How do I renew my auto insurance policy?

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently...

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business...

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Reviewed byBrad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Here's what you should know...
  • The typical term for an auto insurance policy is either six months or one year
  • It is possible that you are enrolled in an automatic renewal process for your auto insurance policy
  • It might be possible to renew your auto insurance policy online through your auto insurance company
  • You do not necessarily have to wait for the end of your auto insurance policy term in order to switch to another auto insurance company

If you think you are nearing the end of your policy term and are wondering how to renew your auto insurance, the answer may be as easy as doing nothing.

You might have an automatic renewal on your policy. If you have any questions about your auto insurance policy, you can call your auto insurance agent directly to make sure that you do not have a lapse in coverage.

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The Term of Your Auto Insurance Policy


If you are wondering when your auto insurance policy ends, you can always check on your proof of auto insurance card. It will have the effective dates of your auto insurance policy listed right on it. If you cannot find your auto insurance card, you can always call your agent.

Your state department of insurance may have a record of your auto insurance policy if you cannot remember which company you purchase auto insurance through.

If you are not enrolled in an automatic renewal program, at the end of your auto insurance policy term you will no longer have coverage. You will need to speak with your auto insurance agent about renewing for another policy term.

What If the Auto Insurance Company Refuses to Renew Your Coverage


It is possible that the auto insurance company could refuse to renew your auto insurance policy. If they make this decision, they are required under state law to provide you notice so that you are able to make arrangements for a new auto insurance company. You will want to act quickly to secure adequate auto insurance coverage so that you are not caught driving without the required auto insurance coverage in your state.

One of the major reasons that an auto insurance company could choose to not renew an auto insurance policy is for non-payment of your auto insurance premiums.

If you are consistently paying late for your auto insurance premiums or have failed to pay at all, then you should expect your auto insurance coverage to either be canceled early or not renewed at the end of your policy’s term.

It is important to make sure that you make all of your auto insurance premium payments on time because this could help you to avoid paying higher rates for auto insurance. When you go to apply for another auto insurance policy or shop around between different auto insurance companies for a good rate, you will be asked about your status of auto insurance coverage.

If you are not currently covered with auto insurance, this could mean that you will pay a higher premium.

Another major reason why an auto insurance could choose not to renew an auto insurance policy is that there were claims filed during the term or serious traffic offenses.

If this is true for you, you may need to find auto insurance through a company that specializes in insuring high-risk drivers. These companies are different in each state, so your state department of insurance is a good resource for a list to start with.

What Happens When You Switch Auto Insurance Companies


You do not actually have to wait until the end of your current policy term in order to switch to a new auto insurance company. If you find that you could get a much lower rate through another auto insurance company, you should switch your policy over whenever it is most convenient for you.

This does not mean that you lose the unused portion of your auto insurance premium that you have with your current company. Rather, they will return the remaining portion of your auto insurance premium to you, with the exception of a small administrative fee.

The most important thing you need to pay attention to during the process of switching auto insurance companies is that you do not have a period of lapse in coverage. Driving without auto insurance has serious consequences including license suspension.

If you are switching to a new auto insurance company and end up canceling your existing auto insurance policy too soon, you could face serious penalties under state law for being caught driving without the necessary auto insurance coverage.

To avoid this from happening, you just need to make sure that your new coverage starts as soon as your current coverage ends.

Wrap Up on Renewing Your Auto Insurance Policy


If your auto insurance policy does not have an automatic renewal, then you can make a quick phone call to your current auto insurance agent to let them know that you wish to renew your coverage.

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