There are so many companies selling insurance that it is very hard to determine what will be the best policy for you. The rate that you receive at one company could be significantly higher or lower than the rate somewhere else. Some of those factors are based on your credit score and whether you seem risky to the company or not. That is one of the reasons that you will want to compare as many insurance companies as you possibly can.
The first thing you need to know is to get at least 3 quotes before making any final decisions. That may not be enough but at least it's a start. If you are going to compare you need to know what to look for and how to look so your best bet would be to start online immediately. You will receive multiple company results that are given to you at the same time and you only have to put your information in once. You also have the luxury online of not having the actual agent in your face pressuring you to make a final decision before getting the opportunity to even think about what is best for you.
Now, it wouldn't exactly be fair if the websites were to force you to make a decision without calling an agent first so you will want to do that. Shopping online is great and convenient but the old fashion phone call will help you out tremendously. When you call the agent that is your opportunity to ask them as many questions as possible. The insurance agent can't tell you what to do, but they can steer you in the right direction based on what you are looking for. That is the time that you can ask about your discounts that the agent wont bring up for you. By this time you should have already researched your possible savings to see how to turn your insurance into cheap quality insurance and believe me, there is nothing wrong with cheap insurance.
It might not be a bad idea to even ask some friends and family what they think of their insurance. The last thing you want is to pay for insurance with a company under investigation for too many denied claims for example. If you can avoid any breach of contract or bad faith lawsuits you will want to.
Every insurance company has a particular way that they will rate your personal information. One company may not really factor in the accident that you had last year since it was your first and you kept your previous insurance for 5 years. On the other hand there are companies that will jump at the chance to see a hiccup on your driving record so they can add some additional fees.
If you do your due diligence when making your auto insurance comparisons you will find yourself with a better policy and an insurance company you will stay with longer.