Does it matter when you shop for your home, car, or other insurance? Will it impact your premium, coverage, or insurance eligibility? Insurance is a competitive industry. That means insurers are competing with each other to offer the best rate to customers, so you can shop around to find the best coverage and price. But how far in advance should you start shopping for insurance?
Unlike health insurance, most insurance policies don’t have an “open period” for enrollment. That means you can buy whenever it’s most convenient for you. But there is a right and wrong time to shop for insurance. You want to make sure you’re avoiding lapses in coverage while getting the best price and coverage for when you need it.
Read on to learn how far in advance you should start shopping for insurance for home, auto, and other.
When to start shopping for home and auto insurance
If your current insurance is renewing…
You want to avoid any lapses in coverage, especially for home and auto insurance. A gap in coverage usually can lead to higher premiums, and it can leave you unprotected.
A lot of experts will tell you to start shopping for insurance when you receive your renewal notice. This usually comes 30 to 45 days before your current insurance policy is set to renew for another year. This paperwork tells you what your rates and coverage will be for the next policy term. If you see a major change in rates, you have options. You’ll want to contact your insurance agent and to consider shopping around to see if other insurance companies will offer you a better rate.
Ideally, you’ll want to get everything squared away with a new insurer at least a week before your switch date to avoid lapses in coverage. Another benefit to starting to shop early is that many insurers will offer you an early-bird discount. Shopping ahead shows you’re a responsible client, which some insurers reward with a discounted rate.
When is the best time to start looking for new insurance
Start looking around two months in advance. If you don’t have that much time or want to make a switch sooner, InsuraMatch can and will help you shop around for rates quickly and easily. Just give us a call at (844) 300-3364 to speak with one of our expert insurance advisors.
Tip: When you’re shopping for new insurance, have a copy of your insurance declarations page handy. This verifies your current coverage, including your premium rate. You can share this information with your insurance agent to ensure you’re getting the same amount of coverage as before when you shop around. You’re not really getting a better rate on your coverage if your limits aren’t as comprehensive as they were before!
Not sure how to compare quotes from insurers? Check out our Quick And Dirty Guide To Comparison Quote Shopping.
If you want to make a switch midterm…
You have insurance already, but your renewal period is still several months away. Can and should you make a switch in the middle of a policy?
It depends. There are different reasons you might consider switching insurers, which you can read about here. If your current insurer doesn’t provide adequate coverage or has horrible customer service, for example, you might be more eager to switch in the middle of your policy.
If you’re seriously displeased with your service, shop around to see if a switch makes sense for you. You don’t want to get stuck in a bind if you had to make a claim for some reason. Generally, it’s better to switch insurers to work with a company you trust. If something happens, you’ll want to know you’re in good hands.
If you do make the switch, some insurers will charge a penalty or cancellation fee. They’ll also require you to pay off any payments that are outstanding, so make sure you’re up to date on your premiums. If they don’t receive these payments before cancelling, they may automatically send it to collections—which can damage your credit score and standing (which can then affect your rates down the line…).
Tip: If you’re switching midterm, you are in a privileged position where you can pick on which day you’d like your new insurance to start. Usually, the date of purchase is the due date for your new coverage. So, if you start a new policy on the fifth of the month, you’ll have to pay your premiums every fifth of the month. You can choose to start your new insurance on the day you want to pay your insurance bill each month!
If you’re purchasing insurance for the first time…
If you just bought a car or home for the first time, you might be in the process of purchasing insurance for the first time. In this case, there’s never a wrong time to start shopping for coverage. You want to insure your assets as soon as possible to mitigate risk and protect your new purchase. We recommend having insurance before you get the keys to your new house or take your new car off the lot—because you never know what could happen!
Our insurance advisors can help you make sure your new asset is adequately insured. We’ll explain everything you need to know about insurance, so you can feel confident protecting your new and exciting purchase. Give us a call today at (844) 300-3364.
If you’re moving states…
You have 30 to 90 days, depending on the state, to register your car and get insurance in your new state. With both home and auto insurance, though, we recommend purchasing a policy as soon as possible. You ideally want your home insured the same day you close on the house, and your car should be insured the moment your tires cross state lines.
Incidents are actually more common right after moving. You’re not familiar with the roads, so you accidentally hit a curb. You move into your new house and find that a pipe has burst in the last week. Your risk can be higher after a move, so you want to offset this risk by preparing with insurance coverage as soon as possible
If something were to happen in the first month or week after moving and you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay all of those costs out of pocket. On top of the high cost of moving, you could quickly end up in a financial jam just by not having insurance soon enough.
When to start shopping for “other” insurance
The same rules above apply to most insurance, like RV or boat insurance. But we’ll go through the specifics below to make sure you find additional insurance at the right time.
We recommend purchasing flood insurance at the same time as your home insurance. Don’t wait until after a flood to get insured, which will cause your rates to go up. Every house, even in a low-risk zone, is at risk for a flood. Learn more about flood insurance here.
Renters and condo insurance function like homeowners’ insurance in most cases. Although it’s not required by law for renters, your landlord might require it. You want to get renters insurance first thing when you move into a new rental home to protect yourself and your property. If you want to switch, the same rules as above apply. Get more info on renters insurance here, and learn more about condo insurance here.
Boats and other summer toys actually have a unique time period for purchasing. Since they are seasonal items, the coverage you carry may change throughout the year, to suit your risk and budget. Like with your home or car, if you just purchased a new boat, RV, or motorcycle, though, you should purchase insurance even before you take it off the lot. The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for insurance for your “summer toys” is to make sure you have full coverage before you take your toys out for the summer. If you reduced or changed your coverage for the winter, like we discuss in this basic boat comprehensive winter insurance guide, you want to make sure you shop around for a new policy with higher limits or increase your coverage before taking it out for the summer season. Get more info here:
There’s never a wrong time to get an umbrella policy. If you have a home and/or auto policy, you can purchase “excess liability” coverage in the form of an umbrella policy. This raises your limits and covered perils in the case of a lawsuit against you, including home/auto liability, dog bites, slander, libel, false imprisonment, and more. Check out the importance of umbrella insurance here.
When not to switch your insurance
Don’t switch immediately after making a claim. We recommend sticking with an insurance company for the rest of your policy term after making a major claim to avoid the increased premium costs when switching insurers. Switching immediately can also make you look like a “risk” (especially a flight risk) to new insurers. If you make a claim, get paid out, and then switch, it gives off the impression that you’re going to “use” different insurance companies for their money.
Don’t switch midterm if the cancellation fees are exorbitant. Unless you’re having a major problem with your company, you may not want to pay a large fee to make a switch just to save money.
Don’t switch without first consulting your insurance agent. It’s our job to compare quotes, coverage, and insurers to find the perfect match for your needs.
It’s wise to shop around for insurance quotes to compare rates and to secure insurance coverage before you need it to avoid lapses in coverage. Shopping for new coverage in advance can lead to savings and help you avoid going without coverage, even if only for a day. You never know when disaster can strike. If you’re not sure when to begin the insurance shopping process, consult your insurance agent. Your agent will not only be able to guide you as to when to start shopping for insurance, but can also help you compare rates and determine the best coverage for your needs.
If you’re looking to shop for insurance for your home, auto, or other assets let one of our expert insurance advisors do the work for you.
Call us today at (844) 300-3364 to compare quotes!
Not by the phone? Request a quote or schedule a call with an advisor online: