Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Purchasing your car insurance is just one step in the journey of adulthood
  • Although this can be an exciting opportunity for young adults, it’s important to understand what comes with it
  • As a young, inexperienced driver, insurance providers consider you to be a different driver type and may view you as a higher risk
  • When this occurs, your policy may end up costing more than you anticipated
  • Also, your driving record can be a big factor; poor driving records can result in high premiums or difficulty in acquiring coverage

When you’re an 18-year-old, buying your car insurance may be one of your first adult responsibilities.

However, it’s important to know what comes with purchasing your coverage and how insurance companies will view you.

While some situations may require you to purchase your insurance, make sure that you discuss your options with your family and make the best decision for your needs.

If you’re looking for auto insurance for the first time, start comparison shopping for the best rates with our FREE online quote tool! Enter your ZIP code to get started!

Do you need to buy your car insurance?

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One of the first things to consider is your car insurance needs, meaning how soon you truly need to buy a policy.

For some young adults, buying a car insurance policy is a necessity at age 18. There are other times that you may not need to get your policy until a few years later.

There can be benefits to both options.

Buying your policy at age 18 can allow you to select coverage that meets your needs and budget.

Selecting your own coverage will also provide some excellent real world experience when it comes to:

  • Managing your bills
  • Creating a budget
  • Learning to work with insurance providers

This experience can come with higher insurance costs due to your age or your driving record since you will not be on a plan with your parents or guardians.

On the other hand, you may decide to hold off on buying your policy until you’re a little more established in your adult life.

There are benefits to waiting as well, such as multi-car discounts and lower premiums, which your parents or guardians have worked towards over the years.

Just remember that you will not be the decision maker for your coverage and will be relying on someone else to make sure your policy remains active.

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What do your previous driving record and insurance history look like?

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Another point to take into consideration is your driving record. Although you are only 18, there is the possibility that you’ve already had a citation or violation occur.

Since your insurance provider will be looking at your driving record when they write your policy, this information will be something they look at and take into consideration.

Drivers that have a poor driving record, for instance, may face higher premiums or trouble getting the coverage they want.

If your driving record is exceptionally poor, your potential provider may be unwilling to provide you with any coverage at all. They may consider you to be too high of a risk.

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Your insurance history may also be a factor that gets taken into consideration.

Although your family may have been maintaining the insurance policy for the last few years, this can still affect you. One of the biggest ways you can be affected is if you are involved in an accident or end up filing a claim.

Any potential insurance provider may look at these claims to determine how much risk you would be introducing as a policyholder. Exceptionally large claims or several claims may indicate that you are high-risk or outside the boundaries of what they are looking to cover.

Are you able to afford the increased premiums?

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As mentioned previously, increased premiums are one of the biggest downfalls to getting an insurance policy at age 18.

Due to your limited time on the road, insurance providers make assumptions about the level of skill and experience you have acquired, which are indicated by the higher premiums that teenage drivers often encounter.

If you are acquiring your policy, you will have to be prepared to handle the higher premiums that come along with your young age and higher risk status.

Insurance providers use these premiums to offset the potential that you will be involved in a claim situation. If you are unable to afford the higher premiums that one provider is recommending, you may have to look for coverage elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that many providers have the same mentality when it comes to young drivers.

Therefore, shopping around for quotes from different providers is a smart idea, but you will likely experience the same higher rates across the board. Although, the high rates tend to decrease as you grow older and gain more experience behind the wheel.

Conclusion

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Buying your car insurance at 18 can often be an enlightening experience. Learning how to work with an insurance provider, what types of information they look at when writing your policy, and how to manage more responsibilities are all important life skills.

However, before you get your insurance coverage, it’s important that you look at what you truly need and make the best decision based on those needs.

As a young driver, insurance companies often look at you as a higher risk due to your lack of experience.

Due to lack of experience, your premiums may be much higher than you expected or you may have a harder time finding coverage.

Another big point to consider is your previous driving record. Your coverage options and premiums may be affected if you have a history which includes any of the following:

  • Traffic citations
  • Moving violations
  • Other vehicle-related incidents

Be sure to discuss this with any potential provider during the policy writing process; it’s better to be upfront with them from the start.

If you think you’re ready for your very own auto insurance policy, start comparison shopping for the best auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!