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How often should you shop for new car insurance?

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At the end of each year, it’s a good idea to review your household and living expenses to identify opportunities to maximize your money or save money in the future. This may include researching what insurance you have for your car. If you’ve moved or your auto insurance policy no longer meets your needs or the premiums are too high, it’s time to consider shopping around.

This annual financial review might even include your car insurance policy. Does your current policy still meet your needs? Did the cost exceed what you budgeted? Could you get a new policy that is less elsewhere?

Making sure you’re getting the best deal for your money isn’t the only reason to buy new quotes. You may also need to do this if you have been through various life events.

When to shop for a new car insurance policy

There are key times when you should consider requesting new auto insurance quotes. They include when you move to a new location, add a new driver to the policy, and when you purchase a new vehicle. But these are just a few of the occasions when it might be a good idea to explore your options.

“The auto insurance market is highly competitive and consumers have a wide variety of choices,” said Pat Callahan, president of personal insurance at Progressive. “Because prices vary from insurer to insurer and rates change frequently, it can be beneficial for consumers to shop around at least once a year.”

when you move

When you move from state to state, your insurance policy cannot simply be transferred with you. Auto insurance laws vary from state to state. Your policy and its premium are based on local laws and the specific cover you need to purchase.

But even moving from one city to another – or from one postcode to another within the same city – can be a reason to change policy, as local moves can mean changes to your daily commute to work. . Other factors can also change and impact your policy costs, such as local crime and accident rates.

“Even moving cities within the same state can have an effect on car insurance rates, as premiums vary by zip code. Metropolitan areas generally have a high concentration of drivers and an increased likelihood of accidents, which increases average insurance premiums,” says Renata Balasco, insurance expert and licensed agent at insurance comparison platform, The Zebra. “If you’re moving from a big city to a smaller suburb or residential area, or vice versa, you may see your rates change due to different traffic statistics.”

When adding a new driver

In most cases, adding a new driver to a policy can result in higher premiums. That’s because there’s now a higher likelihood of a claim, especially when you add a younger driver, which means another reason you might want to shop around and make sure you get the lowest price. as competitive as possible.

“Teenage drivers are the most expensive age group to insure because insurance companies consider them the least experienced on the road and the most likely to have accidents,” says Balasco. “Searching for a new policy when adding someone to it can allow you to browse through all available discount opportunities the new driver may be eligible for; some common examples include a good student discount, a driving lesson discount, or a student discount away from home.

When you get a new car

Naturally, when buying a new vehicle, you’ll want to make sure you have the right coverage. The first step is to inform your current insurance company, as you are required to do, in order to update your coverage. This process usually results in a new cost to the policy.

“The year, make and model of the car you drive have a significant impact on the cost of your policy. Newer vehicles may have safety features that older cars lack, but parts may be more expensive to replace if damaged,” says Balasco.

If your current policy changes too much for the new vehicle, consider getting additional quotes elsewhere to find the best rate for your situation.

When your policy needs to change

Beyond all the specific examples already discussed, your policy needs may also change for other reasons. Maybe you’re a remote worker now, and in previous years you used to commute a lot. The amount you drive impacts the cost of your insurance. If you drive less now, you may be able to lower the overall price of the policy.

Also, if your car is getting older and you no longer feel the need for as much coverage as you once did. And you can also consider shopping around for a new font quote.

“Changes in jobs, school starting or ending, kids entering or returning from college, will likely change your vehicle usage and your insurance needs,” Callahan says. “So it pays to contact your current agent or company and possibly buy new coverage if you’re unhappy with what they can offer you.”

When the policy no longer fits your budget

Of course, you don’t need to have undergone major changes in your life in order to prompt the search for new politics quotes. In some cases, you may simply want to do this because your premium has increased and you need to bring the costs in line with your current budget needs, especially at a time when inflation is pinching many households’ budgets.

“Car insurance rates go up every year, regardless of your driving profile,” says Balasco. “If your premium has increased beyond your comfort level, or if you’ve been with a particular carrier for several years, it may be time to shop around. Another insurance company may be able to offer lower rates or different discount opportunities.

4 tips for buying insurance

When setting out to get new quotes, remember that there are many ways to reduce the cost of a car insurance policy, but you need to make sure you still have all the coverage you need. .

“It’s important to compare the coverages with your current policy, not just look at the price,” advises Carmella Cange, Head of Personal Lines Product Design and Experience at Liberty Mutual, Global Retail Markets. in the USA. “Companies may offer different coverages or limits on their quote, which is often the cause of price disparity. Customers should ensure they are comparing costs with similar policy conditions. »

It’s also essential to read the fine print of a quote, as some companies may quote prices based on a six-month policy versus a 12-month policy to make the price seem cheaper.

Here are other ways to shop:

  • Use the online quote comparison tools: Online comparison platforms make it easy to see your coverage options and quotes in one place. This can simplify the buying process and save you time.

  • Working with an independent insurance agency: When you work with an independent agency, they will do the comparisons for you.

  • Group policies: If you’re looking for even more ways to save money, it might also be a good idea to bundle your insurance policies. That means using one insurance company to provide your home, your renters, your car, your pet, and your life insurance, or whatever policy you need. Often, bundling can earn you a discount on multiple policies, while making it easier to manage all of your policies in one place.

The take-out sale

Shopping around for new car insurance at least once a year can save you money and also help you adjust the policy to suit your current lifestyle and budget needs. When looking for new quotes, be sure to compare equal levels of coverage and policy conditions for the price. You can also make the buying process faster and easier by using an insurance comparison platform or by working with an independent insurance agency that can do the comparison for you.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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