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 Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • A down payment for auto insurance is called a premium
  • Auto insurance keeps you from having to pay out-of-pocket expenses for damage to your car or others’ property
  • Comprehensive coverage covers those things that standard insurance does not cover

When shopping for auto insurance, many people want to know what the down payment is, how much it will cost, and how it is paid. Actually, with insurance, it is not called a down payment.

A down payment is something that you use to refer to the first payment that you make on a physical item such as a couch, a house, or a car.

Insurance payments are all called premiums. Insurance premiums are the payments that you make to purchase your insurance policy. The first premium is due at the time you start your insurance policy so this is what most people mean when they refer to a down payment.

When an insurance agent has you sign the paperwork to a new policy, you agree to pay the first month’s premium in advance. It is usually a portion of the entire premium for the quarter or year in which the policy is in effect.

The payments are usually divided evenly through the term to make it more affordable. These are referred to as “installments.”

You usually have several options as to how you want to make your installment payments. You can choose to pay annually, which will cost you less because you are paying for the entire year up front.

If you don’t want to pay it this way, you can pay by the quarter or by the month.

This installment plan depends on how payments are set up within the company you are dealing with, but most companies offer these options.

Compare car insurance rates to see how much you could save on coverage. Just enter your zip code above to begin for free.

Should I do an automatic draft?

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You can opt to have your payment drafted automatically from your bank account. In some cases, this can save you a lot of money, and you may even get a discount for putting your payment on auto draft.

This discount is because the insurance company knows that they will receive your payment at the same time every month without fail. This automatic payment lowers the risk of you canceling or not paying your insurance and allows them to offer you this discount.

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Other Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

If you are looking for other ways to save money on your car insurance, there are some other things that you can do. Many of the factors that affect your car insurance are within your control more than you know.

Discounts are also available for various reasons that allow you to save even more on your car insurance. For example:

  • If you are in the military (either active or retired), many car insurance companies will offer you a military discount
  • If you work in a particular area of the public sector such as civil government jobs, you may qualify for a discount
  • If you have a safe driving record you may be able to get a safe driving discount
  • If you’re a student who maintains a “B” average or better you can qualify for a good student discount

Ask about insurance discounts and other ways to save money when you apply for your free quote and find out what types of discounts you may qualify for.

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How to Find the Best Insurance

Here are some tips to find the best insurer for your needs:

  • You should shop around a lot before deciding on a policy and a company.
  • Check their insurance claims rates and financial stability.
  • Ask questions.
  • Read the fine print.

You need to know if there are any exclusions to the policy or times that the insurance will not pay.

By knowing what the company will pay as well as what it will not pay, you are in a better position to know if it is right for you. Knowledge is power so do your research and compare several policies before deciding.

If you are already on a current insurance plan, think about whether you are happy with the coverage it provides you with. Have you filed a claim with that company and been denied?

If there was not a good reason for the claim denial, you might want to search for a better company. The security of having car insurance is in knowing that your claim will be paid when you need it and that you will not have to wait an inordinately long period to receive your money.

The Importance of Good Customer Service

One factor that is important in finding the best insurance company is good customer service. Customer service is your first point of contact when you have a car accident or mishap on the road.

If you cannot get in touch with customer service promptly, you will have problems when you have to file a claim.

It is recommended that you call your insurance company immediately after you have had an accident and file the claim. There will be a police report that will need to be sent to them later, but the first thing you must do is to contact your company.

If you have an insurance company that is less than helpful or who gives you the runaround, you are not getting your money’s worth, and it creates anxiety when you are in need of advice regarding your policy or other matters.

So make customer service an important part of your criteria when seeking out a car insurance company.

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Do you have comprehensive coverage?


One important fact that many people are not aware of is the fact that standard insurance coverage does not cover theft or vandalism. You need comprehensive coverage to do this.

Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage and may or may not be offered in the presentation for insurance.

If your representative does not mention this important coverage, you may want to ask them about it. Comprehensive coverage covers the following situations:

  • Theft  Theft of your vehicle is not covered by standard collision or liability insurance. You must have comprehensive coverage for this.
  • Vandalism  Vandalism is a crime and involves the destruction of property. If your car is vandalized or damaged by someone else, comprehensive coverage will help with this.
  • Acts of nature  Hail, flood, tornadoes, and other acts of nature are also covered by comprehensive.
  • Falling objects  If you keep your car in a garage and have an object fall on it, only comprehensive will cover this.

The only way to find the best deal on car insurance is to shop around. By comparing some policies and companies, you will get a better idea of which one will work best for you.

Remember, get as much coverage as you can afford and keep your insurance current. It will give you peace of mind.

Compare car insurance quotes today by entering your zip code below.