When you are a single parent, your plate can be pretty full. Car insurance might be the last thing on your mind but you may want to devote some time to understanding your unique needs. When it comes to car insurance for single moms and dads, price is important, but the best policy is not always the cheapest policy. Knowing what factors affect your auto insurance premium and how you can save on your policy might help you find coverage that fits your needs and budget.

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Car insurance for single parents

When you are purchasing car insurance as a single parent, you may want to think about both coverage and price.

Car insurance companies often use demographics like your age, gender, marital status, insurance history and driving record, along with local accident statistics, your vehicle’s make and model, the coverages you choose and the discounts you qualify for, to determine your premium.

Increasing certain coverage limits can help protect your finances in the event of an accident, but increased limits do cost more money. Similarly, increasing your comprehensive or collision deductibles — if you have full coverage — can lower your premium, but you will pay more if you file a claim for damage to your vehicle.

Single parents and teen drivers

As a parent, the day your teen or young driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle can be terrifying, but the cost to add your teen driver to your insurance policy may be even more frightening. Since teenagers are new to driving, insurance companies consider them one of the most high-risk groups on the road. In fact, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest risk of motor vehicle crashes of any age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Although premiums will change as your teen gets older, you can expect to pay more for car insurance until your child reaches around age 25.

There are ways to save money on car insurance for teen drivers. Some companies offer good student discounts for teens with GPAs or letter-grade averages at or above a certain level. Many companies also offer discounts for teens who took driver training classes. And if your child is away at college without a vehicle, you may be able to put a distant student discount on your policy.

Car insurance coverages for single parents

When it comes to selecting coverages for your policy, remember that car insurance policies are packages of several different coverages. Although some coverages are often required by your state and some are optional, the following coverages could be beneficial to a single parent:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability coverages: If you cause an accident and you do not have enough insurance to cover the other party’s damages, you may have to pay for them out of pocket or risk a lawsuit, both of which could put a significant strain on your family and your finances. Instead of purchasing your state’s minimum limits, you may want to consider purchasing higher limits of liability.
  • Medical payments and/or PIP coverage: If your state offers medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, purchasing higher limits could be a great idea if you are concerned about paying medical bills after an accident. These coverages could help with medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault. PIP may also provide coverage for lost wages and other expenses like childcare. Some states require either medical payments or PIP coverage by law, and in some states you may have the option to purchase either one or both.
  • Comprehensive and collision coverages: Adding comprehensive and collision coverages to your policy gives you financial protection for damage that happens to your vehicle. If you do not have the savings to repair or replace your vehicle out of pocket, you might want to consider full coverage.
  • Rental car coverage: Rental car coverage is designed to cover the cost of a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired due to a covered loss. Single parents who do not have another vehicle at home may want to consider this option.

Remember that although your premium will increase when you add these coverages, these upgrades could save you money and stress in the long run.

How to save on car insurance as a single parent

For single parents on a budget, saving money on car insurance might be even more important than it is for many households. Just because you carry car insurance does not mean you have to purchase a policy that will break the bank. Although there are not generally programs that offer car insurance assistance for single moms and dads, there are things you can do to keep your premium in check.

Here a few tips on how to save on your car insurance as a single parent:

Shop around

Car insurance companies each have a unique rating algorithm to determine your premium. Because there are so many factors that go into your rate, you will likely get a different quote from each company you call, even if the coverages are the same. Knowing what you are looking for from a company and getting quotes from different providers might help you find the best car insurance company for your unique situation.

Ask about discounts

Insurance companies often offer a multitude of discounts for consumers that could help to lower the cost of insurance. When purchasing a policy or getting a quote, be sure to go through each of your company’s available discounts to check if you are eligible. Popular discounts for single parents may include multi-policy discounts, good driving discounts, claims-free discounts, vehicle safety feature discounts and customer loyalty discounts.

Maintain a clean driving record

Although accidents happen, filing claims can increase your premium, and the increase after an accident can be significant. Avoiding tickets, accidents and DUI convictions can help keep your premium down by avoiding surcharges. Signing up for an accident forgiveness program before you have an accident might help you keep your premiums down if the unexpected happens — these programs usually forgive the first at-fault accident on your policy or one at-fault loss in a certain number of years, although each carrier’s program will be different.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company for single parents?

There is no one best car insurance company for single parents. Every company is different and every driver has different needs, so the best insurance company is the one that best fits your coverage needs and budget.

Is car insurance more expensive if you are a single parent?

Sometimes. There are a lot of factors that make up car insurance premiums, and marital status might be one of them, depending on the state you live in and the company you choose. However, there are more rating factors than just marital status. The type of car you insure, your driving record, the coverages you choose and the discounts you qualify for will all impact your premium.

How much will my car insurance increase when I add a teen driver?

Your premium increase for adding a teenage driver onto your policy will vary depending on your teen’s gender and age, as well as the coverages you already have, whether or not you add a car for your teen to drive and if you and your teen qualify for discounts. However, you can expect a significant increase in your premium when you add a teen, due to their inexperience on the road. But there are ways you can save, and adding a teen driver might be a good time to shop your policy with other companies.