You could spend hours and hours checking with every car insurance company in the known universe to try to find the best car insurance that money can buy. But at the end of the day, all the policies start looking the same and you find that you are in massive information overload as you try to compare policies at the best rate.

You should not have to check with every car insurance company on the planet to find the best car insurance policy for your needs, as long as you know ahead of time what your requirements are. If you don’t know, then you need to sit down and define your requirements so that you have your best chances of making sure you are comparing apples to apples when you are comparing rate quotes from multiple companies.

You obviously know the year, make and model of your car and what size engine it has. Some car insurance companies may also ask about optional safety equipment that is installed in the car, like side air bags and other things that may have not been included as standard equipment on this make, model, and year of car. Some may also ask about the current mileage of the car so they can make a good estimate of the overall value of the car in case you are in an accident where the car is declared as totaled.

The next step is to determine the type of coverage you need. If you have an older car that is paid off, you can get by with just “PL and PD”, which is otherwise known as Personal Liability and Personal Damages. This is your most basic type of car insurance coverage and is the minimum that anyone should have.

If your car is paid off, you may want to really evaluate whether or not you want to have collision insurance on the car. Collision insurance is relatively expensive, mostly due to the fact that even minor repairs to a fender bender or parking lot ding can add up to ridiculous sums of money to repair at body shops. If you do not have collision insurance and have an accident, the cost of repairing your car is NOT covered, so you need to weigh that fact against the cost of having collision coverage. If your car is not paid for, chances are better than excellent that your car loan lender will require you to have collision insurance, which simply protects his interests in the car. By the same token, if your car is on a lease, you will be required by the lease holder to have collision insurance.

Other common coverages are comprehensive and cover things such as fire and theft. Note that theft may not cover just the car, but would also cover something like your laptop computer being stolen out of the trunk of your car. Be sure you are clear on exactly what theft coverage means in the policy you are evaluating.

Lastly, consider the deductible amounts. You can have a separate deductible amount for each type of coverage with most companies. In the case of a claim, the deductible amount is how much YOU pay before the insurance company starts paying. This can drastically affect the amount of your car insurance premiums.

Now you are ready to comparison shop for car insurance. Check with local companies and do not discount or dismiss online car insurance quotes. Many times these companies can offer very aggressive rates that the traditional companies have a hard time competing with.

A bit of time and effort as well as knowing exactly what you are looking for, and ensuring that you are comparing apples to apples when you compare quotes is the best way to find the best and most cost effective car insurance policy for you.