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How do you get car insurance for the first time?
Whether you’re getting car insurance for the first time or already have insurance but want to check for a better deal, this guide will help you get started:
If you’re a new driver who’s looking for car insurance for the first time, you’ll first need to determine the types of coverage you need and want. Every state requires you to either have liability insurance (the most common scenario) or be able to provide for coverage in another way.
Liability insurance covers damage you may cause to other people or their property in an auto accident. If you suffer an injury or damage to your vehicle and you’re at fault, this type of insurance won’t pay. If you suffer damage and another driver is at fault, their liability insurance pays.
What type of insurance do you need?
Because this type of coverage is quite limited, many drivers want to expand their insurance. Generally, the more valuable your car is, the greater the amount of insurance coverage you may need.
In addition, banks and finance companies will also require you to carry insurance above and beyond liability coverage. The state in which you live may also have an impact on the type and level of coverage you’re required to have.
You can choose to add the following types of insurance:
- Comprehensive – covers theft and damage that occurs outside of a traffic accident, such as vandalism or weather-related damage
- Collision – covers repairs to your car after an accident
- Personal Injury Protection – covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, as well as lost wages.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – coverage for instances where you’re hit by someone without insurance or with policy limits that are exceeded by your claim.
How much auto insurance do you need?
The key is to balance the type and level of coverage you need with what you can afford to pay. Different companies will offer differing rates, so it pays to let Insurantly.com help you compare multiple car insurance quotes.
The state in which you live sets minimum amounts of coverage you’ll need to have, but Consumer Reports recommends buying more than the minimum so your personal assets are better protected if you have a costly accident.
If you cause an accident that causes substantial damage to another vehicle, as well as the death or serious injuries to another driver or passengers, you could face serious financial consequences. Consumer Reports recommends 10/300/100 coverage for most drivers, which pays $100,000 per person in case of bodily injury, $300,000 per accident, and up to $100,000 for property damage. Drivers will substantial assets should consider even higher levels of coverage.
What is temporary auto insurance?
In some cases, you may need to get temporary auto insurance, which applies in circumstances including the following:
- You’ve just bought a new car and need insurance, but you’re not prepared to make a long-term commitment to one company.
- You want to let a friend temporarily borrow your car.
- You’re attending school and will need to drive for only a few months during the year.
On this page Insurantly goes in depth about getting auto insurance if you are considered high risk by the insurance company. If you have a lower credit score it might be beneficial to read this page and understand how to obtain more affordable coverage.
Insurance companies calculate that if you have bad credit you may get into above average car accidents and therefore file more claims. On this page we answers dozens of questions regarding auto accident effects are rates.
Getting auto insurance without a car
If you don’t own a car, you might assume that you don’t need auto insurance.
That’s not necessarily the case, however. In some instances, you’ll need to purchase non-owner car insurance, which is also known as SR22 insurance. It’s a specialized type of coverage that’s used to demonstrate your financial responsibility and satisfy a legal requirement, most often in the following instances:
- You’ve been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI)
- You’ve been previously caught driving without insurance
Because it’s a type of liability insurance, damage to your car or injuries to you or your passengers won’t be covered.
Do you need insurance before you buy a car?
In addition, you’ll need auto insurance coverage if you’re preparing to buy a car. Until you obtain insurance, it won’t be legal for you to even drive your new car off of the lot. In addition, if you’re financing the car, the bank or finance company will require proof of insurance.
If you can’t yet make a longer-term decision, you can get temporary insurance to make sure you’re legal, and then shop around more extensively. You may ultimately choose to buy full-coverage insurance, which will include liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage.
Does insurance stay with the car, or the driver?
Contrary to popular belief, insurance stays with the car, not the driver. As long as you’ve given someone permission to drive your car, you and your car insurance company could be on the hook for any damage they cause.
That’s why it’s vital to not just hand the keys over to anyone, because while your roommate may be a friendly guy, he may not even have a valid driver’s license.
How do you get car insurance quotes?
Car insurance quotes can vary widely from company to company, depending on your individual circumstances, so it pays to shop around to ensure that you’re getting the coverage you need without paying more than necessary.
Contacting each company individually and giving the information needed to get a quote can be extremely time-consuming. Instead, use Insurantly.com, which lets you compare quotes from a variety of companies through a single site.
Just put in your zip code, and you’ll be directed in to various companies that offer insurance in your area. Or call 855-974-4822 to talk to an agent and get a quote in three minutes.
Be honest and thorough when filling out or giving the agent the information, taking the time to get your driver’s license number, the exact model and year of your car, its odometer reading, your vehicle registration information, and your driving history.
If anyone else will be driving the car, you’ll also need their driver’s license information and driving history. If you can’t remember when you received your last ticket, check with your state Department of Motor Vehicles. The more accurate the information you provide, the more accurate your quote will be.
As you compare rates, make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. Determine the level of coverage you need, as well as the deductible that you’re comfortable paying. Make sure that when you compare a rate from one company to the next, you’re looking at policies with the same deductibles and coverage levels.
What are the best car insurance companies?
The best auto insurance company for you will vary according to your individual circumstances. Some companies, for example, specialize in high-risk drivers or those who only want the minimum levels of coverage. Although it can help to get advice from friends or family about customer service, ultimately the rate you’ll pay will vary with each insurance company.
Consumer Reports magazine rated insurance companies in 2015, and USAA Property & Casualty and Amica insurance came out on top overall. They were followed by such companies as State Farm, Geico, and American Family.
How can you get cheaper car insurance than you currently have?
Once you decide on an insurance company and obtain insurance, don’t make the mistake of automatically letting your policy renew year after year without rechecking your rates. As your circumstances change over the years and insurance companies’ rates change, you might find that another company better suits your needs for both price and coverage. Shop around to get the lowest rates every year or two, or more often if your circumstances change.
How can teen drivers save?
For example, if you have a newly-licensed teen driver in your family, you’ll want to explore ways to save, since rates for new drivers can often be high. Ask about the following possible discounts for teen drivers:
- Good grades
- Completion of a driver’s education course
- Attending college at least 100 miles away from home (In this case, a teen can temporarily be removed from your policy.)
- Choosing an older car with a good safety rating
- Electronic monitoring of driving habits (Some companies will offer discounts if your teen meets certain driving benchmarks.)
How can other drivers under 25 save?
Generally, higher insurance rates for new drivers continue until the driver is over age 25, especially if you’re male. The following discounts can help drivers under 25 lower their rates:
- A safe driver discount
- Maintaining good grades
- Completing a defensive driving or driving training course
- Establishing a credit history and maintaining a good credit score
What are some ways anyone can use to save?
It’s not just younger drivers who need to save money on car insurance, of course. The following discounts can help other drivers reduce their car insurance rates:
- Raise your deductible – having a higher deductible means you’ll pay less in premiums.
- Notify your insurance company of any changes – for example, if you now have a shorter commute to work, your rates may be lower.
- Reduce the coverage your carry on older cars. It might pay to just carry liability on an older car.
- Bundle your coverage. Often an insurer will offer a discount for having multiple policies – such as more than one car or coverage for both your auto and your home – with their company.
How to get insurance before buying a car
You’ll need auto insurance coverage if you’re preparing to buy a car. Until you obtain insurance, it won’t be legal for you to even drive your new car off the lot. In addition, if you’re financing the car, the bank or finance company will require proof of insurance. If you’re not yet prepared to make a longer-term decision, you can get temporary insurance to make sure you’re driving legally, and then shop around more extensively.
If you currently have insurance, your new car will probably be covered for a limited amount of time. Check with you insurance agent to find out if your coverage will automatically extend to your vehicle, and if so, for how long. You don’t want to have a lapse in coverage that could prove costly if you’re in an accident.
In addition, if you drive but don’t own a car, you can buy non-owner insurance. This will provide coverage if, for example, you regularly drive your neighbor’s vehicle.
Can you get auto insurance without a license?
In most cases, if you have auto insurance, you also have a driver’s license. However, in some instances, you may have had you license suspended and may still need to have SR22 coverage. This specialized insurance product is often legally required if you’ve had your license suspended as a result of driving without insurance or driving under the influence.
It demonstrates financial responsibility, and it also covers other people and vehicles in case of an accident that’s your fault. It won’t, however, cover your vehicle or you.
If you’re not legally required to have SR22, you may still want to keep up your auto insurance payments and coverage. That way, you’ll benefit from longevity and continuity of coverage, which may help keep your insurance rates lower in the long run.
International driver’s licenses
If you’re planning to the U.S. from another country, you’ll need to apply for an international driver’s license while you’re still in your home country. This license will allow you to obtain auto insurance in the U.S., but it’s only good for one year. After that, you’ll need to obtain a U.S. driver’s license in order to drive legally and keep your auto insurance.
How long will it take to get car insurance?
In most cases, getting auto insurance coverage is a quick process. You’ll be able to quickly get a quote and obtain an insurance binder. This provides temporary proof of coverage until your permanent policy is accepted or denied. Often the binder is effective starting the next day. If you obtain your policy online, you can usually print out your binder.
The insurance company will then more thoroughly investigate the information you provided, issuing a permanent policy. If you failed to give complete information, such as forgetting a traffic ticket, your rate may be higher than the one you’ve been quoted.