You’ll hear us and other insurance agents say that it pays to shop around when it comes to your auto insurance. Shopping around doesn’t always guarantee you a lower rate, but there are cases where it will and sometimes dramatically. If you’re wondering if you should, consider these four reasons to shop around for car insurance.
We asked InsuraMatch insurance advisor Seth Miller to tell us when is a good time to shop around for car insurance. Here’s what he had to say:
4 Reasons to Shop Around for Car Insurance
“If your policy is going to get a rate increase, the renewal period is when it will happen,” Seth tells us. Because of this, the renewal period is a great time to shop around. “Another insurer may offer you a better rate, especially if you plan to pay in full for the next 6 months or year, so it can pay off to take a few minutes and ask your insurance agent to compare quotes for you.”
An insurance agent can help you shop multiple companies at once and help you determine whether you qualify for any discounts. Discounts vary from insurer to insurer as do the ways they rate your risk, so you can expect to see different price points from different insurers when you are looking for insurance quotes. If you’ve made any changes to your policy in the last policy term, those factors could change how your risk is rated, which means your best match may have also changed.
If you’re coming to the end of your first policy period, you’ll definitely want to shop around at renewal. Once you’ve established an insurance history, you can get rated with more insurance companies thanks to having “prior insurance.” Says Seth, “Many companies will give you a nice credit for that, lowering your rates and giving you more choice when you shop around for car insurance quotes.”
Seth adds, “Keep in mind that many companies offer a discount for shopping your policy early. This is often referred to as an ‘Advanced Shoppers Discount.’ Get your quotes at least 10 days prior to your current expiration date to ensure you get the maximum discount.” Thanks for the tip, Seth!
Getting a ticket or traffic violation or getting in an accident can affect your insurance rates, and not in a good way. If you get a ticket or are in an accident, don’t shop around for insurance until your policy is up for renewal, since that is when a related rate increase takes effect. Seth advises, “Once you get your renewal offer in the mail, shop around to see if you can find discounts or if a different insurer will give you a lower rate to help offset your new, higher premium.”
If you have a loyalty program or have purchased an endorsement on your policy, like Accident Forgiveness, that will exclude the accident, you may not need to worry about a premium increase with your current insurer and because of that, it may make sense to stick with your insurer for the renewal.
Moving can affect your insurance rates, too. “Every insurance policy takes your zip code into account and looks at the likelihood of people living in that zip code making a claim. Shopping around after you move is a good idea to find the best insurer for that risk,” says Seth. One insurance company may have better rates in your new area than another, even if you only moved a few miles from your last residence, so you’ll want to compare quotes after moving to see if you’re still getting the best rate and the best coverage.
So where will you find better rates? Seth sums it up, “The likelihood that someone living in New York City will have an accident is higher than someone living in a rural area, so the people living in New York City will pay more for their insurance than the people living in rural areas.”
Adding a person
Adding someone else to your policy can help or hurt your rates, depending on that person’s driving history. Many insurance companies offer new driver discounts and good student discounts if you’ll be adding your child to your policy. Shopping around can help you figure out which companies will offer the best discounts.
Advises Seth, “When adding your significant other or spouse, it usually makes the most sense to combine your policies into one, instead of paying for two separate policies, even if that person does not have a good driving record. Oftentimes, insurance companies will rate you more favorably if you’re married, so make sure to tell your insurance agent you’re newly married when you shop around. You should get a quote from both your insurance carrier and your spouses, to see which offers a better rate when combining policies.”
Working with a licensed insurance agent to shop around can help you determine your best match for coverage. Independent agencies are well suited to provide you with quotes from multiple insurance carriers, since they are not beholden to any one carrier. They also have tools that allow them to quote all the carriers they represent at one time, which can help you choose the right policy for your needs this policy period, not to mention potentially saving you time and money!
Could you be saving on your auto insurance? Compare quotes today by calling one of our expert insurance advisors today at (844) 300-3364!
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