generated by the insurance companies.
Car Insurance Comparison Sites with Real Quotes The following comparison sites offer real-time, accurate insurance quotes.
Insurify Insurify is a free insurance comparison website that provides real-time, accurate quotes from top insurance companies in the U.S. It is rated 4.8 out of 5 on ShopperApproved, where it has 735 user reviews.
The site offers a wide variety of carriers to choose from, an easy-to-use interface, and can effectively service drivers in all segments of the market. To-date it has delivered over 4 million insurance quotes from top providers such as The General, MetLife, and Liberty Mutual.
Insurify has been featured on Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and CNET and is considered one of the top auto insurance comparison sites.
How it works: Insurify asks shoppers to answer a series of questions that it uses to produce real-time, accurate quotes. In addition to its mobile and desktop sites, the site also offers the ability to receive quotes and buy insurance via Facebook Messenger.
The questions were easy to answer and the process was straightforward—I was able to submit my information and get personalized quotes in under five minutes.
Results: Insurify produced nine quotes, starting at $78/month, each with the option to contact the insurance company immediately or schedule a phone call for a later time. Some of the quotes included helpful information about the policy or the insurance company offering it. The site allowed me to change the coverage from the left hand sidebar, and it was easy to click on the different coverages and see the prices change in real time.
Clicking on the button to the right of each quote brought up a pop-up window with more details about the policy, payment information, and options to buy a policy via phone or Internet.
The site also included ads for certain insurance companies, and clicking the “check rate” button for the ad connected me directly to the insurance provider’s website. It’s easy to tell the ads from the quotes; the ads all say “ad” next to the company name and the button says “check rates” rather than “view deal.”
Insurify’s quote comparison tool was a great help in shopping for car insurance. I particularly liked how easy it was to compare rates based on a custom coverage level; with a few clicks, I could alter the parameters (say, by changing the liability coverage maximum or adding roadside assistance) and get a whole new basket of quotes instantly. Every year, Insurify also publishes a Best Car Insurance Companies list.
Compare Compare.com is another online car insurance comparison tool that generates real-time quotes from multiple insurance providers. In addition to car insurance, Compare provides quotes for home, health, and small business insurance, as well as tools to help you choose car loans and mobile phone plans. The site is rated 4.5 out of 5 on eKomi, based 640 user reviews.
How it works: Compare’s shopping process asked me to enter the same general information that other auto comparison websites did. Entering the information was fairly straightforward. Most of the fields were drop-down menus or pre-filled based on information I had submitted on previous pages. The questions were detailed, including some about my current policy limits that required retrieving my insurance documents to answer. I did like that Compare asked if I was willing to accept paperless documents and/or e-signing
Results: Compare produced seven quotes ranging from $148 per month to $329 per month. The quotes were all from fairly obscure companies; I didn’t see any of the big-name providers. The site allowed me to customize coverage, but only by going back to the coverage selection part of the process—meaning that I had to wait for the quotes to re-load each time. It also didn’t allow as many customization options as Insurify. Only one of the quotes permitted online checkout; all the others required speaking on the phone with an agent. I did like that the quotes all let you choose between a pay-as-you-go policy (with a down payment) or a pay upfront policy (at a slight discount).
Car Insurance Comparison Sites with Estimated Quotes Unlike Insurify and Compare, some comparison sites only provide estimated quotes, based on aggregate information from your local division of insurance. Rates from these websites are based on what other drivers in your zip code with similar histories are paying for insurance, rather than real-time quotes from insurance companies.
The following sites fall into the estimated quotes category.
NerdWallet Nerdwallet.com is a well-known personal finance website that offers free comparison tools for car, health, and life insurance quotes. The site also has reviews of different insurance providers and numerous tips for picking the best policy. It is rated 4.5 out of 5, with 1,601 user reviews on ShopperApproved.
How it works: To get quotes, you’re required to sign up for a free Nerdwallet account. This includes signing a disclaimer giving Nerdwallet permission to pull reports from the credit reporting agencies and share your credit score and other information with its partner companies.
During the quoting process, Nerdwallet asked questions about my vehicle, driving, and insurance history. One question that stood out was the one asking how much I currently paid for auto insurance; I couldn’t see how that helped Nerdwallet come up with rates (although it no doubt helped the company with its future marketing efforts).
Results: Nerdwallet returned three quotes ranging from $154 per month to $315 per month and six “estimated rates” ranging from $153 per month to $330 per month, from mostly name-brand insurance carriers. Each quote/rate included a little information about the company, a company rating, and a summary of Nerdwallet’s review (accessed by clicking on the “view details” link). The quotes had a button to click in order to buy the policy over the phone, but only one quote offering the option to purchase online. The estimated rates included a button to click to access the company’s website and get an actual quote from them.
Nowhere in the process did Nerdwallet allow me to customize coverage options—I could only choose one of four pre-assembled packages. The selection process also made no mention of discounts—either how to qualify for them or which companies offered them.
The Zebra The Zebra is another free auto insurance comparison website. The site’s name refers to its founders’ goal of presenting “insurance in black and white.” The Zebra has a few articles about choosing car insurance, a car insurance calculator, and some basic information about other types of insurance in addition to its quoting tool. It is rated 4.7 out of 5, and has 565 user reviews on ShopperApproved.
How it works: The quoting process was similar to that of other comparison websites, although it offered me the option of connecting my Google or Facebook account to speed up the process. After I entered the requested information, the Zebra announced that it had matched me up with nine possible discounts, although it warned that not every insurance company offered all of these discounts.
Results: The final page offered five quotes ranging from $141 per month to $215 per month, and three links to other websites that I could use to get additional quotes. Unlike the other comparison websites, the quotes weren’t in any order (the others sorted their results from smallest to largest). Each quote included a company rating, policy features and a button that would either take you to the company’s website or allow you to compare it with another company. A list of options on the left side of the page allowed me to check off the features that I wanted to include, and eliminated companies not offering those features.
The Zebra didn’t allow me to customize coverage preferences, forcing me to choose one of four pre-assembled packages. It also didn’t list which companies allowed which discounts, making their earlier list of pre-qualified discounts less useful. On the right side of the page, the site provided an “Insurability Score” listing the factors that insurance companies use to set rates and grading the information I’d provided during the quoting process, which could help drivers looking to improve their rates in the future.
Lead Generation Sites Unlike quote comparison sites, lead generation sites are paid when they send customers’ personal information to external agencies.
These sites often attract your interest with competitive rates, but then transfer you to a different site to continue shopping and complete your transaction, often at a far less attractive rate. This is because lead generations sites are paid to sell your information to an agency or insurance company, not to present you with the rates on car insurance.