How to Get Car Insurance for the First Time

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How to Get Car Insurance for the First Time

Do you need to know how to get car insurance for the first time? Perhaps you’re purchasing your first car or maybe your parents have decided it is time for you to get your own insurance policy. Whatever the case, you should know that auto insurance is required in the US. So, how do you get it? Here’s a quick look at everything you need to know, so you can get legally insured.

Getting an Insurance Quote

The first step in getting car insurance involves getting quotes from multiple insurance companies. A quote is an estimate of how much you will be expected to pay for your coverage. To make getting quotes as easy and quick as possible, there is certain information you will want to have handy. This includes:

Personal information for anyone who will be covered on the policy, including:

  1. Date of birth
  2. Driver’s license number
  3. Address
  4. Occupation
  5. Marital status
  6. Level of education
  7. Driving history (This will be verified through the DMV.)
  8. Record of previous car insurance
  9. Vehicle information, including:

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This is a 17-digit code that details the history of a specific vehicle. If you do not have the VIN number, you will need to know the year, make, and model to get a quote. However, before your car insurance goes into effect, you will need to have the VIN. You will also need the purchase date and vehicle registration date.

How to Get Car Insurance for the First Time

You may not be asked to provide all the information above when getting a quote, but chances are that you will need it before your coverage starts. It is important to provide accurate information. Keep in mind that the insurance company will verify your information. Your rates can be changed if a discrepancy is found.

What Kind of Car Insurance do You Need?

The type of car insurance you will need depends on several factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Your driving history
  • The type of car you own
  • If the car is financed or paid off
  • The age of the Vehicle
  • How often the Car is Driven

Types of Car Insurance Coverage

Six types of car insurance are discussed below. As mentioned above, exactly what types of coverage you need will depend on several factors. This is why it is strongly suggested that you speak with an insurance agent. They can help you better understand these types of coverage and decide if they are needed in your situation.

With the exception of Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Virginia, states do require that you have both bodily injury and also property damage liability coverage. Bodily injury pays for any injuries you cause to another person. Property damage liability, which pays for damages you have caused to another person’s property, is also required. With these types of car insurance, neither your injuries or damage to your car is covered.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or medical payments are not required but is definitely worth considering. PIP pays for the treatment of any injuries you or any of the passengers in your car suffer in an accident. In some cases, lost wages and funeral costs may also be covered.

Collision: This important coverage pays out for damages done to your automobile, in the event of a crash with another automobile. Collision coverage will pay, even if you are at fault. However, you will need to pay a deductible before the coverage kicks in. Deductibles range from $250 to $1,000. The higher the amount of your deductible, the less you will pay for your coverage. Collision coverage is usually required if your vehicle is not paid off.

Comprehensive coverage will compensate you for your loss if your vehicle is stolen or suffers damage caused by anything other than a collision. This may include damage from a natural disaster, fire, falling objects, and more. A deductible of $100 to $300 is common for comprehensive coverage. It is likely to be required if your vehicle isn’t paid off.

Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist coverage pays if you are involved in an accident with someone that is uninsured or if you are involved in a hit-and-run. Currently, 14 states require that drivers carry this type of coverage. They are CT, ME, MD, MA, MN, NE, NJ, NC, ND, OR, SD, VT, VA, and WI.

GAP Insurance is highly recommended if you are leasing a vehicle or still paying it off. GAP insurance coverage will cover the difference between what your car insurance will pay if your vehicle is totaled and how much is left to pay on the loan. Keep in mind that your car’s value will depreciate greatly the minute you drive it off the lot, so there is a very good chance your insurance company will not pay off as much as you owe. GAP coverage ensures that you do not end up underwater on a loan. In other words, you won’t still be paying for a car that you cannot drive.

How Will Your Premium be Determined?

An insurance premium is the amount you will pay for your car insurance coverage. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reports that multiple factors will be considered when determining the amount of your premium. This includes:

  • Your age, gender, and marital status
  • Your driving record over the past 3-5 years
  • The type of car you want coverage for (The newer or more expensive the car is, the higher your premium will be.)
  • Where you live (City residents are more prone to accidents and thefts.)
  • Your credit score (The better your credit score, the lower your premium is likely to be.)
  • How often you will be driving
  • Any previous car insurance coverage
  • Any previous car insurance claims
  • Liability coverage limits
  • Deductible amounts

 

What Information is Included in Your Policy?

Your policy details the specifics of your coverage, including:

  • Who and what is covered
  • Date coverage begins and ends
  • The amount of coverage provided
  • The amount of your premium
  • Any coverage limitations or exclusions
  • How to file a claim

Possible Discounts You Can Qualify For

As a first-time car insurance buyer, you may not be aware of the many discounts that you may be eligible for. These discounts can reduce the amount of your premium. Possible discounts you may qualify for include:

  • Safe/ Good Driver discount for drivers with a clean driving record
  • Good student discount: for high school or college students with a certain GPA
  • Defensive Driver discount: for completing a pre-approved safe driving class
  • Paid in Full discount: for paying your premium in full instead of making monthly payments
  • Paperless Billing discount
  • eSignature discount
  • Automatic Debit discount
  • Multi-vehicle discount
  • Multi-policy discount

 

The Most Important Thing to Know

When you are looking to purchase your first car insurance policy, there is one crucial thing you should know. Always shop around. Never go with the first quote you get. Instead, take the time to get quotes from multiple companies and compare them. Look at your coverage amount, the amount of your deductible, and the amount of your premium. Fortunately, the internet makes getting multiple quotes a pretty simple process.

Once you have your policy in place, it is highly recommended that you review your coverage and evaluate it in comparison to your needs. Depending on where you are in life, you may need to make changes in your coverage. Now that you know how to get car insurance for the first time, start comparing rates. Enter your zip code and search the lowest direct quotes from regional and national providers. Get the coverage you need at discounted rates.