Auto Insurance 101

Step by Step Guide: From Choosing Your Car Insurance To Filing Your Claim

Insurance adjustor filling out form for damage report on car
Zigy Kaluzny-Charles Thatcher/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Why do you need a five-step guide to auto insurance shopping? Because, if you want to get the best coverage for your buck, shopping smart for your car insurance is the way to do it. Also, car insurance is one of the top ways to chisel down your insurance budget if you know how to do it right. Let's start with deciding what car insurance coverage you need:

1. What Kind of Coverage Do You Need?:

Before calling the insurance company and getting your insurance quote, take the time to decide what kind of coverage you need.

In every state you have to have at least liability coverage. But, you need to decide if you would like to add these additional car insurance coverages:


If you choose comprehensive and collision coverages, you will need to decide what deductible amounts you would like. And, it is important to know what policy limits your state requires so you can decide what policy limits you would like. Other coverages you may also be interested in:

Emergency Roadside Service
Gap Insurance

2. Choosing an Insurance Company:

When you are ready to select your insurance provider, besides just looking for the best car insurance premium, you will want to take some time to research what insurance company you want to go with by learning about their financial strength. Another important aspect of choosing your insurance provider is knowing if and how they will use your credit score to determine your rate.

Take the time to research different companies and then make a list of the providers you are interested in contacting for an insurance quote. Here are some tools to help you research your car insurance company:

Car Insurance Company Report Card
Your Credit Score and the Insurance Company

3. Making the Call:

When you have your list of selected car insurance providers you are ready to start calling around to search for the one who can give you the best deal.

It is important to have certain paperwork handy, such as your driver's license number. In addition, having a list of discounts you may be entitled to can save you some extra money. Here are some resources to help you when you are ready to make the call:

Car Insurance Savings Checklist
Online Car Insurance Company Quote Worksheet

4. Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy:

Now that you have your car insurance policy, do you understand what it means? Did you get what you paid for? It is important to know how your car insurance policy works and how it can work for you. Here is some help in understanding your policy:

Getting What You Paid For
Car Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

5. Filing a Car Insurance Claim:

Let's hope you never have to file a car insurance claim, but if you do it is important to learn some things before the accident comes. Learning what things you need to do when you have an auto accident can help the claims process go much smoother. Here are some claim filing tools you will want to learn before you file a car insurance claim:

I Had a Car Accident!
5 Steps to Filing Your Car Insurance Claim
Aftermarket Parts and the Insurance Company - Do You Have a Choice?

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