Shopping for car insurance is about more than just getting the best rate.  Comparing auto insurance quotes to make sure you're getting both the best deal and the right coverage for your needs can be tricky.  You don't have to be an insurance expert to shop around and buy your policy with confidence; you just need to understand what you need, and what to look for in a quote.

Know Your Needs

Before you start getting quotes, it's a good idea to know what type of coverage you need.  All provinces have a basic minimum for liability coverage that you are legally required to carry; beyond that, you can select from a menu of options to add on.  The most common options are collision (coverage for your car's damage in an at-fault accident) and comprehensive (coverage for anything other than a collision).  If you have a car loan, you'll be required to carry these - otherwise they are optional.  Other options include rental car coverage, loss of use, and roadside assistance.  If you frequently rent cars, rental car coverage is a good choice.  If you have roadside assistance elsewhere, such as CAA, you don't need to add it.  Learn about the different options and choose the ones that are right for you.

Compare Apples to Apples

When requesting car insurance quotes, make sure every quote offers the same level of liability coverage, the same deductibles, and the same options.  Every insurance company differs a little as to how they put together a basic quote.  Requesting specifically the coverage you want included will make sure that your price comparisons are fair.  That way you will know that one quote isn't much lower because it offers less coverage or a higher deductible.  Ask for a copy of the quote so you can go over the included coverage.

Don't Hide Anything

An insurance quote is only as good as the information you provide.  Tickets and accidents affect rates, and when the policy goes to underwriting the company will find out about anything you didn't mention.  This will result in higher rates than originally quoted.  Put accurate information on your quote requests to make sure there are no surprises later.

Consider the Company

A cheap car insurance policy that isn't backed by a quality company isn't worth the savings.  If the day comes that you need to file a claim, you want a company like Northgate Insurance Centre with strong customer service and a good reputation on your side.  Poor service is only one risk of cut-rate insurance; the Insurance Bureau of Canada warns against scams and offers recommendations for checking up on the legitimacy of an insurance agent or company.  Make sure you're getting the coverage you're paying for.