There are as many car insurance policies as there are cars. And drivers. That makes tools like The Zebra, which has been independently serving car insurance quotes from major providers since 2012, crucial to getting the best deal. But what goes into that quote in the first place? Here's what to know before you click/insure.

Your State's Rules

The key built-in cost for any insurance policy is your liability insurance, or what a provider pays out if you're found at fault in an accident. Every state's got a different minimum liability, however, so that minimum depends heavily on where you live, and some states regulate rates, which may come as a surprise when you're moving and check how much you'll owe to get on the road. Look up your state's laws and know exactly what you're expected to cover, first.

What Your Car's Worth

Once you know what you have to pay for the other guy, you should look at what it'll cost to pay for your car if it's taken off the road. Cars change in value over time, and policies that cover your car are generally limited to paying out its value (according, often, to standard-issue value books, like Kelley's Blue Book). You'll need to look at what the policy costs, what your car is worth, and the difference between the two; if you're paying more than your wheels are worth to cover it, you probably should update your policy.

Your Preferred Deductible

Deductibles are the amounts you'll pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. The more you're willing to pay up front, the lower your premium will be. Again, though, keep an eye on the value of your car. If your deductible's a substantial chunk of what it's actually worth, then you might want to change your policy.

Your Mileage

How much you drive affects your risk, so the less you drive, the better off you are in terms of insurance. It also means less wear and tear on your car, meaning it'll be worth more over time. While a lot of factors go into deciding your premium, knowing how much you usually drive in a given year is useful in figuring out your premium.

Other Discounts

Many providers offer discounts for anything that cuts down risk. Safe driving records and anti-theft devices are two common examples, but before comparing quotes, check into others. For example, if you're willing to spend a weekend or two on a defensive driving course, you can get a discount. You might even get one for being a member of a volunteer group. It's always worth checking, so you know what you can get.

Now that you're ready to compare, check out The Zebra; it makes the process quick and easy!

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with an affiliate partner. We may collect a small commission on items purchased through this page. This post does not necessarily reflect the views or the endorsement of the editorial staff.

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