Getting a car and your driver’s license is a passport to freedom. It’s an invitation to head out on the open road, do what you want to do, and go where you want to go. That’s why there are approximately 243 million licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2023, according to Hedges & Company.
If you have your license and a vehicle, you also need automotive insurance. Almost every state requires drivers to have a certain level of auto insurance. The amounts and types of necessary coverage vary by state, but chances are you’ll need some form of auto insurance before you get out on the road. In this article, we discuss everything every first-time car insurer needs to know before purchasing auto coverage.
How To Get Auto Insurance
Any first-time insurer will want to plan ahead before seeking auto coverage. You’ll want to consider the following factors before purchasing insurance:
- Your make and model of vehicle: Even if you don’t yet have a car but know what kind you’re likely to purchase, you can give your insurance agent a few models so you have a range in mind when creating your budget.
- What kind of coverage you’ll need: Most states require a specific level of car insurance. In addition, depending on your loan or lease terms, you may need a certain amount of collision and/or comprehensive coverage.
- What insurance company you’ll use: Rates can vary widely between insurance providers, so you’ll want to compare multiple companies before making a final selection. Make sure to compare exact coverage amounts for each company to get a direct comparison between providers.
Understand Coverage Types
Before you purchase auto insurance for the first time, you should understand the different types of coverage available and which kind you’ll need.
New Hampshire is the only state without a car insurance requirement, but you must have proof of the finances to cover any damages you cause while behind the wheel. Aside from New Hampshire, every state requires at least a certain level of liability insurance. Liability insurance covers damage you cause to another driver, their passengers, or their property. This coverage usually consists of bodily injury and property damage liability.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance helps pay for repairs or injuries to you or any passengers if you’re in an accident with a driver without adequate or any auto insurance.
Collision coverage pays to repair any damage to your car from an accident with either another vehicle or object, such as a fence or fire hydrant. This type of insurance can also help you pay for fixes resulting from an accident with a driver who’s insufficiently insured and can’t cover the costs of repairs.
Rental reimbursement insurance keeps you on the road, even in the event of an accident. This coverage pays for a rental car while you wait for vehicle repairs or, if your car’s totaled, for you to purchase a new one.
Medical Payments Insurance
Medical payments coverage covers medical expenses for you or your passengers in the event of an auto accident, regardless of who’s at fault. This insurance typically covers services such as the treatment of injuries, ambulance fees and emergency room services, and health insurance deductibles and copays.
Information You’ll Need To Obtain Car Insurance
You’ll need some necessary personal information for you and anyone else you’ll include on the policy before obtaining car insurance for the first time. This list of information includes:
- Driver’s license number.
- Date of birth.
- The address where you’ll be garaging the vehicle, which is typically your home address.
- Occupation and education level.
- Marital status.
- Driving and insurance history.
- Vehicle details, such as year, make, model, and vehicle identification number.
What Auto Coverage Costs for First-Time Insurers
Generally, first-time drivers and insurers pay more for auto insurance than experienced drivers with insurance for multiple years. This increased rate is because insurance providers factor in driving and insurance history when establishing auto insurance rates. The less driving experience you have, the more likely you are to file a claim. For this reason, insurance companies will start you off with a higher rate than more experienced drivers.
According to a Forbes Advisor analysis, the average cost of car insurance for a 16-year-old is between $6,000 and $7,000 a year. Those aged 20 can expect to pay around $3,200, while those aged 25 will spend approximately $2,000 annually. Per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Auto Insurance Database Report, the average cost of car insurance per coverage type is as follows:
- Liability — $644.
- Collision — $378.
- Comprehensive — $168.
How To Save Money on Your Car Insurance
First-time car insurance shoppers can save on their coverage by:
- Comparing quotes: The main way to save money is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers.
- Obtaining the proper amount of insurance: As mentioned above, knowing how much insurance you’ll need is vital. Knowing this number is crucial, as you want to avoid having insufficient insurance. Similarly, you don’t want to pay for excessive coverage you don’t need.
- Asking about discounts: Many auto insurance providers offer discounts, such as multi-policy and safe driver discounts.
- Preserving a high credit score: The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to receive a better policy quote.
How To Get a Quote for Car Insurance
You can get a quote for car insurance either through an insurance agent or by asking yourself. You can use an online form or call the provider to receive a quote. In addition, several online tools are available to compare quotes from different insurers simultaneously.
Get Instant Coverage Through American Auto Insurance
If you’re ready to buy car insurance for the first time, American Auto Insurance is here to help. Using our free quote, you can get insured fast for as little as $14 per month. And every driver who chooses American Auto Insurance gets instant proof of insurance, so you won’t have to wait to get behind the wheel.