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If you’ve ever compared car insurance rates, you know how many options are available. Depending on a variety of individual rating factors, certain companies will price your insurance differently. You could end up paying more by choosing the wrong company or failing to compare enough companies. We've outlined the factors that go into your car insurance premiums, as well as some tips for how to find the best possible rates. Let’s get started.

If you're new to the world of insurance, you should start your record with higher than state minimum limits. This will not only help protect your liability but also start a good relationship with insurance companies. Looking at the information below, you can see that having 5 years with 100/300/100 liability limits can save you an average of $219 a year!
To change any information pertaining to the registration of your car or the regular driver, you have to contact the insurance company. You will need to give them the number of your policy and/or the registration number of your vehicle, as well as your mailing address, which must coincide with the address on our policy, and your birth date when submitting your request. Some details you will have to provide them with when changing the details of a regular driver include:
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).
Companies do not have a standard rule as to what is considered high risk. If you have had an accident or moving violation the variance in premium will differ from company to company. You may have to get several quotes before finding the company that will work with a poor driving record. If you are diligent, then you should be able to find a rate you can live with.
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver's premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.
The type of car you drive matters. If you drive a vehicle that is listed as high theft, or more likely to be involved in an accident, expect to pay higher premiums. Even cars that have collision protection can actually drive up the price due to the cost of repairs. Other things that will drive the cost of repairs up is after-market installs. Things like rims, spoilers, and exterior lighting can be costly to repair. You will want to make sure that you have the right coverage to cover damage to after factory installs.
Step 3: Review what you found. If you are able, print out the different quotes you obtained. Make sure all the information is accurate and comparable. See if there are any differences with added no-cost features. These may be the ultimate thing that you base your decision on. Also, check on the policy exclusions (items that are not covered under the policy).

Quotes that are given through agents or brokers often include their own commission that is being paid by the insurance carrier as a percentage from the premium itself. While some captive agents receive salaries, most agents and brokers rely on their commissions for their income and this is how they make money. Their commission can range anywhere from 0-1% for some annuities policies, 8-20% for car and home insurance to 40-100+% for some life insurance policies, on the first year of the policy. They also earn their money every time you renew your policy, mostly from 1-2% for life insurance renewals (zero after three years) to 2-5% (some even receive up to 15%) for car and home insurance renewals. However, going for the cheapest premium is not something that we always recommend, sometimes it is better to pay more for a premium that covers you well and answer all of your specific and personal needs.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
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