I did what a lot of college students do when they graduate and start their careers: I bought a new car.
I was prepared, and even oddly excited, to pay for my car loan and my car insurance — that was until I began getting quotes for my own policy. I wasn’t expecting my insurance rates to increase nearly three times as much as the cost of my old car on my parents’ policy, so I immediately started looking for discounts and any ways I could save.
Typically, you can remain on your parents’ car insurance policy until you move out. However, that may not be the case with some insurance companies if you buy your own car. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if you will need your own policy.
Switching off of your parents’ insurance can be a confusing experience. Below are some tips for making your first car insurance policy purchase a better experience.
Search for discounts
Because you won’t be on your parents’ policy anymore, this means you won’t be able to reap the savings from their discounts. Your parents most likely have multi-car and multi-line discounts on their premiums that give them a 10 to 20 percent discount. Once you get your own policy, you won’t have these discounts that significantly lower your premium. Your parents may also have a loyalty discount that you won’t qualify for since you haven’t had your own policy before.
However, there still are discounts that you may qualify for. For example, on my new insurance policy, I received a discount for having AAA roadside assistance and for having anti-theft devices in my car. Additionally, I was able to get a discount by making a donation for a charity that my insurance carrier partners with. Be sure to ask your insurance agent or a company representative about all of the discounts they offer because there may be some that you qualify for that you don’t even know about.
Your age matters - be aware your premium will go up
Your age and the number of years you’ve been a licensed driver are also big factors that determine the price you’ll pay. Insurance carriers consider young drivers a greater risk for various reasons, including credit score and driving experience.
Age 25 is believed to be the magic number for when your car insurance rates will drop. But you won’t necessarily see a lower rate if you check your car insurance bill on your 25th birthday. From around the time you're 25 until you reach age 65, your rates will most likely gradually decrease if you maintain a clean record.
Typically, drivers see decreases when they’re in their mid-20s to 30s — it depends on how long you’ve been licensed. If you got your license when you were 16 or 17 and have maintained a clean record, you’re in good shape to receive a discount in your mid-20s. If you didn’t get your license until you were 22 or if you have blemishes on your driving record, your premium reduction may be delayed.
Do your research and seek help
When I was searching for insurance for my new car, I decided to go through a trusted agency, but I also got quotes online myself. If you decide to go through an independent agency, be aware that they only sell insurance through a select group of companies they are affiliated with. If you find a company you want to pursue, see if you can get a quote yourself directly on the company’s website.
Don’t just purchase from the first quote you get. It may seem like the right thing to do to simply go with the same company that your parents have for insurance, but that’s not always the case. Make sure to ask your agent for multiple quotes so you can compare them and see how they rank among the top car insurance companies. And when comparing quotes, don’t just look at the price, as it isn’t the only thing you should care about. Go through the policy to examine the coverage options. It’s a good idea to ask someone experienced in insurance to go through the policy quotes with you.
Make sure you understand what the different coverage options are and what coverages you need. An agent can help you understand the insurance lingo and coverage options, but you can also read our practical guide to understanding car insurance that defines the basic terms and coverages you will most likely see on your policy. To determine what you need, start by reading about insurance in your state so you can see what the minimum coverage requirements are for your state. Keep in mind simply buying the minimums may leave you underinsured in an accident.
You should also make sure there’s nothing on the policy that you don’t need. When I received a quote from the agency I used, my agent quoted me with towing and roadside assistance on the policy. Because I already have towing and roadside assistance through AAA, I knew I didn’t need it through my insurance company, so I removed it and lowered my premium.
Before ultimately choosing a company, you should read consumer reviews on Clearsurance. You can gain useful insight, like how is the company’s customer service? Does it effectively payout claims? You can find information in reviews that you won’t find elsewhere.
For the future
When it’s time to renew your insurance policy always be prepared to take the time to shop around again. Ask your agent to get you new quotes or search on your own. Don’t be afraid to switch insurance companies if you find a better deal with a company with a strong reputation. In some cases, switching insurers can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
If you’ve recently switched off of your parents’ car insurance policy and got your own, share your experience with your insurance carrier by writing a review to help other new drivers choose an insurance company.
The content on this site is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. This site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an insurance company or an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. The comments and opinions expressed on this site are of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the insurance company or any individual attorney.