Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

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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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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In a nutshell...

Auto insurance isn’t a product that you can buy at your local market.

Since rates are personalized, a company can’t just put a sticker on a package and advertise that they have the lowest-priced policies in the industry.

Instead, anyone who’s interested in buying a product through the company must solicit a quote to find out how much they might pay.

Unfortunately, auto quotes aren’t always 100 percent guaranteed and it’s possible that your rates could change after you apply.

Enter your zip code above for FREE car insurance quotes today!

What is an auto insurance quote?


Since auto insurance rates are dependent on the companies rate filing and your personal information, every driver pays a unique premium when they buy coverage through a carrier.

An insurance quote is a quick estimate of how much you could pay for certain limits of coverage through a potential insurance provider.

A car insurance quote is also not an offer on car insurance.

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Are you guaranteed to pay what you’re quoted?

All quotes for personal auto insurance are subject to change.

The rates that are estimated aren’t guaranteed because the insurer has a 30 or 60-day binding period to run reports and underwrite an application.

During the binding period, the company will look for information that makes a client more of a risk. If they find something, the rate will go up.

What do companies look for when underwriting a policy?

When your quote turns into an application for coverage, the company will underwrite the application.

The purpose is to verify all of the information that you provided while you were answering application questions.

If the company finds out that you failed to mention something, they can change the price of coverage.

Underwriters use a lot of electronic databases to find out if you’re trying to hide claims, fraud convictions, or tickets.

By running a CLUE Report, a Motor Vehicle Report, and other relevant records, the carrier will decide whether or not the quote is sufficient.

Electronic databases make it easier for insurers to collect adequate premiums.

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What happens when risk changes?

If there are changes to your risk class after your application is fully underwritten, a few different things can happen. In a worst-case scenario, the company will rescind the policy and return your premiums.

If you lie on your application or you’ve been convicted of fraud in the past, your policy could be rescinded. A rescission means that you never had coverage.

More commonly, the company will set the policy up for cancellation. This only happens if the carrier discovers that the

If you’re still eligible for coverage but your risk class has still changed, the company will recalculate your rates and send you policy documents detailing your new premiums.

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What are the most common reasons for a misquote?

There are a few common reasons why rates are misquoted.

Some are because of an agent error and others are because the client failed to disclose certain information.

Here are some scenarios where rates have changed once the policy was issued:

  • You failed to disclose a chargeable moving infraction
  • You failed to disclose a chargeable at-fault accident
  • You listed the wrong date for a ticket or an accident
  • You no longer qualify for a Good Driver Discount because of the new information
  • A driver in the home has less experience as a licensed driver than you reported

Can you cancel your policy if you’re not happy with the new rate?

If a rate changes, you have no way of really knowing if the company that you bought your coverage through offered the best price.

Every company has its own rating system and therefore some price products better than others.

When your policy passes the underwriting stage and is issued, you will receive documentation that shows how much you’re expected to pay.

If you’re not happy with the new payments, you are free to cancel your insurance at any time. Be sure that you don’t cancel your policy out of frustration without binding a new policy first.

Where can you get auto insurance quotes?

There are a number of ways that you can solicit quotes to compare premiums.

If you are pricing costs through a direct writer, you’ll work directly with an exclusive insurance sales agent.

You can also request quotes through the carrier’s website if you’d prefer to do everything online.

If you’re interested in getting several quotes at once, you can work closely with a broker who will help you find the best match when it comes to insurers.

A major drawback of working with a broker, even though they represent you and not the company, is that you have to pay a broker fee.

This is why free online brokerage-style systems are becoming so popular.

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Why are online brokerage systems so popular?

You don’t want to have to pay money to save money on your premiums. It’s nice to have a broker on your side, but the

By using an online quoting tool, you can get multiple quotes just like you would through a broker without having to pay for the service.

If you’re ready to get accurate quotes, it’s time to gather your documents. Get your declarations page, your motor vehicle report, your claims history report, and your title ready.

With all of this documentation, you should have no problem getting an accurate quote. Enter your zip code below for FREE car insurance quotes today!