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How Car Insurance Comparison Sites Work

There are a variety of ways to save money on car insurance, but one of the best methods is to compare car insurance quotes. Getting personalized quotes from multiple auto insurance companies makes it easy to see which insurer will charge the lowest rate for the type and amount of coverage you need.  

Instead of applying for quotes from every car insurance company individually, using a car insurance comparison site can simplify the process. After submitting a single application, you instantly get matched with providers in your area that meet your coverage requirements. It also makes it easy to see quotes from multiple companies in one place. 

But beware – not all insurance comparison sites are the same, and some are better than others. 

Keep reading to learn how car insurance comparison sites work, and which sites are the best.  

Written by Elizabeth Rivelli

Reviewed by Alyssa DiCrasto

Last updated: January 16, 2023

Types of auto insurance quote comparison sites

Most car insurance quote comparison sites promise to help you save money on car insurance and find an affordable policy. However, auto insurance comparison platforms use different business models, and it’s important to understand how they work.  

Car insurance comparison type #1: the insurance marketplace

An insurance marketplace is a comparison website that matches you with insurance companies that fit your unique needs. After submitting your profile information and coverage requirements, your personalized results are calculated on the backend by an algorithm. 

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Insurance marketplaces make money through referral links. When you view your matches and click on an insurance company’s website, the marketplace may earn a commission.  

The best car insurance comparison sites, including Rate Retriever, don’t ask for your contact information upfront. That means you won’t get unwanted calls and emails from insurance agents looking to sell you a policy. 

Rate Retriever pros and cons


  • Receive matches in just 30 seconds 
  • Get matched with many insurance companies, not just the ones that pay to play 
  • Rate estimates are verified through state-mandated filings 
  • No spam calls, texts, or emails 


  • As a marketplace, we don’t sell insurance policies directly 
  • After comparing your matches, you need to work with an agent at the company you choose to purchase a policy
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Car insurance comparison type #2: the insurance broker

An insurance broker is a platform that sells policies from several different insurance companies. With this model, you typically fill out a long questionnaire, speak with an agent who recommends a company, and then, you purchase a policy.  

Like insurance marketplaces, insurance brokers also make money through commissions. Every time a customer purchases a policy or clicks on a sponsored or affiliate link on the broker’s website, the broker gets paid.  

One of the most well-known insurance brokers is The Zebra, which also functions as an aggregator (more on that below). 

Pros and cons of an insurance broker site


  • You can buy a policy online, through an agent, or a company representative 
  • Live quotes, usually from multiple companies 
  • No spam calls or emails 


  • Online quotes are not always accurate 
  • You must fill out a long questionnaire before seeing your results 
  • You only receive quotes for companies the broker has a paid partnership with 

Car insurance comparison type #3: the insurance quote aggregator

An insurance quote aggregator gathers and displays “live” quotes from various car insurance companies in its network. Aggregators use a system called Rate Call 1 to return quotes from the insurance companies they partner with after a user submits an in-depth questionnaire. Insurify and Gabi are two examples of insurance quote aggregator sites. 

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Insurance quote aggregators make money through affiliate and sponsor links, but some aggregators also sell users’ contact information from the online form. That means using an aggregator may result in spam calls or emails from the aggregator’s partner companies. 

Pros and cons of an insurance quote aggregator site


  • Aggregators return live quotes that you can compare 


  • Long application process that often requires your contact information 
  • Live quotes may not be verified, and could be significantly lower than what you will actually pay 
  • You will only see quotes from insurers that the aggregator partners with 
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Car insurance comparison type #4: the lead generation platform

Lead generation platforms collect your personal information, then show you ads for their sponsored partner insurers in your location. Instead of getting matched with personalized rates or live quotes, these platforms primarily display ads. There are a handful of popular lead generation platforms on the market, like Bankrate, ValuePenguin, and QuoteWizard.  

Lead generation platforms make money in a few different ways. They often earn commissions through affiliate and sponsored links, but they also make money by selling “lead data,” which is the information you provide when you submit the questionnaire. 

Pros and cons of an insurance lead gen site


  • Good way to discover insurance companies in your area 


  • Expect to receive spam calls and emails from partner companies 
  • Can’t see rates or live quotes 
  • In-depth questionnaires that require your contact information 
  • Few results returned 
  • Ads may not provide much information about the insurers and what they have to offer 

Which is the best car insurance comparison site?

Rate Retriever

There are a few good car insurance comparison sites on the market, and Rate Retriever is one of them. Rate Retriever makes it easy to get matched with multiple car insurance companies and see your personalized rates. Plus, the application takes less than a minute to complete and we don’t require your contact information, so you’ll never deal with spam.  

The Zebra

The Zebra is a well-known and respected car insurance comparison site which returns a mix of live quotes, ads, and use of their own licensed agents, depending on your profile. While in our experience they do uphold their pledge against third-party spam, they may require your email address when returning their results. As an insurance broker, The Zebra seems to only return companies they work with or are licensed to sell themselves, so you might not get a robust list of results depending on your profile. 


Insurify is an insurance comparison site that allows you to compare car insurance based on your personal information. Their form is long but user-friendly and their results include live quotes. Insurify does require your contact information to view your results. As an aggregator, Insurify uses your personal info like your email, phone number, and address to source their quotes. Negative reviews for Insurify site quotes at lower prices than what the customer ended up paying. 


Gabi is an insurance comparison site owned by Experian. Its primary model is an aggregator, so they return live quotes when they can. Gabi requires you to create an account with your name and phone number before you can access their quiz and results. As an aggregator, the quotes Gabi returns may not be verified. 

How to find the best car insurance for you

How do I choose a good car insurance company?

Choosing a good car insurance company starts by researching and comparing a few different providers. Look at features like coverage options, discounts, endorsements, third-party ratings, and customer reviews to learn more about the provider. Then, get rate quotes to see which company can offer you the best deal. 

If you need help choosing the right car insurance company for you, use Rate Retriever to compare car insurance. Fill out the online questionnaire in just 30 seconds and see your matches from top-rated national and local insurance companies.