How do you get car insurance for the first time?

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Several different types of car insurance coverage
  • You should probably learn about the basics before you even consider looking at quotes
  • You should take the time to learn about the state requirements before you differentiate one coverage from another

If you just recently passed your licensing exam or you are in the process of buying your first car, it is time to educate yourself on the insurance buying process.

The idea of buying a product that may provide you with hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits over the life of the policy can be intimidating when you are doing it for the first time.

With all of the information you need to learn, it might feel as if you need to take an Insurance 101 college-level course just to build yourself a policy that satisfies the law and does not compromise your protection.

Enrolling in a college course is not necessary when you know where to find valuable and informative sources. Read this first-time car insurance buying guide, and you will be prepared for all that the application process has to throw at you.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool below!

Learn the Car Insurance Basics


You should probably learn the basics before you even consider looking at quotes. After all, you would like to know what you are buying before you go as far as to select a coverage option.

The last thing that you want is false assurance that you have protection when all you have is a basic plan.

If you do not have at least a general idea of how coverage options work, you might mistakenly assume you have the protection you need for a loss.

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Car Insurance Coverage Options

There are several different types of coverage offered by all of the leading insurers. What is required will depend upon the state that you live in.

You should take the time to learn about the state requirements before you differentiate one coverage from another.

After you look into the laws that explicitly require the purchase of specific types of insurance, you can find out how the required cover and the supplemental cover will protect you and your family.

Here are the most common coverage options:

Bodily Injury

Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) is required in virtually all states. It is one of the two types of third-party coverage that is required by law.

BIL will pay for the expenses that arise when someone is injured or when someone is deceased because of a car accident that you are responsible for.

Property Damage

Property Damage Liability (PDL) is the second form of third-party coverage that is required by state officials. This form of liability coverage pays to repair or even to replace property that was damaged in a covered collision.

The property may not be owned by you or anyone in your household. The limit that you select applies to all unowned property damaged in a single incident.

Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection

Some states, especially states that operate under a no-fault system, will require that you purchase medical coverage that will pay for your medical treatment or your lost wages.

Medical payments are available to drivers in a state with tort law as a form of optional protection that will pay for excess or immediate medical bills.

Personal Injury Protection is a bit more comprehensive and will pay for medical treatment, hospitalization, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and maybe even disability for a short period of time.

Uninsured Motorist Protection

There are several uninsured motorists in the nation. These drivers put you and your family at risk because they do not have the coverage that will pay for your bills.

Having Uninsured Motorist can help pay for your medical bills as if the party had Bodily Injury coverage.

This can also help you pay for your car repairs if you select Uninsured Motorist Property Damage


Comprehensive coverage will pay for physical damage to your covered vehicle that is a result of different losses that do not involve a collision. Some of the causes that are covered include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Explosion
  • Vandalism
  • Hail
  • Civil riot
  • Flood

The policy will only pay up to the cost of the market value and will subtract the deductible from the loss payout.


Collision coverage also pays for your vehicle repairs but will pay when you collide with an object.

The most common claims are for collisions with other vehicles. You must pay your deductible before the claims payout is made.

Decide How Much Coverage You Need


Now that you know about the options, you must decide how much coverage you need. You will start at the state minimums and can then sift through the other options to price each thing individually.

Here are some considerations for you to look at as you build a policy with sufficient cover:

State Minimums Do Not Guarantee Protection

It is easy to jump to the conclusion that state minimums are all the cover that you need.

While you will be legal, you will definitely not be protected when you select a bare minimum policy.

Be sure to price higher limits of liability to protect your financial future.

Most agents suggest at least $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability cover and $100,000 in property damage.

Physical Damage: Is it required?

State law may not require physical damage, but the titleholder of your car might. If you do not hold title to your car, a lender or lessor has interest in the car.

Check your contract to see if physical damage is required. Also, check to see if there is a maximum deductible that you can choose before you buy a high-deductible plan.

Now that you know the basics, you can comfortably shop for insurance. Gather your license information, your vehicle information, and get started.

If you are in the search of competitively priced plans, you may be shocked to learn that you can compare pricing on the Internet.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

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