Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Written by Shuman Roy
Content Writer & Entrepreneur Shuman Roy

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

The Truth in a Nutshell:

  • You can get auto insurance quotes in person, online, or over the phone
  • A quote is not the same as a policy. Until you sign the contract, you do not have coverage.
  • Getting multiple quotes is the best way to find the coverage you need.

Insurance Q&A: “What is an auto insurance quote?” Put quite simply, the insurance quotation definition is an estimate of what your rate will be. These can be very specific or just a ballpark figure. Generally, they ask for some information about you and your driving record. The more accurate you are in what you disclose, the more accurate your quote will be.

It depends on where you get it, who you get it from, and most importantly, how much (or little) information you provide. Learning about quotes is the first insurance topic you need to master.

Shopping around for auto insurance and taking different car insurance companies into consideration will help you get the coverage you need at a great price. Are you ready to buy car insurance? Enter your ZIP to receive car insurance quotes today.

What else should you know about insurance quotes?

What is the auto insurance quote meaning? A car insurance quote is a projected rate you can expect to pay for a particular insurance policy for a certain period of time. How do I get an insurance quote?

You may get a verbal quote over the phone or a written quote delivered by mail or via the Internet.  You may even see an “advertised quote” such as $19.99 per month. All that said, it may be easier to explain things by illustrating what an insurance quote is not.

An insurance quote may not be a final premium: Your quote is typically a “ballpark” figure, meaning the price you are offered is not set in stone. Your final insurance premium may be higher or lower when it’s all said and done based on what comes up on your credit score and driving record. If you disclose all recent tickets, claims, etc., your insurance costs should be close if not exactly matched to your quote.

For example, a company that only asks you to provide your age, sex, and how many speeding tickets you’ve had in three years is not going to provide you with a solid insurance quote.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you provide very detailed information such as your name, social security number, insurance score, driver’s license number, and vehicle VIN, and run a CLUE and MVR report before you get your quote, you will likely wind up with a very solid, reliable quote.

As an example, let’s look at the average annual rates for car insurance based on coverage levels.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Level
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates
for Low Coverage
Average Annual Rates
for Medium Coverage
Average Annual Rates
for High Coverage
American Family$3,368.49$3,544.37$3,416.40
Liberty Mutual$5,805.75$6,058.57$6,356.04
State Farm$3,055.40$3,269.80$3,454.80
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Wondering what is an umbrella insurance quote? It’s coverage that protects beyond the limits of existing policies. Your primary auto policy can be adjusted to have higher rates. Some customers add an umbrella policy to raise their coverages for homeowners, auto, and other policies they want to combine under the same insurer.

It’s also important to be aware of the factors your state allows to be used in determining your insurance rates. For example, some states allow gender to be used in car insurance while other states have outlawed the practice.

According to the Washington Post, several states, including California, have stopped allowing gender to be used to determine rates.

Are online insurance quotes accurate? Generally, it is this aspect of the insurance quote process that frustrates consumers the most.  Essentially being quoted one price and paying something significantly higher once everything is said and done.

An insurance quote is not a policy: What’s the difference between quote and policy in insurance?

You may obtain 10 different quotes for your insurance. But until you answer every question the insurer or agent asks, sign an application, and (in most cases) make a down payment to start the policy, you don’t have any insurance.

In fact, if you look carefully, you may find a statement somewhere on a written quote that states, “This quote is provided without cost or obligation. It is not a contract or binder of coverage,” or something to that effect.

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How can you get the best insurance quote?

We all want to know we’re getting the best insurance coverage at the lowest rate, but how can we be sure?

There are a number of different ways to obtain insurance, including direct from retail insurance companies, via independent agents who represent multiple companies, and through Internet insurance companies.

Below, we’ve highlighted a series of tips in the insurance quote process to help you obtain the best rate when dealing with an independent insurance agent:

1. Get online insurance quotes first. You can get multiple quotes online in just minutes by answering a few questions. Online calculators can sort through countless companies to get you quotes from companies that make sense for you. This is true whether you have a clean driving record or one with an at fault accident or two.

2. If you want to work with an insurance agent, check out the company beforehand. Look at their online and other reviews. See what insurance companies they quote for, and ask them about any specialized coverages you’re looking for before you choose an insurance company.

3. Prior to providing your personal information, ask your agent for a list of all the insurers they represent who offer the type of insurance you need. This could include liability, comprehensive coverage, specialty parts, and much more. At this point, the agent will likely be more honest with you, as they’ll try to impress you with the number of insurers they can offer quotes from.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts and promotions. If you see promotional materials from a company that offers homeowner’s insurance, be sure to ask for a quote from that company, or an explanation as to why you didn’t get one (of course, it is possible that that particular insurer doesn’t fit your needs).

5. When the agent tells you they’ve found the best policy for you, remember to ask to see all the other quotes as well. They can offer advice, but you should see what your options are firsthand. If you don’t understand what you’re looking at, ask the agent. A major reason for using an agent is the fact that they can help you understand what you’re looking at.

6. After you’ve seen all the quotes, ask the agent why they think the one they picked out is the best choice. Don’t just go for the lowest rate. The agent should have tailored the policy for exactly what you want/need, so it shouldn’t be difficult explaining why it is best.

7. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch agents or see multiple agents if you’re working with captive agents who only quote for one company. Comparing options from different companies is critical to getting the best pricing and coverage in one.

Purchasing insurance isn’t the easiest task in the world, but if you apply the steps above in conjunction with a little bit of research, you’ll give yourself the best shot at getting the deal you deserve.

Remember, an independent agent has to balance your interests with theirs and the insurers they represent, which can leave you with the short end of the stick. At the end of the day, your interests should come first, so make that clear when you begin shopping for an insurance quote.

What should you watch out for when shopping for insurance?

There is no shortage of above-the-board insurers, agents, and websites that can and will provide you with an accurate insurance quote. As consumers, we simply need to be alert when shopping for insurance to avoid those offering anything less. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Simply move on to the next insurer.

Again, if you didn’t have to provide any personal information to obtain your quote, it’s likely a complete waste of time. An auto insurance policy is a mix of different coverage types, and your rates are influenced by many factors that go into your driver profile.

Now that you know the car insurance quote definition, you’re ready to start comparing car insurance quotes. Just enter your ZIP to get top quotes for car insurance and find affordable car insurance rates near you.