There are more than 264 million cars on the road across the country. Though they’re different makes and models, almost all of them have one thing in common: they’re insured.
Car insurance is an absolute must if you plan on taking your car out of the driveway. But for first-time drivers, finding their first insurance policy can seem like a bit of a mystery.
It’s easier than you think. Here’s what you need to know to find your first car insurance policy.
Know What You’re Looking For
Every driver is different and the type of coverage that works for your friends or family may not be what you need to stay safe on the road.
Legally, you’re required to have a minimum amount of liability coverage. You must have this in place before you can register your car with the state.
But liability coverage won’t help pay for repairs to your car if you’re in an accident. It just pays for the other driver’s repairs and medical treatment if they need to see a doctor.
To completely protect your car on the road, you’ll want to consider collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. These will pay for the cost of repairs or vehicle replacement if yours gets totaled. Speak with your insurance agent and discuss your concerns.
They’ll be able to help you find the right type and amount of coverage for your car and your driving habits.
Understand What Impacts Your Rates
Every person’s insurance rate is different. This is because the rates offered by providers are set on an individual basis. Insurance companies take your credit score, your driving history, and even the type of car you drive into consideration.
If you have a low credit score and drive an expensive car, you can expect your rates to be relatively high. But if your credit is good and you buy an older used vehicle, you’ll likely have lower payments.
Even if you have a high premium payment each month, you can always lower it slightly by increasing your deductible. The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket anytime you file a claim.
If you choose to do this, make sure you can afford to pay your deductible. The last thing you want to do is make using your insurance policy so expensive that you avoid using it when you need it.
Always Shop Around
Believe it or not, insurance companies don’t offer identical coverage or policies. What one provider considers a standard feature of policy, another may charge extra for.
The best thing you can do is shop around. Contact different insurance providers and get quotes on the types of policies you’re interested in. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.
You want to make sure you understand what each provider offers before you can make a decision. The best way to do that is to get each agent you speak with to explain things clearly.
Ideally, they’ll use this time to get to know you and your insurance needs. Pay attention to the types of questions they ask you in return. If they take the time to get to know you and your driving habits, it’s worth considering the policy.
Remember, your insurance agent should be someone you trust. They’re responsible for negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Look for someone you feel comfortable with and who is responsive to your concerns.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Discounts
Even as a first-time driver, you may qualify for discounts on your monthly premium rates. But you won’t know unless you ask your agent.
When shopping for policies, ask each company about their current discounts. If you’re a student, you could get a discount for maintaining a certain GPA. And if you’re a homeowner, you could decrease your costs by getting auto insurance through your homeowner’s insurance provider.
Every situation is different, but chances are you’ll qualify for some type of discount as long as you take the time to ask about them.
Choose a Policy Based on Quality
It’s always tempting to choose a policy based on price alone. After all, you’re going to pay for the coverage every month. The less you have to pay to an insurance provider, the more money you have to cover daily expenses.
But choosing a policy based on price often leaves you with low-quality coverage. If you’re involved in an accident, that cheap policy may not be enough to cover the costs completely.
Instead of picking a provider based on price alone, look at the quality of the coverage they offer. Ideally, you’ll choose a policy that offers a balance between affordability and stellar coverage options.
First-Time Drivers’ Rates Can Improve Over Time
Once you get a policy, you’re not always going to get locked into the same rates. In fact, for first-time drivers, those rates will be higher than they will be once you have experience.
Why? Because you’re at higher risk of accidents when you’re still new to driving than you will be once you have more time behind the wheel. Once you establish a safe driving history, you can get your agent to check for better rates.
As a general rule, it’s best to do this about once a year. Your insurance needs may have changed and reviewing your policy annually helps guarantee that you’ll never face unexpected gaps in coverage.
For first-time drivers, finding the right insurance policy can be a challenge. But as long as you research your options, understand the types of coverage available, and work with an experienced agent, you’ll get the coverage you need.
Ready to see what’s out there? Contact us today to speak with our dedicated agents and get a free quote on coverage.