As a new driver, your first concern needs to be securing car insurance so that you can meet the legal requirements for driving. If you have never faced the process of buying car insurance, the options and terminology can be confusing and somewhat daunting. With a few tips at your disposal, you may find the experience of purchasing your first car insurance policy to be educational and productive.
Find a good agent.
With many national insurance companies pushing customers to buy insurance over the telephone, through the mail, and on the Internet, it may seem a little old-fashioned to have an agent. However, new drivers need to get educated regarding insurance terminology. One of the best ways to get this knowledge is to sit down with a good agent or broker ask your agent to explain.
You should have the opportunity to ask questions, and you should not feel pressured into buying a policy before you leave the office. You may want to interview two or three agents before purchasing insurance. Ask friends and family to recommend potential agents to you. If they have had a good experience with a particular agent, you probably will, too.
A good agent will guide you to the best company to meet your needs. The agent will also be able to assist you at times when you need to file a claim. Most agents and brokers will go to bat for you if the system starts to break down during the claim process. Most of these services are not available from policies purchased through less personal methods.
If you do not own a car, consider buying non-owners auto insurance.
This type of insurance will cover you when you drive a borrowed or rented car. For new drivers, this can be a great asset if the car is involved in an accident while you are driving. It will cover your liability needs, and help pay for repairs to the car that you were driving. You can add other options to this policy to cover passenger and pedestrian medical expenses.
Always carry at least the minimum legal liability coverage before driving any car.
Having an accident without being covered by liability insurance that meets the legal requirements can leave you exposed to prosecution. Your financial risks are also great when you do not have liability insurance to protect the financial needs of the other driver and any passengers that may be involved in the accident. It is actually better if you carry liability insurance that exceeds the minimum requirement if you have significant personal assets. In a law suit, your personal wealth can be attached if your insurance is inadequate to cover the loss. Even future earnings can be at risk.
Try to balance the cost of insurance with the size of the deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage.
Collision insurance is that part of your car insurance that will repair your car after an accident. Comprehensive insurance will pay for items like theft, vandalism, damage from hail and other natural disasters, and glass breakage from rocks. It is tempting to set the deductibles high on these policies to lower the premium costs. However, you have to have enough cash available to pay that deductible if you have an accident. For most people, it is better to have a slightly higher premium than to get hit with the high deductible cost. Unless you keep $2,500 or so in the bank for this type of emergency need, buy lower deductible insurance.
Carefully, weigh add-on items like towing, emergency road service and free rental cars after an accident.
These coverages can be helpful once in a while. However, most people find that they are not needed often enough to justify the cost. Most of these items can be purchased for amounts low enough to be afforded when they are needed without buying insurance. If you are one of those people who really needs to cover every base to feel comfortable, these policy add-ons may have value for you.