How to Find the Best Car Insurance Online

Finding car insurance can seem like the biggest hassle. It’s tempting to put it off, sign up for the first deal that you see, or even just sign up with the same insurers as your parents. However if you’re looking to get the best value for your money, then you actually have to do the looking yourself.

Back in the day if you wanted to find the best insurance, you needed to pound the pavement and wade through a pile of greasy insurance salesmen who wanted you to buy cover for more than just your car. Blink for a moment with these guys and you would find yourself signed up for life insurance, health insurance, and riot insurance (did you know you could get that?) on top of the most expensive car insurance policy out there.

Thankfully, we have the internet now and finding the right insurance isn’t such a gut-wrenching trial.

Google It

Before picking up insurance, google it! Type in some of the obvious phrases like “Best car insurance for under 25’s” and “car insurance traps.” Have a look at what’s out there and wrap your head around some of the traps to avoid.

For example, you might want to take out the cheapest insurance you can find – after all that leaves more in your pocket. However if you take out minimal cover, you might find yourself $17,000 out of pocket after your insurance has paid all they’ve covered you for.

Use an Insurance Comparison Site

Now that you’ve got an idea of the amount of cover you need, and the pitfalls to avoid, use an insurance comparison site to find a cover that suits you. There are several websites that will list and compare multitudes of insurance options, so you don’t have to wade through every individual website. Chances are, if you google car insurance, you will find these websites easily.

These sites will also alert you to any deals that are currently on, such as a first month free, or a cash back offer. Just keep an eye out for the ‘sponsored’ links. These people pay to be pushed higher up in the search rankings, so while they might appear at the top of the list, they aren’t always a good deal.

Google It Again

Once you’ve reviewed the policies available and narrowed it down to two or three options, google those companies and see what people are saying about them.

Remember that no one likes insurance companies, are you aren’t likely to find many positive reviews. People mostly take to the internet to review a company when they’ve had a bad experience, so take their feedback with a grain of salt.

However, people also don’t complain without a reason. If a company has a string of complaints noting that they didn’t pay out when they should of, or that their customer service is impossible to deal with consider skipping them. It might cost you a few extra dollars a month, but insurance is pointless if it won’t pay when you need it.

What You Need to Do After Graduating College and Moving into the Real World

So you just got that diploma and are making your way into the ever-so-deeply-feared “real world.”

You might be excited. You might be terrified. You might be depressed. Or, you might be a weird combination of all three and a bunch of other emotions.

I was there once.

I had a mixed bag of emotions. I was pretty upset that I was leaving my “glory days” of college. You might know what I mean. Probably (okay, definitely) a little too much drinking, the freedom to do whatever you want most of the day, and unlimited entertainment all over campus.

Though I missed these things, there’s always a time to grow up and move on. Though I was able to make new friends as I moved and found plenty of things to do, there was one thing that I wasn’t too sure about – money.

I did a decent job at managing my money in college, but never really had a budget or watched it too closely.

Now I had to pay way-too-expensive rent, figure out how to start saving my money instead of blindly spending it at the bar, and learn the ins and outs of money.

I decided to put this article together to go over some basic first steps you should take to help you as you make the transition from college to the “real world.”

Step 1 – Make a Budget

As I mentioned, I never used a budget in college. I simply looked at how much money I had and tried not to blow it all too quick.

Now that I had less support from my parents and a lot more expenses, I knew it was time that I needed to start budgeting.

Though I won’t go too in-depth about budgeting here, you should at least start by writing out all of your sources of income and all of your expenses. Start out by subtracting your necessities from your income (rent, food, utilities, student loan payments, etc.), then see how much you have left for the nonessential things such as drinks on the weekend, cable, etc.

I have found that the 80/20 budget works really well for me. To learn more about this, check out my last post.

Step 2 – Start Paying Down Student Loan Debt

After you graduate you typically have 6 months before you have to start making payments on your student loans. if you have private student loans, this may not be true, and you may actually be already making payments.

Regardless of what kind of loans you have, if any, it is imperative to figure out how you are going to repay your loans. There are all kinds of repayment plans and options for those with student debt – both those doing well and those struggling.

Figure out what kind of loans you have, their balances and interest rates, and minimum monthly payments. Next, research some of the different student loan repayment options that you have.

If you have a great job and good credit score, you might want to consider refinancing your student loans to a lower interest rate.

If you are struggling to afford your payments, consider going onto an income-driven repayment plan that limits your payments to a proportion of your income.

Step 3 – Start Saving & Investing

Most people leave college with high amounts of debt and no savings. If you were somehow able to save money in college, props to you. I know I wasn’t and it wasn’t until I had a real job that I was able to start saving some money.

When you create your budget, see if you can make some room to set money aside for savings. At first, just building up some money in your bank account should be sufficient.

Once you have built up a decent amount of money, you might want to consider looking into a retirement plan such as a 401k or Roth IRA. Many employers offer these plans to employees and some even match contributions.

Final Thoughts

There are tons of things that will change after graduating college. You will make new friends, possibly lose some friends, and will experience so many new things. The one thing you shouldn’t have to stress about, though, is your money.

Do your research, make a plan, execute it, and you’ll be just fine. There are always options if you are struggling and tons of technology out there to help you along the way.

You may not know exactly what lies ahead, but that’s okay. You are still young and have time to make mistakes and learn, so go out there and start living!