Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you are getting car insurance for the very first time, you will need to do your homework on the requirements for coverage in your particular state as well as the other additional types of auto insurance that are available to you
  • Because you do not have any other comparison, you will want to shop around between multiple auto insurance companies to ensure that you are getting the best rate possible for your auto insurance
  • As a new driver, your auto insurance rates may be a bit higher than what a more seasoned driver would pay. This is why it is especially important to seek out as many discounts as possible that apply to you
  • When you are thinking about the right auto insurance coverage for you, keep in mind that the state minimum coverage may not be enough to cover all damages in the event of an auto accident
  • If you are a new driver, you may want to explore the option of being added as an additional driver on your parent’s auto insurance policy because this could earn you a lower rate for auto insurance

If you are looking into getting auto insurance for the first time, you are probably a very new driver because at least basic auto liability insurance is required under your state law to drive a car.

When you seek out auto insurance coverage, you want to make sure that you are meeting your state requirements. In addition to the minimum coverage, you should have a general understanding of other supplemental coverage that may be a good idea for you.

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Make Sure You Have At Least the State Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage

While the auto insurance company will likely be able to tell you what the requirements are in your state, it is a good idea to be familiar with them before asking around for quotes. Do not try to cut corners and get any coverage less than what is required under your state law.

The penalties for failure to carry the minimum auto insurance are severe and can even result in you having your driver’s license suspended if you are caught.

Once you have made sure that you have the met the state minimum limits, then you also want to make sure that the auto insurance company you use is licensed to sell insurance in your state.

The state department of insurance will be able to provide basic information on all auto insurance companies that are licensed to do business in your state.

To get started with getting auto insurance quotes, you will be asked to provide some general personal information that will help the auto insurance company determine the rate that you will pay for coverage.

For example, you will need to provide your driver’s license, date of birth, home address, occupation, gender, the type of car you drive, the mileage on your car, how often you plan to drive the car, your driving history and the names of other drivers that live in your household.

When you are supplying your basic personal information to the auto insurance company for a rate quote, this is a good time to also ask about other discounts that may apply to you.

For example, you could qualify for the Good Student Discount if you have good grades in school. Also, remember that auto insurance companies may not explicitly advertise all of the discounts that they offer, so it is a good idea to ask about what could be available for you.

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Options for Auto Insurance for a Teen Driver

If you are a teen driver, you may want to consider some temporary options for auto insurance to keep your rate as low as possible. Do not be surprised that your rate for coverage will likely be a bit higher than what a more experienced driver could expect to pay.

The good news is that if you maintain a good driving record and do not cause any accidents or get moving violations, you may be eligible to have your rate lowered for future policy terms.

Many parents choose to insure their teen driver and the car that he or she will be driving on their own auto insurance company. Rather than having the teen driver take out his or her own policy, it is quite easy and straightforward to have a teen added to an existing auto insurance policy.

As an added benefit, the parent may also get a discount on the premium because many auto insurance companies provide incentives for insuring multiple cars on the same auto insurance policy.

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If you are looking for ways to save money on your auto insurance premium as a teen driver, you should ask your auto insurance company if they offer any discounts for taking and completing a defensive driving course.

This is typically a simple task to complete and shows the auto insurance company that you are taking your responsibility as a driver seriously. In addition, some auto insurance companies may offer a discount if you have anti-theft or other safety features installed in your vehicle.

For parents of teen drivers, when a teen driver is added to your auto insurance policy, this is a good time to think about increasing the limits of your existing supplemental coverage to account for the increased risk of insuring a new driver on your auto insurance policy.

Your auto insurance agent will be able to give you information on the existing coverage you have so that you can make a decision about whether you should increase the policy limits for coverage and by how much.

Remember that if you choose to drop your teen driver from your auto insurance policy or if your child gets their own auto insurance policy in the future, you can always adjust your policy limits accordingly.

Even if you have to wait for the expiration of your policy term, this is a simple request that can be accommodated by your auto insurance agent so that you are not paying more for coverage than you need to at any point in time.

Because teen drivers tend to be riskier to insure, you may also want to think about whether an umbrella liability policy makes sense for you and your family now. The way that an umbrella liability policy works is that once you have exhausted all other sorts of coverage, it will kick in up to a certain limit.

This coverage is typically inexpensive to add and can cover up to $1 million in damages. As litigation rates increase, an umbrella policy is a perfect choice for many families.

Additional Auto Insurance Coverage Options to Consider

While having the required minimum auto insurance under state law is a necessary place to start, there are other coverage options that you should at least consider when you are taking out an auto insurance policy.

If you get in an accident that is your fault, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for plenty of damage to another vehicle or medical bills for the other driver. These additional auto insurance options could help protect you in that scenario.

The most basic forms of optional auto insurance coverage are comprehensive insurance and collision insurance. With collision insurance, you are covered for any type of collision that results in damage to your vehicle.

Remember that basic auto liability coverage only protects against damage that you cause to another driver’s vehicle. With collision coverage, your own car is protected. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is for other events, such as a severe storm, theft or vandalism, that result in actual damage to your car.

With both types of additional coverage, you will pay some amount of a deductible. Talk to your auto insurance agent about what you could afford to pay out of pocket to repair damage to your vehicle. The higher the deductible you can afford, the lower the rate of your auto insurance premium.

If you are going to be added to your parents’ existing auto insurance policy, they may simply consider increasing the amount of coverage provided for these additional insurance options.

Often times, the increase in your premium is negligible when compared to the amount of coverage that you could have in the event of an accident or some incident that damages or totals your vehicle.

Recap on Getting Auto Insurance for the First Time

It always pays to do your homework when shopping around for auto insurance coverage. You need to be clear on what your coverage needs are and what options are available to you so that you get sufficient coverage at an affordable rate.

You may want to explore being added to your parent’s existing auto insurance policy to save some money. You can always choose to get your own auto insurance coverage in the future when you have a more established driving record and would pay a more reasonable insurance rate.

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