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.
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.