| Car Life
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Purchasing a car is one of the biggest money-related decisions you will ever make. You may even make this purchase more than once. There is a lot to consider when you’re ready to buy a car, from new versus used, makes, models, fuel economy, interior style, and so on. It’s crucial to make sure your new car is the right fit for your budget and lifestyle. Additionally, it’s necessary to get the right auto insurance coverage for your needs. Finding the perfect vehicle is a big task and protecting it with the right insurance is essential.

The homework and research that goes into buying a new or used car can be intimidating, but it’s definitely not a process you can rush. Doing your homework before you walk into the car dealer can help make sure you don’t overpay. At Direct Auto Insurance, we’re here to simplify things by offering steps to buying a car with tips on how to find the perfect vehicle for you. Get the “4-1-1” on car shopping, receiving discounts or rebates on your car purchase, and negotiating for the best price.

For some drivers, selecting an auto insurance company can be just as intense! Where to start? Right here! We have tips for helping you choose an affordable, reliable, and flexible car insurance company to suit your needs. Ever wonder how your car insurance rate is determined? We’ll help you understand that, too!

Here’s what we’re going to cover below to help you learn all about purchasing a new car and picking the right car insurance. We understand the importance of making the smartest decision for yourself, and we’re here to help!

  • Steps to purchasing a new car
  • Auto insurance companies
  • Auto insurance rates
  • Low-income insurance tips: purchasing a car on low income

Steps to Buying a Car

Buying a car is an exciting experience, but also a big investment. We can help make that experience a little easier by arming you with some know-how before you start shopping.

  1. Shop Around

You may have a vehicle in mind that you just have to have, or you may be looking for the best quality used car that you can get a good price on. No matter what kind of car you’re looking for, it’s best to shop around when purchasing a vehicle.

It’s also a good idea to compare types of vehicles before you buy. Are you looking for a sports coupe, sedan, mini-van, small SUV, large SUV, or truck? Most car manufacturers’ websites let you see vehicle features and even view the interior and exterior of different vehicles. All without stepping foot into a car dealership. Think about the vehicle factors that could drive up your insurance rate too.

  1. Research the Best Price

Want to know what the dealership paid for the vehicle? Find out at Consumer Reports and know what you should be paying for the vehicle before you go shopping for a car. The dealer will still have a higher price but knowing what they paid could help you get the best deal.

  1. Ask for Discounts

Are you serving your country in the military? Are you a full-time student? These situations could land you some discounts when buying a car, and they aren’t the only discounts. Your employer or other groups may also offer car-buying discounts.

  1. Check for Rebates and Incentives

It’s always good to find out if car manufacturers are offering deals and rebates on their vehicles. You can find out fast at Edmunds.com or at Kelly Blue Book. 

  1. Get Quotes

You may have shopped around but getting several quotes from different car dealerships and comparing them to manufacturer rebates and incentives could help you find the best price. It may take more time but will save you money and get you the best value in the long run.

  1. Negotiate

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price, and don’t assume that dealer financing is your only option. Ask these 10 questions to help make sure you’re getting the best deal on your new car purchase.

  1. Skip the Extras

Skip the extended warranty, credit insurance, auto club memberships, car finish treatments, etc., to get the lowest and best price. Often these extras cost more but are of low value.

  1. Keep car safety in mind

Whatever type of car you choose, make sure safety is top of mind as you research vehicles. It’s “safe” to say that you always want to arrive at your destination safely. Driving a safe vehicle can give you peace of mind, no matter where you’re headed.

In some cases, certain safety features can even lead to car insurance discounts! To learn more about the safety rating of your vehicle or one you’re considering purchasing, check out the ratings on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

What car safety features should I look for?

Cars are built differently, but there are a few important elements of car safety no matter what vehicle you drive. When shopping for a car, keep these features in mind.

Airbags: An airbag is a cushion that is built into the vehicle to protect occupants in the event of an accident. Airbags deploy the instant that a crash begins and can keep you from hitting the interior of the vehicle or other objects during a crash.

Seatbelts: Seatbelts hold drivers and passengers safely inside their seats. In the event of a crash, seatbelts can prevent occupants from being injured or thrown from the vehicle.

Child Safety: Regulations, seats, and special features can be designed to keep children safe inside vehicles as they grow.

Car Kits: To make sure you’re prepared for anything, it’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. This kit should include items that will assist you in the event of an accident, bad weather, or car trouble.

  1. Get covered with a car insurance policy

Whether you live in Ohio or Florida, in a big city or rural area—you usually have many car insurance companies to choose from. Even young drivers or high-risk drivers will find themselves comparing two or more insurance companies. But when looking for the best auto insurance at the best price for you, where do you begin?

A great way to compare car insurance companies is to look for the signs of a company you can trust: great service, affordable rates, plenty of options, and a solid track record. Here is what to consider when shopping for auto insurance.

Cheap Coverage, Not Cheap Service

The best car insurance companies put you first.

Friendly, reliable, and knowledgeable representatives make all the difference. Let’s face it: insurance can be confusing. Find an insurance company with a staff of licensed customer service representatives who can help explain coverage options, create a policy, and quickly process payments and claims.

Make sure that the insurance company’s customer service representatives are available and accessible when you need them. Do they offer a toll-free number? Can they be reached online? Are they available in person?

Most importantly, are they willing to listen and work with your specific insurance needs? Find a car insurance company whose customer service department treats you like an individual and not a number. Responsive customer service is non-negotiable!

Low Cost, Not Low Expectations

Going with the best car insurance company doesn’t have to come at a high cost, although that’s what many drivers think. Every car insurance company calculates risk in a different way. The factors that influence car insurance rates may stay relatively the same from company to company, but they can be weighted differently.

  • Vehicle type: Some car insurance companies specialize in insuring certain vehicles, like antique cars. Other companies insure all kinds of vehicles, including big work trucks. Make sure your company knows your vehicle type.
  • How much you drive and where: If you tend to drive long distances or live in an area with a high crime rate, your insurance rate could be higher than someone who doesn’t put many miles on their car or lives in a remote area.
  • Your details: How old are you? Some car insurance companies really understand the needs of young drivers, high-risk drivers, or those with unique insurance histories. Other companies? Not so much. Your insurance rate could change depending on the level of importance a company puts on your personal details.
  • Driving and insurance record: Your driving and insurance record help determine your level of risk. At Direct Auto, we work hard to make insurance affordable regardless of your driving or insurance history.

While there’s no such thing as free auto insurance—cheap car insurance is a definite possibility when you choose an auto insurance company that understands your needs and is able to offer low monthly payments, low down payments, flexible payment options, and multiple discounts.

When comparing the overall cost of insurance coverage, consider the value of a reliable provider. There are plenty of cheap car insurance companies who claim to give you great coverage, but the right company will be there when you need them most. Find an established insurance company, such as Direct Auto, which has a long history as a reputable insurance provider.

Lots of Options, Not Restrictions

Some of the best auto insurance companies offer you choices—choices for how and when you pay, how much coverage you buy, and the type of insurance that’s available. Direct Auto is one of those companies!

You can pay online, over the phone, by app, or in person at a Direct Auto location. You can also choose a down payment and deductible that’s right for your budget. Beyond the state minimum requirements, your coverage amount is up to you, too.

Embrace the benefits of minimum auto insurance or get a policy that offers a little more, like Comprehensive and Collision. More flexibility means you get the coverage you need without paying for the coverage you don’t need.

Car Insurance Rates

Ever wonder how your car insurance rate is determined? We’ve got the answers.

There are many factors considered when your car insurance company determines your auto insurance premium, the obvious being the amount of auto coverage you choose and what deductible you choose. But there’s more to choosing the right price for you.

Check out types of auto coverage.

Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle you drive plays a role in how much your car insurance rate will cost. A brand-new sports coupe will be a little pricier than a minivan that’s paid off and would probably require more coverage by your lender.

How Much You Drive & Where

Drivers who use their car for work or drive long distances may have a higher car insurance premium. If you live in an urban area where there tends to be more crime, theft, and vandalism, your insurance rate could be higher than someone who lives in a rural area.


Your age, sex, and marital status all play a factor in determining your car insurance rate, drivers younger than 25 often pay higher premiums.

Driving Record

Your past driving record helps determine whether you are a low-risk or high-risk driver. Drivers who have been accident-free for several years will generally pay a lower insurance rate than those who have caused or been in multiple accidents.

Credit History

Studies show that drivers who have a poor credit rating are more likely to be involved in an accident or let their insurance coverage lapse.

Low-Income Drivers & Insurance

Car insurance is a necessary expense if you own a vehicle, but it can be hard to afford if you are part of a low-income family. It’s still possible to find cheap car insurance if you’re a low-income driver, and Direct Auto Insurance can help find you the most affordable auto coverage.

Shop Around

The best way to get auto insurance for a low-income driver is to shop around for the best price. Most auto insurance companies offer free quotes for auto insurance, and many offer competitive pricing. No matter what your budget, you should still expect the best from your insurance company.

Keep Your Coverage Simple

It may seem like a no-brainer but choosing the least amount of car insurance coverage that meets your state’s financial responsibility requirements could save you money on your car insurance policy. The most basic insurance coverage is called liability insurance. Every state requires auto insurance coverage, but the minimum required liability coverage varies by state. Check your state’s laws to find out what the minimum required auto insurance is for you.

Buy the Right Vehicle

Sports cars are usually more expensive to insure than a minivan or SUV. You can find a yearly list of the cheapest cars to insure at Forbes.com or check out 10 of the safest used cars under $10,000.

Sometimes, lenders require more coverage on your vehicle while the car is being financed. If your car is paid off, you could get cheaper car insurance by covering your vehicle with the minimum required amount of car insurance in your state.

Helpful Resources