I'm buying my first car soon, and I don't currently have any insurance - I'm an independent adult not covered by any parental umbrella insurance, and I need to cover my wife with my insurance as well.

What is the proper way for me to purchase insurance for our car? Do we need to know the exact car we'll be buying first, or is there some type of pre-purchasing program we could use so that we can prepare to have our car insured before buying it?

I will be buying my car from a dealership, and while I do have an insurance agent for apartment insurance, I could also go through my employer for a discount, so I'd like to keep my options open if possible.

  • How do you intend on purchasing the car? Private party or dealership? Do you know about what kind of car you want to buy?
    – Pete B.
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:04
  • @PeteB. Dealership, and I only have a general idea of the kind of car I want to buy - I don't know the make or the model at all.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:40
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    You really need to talk to the insurance companies and get at least approximate prices before you commit to buying anything. As a new driver insurance may be very expensive and you don't want to buy a car that is prohibitively expensive to insure. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


If you already have an insurance agent (e.g. for homeowners insurance) then call them and tell them what your plan is. They'll need a VIN number to set up coverage but once you've chosen a car you should be able to call them with the VIN and they'll set you up immediately.

If you don't have an agent (or want to shop around) then the process will be similar, but may take more lead time to set up the account first.

I would not buy insurance at the dealer if they offer it. You'll likely pay a lot more that you would on your own (similar to why HDMI cables at Best Buy are 10X more expensive than they are online) - you pay for the convenience of one-stop shopping.

  • You may be not paying for the convenience, it is almost a con sometimes. You are being charged heftly for being lazy (not shopping around for rates) when you get the insurance at the dealership. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:45
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    Well, it's not a "con" in the sense that you do get a viable product, but it's much more expensive. But maybe I was too nice :)
    – D Stanley
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:46
  • OP - if you don't have an insurance agent already because you rent, then IMO you should get one and get renters insurance ASAP. It's generally very cheap and you may get a discount for multiple policies (renters+car)
    – sirjonsnow
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 20:26
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    It's the 21st century: why would you use an agent rather than looking online?
    – jamesqf
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 18:40
  • @jamesqf I don't mean "agent" literally - I mean going through someone other than the dealer (or directly online if possible). That said, many still find it helpful to have someone help them get good deals and help them understand what they need. Just like some prefer financial advisors even though there are cheap selve-service brokers available.
    – D Stanley
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 2:27

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