When you drive your parent’s car, their policy covers you. But once you’re the registered owner of a car, things change – it is time to buy your car insurance.
Finding car insurance as a first-time buyer can undoubtedly be overwhelming. But, it is an important starting point if you want to drive your car.
If you are a first-time car insurance buyer, you need to know precisely what you are buying and find cost-efficient, satisfactory car insurance.
There is no one size fits all policy when it comes to buying car insurance.
However, there are a few things everyone should know before buying that first policy to ensure you get the right car insurance coverage that meets your needs.
Understand The Basics Of Car Insurance
As a car owner, buying car insurance should be the first thing on your to-do list.
Deciding to buy an insurance policy is both being wisely prepared for any mishap and law-abiding. The law requires every vehicle owner to have car insurance or risk penalties, including a jail term.
If your car is involved in an accident, stolen, or damaged (while in storage), repairs, medical costs, and vehicle replacement can be expensive. Expenses may also increase if you had passengers, hit a road user or if you get sued.
This is where car insurance comes in handy.
Understand How Car Insurance Works?
Car insurance protects you against financial loss if you get into a car accident or if your car is damaged in storage, vandalized, or stolen.
Car Insurance can also help you with the lawyer’s fee (if you get sued) and third-party medical expenses. It can further help you replace your car if it is stolen.
When you buy a car insurance policy, you agree to pay a premium to your insurer. In return, the insurance provider agrees to pay for your losses as defined by your policy.
Car insurance policies typically last from six months to one year, and then you will need to renew the policy for your coverage to be extended.
Since there are different car insurance policies, the policy you choose determines what is covered.
Understand The Types Of Car Insurance Coverage
The type of coverage plan you want is an important decision to make.
There are several different types of car insurance policies that you can choose from. As a first-time car insurance buyer, you need to be careful not to pay for what you don’t need.
The type of policy you buy will depend on many factors, including your experience, age, driving record, and the type of car you own.
As a result, figuring out the type of car insurance coverage you need is one of the more challenging parts of buying car insurance.
First, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the different components of a car policy, which then translates to the types of coverage offered by car insurance providers.
The types of coverages include:
- Liability coverage.
- Personal injury protection.
- Property damage liability.
- Collision coverage.
- Comprehensive coverage.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Liability coverage is the basic form of insurance and it is required by law in most states.
If you are deemed at fault in an accident, liability coverage covers the costs of damaged property, the other driver’s car, or injury to someone in your vehicle.
Sometimes called Third-party only liability coverage, it covers you against bodily injury and property damage only, including damage to other people, cars, and property.
- Bodily injury liability pays for the medical requirements of the injuries you cause to another person with your vehicle.
- Property damage liability pays for damage you may cause to someone else’s property.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection covers medical and rehabilitation expenses if you or passengers in your car are injured during an accident. It may also cover other related expenses, such as lost wages and funeral costs in case of death.
Collision coverage covers damage to your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. It does not consider what causes damage to your car – whether it is a collision with another car, object, pole, or rollover accident.
Comprehensive coverage covers any damage to your car that can happen when it isn’t being driven including:
- Damage from extreme weather
- Falling objects
In addition, comprehensive coverage further covers your vehicle against any damage it sustains in an accident or collision with fixed objects such as a pole or wall.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers the costs if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or whose insurance can’t pay for the full extent of the damage.
Determine The Coverage You Need
When you are a first-time car insurance buyer, you need to take your time to consider the type of coverage (or a combination) you need and that you can afford to get the best deal.
Insurance plans are different for different people depending on the cost, your comfort level, your type of car, and how you’ve purchased the vehicle. For instance;
- If you paid cash, you would need different insurance coverage from a person whose care is financed.
- You will need to opt for less coverage if your car is paid off, older, and worth very little.
- You should opt for more coverage for a more expensive vehicle or if you have put several upgrades.
Decide How You Want To Buy Your Car Insurance
Armed with the type of insurance (combination) you need, you now need to decide how you want to buy your car insurance.
There are two ways to buy car insurance:
- Buy directly from an insurance company.
- Buy through an independent insurance broker/agency.
Buying car insurance directly from the insurance company is a good start, but it limits you to only one quote.
Buying car insurance through an independent insurance agency/broker means your agent can shop multiple insurance providers to find the best combination of coverage that meets your needs. You’ll have access to an expert to guide you through the process of application.
Understand What You Need To Fill An Application For Car Insurance
Whatever way you decide to buy your car insurance, you will need two sets of information on hand when applying for the car insurance:
- Personal information.
- Vehicle information.
- Your name, date of birth, and address ( and all other drivers in the household).
- Driver’s license number (s).
- Occupation (s).
- Social Security Number(s).
- Marital status.
- Education level.
- Insurance record (if you were on your parents’ policy before or have renters insurance).
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Make, model, and year when your car was manufactured.
- How long you’ve had the car.
- Your car’s mileage reading.
Exploit Available Discounts
Once you get your car insurance quote, find out if you qualify for any given discounts.
Cheap insurance for first-time car insurance buyers can be challenging to come by, particularly if you are a new driver.
However, there are still ways to save.
Ask your insurance agent about different discounts your insurer offers.
Being a first-time car insurance buyer can be daunting, but with these tips, you could be up and running with a brand new car insurance policy in a short time. You also need to be careful not to fall for unseen costs when buying your car insurance for the first time.