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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Many drivers purchase auto insurance at the time they purchase their vehicle, and they allow their policy to renew automatically without giving it a second thought.
With this in mind, it is understandable that you may not know the term length for your auto insurance policy. However, the term length and your policy expiration dates are important details that all drivers need to pay attention to for important reasons.
Compare car insurance quotes to find the coverage you need for the best rate. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to get started.
Understanding Why Your Term Length Matters
The most common term length for auto insurance is six months, but policy lengths may be selected between three and 12 months through many insurance companies.
While some providers do not offer a term length choice to applicants, others let you choose the renewal period based on your needs or preferences.
You may not realize why the term length for your policy matters, and a closer look will provide you with the information you seek.
Because auto insurance policies generally renew automatically, you may think that you do not need to pay attention to the renewal or expiration date on your policy. However, savvy drivers will take a few important steps at or before the renewal date, and these include:
- Reviewing existing coverage
- Shopping for lower rates
- Updating their insurance card
Ideally, you will compare rates for car insurance every six months. Insurance providers alter their rates and qualifying factors, and your own insurance-related factors can change periodically as well.
When you shop for new coverage every six months, you can rest easy knowing that your vehicle is properly insured and that you are not paying more than necessary for your coverage.
By selecting a six-month term length, you are building in a reminder to compare rates periodically.
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*based on a survey of 1,000 car insurance customers
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Preparing to Shop Around for Car Insurance
Whether you are setting up your first car insurance policy or you are shopping around online on or near your renewal date, you need to take a few important steps before you start shopping.
By focusing your attention on a few critical points, you can make the best overall decision regarding your insurance coverage, and you may even save time shopping online for new rates.
Choosing a Reputable Provider
There are dozens of car insurance companies that you can request quotes from, but these insurance companies are not all the same. Some are financially more secure than others, and this means that you may have less trouble getting your insurer to pay out on a claim.
In addition, some have a better reputation for providing fast, friendly service or for having a convenient claims process.
Before you request quotes, spend time reviewing these factors to develop a list of the top insurance companies you want to request quotes from.
Determining the Amount of Coverage You Need
You also need to determine the coverage type and limits that you want to buy.
Some drivers will only purchase the minimum amount of liability coverage that is required by law, but there may be benefits associated with increasing your coverage limits and expanding your coverage types.
Remember that any expenses that are not covered by your auto insurance policy are your financial responsibility.
Drivers should spend time learning more about the coverage options before shopping. You should also estimate potential expenses related to a moderate or severe accident to determine the ideal coverage limits to apply for.
Saving Money on Your Auto Insurance Premium
Regardless of your auto insurance term length, you understandably want to keep your cost as lost as possible. Your coverage types and limits selected will play a direct role in the cost of your coverage, but other factors can also affect your auto insurance costs. These include:
Paying Your Premium in Full
In addition to adjusting your coverage types and limits to control your insurance cost, you may also be able to save money by paying your premium in full at each renewal date.
It can be much more expensive to pay a 12-month policy in full than it is to pay a six-month policy in full.
By paying your policy premium in full, you reduce the administrative costs associated with an insurance company accepting monthly payments, and insurance companies typically pass this savings onto drivers.
You may also be able to reduce administrative fees and save money on your auto insurance policy in other ways. For example, insuring multiple drivers or vehicles under one policy could be financially beneficial.
You may also be able to save money on car insurance when you bundle your auto policy with a homeowner’s, renter’s, or life policy for the same reason.
Using Car Insurance Discounts
Car insurance discounts are another common way for drivers to save money on insurance premiums.
While you are shopping around to compare rate quotes for policies with different term lengths, coverage types, and coverage limits, take the next step to inquire about discounts.
The discount options as well the requirements that you must meet to qualify for them vary. Therefore, it can pay off to spend time learning more about these money-saving options.
While discounts vary, there are a few common discounts that are available through most providers. These discounts include:
- A discount for special safety features on your car
- A low mileage discount
- A discount for storing your vehicle in a garage
- A safe driver or claims-free history discount
- A senior citizen discount
Choosing the Right Term Length
The term length of your auto insurance policy may not seem important at first glance, but you can see that it can play a role in your coverage in several important ways.
As you shop around to compare prices from reputable insurance companies, consider the benefits associated with choosing a six-month term.
Because you may get a discount for paying the premium amount in full, some drivers may find it more affordable to choose an even shorter term, such as a three-month term.
Compare car insurance quotes for free today by entering your zip code below.