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 in...

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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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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You should have auto insurance on your vehicle from the moment you purchase it or drive it off the lot
  • Not having auto insurance can lead to several financial and legal ramifications
  • Getting a quote begins the process of getting auto insurance
  • There are several factors to consider when selecting your auto insurance company

When it comes to parts of adult life that cost us time and money, buying car insurance can be top on the list for some.

Car insurance can be quite a major expense, although it is necessary to protect all drivers on the road.

If you need to lower your car insurance premium and want to save time in the process, look no further than an online auto insurance price comparison tool.

Enter your zip code into our FREE comparison tool above to find car insurance to fit your budget!

When do I need auto insurance?

Anytime you are driving a vehicle, whether it is your own or not, you should be certain that it is covered under an auto insurance policy.

If you are purchasing a vehicle from a dealer, you need to have an insurance policy on it before driving it off the lot.

If you are purchasing a vehicle from a private party, you will need to secure an insurance policy as soon as you are the legal owner.

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The Consequences of Not Having Auto Insurance

Not taking the steps to insure your new vehicle as soon as possible can lead to severe and costly consequences. Accidents can happen at any time, even on the first drive home from the dealership.

If you cause an accident and do not have insurance, you could be found liable for thousands of dollars of damages in civil court. The other party could legally come after your own assets and garnish your wages to offset their own costs.

In addition, depending on where you live, you could face a myriad of other financial and legal consequences such as:

  • Fines
  • Imprisonment
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Suspension of your car registration
  • Victim restitution
  • Community service
  • SR22 Insurance requirement

Forgoing auto insurance is not worth the risk, not even one time. Nearly all states require drivers to have auto insurance on their vehicle from the first time it is driven.

Getting Auto Insurance Coverage

To begin the process of getting auto insurance coverage, you will need to call an auto insurance company or go online to their website or a website that lets you compare several different auto insurance carriers, policies, and premium prices.

Generally, you will need the following information in order to get an accurate quote for your policy premium:

  • Make, model, and year of your vehicle
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Information about any safety features your car has
  • Where you will park your car
  • How often and how far you will drive your car
  • Your social security number
  • What kinds of insurance coverage you want, as well as policy limits and desired deductible amounts
  • Information about any driver’s safety courses you have completed

All of this information goes into calculating your insurability and auto insurance premium.

The auto insurance company will examine your driving record and likely your credit report as well to help determine the price of your policy.

Drivers with recent claim history or tickets will pay higher premiums. Usually, drivers who have better credit histories will see lower premium prices. People who drive longer distances and more often will generally pay higher premiums as well.

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Which car insurance company should I use?

Some drivers will choose to use an insurance company they have had in the past or already do business with, such as a company that insures their home or other belongings. Other drivers will select an auto insurance company that is recommended by a friend or family member.

Still, other consumers will be on the hunt for the auto insurance coverage that gives them the best coverage at affordable prices. Many drivers have saved money by comparing the rates of different companies.

There are a few points of consideration for drivers who are concerned about choosing the best auto insurance company for them. For instance:

  • Licensing  You should only purchase auto insurance from a carrier that is licensed to do business in your state. You can find out which companies are licensed to do business in your state by contacting your state’s department of insurance.
  • Service  Checking with the national claims database and your state insurance department can tell you if other consumers have had any problems with the insurance company you are considering.
  • Financial Solidity  Another factor to consider is how financially solid the auto insurance carrier is. A company that is financially sound is more likely to be able to pay on your claim and handle any issues in a timely matter.
  • Comfort  When selecting your auto insurance company, whether it be through a local agent or on the phone with customer service representative, you should be certain that you feel comfortable with the company.

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Final Steps


Once you have decided upon on auto insurance carrier and a policy, you will need to let that company know and pay your bill.

Some insurance companies require you to pay for six months or 12 months in advance for car insurance and others will allow you to make monthly installment payments.

The important part is making sure that your auto insurance bill gets paid so that you have current coverage at all times in the event of an accident.

Purchasing auto insurance isn’t as complicated as it may sound. In fact, for some drivers, the process may only take a few minutes and will get them on their way to being legally on the road.

Enter your zip code below and use our FREE comparison tool to shop for car insurance!