Gianetta Palmer is a writer for CarInsurance101.com, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Before you can register a vehicle, you will need a car insurance policy. Whether your previous policy has lapsed or you have recently bought a new car, the first thing to do upon obtaining a new car is to purchase car insurance for the vehicle. This will prevent you from legal trouble and guarantees some form of protection in the event of an auto accident.

Auto insurance is necessary and it can also be expensive. Depending on your driving history, credit, type of vehicle you drive (and other factors) your insurance cost may vary. Fortunately, many car insurance companies are flexible and you should be able to purchase an auto insurance policy without an expensive down payment.

Can I buy car insurance without a down payment?

Most car insurance policies are purchased for a term of six months or one year. Whenever you buy this type of insurance a provider will often give a choice of paying the entire term at once or paying premiums monthly. Paying monthly is usually slightly more expensive due to processing costs, but it is a more convenient option for some people.

In order to obtain car insurance, you must pay for at least the first month’s premiums. If you buy insurance in the middle or end of the month, you will pay a pro-rated rate for the first month and the full amount at the beginning of the next month. This means that you will only pay for the insurance for the portion of the month that you are using the vehicle. Paying for auto insurance monthly allows many drivers to obtain coverage for a low down payment.

How to compare car insurance quotes and shop for affordable coverage?

You can begin your search for inexpensive car insurance online by obtaining free quotes. Almost all car insurance companies have an online presence and offer free car insurance quotes. All one has to do is input some basic information and answer a few questions about where you live and what type of vehicle you drive.

Once you obtain a personalized insurance quote, you can discuss your coverage options in order to change your rates. There are two main types of coverage: liability and first-party coverage. Liability insurance pays for damage that you cause to another persons vehicle as well as any injuries you may cause another person to sustain. First-party coverage like collision and comprehensive pays for damage to your own vehicle.

You will need to maintain liability insurance with minimal limits that are above the state-required minimums; before purchasing insurance, be sure that you know what your state requires. Liability-only policies are usually very affordable, but may not offer enough protection for your vehicle. Depending on your needs, you may need to buy full coverage auto insurance. For example, new or valuable vehicles should maintain full-coverage auto insurance; a liability-only policy may be sufficient for an old car.

After you’ve chosen your coverage, you can also customize your insurance limits and deductibles. The liability limit is the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay to another person in an accident. Your deductible is the portion that you agree to pay out of pocket when you have your vehicle repaired. A policy with low limits and a high deductible will cost less than one with higher limits and low deductibles.

How to save money on premiums?

Be sure to ask your car insurance company if there are any discounts you are eligible for that can reduce the cost of premiums. You may be able to reduce costs with a safe driving record, carry multiple types of insurance with a single company or have safety features installed on the vehicle. Some car insurance companies also offer a discount to customers who choose to pay their insurance premiums through an automatic payment program.