Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Sep 24, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Purchasing an auto insurance policy starts with getting a quote
  • You can get several quotes using an online comparison tool that will help ensure you get the best rate available
  • You should ask what discounts you might be eligible for when applying for car insurance
  • Each auto insurance company will have different policies regarding payments, some may require a deposit or payment up front
  • Other car insurance companies will only require a first month’s payment or 30 percent of the total policy premium
  • There are other ways to reduce your premium, such as raising your deductible

If you are shopping for car insurance for the first time or shopping around to see if you can find a lower price for your premium, you may be wondering if you will have to pay for your car insurance policy up front. Unfortunately, the answer to this question can vary, depending upon the car insurance company, driving history, and credit worthiness. However, you can ensure that you are getting the best price possible on your auto insurance policy by using an online insurance price comparison tool. Before the rise of the internet, it was quite difficult and time-consuming to compare policies and quotes. Drivers are now saving time and money by using such tools online. Compare car insurance rates instantly using our FREE tool!

Obtaining a Quote

If you are shopping for a new or replacement auto policy, your journey will begin with obtaining a quote. It is important to remember that a quote is not a contract, it is simply discovering the price you will be charged for a policy with a particular company. It does not imply an established relationship between you and the insurance company. In order to get your quote, you will generally need the following information:

  • Make, model, and year of your vehicle
  • Your vehicle’s identification number or VIN for short
  • Your driving history, highlighting recent tickets, accidents, or claims
  • Your social security number, which is usually required for a credit check
  • Your demographic and employment information
  • Your contact information

You will also be asked if you currently have auto insurance and when you would want the new policy to start. All of this information helps the auto insurance company evaluate the kind of a risk you would be, which will determine your quote.

It is very important that the information you provide on your application is complete and accurate.

Auto insurance companies have the legal right to cancel your policy within the first 60 days without providing you with a reason. This is to help cover themselves, in case you omitted information on your application.

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Ask for Discounts

Most auto insurance companies offer several different discounts. However, some may not apply them or know that you are eligible unless you ask about them. Some discounts offer significant savings, so be sure to ask about any discounts you may be missing, such as:

  • Military discount
  • Student discount
  • Senior discount
  • Defensive driving course or driver’s education discount
  • Safe vehicle discount
  • Safe driver discount
  • Multi-vehicle discount
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Loyalty discount
  • Homeowner discount
  • Anti-theft discount
  • Green or newer vehicle discount
  • Low-mileage discount
  • Affinity/occupational

What’s Next?

After you obtain your quote, you have the option to accept it and purchase the auto policy or move on. It is wise to not take the first quote you get and do some comparison shopping to be sure you are getting the best deal. Once you find the right auto insurance policy quote for you, let the company know that you would like to purchase the policy.

Paying for Your Policy

Most auto insurance companies will require at least one month’s payment or 30 percent of the entire policy prior to the start date of your new auto insurance policy.

If you have poor credit, a bad driving record, have been caught driving without insurance, or have had your license suspended, you may be required to pay for several months in advance or even put down a deposit.

If you have questions about this, be sure to ask you auto insurance agent or your customer service department.

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Automatic Payments and Paying in Advance

Even if you are only required to pay a month in advance, keep in mind that many auto insurance companies will provide a discount if you sign up for automatic payments or pay your entire policy premium in advance. Though either one of these steps can seem like a big commitment, either one can help reduce the chances that you will miss a payment and have your auto insurance policy canceled for non-payment.

Other Options to Lower Your Rates

If you do not qualify for any of the aforementioned discounts, there still may be a way to lower your car insurance payment and make it more affordable. Consider the following to reduce your payments:

  • Raise your deductibles: Raising your deductibles will decrease the amount of your total premium. However, be sure you have the means to pay the higher deductible if you need to file a claim.
  • Reduce optional coverages: Coverage that is not a legal requirement in your state is optional. Dropping comprehensive or collision coverage may significantly reduce your premium. This can be a good idea for older vehicles that are not worth as much. Be aware, however, that if you have a leased vehicle or a vehicle with a current loan, you are likely required to keep comprehensive and collision coverages. Check your leasing contract or with your loan servicer to be sure.
  • Ask about group insurance: You may be eligible for group coverage through your employer, a work association, or even a sorority or fraternity. Check with your insurance company to find out if there is group coverage that would reduce your rates.
  • Maintain good credit or improve existing credit: Although it will not make an immediate difference, working to increase your credit score will help you to receive better rates on auto insurance. Most car insurance companies utilize your credit score and report as a part of underwriting your policy and determining your premium. Better credit equals a better premium. If you currently have good credit or excellent credit, work towards maintaining that rating so that you can continue to receive better auto insurance premium rates.

Car insurance can be confusing and expensive. However, being an informed consumer can help you to understand your policy and how and when you need to submit your payments. Some auto insurance companies will require payment up front and some will not. If you need to decrease the price that you pay for your car insurance premium to make it more affordable, be sure to use an online price comparison tool. This tool is a quick and easy way to help compare policies and rates. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates now!