Getting Car Insurance for a First-Time Driver
First-time drivers have a lot to learn before taking off on the road to freedom. Car insurance may not be the first thing a new driver thinks about, but it is very important. Cost is often a big concern along with having the right coverage. Learn the benefits of being added to an existing car insurance policy and other options available to first-time drivers.
The Best Deal
The best way to obtain car insurance is to be added to an existing policy. Usually, someone in your household has a car insurance policy. Whether it's a parent, guardian, or grandparent, try to get added as a driver to their policy.
Benefits of Being Added as a Driver
- Proof of prior: As a first-time driver you do not have current car insurance. Car insurance companies consider uninsured drivers high risk. High-risk drivers pay a higher premium than a standard or preferred driver. A shortcut around having no previous insurance is to be added as a driver on an existing policy. Think of it as an instant discount that will be built into your premiums.
- More discounts: Being added as a driver on an existing policy will probably give you access to many more discounts. The first-time driver doesn't often own their home or own multiple cars; however, your guardians might. Those discounts will automatically extend to you if you are added as a driver on their policy.
- Low to no down payment: A low or possibly no down payment is a great perk to being added onto an existing car insurance policy. If you are being added onto an existing preferred policy, usually making a change that increases the premium just gets billed in the next billing cycle. Often times, starting a new policy on your own requires more than a single month down payment.
Sometimes it may not be possible to be added as a driver on another policy. If you are a first-time driver facing getting insurance on your own, it is doable but often very expensive. A couple of things are working against you at the same time. Teen drivers have very little driving experience, so insurance companies charge a higher rate. Plus starting a car insurance policy on your own means you have no prior insurance, leaving you paying high-risk rates.
Tips for Going It Alone
- Shop around: Get several quotes from different insurance carriers to help determine which company will offer you the cheapest rate. Some independent agencies specialize in high-risk insurance policies. These agencies can quote multiple companies you qualify for all at the same time, which saves you time calling around.
- Pay in full: Many car insurance companies offer a paid in full discount. Paying in full shows your commitment to maintaining continuous insurance and insurance companies reward you with a discount. It is not easy saving up for six months of car insurance premiums, but it is worth it if you are able to do it.
- Shop in six months: Once you have maintained continuous insurance for six months it's time to start shopping for a cheaper rate. This is definitely not the time to set it and forget it. Switching from a high-risk carrier to a preferred is probably the biggest savings you will ever see in insurance premiums.
Getting car insurance for the first time can be an intimidating task. Help from your parents can make life a lot easier; however, if you have to go it alone stay strong and go the course. Once you make it through your six-month trial period you'll be on your way to reasonable car insurance rates. Making sure you have car insurance on your vehicle means you've taken the first step in becoming a responsible and mobile adult.