If you’re a first time driver and auto insurance is on your mind – or that of your parents trying to secure auto coverage for you, there are a few basics to keep in mind.

First, if you intend to drive, you’ll need to be covered by auto insurance. That’s the law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. If you drive without insurance, you are not only jeopardizing your safety and that of others, but you and your parents could be liable for thousands of dollars in damages and injury costs as a result of any collisions.

Second, insurers tend to price auto insurance coverage for first-time drivers higher than for established drivers with a long history of safe driving and no tickets. That’s just a fact. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t secure a reasonably-priced policy, even if you are a first time driver and (are looking for) auto insurance.

Here are a few tips:

  • See if you can be added to your parents’ existing auto insurance policy. If you’re an additional driver of a family vehicle, the overall cost of insuring that vehicle will go up, but it won’t be as high as insuring you on your own.
  • If you will be driving an additional vehicle that’s primarily for your purposes, it can be counted as another insured vehicle in the household – which adds up to a discount for having more than one vehicle insured with the same auto insurance company.
  • Keep your grades up, maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average. This will qualify you for a good student discount at most major auto insurance companies.
  • Make a pledge to never text or use hand-held cell phones while driving. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and accounts for thousands of needless deaths and injuries each year.
  • If you do obtain insurance coverage and you get a traffic ticket, it’s in your best interest to attend traffic school to have the citation expunged. Be aware, however, that you’re limited in how many times you can do this within a certain timeframe. Also keep in mind that all tickets and accidents will cause your insurance rates to go up and will remain on your record for three to five years.
  • Always drive the posted speed limit and obey all traffic laws.
  • Avoid buying a sports car or any car with features that cause auto insurance companies to consider them high-risk cars. For a list of the most and least expensive cars to insure 2011, see Insure.com.
  • Get an auto insurance policy with a higher deductible. This will help you save on monthly insurance premiums. But remember that this deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket before any insurance claim you make will be paid, in the event of an accident or damage that is determined to be your fault.

What if it’s your first car? First time driver and auto insurance isn’t out of the question in terms of being affordable. Some auto insurance companies offer some pretty decent rates for first-time buyers. They’ll work with you to provide the right amount of coverage and offer several discounts that can lower your premium: new car, safety feature, anti-theft device, and good and resident student discounts.  Make sure to get auto insurance quotes from multiple auto insurance companies before deciding on which one to go with.

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