The Facts About Car Insurance Coverage: Who’s Covered and Who’s Not
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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021
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There are several different types of driver’s licenses and you may find it surprising that you can buy car insurance with any of them or even with no driver’s license at all! Car insurance is about insuring a vehicle, not a driver, so you do not need to be a driver, just a car owner, to purchase a policy. However, you may pay more for your premium depending on the situation.
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Regardless if your type of driver’s license or if you have a license there are several steps you should take when buying car insurance. This is to make sure you get the best deal possible and a policy that suits your needs.
There are certain situations when a person without a driver’s license or with a suspended driver’s license may need to purchase an auto insurance policy. This can be done, but the policy may cost more. Therefore, it is also important to know how to save money on car insurance.
Types of Driver’s Licenses
There are multiple types of driver’s licenses depending on the needs of your lifestyle or occupation. Some people hold multiple licenses or endorsements on their license due to the variety of vehicles they may drive in their daily life.
The first type of license is a standard driver’s license. The majority of drivers have this type so that they can legally drive regular passenger vehicles on public roads.
Teenagers or anyone else who is just learning to drive may first be issued a learner’s permit, which allows them to drive with an adult instructor while learning. An interim license, between a learner’s permit and a standard, unrestricted license is a provisional or graduated license.
With a provisional license, certain restrictions are placed on new drivers for a period of time before they progress to a standard license. These restrictions may include limits on night driving, limits on the passengers a person can transport, or limits on the use of mobile devices.
Another type of license is a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). These licenses come in classes A, B, and C depending upon the size of commercial vehicle you will be driving. In order to drive a bus or large truck you are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation to get a CDL license. These are also required for the operation of many vehicles necessary for certain occupations such as transporting goods or operating certain construction vehicles.
Drivers must be 18 years of age or older to apply and be tested to receive a CDL license.
Some driver’s may be required to get a Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) endorsement on their CDL license if they will be driving a vehicle that could be used to transport this type of material, such as an oil or propane truck.
Another type of license is a Class E Taxi and Livery License. This allows an individual who is age 18 or over to transport passengers and operate a for hire vehicle for their occupation. This includes taxi drivers and limousine drivers.
A Class D Operators license is for individuals who operate a vehicle with a high Gross Vehicle Weight. This may include trailers that are towed for private or commercial use.
One final license type is a motorcycle license. Individuals wishing to operate a motorcycle on public roads must pass a test to obtain a motorcycle operator’s license. Anyone with a standard license can apply for a motorcycle license if they wish to operate a motorcycle. The test is focused on the unique driving requirements necessary to know when operating a motorcycle on public roads.
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Insurance for Those without a License
There are certain situations in which an individual may need to obtain car insurance even though they do not have a current driver’s license. A parent may be unable to drive due to a medical condition such as epilepsy, a disability such as a visual impairment, or various physical limitations. Still, this parent may want to purchase a vehicle for their child once that child receives a driver’s license. That parent may wish to insure the vehicle and simply add the teenage son or daughter to the policy.
Another situation occurs when a person has had their driver’s license suspended. Some possible reasons for a suspended license could be driving without insurance, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or multiple infractions leading to many points on one’s license.
In many cases, a person with a suspended license must obtain proof of insurance through an SR22 form before they can have their license reinstated. A driver can get insurance with a suspended license, but it will cost them more money as they will be labeled a high-risk driver.
Drivers can purchase car insurance without a license because you are insuring the car and not the driver, although policies do protect the driver’s assets and may help cover medical bills if the driver or passengers are injured. In most states, car insurance is required in order to register a vehicle with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, if a person without a license wishes to purchase and register a vehicle they will have to obtain car insurance first.
Obtaining Car Insurance
Whether you have a license or not there are several steps you should follow when seeking to purchase car insurance in order to make sure you get a policy that meets your needs and does not break the bank.
First, explore your options. Do your research and make a list of insurance companies that appear to meet your needs. Talk to friends and family members to get recommendations for insurance companies in your area. Also, make sure you are considering insurance companies that are licensed in your state. You can find this out by contacting your state department of insurance.
Obtain quotes from several companies. You can do so either online or through an insurance agent or broker. An agent typically works for one company. A broker can provide you with information and quotes from several companies. By obtaining quotes from several companies, you can be certain you are getting the best possible price.
After getting several quotes narrow your search down to two or three companies and find out exactly what you could expect to pay for the policy you need. Look into discounts the insurance companies may offer. Read reviews of the insurance companies.
Before making your final decision regarding the purchase of car insurance check to make sure you are purchasing insurance from a reputable company.
Visit the Better Business Bureau online to see how the company you are considering is rated. Read information about complaints filed against the companies and their response to those complaints. You may also want to visit A.M. Best online because they provide scores for companies based on their financial stability and other useful tips for purchasing insurance.
Car Insurance Discounts
If you are purchasing car insurance without a license or with a suspended license chances are good that you will be quoted much higher rates. This is because the insurance companies now will label you as high-risk.
There are ways that even those in these situations or others without a perfect driving record can save money on car insurance:
- Shop around. Get quotes from several companies.
- Opt for a higher deductible in exchange for a lower premium.
- Opt to pay your premium in one lump sum annually. It costs more when you make monthly payments.
- Pay your bills electronically. Insurance companies save money on paperwork and this savings is passed along to you.
- Bundle your insurance policies. If you have a homeowner’s or life insurance policy with a certain company you may want to choose the same company for your car insurance in order to save money.
If you are involved with any organizations such as professional, academic, or military organizations, you may be able to obtain insurance through these at a lower rate.
Find out about discounts the insurance company may offer. Some common discounts include:
- Low mileage discounts
- Good student discounts
- Long-time customer discounts
- Retirement discounts
- Safe driver discounts
- Defensive driving course discounts
- Discounts for safety devices such as anti-theft devices, side curtain air bags, or anti-lock brakes
The Insurance Information Institute lists several additional ways to save on car insurance.
You can buy car insurance no matter what type of driver’s license you have. You can even buy insurance if you have no license at all or a suspended license. In fact, you may need to purchase insurance and show proof of that insurance in order to get your suspended license reinstated.
There are several steps you should take when purchasing car insurance. Even if you are now considered a high-risk driver, there also many ways you may be able to save on car insurance.
Start comparing car insurance quotes now and obtain a list of rates simply by entering your ZIP code in our FREE quote rate finder on this page!