Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2022

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Buying auto insurance is something that most people rarely do and because of this, it may seem like a tall order. While buying a car insurance policy may not be one of the most exciting activities you engage in, it is very important.

In order to abide by state laws and limit your own personal risk, you need to buy an auto insurance policy if you have a car. When it comes to buying an auto insurance policy, the process does require a few steps in order to be completed properly.

It’s not the most difficult thing in your life, but it does take a certain amount of time and effort to complete.

Simply enter your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool above to view a list of auto insurance options!

Review Coverage Required

One of the first things that you’ll need to do when buying auto insurance policy is review how much coverage you need. The first thing that you need to check is the minimum amount of coverage that is required by state law.

Every state has minimum liability coverage requirements and you must at least buy this much coverage to stay within the law. In most cases, you want to go ahead and get a policy that is larger than the state minimum.

The state minimum is typically very low compared to what costs you could incur as a result of a wreck that is your fault.

The state minimums are typically quoted as a series of three numbers such as 40/80/30. Each number represents how much money in thousands that the insurance company will pay for a particular cost category.

The first number represents the amount of money that the insurance company will pay for medical bills for each person who is injured in the wreck.

The second number represents the amount of money that the insurance company will pay for medical bills incurred per claim.

The last number represents the amount of money that the insurance company will pay for personal property damage per claim.

Check Your Record

Some of your own personal factors can have an impact on how much your insurance policy will cost. Your driving record will affect the amount of your insurance premiums.

Check out your driving record before you start shopping for insurance.

If a ticket or citation is about to come off of your record, you may want to wait until it does before buying a new policy. This could save you some money on the policy premiums. Your insurance premiums are also affected by your credit score.

Get a copy of your credit report and see if there are any mistakes that can be fixed on it. You may also want to pay off in the accounts that you can afford to pay off so that your credit score will improve.

By doing this before you start shopping around for an insurance policy, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money overall.

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Start Shopping

Once you have your own affairs in order, it’s time to start shopping around for an auto insurance policy. This part of the process will require a little bit of work on your part.

Start out by getting on the phone and calling some of the local insurance agent in your area. When you tell the insurance agent the make and model of your car, they should be able to give you a preliminary quote on an insurance policy.

Write down the quotes or have the agents email you quotes. Once you have this information, keep it in a folder so that you can refer to it later.

In addition to checking with local agents, you should also get online and do a little bit of shopping. You can use online insurance comparison websites to help you get multiple quotes at the same time from different companies.

Another approach is to visit insurance company websites individually and get quotes based on your information.

After you get multiple quotes, compare them to see which policy represents the best deal. If you would prefer to work with a particular company, give that company the last chance to give you the best price.

Use your other quotes as leverage and see if they can match or beat the best price.

Getting the Policy

Once you have decided which policy to deal with, you’ll need to work with that insurance company to get started with a policy.

In most cases, the insurance agent or insurance company will give you some documents to read over which provide information about your policy.

Once you review the terms of your policy to make sure that you agree with them, you’ll be required to sign them.

When you sign the documents and return them to the insurance company, you will also have to make a payment for your insurance premiums.

In addition to making your payment, you may need to provide a voided check so that the insurance company can begin getting your account on a regular basis.

In some cases, you may need to pay annually or quarterly. Other insurance companies offer monthly payments to accommodate those who would prefer to pay in this manner.

Once you have completed the paperwork and made your premium payments, the insurance company will give you some temporary insurance cards. You will receive your real insurance cards in the mail later on.

Be sure to compare auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool below!