When shopping for auto insurance, it’s a good idea to comparison shop between multiple companies to get the best rates. By getting a number of quotes, you can be sure that you’ll get the best price for the coverage that you need. Some insurance companies offer greater discounts to certain groups of people than others, and prices can vary tremendously between one insurer and the next.

How Online Quotes Work

Insurance companies are regulated by state laws. One of these regulations requires insurers to be transparent with their rates. In other words, they must make it known what they charge people for policies. This information can be collected and sorted by various factors, making it possible to tell how much an average person with certain qualities will pay for insurance.

In other words, the quote that you receive when you submit a request online will be based on the average of other people in a similar situation to you. For example, if you’re a 25-year-old male with a Toyota Prius, you will be matched against other young male Prius owners; the average rate of their policies will be given to you as a quote.

Once you’ve received the initial quote, an insurance agent will most likely call or email to follow up. In most cases, they will have already reviewed your information and possibly done some further background checks, such as checking your credit or looking into your driving history. If not, they will complete this step after speaking with you and before finalizing the offer.

After they’ve assessed your individual situation, they will offer a revised quote that includes any discounts you qualify for. This one will be personalized to you rather than based on statistical averages for people like you. This amount should be the final amount that you will pay for the duration of the term.

Will My Price Be the Same as the Quote Online?

Because of the way quotes are written, the quote you receive online may not be exactly what you pay for coverage, although it should be fairly similar. Your final price may increase or decrease from the initial quote depending on many factors:

1.) Your driving record has blemishes like accidents, DUIs or moving violations

The quote you receive online does not take your driving history into account. Even if it asks for basic information about accidents, the initial quote will be based on averages for other people in a similar situation. The quote you receive over the phone from an agent will be personalized to your driving history.

2.) Your credit score is too low

Insurance companies use credit checks as a way to determine how likely an insured is to pay bills on time and also as a measure of responsibility. Furthermore, people with good credit may have more disposable income, meaning they will file fewer small claims. After you submit a quote request online, the insurance company will run a credit check. If you have very bad credit, your final rates may be lower than the initial quote.

3.) You qualify for additional discounts

An initial quote may not include the full spectrum of discounts that you can receive, so your final rates may be lower than you anticipated. This is why it’s important to always ask about insurance discounts when speaking with a representative. Be sure to mention things like low annual mileage, security features on the vehicle, and any driver’s education courses or other certifications you have completed.

Although your rates can vary from the initial quote, they should be similar enough that a quote will steer you toward the best insurer. If the final quote offered by the company is higher than you’d like, you can always decline buying the policy and continue searching for a better deal elsewhere. If you can’t find a better deal, you can call the company back and request a policy. Be sure you tell them the price you were previously quoted in case they try to quote you something higher the second time around.

There is nothing stopping you from getting multiple personalized insurance quotes from different companies. In fact, it makes sense to speak with any insurer you’re considering before obtaining the policy. This will not only ensure that you get the best rates, it will also give you an idea about the company’s customer service department and what you can expect from them. You can also ask any questions you may have about coverages and discounts while you consider your insurance options.