If you're preparing to get car insurance for the first time, you know that you have to get a bunch of quotes first to see what premiums you might have to pay. But finding the right car insurance involves much more than just finding out how much someone your age and with your driving record might pay. There are a few other things you need to ask about to get a full picture of what your insurance might really cost. When you speak to agents, be sure to ask about these before making a decision.

Premiums -- and Payment Requirements -- Per Different Time Periods

When you ask about the premiums for a car insurance policy, you'll likely get a couple of amounts for different billing periods, such as monthly or quarterly. You should also find out what the premium would be if you paid semiannually or yearly, of course, but you should also ask about divided payments. These are smaller payments that you might make when you have a longer premium period. For example, if you pay semiannually, you might have the option to pay part of the premium on the actual due date and the remainder on a specific date a few weeks later. You wouldn't be paying quarterly, but rather over a couple of months at the start of the premium period.

Another issue to look out for is whether your premium is affected by how you pay. Sometimes automatic payments are a bit cheaper than those you elect to pay deliberately (and not through automatic withdrawals) every month.


You'll need to get a minimum of insurance set by your state, but you'll also have the option to add several additional coverages known as riders. From rental car reimbursement to depreciation waivers, you can get extra coverage for a bunch of things. However, these will increase your premiums. Ask the agents you speak to about exactly what each rider would cover in terms of money -- you need to know how much you could expect to pay yourself versus what the insurance company will pay -- so you can decide whether the rider and extra premium costs would be worth it.


The amount you drive each year can also affect your premiums. Find out what the difference would be if you drove at different levels. You could find that cutting back on driving and taking public transit using a monthly pass might be cheaper than paying a higher insurance premium to drive more.

When you call agents, set aside a lot of time and have a good conversation -- don't just rush in, get a quote, and rush to call the next agent. You do need to get your insurance policy in place, but giving yourself enough time to find out the true costs of the policies will be a good move in the long run. Contact a company like Martin Insurance Company for more information.