If you're a new driver, you'll likely need to carry insurance. Car insurance is a vital component of vehicle operation.
However, which policy should you choose? Careful research can help you get the correct policy.
Understanding Your Risks as a New Driver
As a new driver, you don't have the experience of other drivers who have been on the road for years. For that reason, you face a relatively higher risk for accidents or other incidents when you drive. Because of this, car insurers will likely classify new drivers as non-standard drivers.
Non-standard drivers are those who companies usually cannot insure using standard insurance rates. Insurance companies assume a higher degree of risk by covering non-standard drivers. As a non-standard operator, a new driver might see higher insurance prices.
The good news is that this scenario is likely temporary. Insurers will likely only consider a new driver as non-standard for a couple of years. If the driver maintains a good driving record, their risk level drops. As this risk level drops, drivers might see a decrease in their auto insurance rates.
Of course, the key to all this is driving safely. If you have an accident or receive a driving infraction, your insurer will likely find out. The nature of the incident might lead the insurer to keep your non-standard rates the same. In some cases, they might even raise those rates.
Getting the Correct Auto Policy
New drivers should understand that going without auto insurance for any period is a risk in itself. Most states require their drivers to carry minimum amounts of car insurance. They also require drivers to keep this coverage continuously.
Therefore, if you go without insurance, you are likely breaking the law. Failure to carry insurance also means you're a higher risk when you do apply for coverage. An auto insurance company may refuse to cover you if you have a checkered history of coverage.
So, as a new driver, you shouldn't hit the road without the right insurance coverage. This requires several different steps.
- Find out what your state's minimum auto insurance requirements are. Your insurer will likely automatically add these levels to your policy. However, it is best to know ahead of time the coverage you need.
- Make sure your chosen insurer understands that you are a new driver. An independent agent can compare the policy options offered by a variety of companies. He or she can guide you towards insurance companies that insure new drivers.
Once you decide on an insurer, work with your insurance agent to determine how best to cover your risks. Factors such as location, state requirements, and personal demographics help determine how much coverage you need. They also play a part in how much you will wind up paying for coverage.
Most auto policies come with common coverage elements:
- Collision Coverage: This can cover repairs or the replacement of your vehicle and personal belongings after an accident.
- Comprehensive Coverage: If something other than an accident damages your car, this coverage can help you cover financial losses. Covered hazards might include fire, theft or weather damage.
- Liability Coverage: If you're at fault in an accident, you may have to use your insurance coverage to compensate others involved in the accident. Liability coverage helps protect such risks.
To an extent, the amount of coverage you choose depends on your personal discretion. Some drivers opt for no more coverage than the state minimums. But, keep in mind that state minimums rarely provide sufficient coverage. You likely need more. With that in mind, some insurers recommend certain coverage levels for certain drivers.
Other Ways to Get Coverage
Sometimes, new drivers don't have to buy their own insurance policies. They might be able to add themselves to another driver's policy instead.
This can be the case if the new driver is a teenager who can be claimed as a dependent by their parents. When a teen gets their license or learner's permit, their parents can likely add them to their existing auto policy. The addition of new participant to the policy may lead to a price increase. However, the increase will likely be less than paying for a separate policy.
Not everyone will qualify to go on another person's auto policy. Insurers usually limit policy participants to spouses, children and other close family members of the policyholder.
Furthermore, many insurers offer non-owners policies. If you don't own a car, you might buy a non-owner's policy. It can cover risks you encounter when driving someone else's vehicle.
As always, make sure your auto insurer insures new drivers. By telling your insurer that you're new, you can rest assured that he or she will take your needs into account.
We've got you covered. Call Auto Insurance Discounters at (866) 288-6545 for an instant car insurance quote.