Whether you are 16 or 65, if you’ve never owned your own car, you’ve likely never needed to purchase car insurance. Buying your first car is a huge milestone in life and such an exciting time! But, buying car insurance can be overwhelming for first time car insurance buyer because there are so many options and there is a lot of specialized terminology that you may not understand immediately. Don’t let insurance woes cloud your excitement.
The process of buying car insurance can be made less intimidating. First, by reading our quick buyer guide. Second, by contacting a licensed insurance agent who knows the business well. Independent Insurance Brokers of Arizona is here to help you navigate this new territory.
Here’s a quick information guide for first time car insurance buyers.
How Does Car Insurance Work?
Almost every state requires that drivers on American roads carry car insurance. Car insurance is a contract between you, the driver, and a car insurance company, the insurer. This agreement offers financial coverage if you are in a car accident or if your car is otherwise damaged. The type of policy you select will determine the type of coverage you have and how much financial protection you receive.
To use your insurance in the event of damage, you must file a claim. This involves contacting your insurance company and notifying them of the accident or damage. In many cases, the insurance company will want a written statement of the incident and any photos that are available. They will then assign an insurance adjuster to your case who will investigate the facts, review the claim, and determine whether the incident is covered under your policy. If so, your insurance company will pay for damage repairs or replacement up to the amount your policy specifies. This financial coverage may pay for your vehicle, other vehicles involved in an accident caused by you, damaged property, or injuries to drivers and passengers depending on your policy.
What are the Types of Car Insurance?
Most car insurance companies offer several different policies and each policy comprises different types of car insurance. Each type of insurance covers a different aspect of damage or responsibility. In most cases, you can choose as much or as little coverage as you wish.
Liability insurance is the only absolute requirement by most state laws. In Arizona, you must carry the minimum required liability insurance in order to register your vehicle. Liability covers damage to others that you are liable for or damage that is caused by you. This includes bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury coverage pays for medical expenses to other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians, and property damage includes other vehicles, fences, guardrails, mailboxes, etc.
It is important to note that liability coverage will not cover damage to you or your own vehicle and property.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle and property when the damage is caused by you or by a motorist that is uninsured or underinsured if you have uninsured motorist coverage. This damage includes an accident with another vehicle or with a stationary object such as a pole or a fence.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that is caused by things other than another vehicle. Accidents such as falling objects like trees and hail, damage caused by wild animals such as a collision with a deer, or a flying rock from a windshield are covered by comprehensive coverage. Additionally, if your car is vandalized or stolen, comprehensive coverage will pay for repairs or replacement.
Steps to Purchase Car Insurance
To buy your first car insurance policy you should follow these steps.
You will be required to submit a bit of personal information in order to receive an insurance quote. Therefore, having this information on hand ahead of time will allow the process to move quicker. This information includes your driver’s license number, your car’s VIN and mileage, the address of registration, and any other previous insurance information, if applicable.
Unfortunately, first-time drivers typically pay more for car insurance than long-time drivers. But most auto insurance companies offer discounts to decrease the cost of your monthly insurance premiums. These discounts vary and depend on individual companies. Therefore, it’s important to do research ahead of time and know what discounts are available and which ones pertain to you.
There are a few commonly offered discounts. Good student discounts are offered to students who can submit proof of good grades, which is usually a “B” average or higher. Safe driving discounts are available to those who have safe driving practices and clean records. Each company determines its rates differently. Some will require that you use an app that monitors your driving in real-time while others will base their decision on your previous driving experience and driving history record from the last 3 to 5 years. Additionally, some companies will offer a discount in return for your taking a defensive driving course.
Knowing that you qualify for a specific discount with a certain company can help to narrow down your insurance choices.
Car insurance rates can vary widely. Therefore, comparing quotes from multiple car insurance companies is the best way to know that you are getting the best rate for the best price. It is possible to get quotes online or over the phone from multiple companies. Be sure to ask the same questions to gather the correct information to compare. Once you have gathered a few quotes, write the information and policy offers down in a chart to easily compare your options.
Purchase a Policy
Once you see all of the available information from each quote you gather, it will be easier to make your car insurance selection. You may be able to purchase a policy online at the company website or over the phone with an agent from the company.
Another option is to contact an independent insurance agency that can do the hard work of obtaining and comparing quotes for you. Once you’ve made a decision, this independent agent can also help you sign up for your policy to ensure that you have followed all the steps correctly.
Assistance for the First Time Car Insurance Buyer
Are you ready to shop for car insurance but not sure how to begin? Don’t let insurance shopping stress you out. We can help!
At Independent Insurance Brokers of Arizona, our team is experienced in securing car insurance for first-time buyers. Our job is to gather car insurance quotes that work for you and your budget and help explain your options to you to help you make the best-informed decision.
Call us today to get started!