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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Buying car insurance can be daunting for a first-time car owner. Whether you’re transitioning from a parent’s policy onto your own or getting insured for the first time, buying insurance as a young driver poses a unique set of challenges. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to get car insurance, and new technologies make insuring your vehicle easier than ever. By doing a little research about how insurance works, you’ll know what to expect and how to get your first auto policy.
When to buy your own Auto Insurance Policy?
By law, anyone over 18 can have their own auto insurance policy. Many people are added as drivers to their parents’ policies as teenagers when they first learn to drive. This arrangement may continue until the young driver has graduated from college and begun living on his or her own. As long as you live with your parents or share ownership of the vehicle, you can stay on their policy.
Once you live on your own, however, you’ll need to get an independent auto insurance policy. If you’re the sole owner of your vehicle or live in your own house or apartment, you can get a policy in your own name. The type of policy you get and how much it costs may depend, in part, on your previous insurance history.
If you’ve already been listed as a co-owner of a policy or listed driver on a policy, you have some insurance history and might qualify for lower rates. If you have no driving history or have never been listed on a policy, your rates might be higher. Either way, it’s not difficult to get your first auto insurance policy.
How much will it cost?
The cost of your auto policy will depend upon the type of car you drive, where you live and your driving history. If you’ve already had accidents or moving violations, your rates may be quite high until you establish a safe driving record. Similarly, people with no driving history at all will pay more for insurance.
As a rule, you will pay the most for insurance when you’re a teenager, especially if you’re male. Rates begin to decrease around age 21 and drop significantly at 25. As long as you maintain safe habits, you should enjoy reasonably-priced insurance for the rest of your adult life once you’ve reached that milestone.
Until then, you can cut down the cost of your insurance by utilizing discounts. For example, students with high GPAs can qualify for good student discounts that can save as much as 10 to 25%. You can also bundle your auto policy with renter’s insurance or other products to obtain a discount.
How to Get Insurance
Most insurance companies are happy to insure young people even though they’re considered high-risk. New drivers are one of the only ways an insurance company can secure fresh customers, so many companies are eager to market their products to a younger demographic.
The easiest way to buy an insurance policy is to start comparison shopping online. This will allow you to see what companies are available and how much a policy would cost. Once you’ve gotten a rough idea of how much it will cost and what insurer you might be interested in, you can do some more research to decide if that company is right for you.
Beyond the company’s cost, you should consider its customer service quality, the type of products it offers and whether they’ll give you the protection you need. You can read reviews of companies online or ask friends and families for recommendations. Once you’ve made a choice, you can discuss your policy options with the insurance company to make sure you’re getting the policy you need.
It’s helpful to know a little bit about insurance before speaking to the company. By knowing the definitions of common insurance terms like deductible and liability coverage, you’ll be aware of what you’re paying for and have a better idea of what you might need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand, and don’t agree to the policy until you’re comfortable with its terms. This will help ensure that you get exactly what you need without paying for something you didn’t want.
Although it can be daunting to purchase your first policy, the customer service department will be happy to walk you through the process. By researching in advance and asking questions about anything that concerns you, you can get your first insurance policy with minimal hassle.