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.
Motor vehicle insurance, also called automotive insurance, a contract by which the insurer assumes the risk of any loss the owner or operator of a car may incur through damage to property or persons as the result of an accident. There are many specific forms of motor vehicle insurance, varying not only in the kinds of risk that they cover but also in the legal principles underlying them.
A lot goes into an auto insurance rate quote, including your ZIP code, coverage levels, marital status, annual mileage, driving history and vehicle make, year and model. In most states, your gender and credit history are also used to determine rates. And again, the reason auto insurance comparison shopping is so important is because rates between companies are different for each person, too.
Getting comparison insurance quotes is far different today than it used to be. Historically, it cost someone money to get a look at rates from a company. In their view, they were working to get you these auto insurance quote comparisons so they should be paid for this time, whether you go with a different company or not. Typically, a company would waive the quoting fee if you bought their plan.
To reduce the insurance premium, the insured party may offer to pay a higher excess (deductible) than the compulsory excess demanded by the insurance company. The voluntary excess is the extra amount, over and above the compulsory excess, that is agreed to be paid in the event of a claim on the policy. As a bigger excess reduces the financial risk carried by the insurer, the insurer is able to offer a significantly lower premium.
On 1 March 2011, the European Court of Justice decided insurance companies who used gender as a risk factor when calculating insurance premiums were breaching EU equality laws. The Court ruled that car-insurance companies were discriminating against men. However, in some places, such as the UK, companies have used the standard practice of discrimination based on profession to still use gender as a factor, albeit indirectly. Professions which are more typically practised by men are deemed as being more risky even if they had not been prior to the Court's ruling while the converse is applied to professions predominant among women. Another effect of the ruling has been that, while the premiums for men have been lowered, they have been raised for women. This equalisation effect has also been seen in other types of insurance for individuals, such as life insurance.
You’ll notice that none of that liability coverage pays for your car or injuries, nor for any injuries your passengers sustain if you cause a wreck. This is why many people — particularly those whose car isn’t yet paid off — want “full coverage” car insurance. This isn’t actually a type of coverage, but instead typically refers to policies that include liability coverage, plus comprehensive and collision coverages.