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 some basic advice on how to get car insurance for the first time? Perhaps you’re purchasing your first car and need to know the best coverage and limits. Or, maybe, your parents have decided it is time for you to get your own insurance policy and your need to secure the best rates. 

Whatever the case, you should know that auto insurance is required in the U.S. if you operate a motorized vehicle. So, how do you get it? Here’s a quick look at everything you need to know so that you can get legally insured. Then, at any time, you can check rates by filling out a quick quote form. Start by entering your zip code.  

Getting and Comparing Auto Insurance Quotes

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 the coverage and limits you want. To get quotes as easy and as quickly as possible, you need to have some basic information about yourself and the insured’s vehicle on hand. 

Personal information for anyone who will be covered on the policy

This personal information includes:

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

What is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

The Vehicle Identification Number is a 17-digit code that details the history of a specific vehicle. If you do not have the VIN, you will need to know the year, make, and model of your vehicle 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.

Provide true and accurate information

You may not be asked to provide all the information above when getting a quote, but the chances are that you will need it before your coverage starts. Therefore, it is crucial to provide accurate information. Keep in mind that the insurance company will verify your information. They can change your rates if any discrepancy is found. Therefore, always give accurate information when applying for a car insurance quote for the first time.  

How to Get Car Insurance for the First Time

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 vehicle is financed or paid off
  • The age of the Vehicle
  • How often the Car is Driven

Every insurer has a specific formula to calculate rates, but every company uses the same essential criteria to assess a driver’s risk. Also, a newer vehicle will cost more to insure because their repair and replacement costs are higher. So for those on a tight budget that need the cheapest car insurance possible, think about getting a vehicle that is eight years old or even older with four doors and a four-cylinder engine.    

Types of Car Insurance Coverage

Six types of car insurance are discussed below. As mentioned above, precisely 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. Agents are there to help you, and you won’t be charged for this advice.  

Liability Insurance

Except for Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Virginia, states require that you have both bodily injury and 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 nor damage to your car is covered.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP or medical payments are not required but are worth considering. For example, PIP pays for the treatment of any injuries you or any of the passengers in your car suffer in an accident. In some cases, it may also cover lost wages and funeral costs.

Collision Coverage

This critical 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

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

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage

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 

This is a highly recommended coverage 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 car is totaled and how much is left to pay on loan. Keep in mind that your car’s value will significantly depreciate the minute you drive it off the lot. Therefore, it is very likely that your insurance company will not pay off as much as you owe. In addition, GAP coverage ensures that you do not end up underwater on an auto 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 prior 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 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
  • Low-Mileage discount
  • Anti-theft vehicle discount

The Most Important Thing to Know When Insuring Your Automobile

When you are looking to purchase your first car insurance policy, you should know one crucial thing. Always shop around and get quotes from as many insurers as possible. 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 compared 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. Then, get the coverage you need at discounted rates.