When you’re in the market for car insurance, it can be tempting to buy from the first agent or company that contacts you. However, with so many different companies to choose from, and so many variables to consider (such as deductibles, coverage limits, and other options), shopping around can help you get the best price and value for your money. Here are some tips on when you should shop around to ensure you get the right car insurance policy at the right price.
When you are buying a new car
When you buy a new car, it makes sense to shop around for an auto insurance quote. Car manufacturers are cutting costs by using cheaper parts, which means that your shiny new ride could be more prone to damage than ever before. And if you’ve financed your new set of wheels with debt, having auto liability coverage is now even more important. If you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for any potential accident-related repairs—and don’t want your credit score taking a hit—get an insurance quote as soon as possible after buying your new set of wheels. Your premium will likely increase, but so will your peace of mind in knowing that you’re protected if something goes wrong.
When you are keeping your old car
If you’re keeping your old car, buying shop insurance is probably optional. That you have collision coverage will most likely protect your current vehicle in case of an accident. You can verify if shop insurance would be helpful or not by calling your auto insurance agent and finding out whether they cover damages done to an off-road vehicle or just cars and trucks.
When does your coverage expire?
If you’re in need of new coverage, and your current policy has expired, then now is an ideal time to shop around. If you’re shopping with insurance companies that offer varying premium amounts and feature packages, you can be sure to get several estimates—allowing you flexibility when it comes time to select your plan. The Internet makes shopping around simple.
When do my rates go up?
In general, rates go up after you’ve had your policy for awhile and if you’ve caused any damage or had any accidents. As soon as you know that nothing bad has happened in your life—whether an accident or not—you should shop around and get quotes from different companies. This can help protect yourself against rate hikes down the road.
When do I renew my policy?
If you haven’t looked at your policy recently, there’s no better time than now. Has your deductible changed? Have new coverages become available? This can be an opportune moment to shop around and find more coverage that could save you money down the road. Reviewing your coverage every six months or so may help ensure that you aren’t spending too much on protection and make sure you get access to discounts if they apply.
What factors affect my premiums?
Before shopping around, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of your personal circumstances. This will inform you on how much coverage you actually need. For example, if you have a new job with higher income and savings, or are married and have a partner who can help cover costs in case of an accident or injury, then you might be able to drop some coverage options from your policy. If there are more cars in your household now than when you last shopped for insurance (or if they are all relatively new), then shop around because rates might have changed since your last renewal date. If one of these factors applies to you and could save money on premiums by adjusting some coverage levels—do it! You don’t want to miss out on potential savings just because it was convenient not to make any changes.