UPDATED: Nov 1, 2016

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonReviewed By: Sara RouthierUPDATED: Nov 1, 2016Fact Checked

Using a tool like an auto insurance calculator can be very useful in making sure you get the best rates or at least know what to be expecting. Of course much of this depends on the type of insurance you need as well as some other details about your driving history, vehicle and even the state you live in. Before using an auto insurance calculator there are some things you should keep in mind because you usually have to provide more information up front for a calculator in order to get estimates.

What you should know about an auto insurance calculator is that:

auto insurance calculator

  • It is important to have an idea of how much insurance you may need and what type of coverage you should have. There are many factors that go into trying to decide this. For one thing, the state you live in will decide how much you must carry as minimum for liability or no fault coverage. In addition to that if you have a financed car the lender will give guidelines for what you should have in place. Aside from that it is up to you unless you need other types of insurance like non owners coverage or an SR22 policy.
  • The type of car you drive will also impact what your rates will be like. The safer and more “family friendly” the vehicle the lower your premiums may be. The sportier the car, the less safety features it has or even the color could impact your rates a great deal. Try to opt for safety over sporty and also add things like an anti-theft device to help reduce the amount you see on your auto insurance calculator.
  • Be familiar with and realistic about your driving history. Too many drivers think they have a clean record and get low rates back for their auto insurance calculator rates. Of course, when it comes time to secure a policy it can be a harsh wake up call to find out you still have some tickets or a previous accident on your record. Low estimates on premiums are only great if they are true to what you will probably pay.
  • You should consider getting quotes even if you already have an insurance policy. Too many drivers get their auto insurance policy in place and then don’t give it another thought. Not only could things have changed in which your own policy provider should be giving you a decrease in rates but the competition could prove to be better. Sure your policy may have been the cheapest when you got it, but to ensure that holds true be sure to give your policy a “health check” each renewal period to find out how much better it really could be.
  • Getting rates from an auto insurance calculator can be very useful if you are also considering “bundling” your other types of insurance. For example if you have life insurance, home owners insurance or motorcycle insurance with other providers find out if you could get better rates by putting all of your coverage on one policy. Not only will you likely save on all of your policies not just get better car insurance rates.
  • Think about other things in your life like how far your drive to work every day. This is especially important if you use your vehicle for work as well. For instance if you deliver pizza or use your truck to haul lumber all day, your insurance rates will reflect this. While it will make them higher it means you will also have the coverage you really need.
  • Your age, driving record and even your car insurance history can all affect the rates you could be looking at. For example, if you are under 25 you are considered a high risk driver because you lack experience. For that reason, your rates will likely be higher. Of course the opposite end of the spectrum is that if you are older and have a good, clean driving record your rates may be next to nothing. In general, regardless of age, the better the driving record obviously the lower the rates. Whenever possible try to take traffic school if you get a ticket so that it does not impact your record. Finally, even your insurance history will affect your rates. If you have had a lapse of auto insurance coverage for 30 days or more you can expect to see an increase in rates.
  • Of course, your location will also be part of what determines the rates you see from you auto insurance calculator. First of all the state you live in will determine what the absolute minimum is you can have for coverage when it comes to your policy. Secondly, the zip code you reside in also affects the rates. Some areas may be higher based on statistics, crime rate or the amount of road construction going on. Finally even where you park your car at night could affect your rates. If you are able to keep it a garage away from the elements or vandalism, your rates will likely be lower.

Remember, much of it boils down to the type of insurance you need. Liability is going to come up with the lowest rates for your auto insurance calculator. If you need full coverage you will be paying more but it will probably worth it. This is best for those with a car of value or without health insurance. It means your expenses will mostly be covered in the event of an accident.

You may even need something more extensive like gap coverage. Either way using a tool to get estimates is good, but getting real quotes from policy providers is even better. By using just your zip code you could begin to find out what your rates could look like. Start with the auto insurance calculator if you want, but when you are ready move on to real quotes and start getting your policy in place as soon as possible.

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

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier