These days, many web sites have car insurance calculators claiming to show you the best deal on your car insurance policy. But how accurate are these calculators and do they really get the best deal for you?
First of all, what type of information should you provide? Most sites are going to ask you specific questions about your driving habits, how many drivers in your family and if you rent or own your home for example. The better sites will continue to drill down and ask you more specific information such as the age of your children if you have teen drivers, what other types of medical insurance you might have, how far you commute each day and other seemingly minor points. The more detailed information you provide, the more accurate your quote will be.
Of course some users of these sites may not feel comfortable providing such personal information as your annual income and rightfully so. Advertisers sometimes sneak tracking cookies into web sites to get your answers and then try to identify you as a target for more advertising. If this is a concern to you, use a newer version if Internet Explorer or Firefox which provides “in private” browsing. When you use this feature, all of the cookies that are used during your session on the web site are removed when you close the browser. Your personal information cannot be saved to track you on other sites.
Be wary of sites that want you to provide your email address, telephone number or physical address before they will show you any quotes. The site is going to sell your information to other marketers and possibly bombard you with solicitations. Again, the better sites will show you the rates without your contact information. If they do not, consider setting up a dummy account on Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo to use so that all the unwanted solicitations go there.
Once you get the rates from the site, do they really reflect the best rate possible? In most cases, the answer is probably not. The rates you are shown are likely only for the companies with whom the web site has an association or affiliate program. If a site does not have an association with say Geico Insurance, they are unlikely to show you rates for Geico Insurance because they will not make a commission. So it pays to shop around. Try different sites, even go online to some of the individual insurance company sites and get rate quotes directly. Spending an hour or two searching on the web for the best rates can save you thousands of dollars on your insurance policy over the life of your car.