New Driver? 3 Tips for Getting Auto Insurance

by Maurie Backman | Updated Aug. 18, 2021 - First published on July 8, 2021

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A teenager smiles at their mother as they turn on the car ignition.

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Finally able to hit the road? Here's how to get auto insurance without spending a fortune.

Being a new driver can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. In fact, I remember getting my license and being afraid to actually use it those first few months. But then I ran into an even scarier notion -- paying for auto insurance. As a young and new driver, some of the rates I was quoted were completely out of my budget. And unfortunately, my experience tends to be the norm.

When you're a new driver, you're considered a high-risk driver. That's because when you're just starting out, auto insurance companies think you may fall victim to newbie errors that result in accidents -- and claims against your insurance policy. Unfortunately, that means insurance rates will be a lot higher until you get more experience on the road.

If you're a new driver, your goal should be to secure cheap car insurance for teens and young drivers. Here are three tips for doing just that without sacrificing the types of coverage you need to stay safe on the road.

1. Stay on your parents' policy as long as you can

In most cases, it'll be cheaper to add you on to your parents' policy than it will be for you to go out and get a separate policy. But to be clear, adding you to an existing policy won't be a low-cost prospect, so if you're expecting your parents to just pick up that bill -- well, don't.

2. Take a defensive driving course

Being an inexperienced driver makes you a higher risk for auto insurers, which is why new drivers tend to face higher rates. But if you take a defensive driving course, you can help make up for your lack of experience. And that could, in turn, help you snag a discount on car insurance coverage.

You can search for these courses online or see if your local Department of Motor Vehicles has any information. Keep in mind that in-person courses may be limited due to the pandemic, but you may be able to find an online course instead -- one that's actually more convenient for you anyway.

3. Buy a reliable vehicle

If you're a new driver on a budget, you may be tempted to buy the cheapest used car you can find. But actually, that could cause your insurance rates to rise. You'd think that the cheaper a vehicle is, the less it'll cost to insure, but actually, older cars in poor condition may be more likely to break down or sustain damage in an accident than newer ones with updated safety features.

When looking for the cheapest cars to insure, aim to find a car that's in good shape and safe. This doesn't mean you need to buy a new car, but if you're going to buy used, aim for a car with a high safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and has a certified history. You can even use a service like CARFAX to get information on a vehicle you're thinking about buying.

Being a new driver means you'll likely pay more for car insurance -- but you don't necessarily have to pay a ton more. In addition to the suggestions above, make a point to shop around and get multiple car insurance quotes. This will help ensure you land on the best deal.

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