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 exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Things to Remember...

  • Consider what forms of insurance will provide you with enough protection if you get in an accident
  • Insurance companies take driving history into consideration when setting rates, so if you have never had insurance before or it has been a long time since you have had coverage, they will charge you higher premiums than they would to someone already insured
  • When you are choosing your first auto insurance policy, it is a good idea to compare rates from at least three or more insurance providers
  • While you are comparison shopping, you can go through either an independent insurance agent or broker

When you are considering buying auto insurance, there are a number of things you need to think about. However, you should also consider exactly what kind of auto insurance you are required to carry legally.

Also, consider what forms of insurance will provide you with enough protection if you get in an accident. Compare different types of insurance and prices using our FREE auto insurance rate comparison tool with your ZIP code.

While it might be tempting to choose the cheapest auto insurance the first time you purchase car insurance, inexpensive in the beginning may not translate to inexpensive in the long run.

Factors that Influence Rates

If you have never had auto insurance, you will probably be surprised at the cost of buying a policy.

Insurance companies take such as history into consideration when setting rates, so if you have never had insurance before or it has been a long time since you have had coverage, they will charge you higher premiums than they would to someone already insured.

Another one of the factors that play a role in determining auto insurance premium rates is your age.

If you have been licensed to drive for many years, insurance companies assume that you are an experienced driver and less likely to get into an accident than a brand-new driver.

This is one reason that car insurance premium rates are higher for teen drivers who do not have a great deal of experience behind the wheel.

As amazing as it is, your credit score also is a factor in how insurance companies determine car insurance rates.

If you have poor credit, insurance companies assume that you do not have your finances under control and are a poor financial risk for them. As a result, you will pay higher premiums if your credit is poor or bad.

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Choosing an Insurance Company

When you are choosing your first auto insurance policy, it is a good idea to compare rates from at least three or more insurance providers.

You can compare rates by going to several sources, including independent insurance brokers, auto insurance comparison websites, and insurance company websites.

This is extremely important if a catastrophe occurs, such as a large storm, and the company is hit with many claims all at once.

You can find out about financial stability ratings from AM Best, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s through their websites.

Another factor to consider when choosing your first auto insurance company is their customer satisfaction rate.

Companies like JD Power and Associates and Consumer Reports regularly review auto insurance companies and conduct surveys to find out which companies provide the best customer service.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Comparison Shopping

Independent insurance brokers will often take the time to talk to you about your insurance needs. They may make recommendations about the kind of coverage you should buy and the level of coverage you need for financial protection.

Since most independent insurance brokers represent multiple insurance companies, they have the ability to compare premium rates for you and can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each company.

They can also make you aware of ways to keep your premium rates down, including potential discounts.

In many cases, an insurance broker will review your auto insurance coverage each time your policy comes up for renewal and help you determine if you need to make any changes to your policy at that time.

Auto insurance comparison websites are also a good source of information regarding car insurance policy rates. You can enter your information one time and receive car insurance policy rates from several different companies.

Car insurance comparison websites also usually have articles regarding different aspects of insurance, including educational articles about different kinds of auto insurance and frequently asked questions.

You can also go directly to insurance company websites for information regarding their auto insurance coverage.

Insurance company websites provide you with information regarding the different kinds of insurance they offer, including auto, homeowners, rental, life and other financial services.

Almost all insurance companies provide you with the ability to request an auto policy rate quote through their website.

Choosing Auto Insurance Coverage

There are numerous forms of auto insurance coverage to choose from when you buy car insurance.

  • Auto Liability Insurance – Pays for repairs and medical treatment for the other driver if you are responsible for the accident. It does not pay for repairs to your car or injuries to you or your passengers. It is recommended that you purchase more than the mandatory minimum level of coverage if at all possible.
  • Collision Insurance – Pays for repairs to your car if it is involved in an accident. Accidents include hitting other cars, buildings, fences, and animals. It covers your car regardless of who is driving and also covers hit and run accident damage.
  • Comprehensive – Pays for repairs to your car for damage not caused by hitting something, such as a tree falling on your car. It also pays for damage caused by vandalism or if your car is stolen. It is required coverage if your car is financed or leased.
  • Personal Injury Protection – Also called PIP or no-fault insurance. Pays for medical expenses, including hospital stays, doctor visits, and rehabilitation. It also pays for lost wages and legal expenses.

Auto insurance is extremely important and provides you with financial protection if you are involved in an accident.

When choosing your first auto insurance policy, consider the financial stability of the insurance company and their consumer satisfaction ratings, along with the price.

Enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool to be informed about the quotes available to you. Before making your final purchase choice, compare at least three insurance companies.