If you haven’t shopped around for car insurance since you purchased your last policy, you could be missing out on some serious savings. But requesting quotes from individual insurers can be time-consuming, which is a good justification for many to put it off.
Enter The Zebra, an insurance platform that makes it easier to get quotes from more than 100 insurers, including some of the best car insurance companies. If you’re thinking of switching to a new insurer or you simply want to make sure you’re still getting the best rate, The Zebra can help speed up the process of researching coverage. Here’s what you need to know about this unique platform, how it works, and who it’s right for.
What is The Zebra?
The Zebra is an insurance agency that was founded in 2012 by Adam Lyons, an insurance industry veteran, and Joshua Dziabiak, an internet entrepreneur. The company was founded with one goal in mind: to simplify the process of obtaining affordable insurance coverage. Today, it’s one of the most popular insurance comparison websites in the U.S. and offers quotes for a variety of insurance policies, including:
- Auto insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Renters insurance
- Life insurance
One thing that sets The Zebra apart from other auto insurance comparison sites is that it invests time to educate consumers during the online quote process. When I got to the page with rate quotes, I got a lot more than just a number. I received an overview of each insurer, some of the features it provides, the coverage for the quoted price, and how the rate breaks down on a monthly basis versus upfront. I was also able to view quotes for more or less protection than what’s standard.
With more information like this, it’s a lot easier for consumers to make an educated decision about where to get their car insurance and other types of insurance policies.
How does The Zebra insurance work?
The process of finding car insurance coverage with The Zebra is pretty simple. Remember, the company isn’t an insurer itself, but it does provide quotes from a long list of insurance companies to streamline the process and help ensure you get the best rate.
When you start the quote process through The Zebra, it has you create a profile it can use to field quotes from top insurers. That includes information about your vehicle, where it’s parked, how many miles you drive, and also some basic information about you. It took me less than five minutes to fill everything out.
Then, you’ll get matched with quotes from top insurers based on your individual needs and qualifications. You can even make some changes to your coverage needs to get a more accurate view of what’s available and how much it costs.
How to maximize your savings with The Zebra
Car insurance can be expensive — according to a report by The Zebra, the average policy costs $1,548 — so every dollar you can save counts. The good news is that the best way to save money is to shop around, and The Zebra’s comparison tool is an excellent way to do that.
As you go through the process, there are several other ways you save money on car insurance. Some ideas include:
- Set up autopay. Insurers benefit when you set up automatic payments from your credit card or bank account, so they often add an incentive to do so. According to The Zebra, you can save up to $24 per policy period for doing this simple task. What’s more, it ensures you don’t forget to pay, which can cause your policy to lapse.
- Open your policy online. Many insurance companies hire insurance agents to provide quotes and set people up with new policies, but that arrangement is expensive. As a result, you’ll typically get an average discount of $12 by completing the entire process online with an e-signature.
- Pay upfront. Paying monthly may seem like it’s more affordable because it breaks up your policy premium over six or 12 months. But if you can afford to pay in full every policy period, you’ll save an average of $85.
- Purchase a policy in advance. Waiting until the last minute before your current policy expires could be a big mistake because it adds urgency to the situation. What’s more, it can increase your costs. According to The Zebra’s report, people who purchase a policy at least 10 days in advance of when they need it can save $51, on average. Note, however, that some insurers may offer this discount with a seven-day advance notice instead of 10 days.
- Bundle your policy. If you need more than one type of insurance, getting multiple policies from the same insurer could spell huge savings. For example, if you bundle your auto policy with a homeowners or renters policy, you’d save an average of $119.
- Improve your credit score. You may think your credit score impacts only your loans and credit cards, but it’s also used by auto and homeowners insurance companies in most states to calculate rates — California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts don’t allow the practice. Fortunately, many states don’t allow insurers to hike your rates solely because you have bad credit, but they can if there are other negative variables that could impact your rates. Improve your credit rating by one level (such as bad to fair or fair to good), and you could save a whopping $386 on average.
- Don’t let your coverage lapse. Your insurance rates are based on how much of a risk you pose to the insurer. If you haven’t been insured for very long, or you’ve allowed your coverage to lapse at times, the company has less information to work with, which could result in a higher rate. So even if you don’t own a car at times, non-owners insurance may be worth the cost to maintain continuous coverage.
- Ask about other discounts. Every insurance company has its own set of discounts, and some offer more than others. You’ll typically get discounts based on the drivers on your policy, the vehicle and its features, and how you drive. One discount with great potential is the use of telematics. Insurers allow you to install a device on your vehicle or use a mobile app to track your driving. If you prove yourself to be a safe driver, it could reflect positively on your premium.
If you’re looking to learn how to lower your car insurance premiums, these are the best places to start.
FAQs about The Zebra insurance
As I researched The Zebra, I came across several common questions from consumers about the service. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
Is The Zebra a free service?
Yes, The Zebra is a free service. It makes money from the insurance companies it refers consumers to, so you don’t have to worry about paying anything to use The Zebra or compare quotes. Also, because it works with so many insurers, it’s not beholden to any one of them, so you know it has your best interests in mind.
Is The Zebra auto insurance legit?
The Zebra has been around since 2012, and it has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It has provided more than 6.6 million quotes since its founding. The company is legitimate and provides one of the best insurance comparison tools out there. It is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and it offers several options for customers to get in touch, including an email address, phone number, and social media handles.
Which auto insurance companies does The Zebra work with?
According to The Zebra, it works with more than 100 insurance companies to provide quotes. Because insurance companies are regulated on a state basis, quotes from some insurers may not be available in your state.
Some of the more well-known companies The Zebra partners with include Progressive, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, The General, and more. As you go through the quote process, you’ll be able to view which insurers are in your area.
How long does it take to find insurance with The Zebra?
I went through the search process, and it took me less than five minutes to fill out the information the website requires to get a quote. From there, the timing can depend on how long you take to compare companies and coverages and complete the process.
If you run out of time or you’re just not ready to do the actual comparisons, you can set up a reminder for three, seven, or 10 days in the future to come back to it.
How to get started with The Zebra
You’ll begin by entering your zip code into the field and clicking the “Start” button — and remember, you can also get home insurance, but that’s not required to get a car insurance rate quote.
There are three pages you’ll need to work through before you can get to the quote page. There, you'll be able to compare real-time quotes from different insurance carriers. You’ll be asked about the following information in order:
- Whether you’re currently insured
- Whether you rent or own your residence
- Why you’re shopping for insurance today
- The address where your vehicle is parked
- Your full name and date of birth
- Your vehicles’ year, make, and model (it may be populated automatically based on your address)
- Whether you own or lease the vehicle
- What you mostly use your vehicle for (i.e. commuting, pleasure, etc.)
- How many miles you drive per year
- Your gender and marital status
- Your credit score range
- Your highest level of education
- How long you’ve been continuously insured
- Your current insurance provider
- Whether you’ve had any at-fault accidents or tickets in the past three years
- Your email address
- Potential discounts you qualify for
Once you get to the quote page, the first thing you’ll see is the monthly auto insurance rates, but you’ll also be able to click on each insurer and get an idea of how much coverage you’re getting, so you can compare apples to apples.
At the top of the screen, you can also adjust the type of coverage you’re looking for, which will update the quotes on the main page. Take some time to figure out how much car insurance coverage you need before you pick a company.
Once you pick an insurer, you’ll be directed to its website to complete the purchase process. Note that once you submit an official application, the insurance company will dig more into your driving record, credit report, and other areas to give you a final quote, which may or may not be different than the initial one. This is a normal part of the process that isn’t unique to The Zebra.
After you’ve finished the process with the insurance company, you can choose to accept or decline the policy, then move forward from there.
The bottom line
Shopping around for car insurance is one of my least favorite things to do for my personal finances, but if you don’t do it regularly, you could be leaving money on the table. I try to check the latest quotes once a year, at the very least to confirm that I’m still getting the best rate from my current company.
I may also check if I make changes to my coverage or other aspects of the policy because each company prices things differently than the others. Using The Zebra is an excellent way to go through this process without wasting a lot of time, and getting more information than you might get from other comparison websites.