How to Get Car Insurance for the First Time
When shopping for car insurance for the first time, you’ll likely try to find a balance between sufficient coverage and an affordable premium. Equally important is researching which insurers will provide you with a superior customer and claims experience.
The basic components of an auto insurance policy often include:
- Liability – pays for damage you cause to others and any resulting litigation
- Collision – pays to repair or replace your car due to damage from a crash
- Comprehensive – also known as other-than-collision, pays for damage to your car from events out of your control, such as fire, hail, flooding, or falling objects, collision with an animal, and if your vehicle is stolen
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – protects you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who has inadequate or no insurance coverage
- Medical Coverage – Personal Injury Protection is available in “no-fault” states, and medical payments coverage is offered in states that aren’t no-fault to help pay medical payments for you and your passengers if you’re injured in a car crash.
Additional things to consider:
- Coverage – if your vehicle is over a decade old, you may want to research its “book” value (the car’s original purchase price minus depreciation and current condition) to decide whether to carry comprehensive or collision coverage. Waiving these coverages can help you save money, but you will be responsible for any repairs or replacements to your vehicle.
- Limits – your state likely requires a minimum amount of liability, no-fault medical, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. However, it is recommended to have limits above the state-required minimums.
- Deductible – this is what you pay out of pocket on an insurance claim; a higher deductible will lower your premium, and a lower deductible increases your premium.
- Discounts – most insurers offer discounts to help lower your insurance premium.
Information you’ll need to provide to get a quote:
- Driver information (includes all licensed drivers who don’t have auto insurance)
- Full name
- Driver's license number
- Date of birth
- Vehicle information
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Estimated annual mileage
- Address where the vehicle will be garaged
You may also need to provide the names and birthdates of other household members (children, parents, grandparents, roommates), including non-drivers.