Whether you’re a recent college grad off on your own for the first time or a high school student planning to buy your first car, your first time shopping for an auto insurance policy can feel overwhelming. We're rounded up some first time car insurance tips to help you navigate this new process. Auto insurance provides such important finanical protection for drivers that it's required in most states. You have to have it, so use these tips to help make your first time auto insurance purchase go smoothly.

Tips For First Time Car Insurance Buyers

Understand the basics.

Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you get into a car accident, and is required by law in most states. You agree to pay a premium to your insurance company, and your insurance company agrees pays your losses as defined by your policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, policies typically last from six months to a year, and your insurance company should notify you when it’s time to renew your policy and pay your premium—the amount of money charged by your insurance company for coverage.

Types of coverage.

The policy you buy from your insurance provider depends on many factors, including your age, driving record and what kind of car you own. According to the I.I.I., your policy may include six different types of coverage, and each is priced separately.

  1. Bodily Injury Liability pays for injuries you cause to another person.
  2. Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays for the treatment of injuries to yourself and the passengers in your car. It may also cover lost wages and funeral costs.
  3. Property damage liability pays for damage you may cause to someone else’s property.
  4. Collision reimburses you for damage to your car as the result of a collision with another car, object or rollover accident. Even if you are at fault, collision coverage will pay for the damage to your car, minus a deductible, which can range from $250 to $1,000. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be.
  5. Comprehensive reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object. This may include fires, falling objects, earthquakes and more. Comprehensive typically has a $100 to $300 deductible.
  6. Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist coverage reimburses you if you are hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

Not all of these coverages are required and not all of them may make sense for you and your situation. An insurance agent is a valuable resource whose job it is to help you understand these coverages and choose the best ones for your situation.

Know your state’s law.

Each state has a different requirement for the minimum amount of insurance you need on your car, which Cars.com breaks down here. However, it’s important to remember that extra coverage may be worth the expense if you get into an accident or something happens to your car. Before deciding on the auto insurance limits you'll carry, talk with an insurance agent to understand what will and won't be covered and ask for their expert advice on what limits you should carry to protect yourself.

One of our expert insurance advisors would be happy to help walk you through the coverages and requirements in your state. Give us a call today at (844) 819-2221.

Determining your premium.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, many factors will affect your premium. They include:

  • Your driving record over the past three to five years.
  • Your credit-based insurance score (which is based on the information in your credit report).
  • Your age, gender and marital status. People under 25, males and single people tend to have more accidents, and therefore pay a higher premium.
  • The type of vehicle you drive. Expect to pay more if your car is newer or expensive, an SUV, truck or sports car.
  • Where you live. Cities have more accidents and thefts than rural areas.
  • How much you drive.
  • Your prior insurance coverage.
  • Previous claims.
  • Limits you choose for liability coverage.
  • Deductibles you choose for collision and comprehensive coverage.

Being a first time car insurance buyer could also impact your rates. Depending on all of these factors, it's hard to say what your premium will look like. If you're curious, try our online quote tool to get real quotes online in less than 10 minutes. By telling us more about yourself and your car, we'll be able to check with our panel of carriers and compare quotes for you online, which should give you an idea of the price range you'll be looking at when buying auto insurance for the first time. If you see a quote you like or want more quotes from other carriers, you can give one of our insurance advisors a call at (844) 819-2221 for more information.

Compare auto insurance quotes.

When buying car insurance for the first time, the NAIC recommends talking to representatives from multiple companies to find out how much each will charge for coverage. An easier way to do that is to work with an independent insurance agent, like InsuraMatch, who represents multiple insurance companies in your state and has access to tools that make shopping multiple companies at once quick and easy. The agent will help walk you through your first time comparing auto insurance quotes, so you'll know if there's anything to look for from an insurer beyond price.

An agent also has deep knowledge of the different auto insurance coverages and their benefits and can advise you on what coverage and how much of it to carry, as well as identify insurance discounts you may be eligible for even as a first time car insurance buyer. Get a quote from one of our expert insurance advisors today in less than 10 minutes by calling (844) 819-2221.

Choosing an auto insurer.

After you’ve narrowed down your choices, check with rating agencies for a financial analysis of the insurers. You should also take a look at the companies’ complaint records, which you can find here.

Make use of discounts.

Cheap insurance for first time buyers can be difficult to come by if you've had a break in your auto insurance coverage or you're a new driver. However, there are still ways to save. Be sure to ask your insurance agent about different discounts your insurer offers. These may include discounts for insuring your home and car with the same company (learn more about bundling insurance policies here); insuring multiple vehicles with the same company; safety devices such as anti-lock brakes, air bags and anti-theft devices; taking a defensive driving course; being a good student and more. An insurance agent, like one of our advisors, can help identify discounts you may be eligible for during your quote. Give us a call today at (844) 819-2221.

Bottom Line

Being a first time car insurance buyer can be daunting, but with these tips and the help of a licensed independent insurance agent, you could be up and running with a brand new auto insurance policy today. 

If you're buying car insurance for the first time, call one of our expert advisors at (844) 819-2221. We're happy to walk you through the process!

Not by the phone? Compare real quotes online with our quote tool right now: