Tips for first time car insurance buyers

Getting car insurance for the first time? Here is what to know about policy terms, coverage and potential discounts and savings.

A young woman checking out a new car.

Buying a car can be exciting — and a little bit scary. The same goes with getting car insurance for the first time, all on your own. There's responsibility — deciding what coverage and deductibles you want and need, to name just two examples — and freedom as you move from a parent or caregiver's policy to one that's all your own. There's also the potential to make mistakes.

The first thing to understand about car insurance is that there are a variety of factors that can influence coverage and cost. Age, marital status and home ownership are just three determining factors. And what kind of coverage (and deductible) you want should an accident happen may also help you determine the policy and parameters you choose. Here are some things to consider when you are getting car insurance for the first time.

Available and required coverage

Ask your insurance company about the types of auto coverage that are available. These typically include options such as liability, uninsured motorist coverage, collision and comprehensive. When it comes to vehicle insurance, each state sets its own limits on what's required and what's optional. In addition, if you have a loan on your vehicle, your lender may specify insurance requirements, too.

Terms related to the policy

Some may be familiar to you and others may be new, but the insurance company will be able to walk you through the insurance ins and outs. Starters include:

  • Premium - What you pay each month. 
  • Deductible - What you’re responsible for paying after an accident. 
  • Exclusions and limitations - What insurance does and does not cover.
  • Effective dates - When the policy begins and ends.

Some criteria that can affect your car insurance premiums include what you drive, how much you drive and your driving record.

What to do if you need help getting car insurance the first time 

When it comes to connecting with an insurance company, there are now various options. You might be able to get a quote online, call customer service representatives or contact an insurance agent. Many companies have mobile applications, like the State Farm® mobile app. After you acquire a policy, take advantage of applications and services available to you for handling your first time auto insurance needs.

Possible auto insurance discounts to ask for

When shopping for your car insurance, don't forget to ask about available discounts. Many discounts are common regardless of your insurance company, and some others might be specific. Here are some possible ways to save on your auto insurance:

  • Good student
  • Good driver
  • Defensive or other driver education
  • Being away at school
  • Multiple policies

Things you’ll need in order to get an auto policy

To establish your own car insurance, you might need to provide:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A social security number
  • Bank account information
  • The vehicle information including the VIN (Vehicle Information Number, typically found on the dash near the bottom of the windshield or inside the driver’s door), make, model and year
  • Loan information

Once you've established your first car insurance policy, confirm that your car is registered at the DMV. And remember to schedule an insurance review at least once a year to go over policies, changes and needs. As you age, you may require more, less or different coverage, and you may qualify for additional savings.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
State Farm Indemnity Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas
Richardson, TX

Start a Quote
Select a product to start a quote.
Agents Near You
Contact Us

Also important

Auto Insurance for Foreign Drivers

If you are visiting the U.S. or are an immigrant that recently arrived in the country, car insurance will be essential in order for you to drive.

Car Insurance Deductibles: Choosing Well

Learn what a car insurance deductible is and how it affects your car insurance coverage. Plus, tips on choosing auto coverages.

Related articles

How To Buy a Used Car From a Dealer or Private Seller

A used car is a great way to save some cash, but consider these tips before you buy.

What to Do After a Hit and Run

Hit and run accidents can be stressful. Know what to do — and what not to do — if you find yourself in this situation.

How To Deal With Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot accidents are an all-too-common hassle for today's drivers. State Farm® offers some advice for what to do if you're involved in a fender bender.