Ever wonder if getting a 12-month auto insurance policy is better than buying a 6-month policy? There are pros and cons for going either direction, but ultimately it might be in your best interest to stay with the shorter-term version.
A 12-Month Plan
The main benefit with a 12-month auto insurance plan is that you are locked in for the term, so no changes in the cost for a whole year. This can be good if you have an infraction, because you won’t be penalized with higher premiums for the remaining portion of your 12-month term.
A 6-Month Plan
A 6-month auto insurance policy gives you the advantage of being able to re-evaluate your insurance needs more often. Because it is for 6 months, an up-front payment can be more palatable when you’re paying half of what you would with a 12-month policy.
The 6-month option gives more freedom to shop around, whether you are unhappy with your provider or you expect your rates to rise.
Why Rates Go Up
Insurance rates can hike up for a lot of reasons, but must first be approved by your state’s insurance department. They can go up due to risk factors and changing situations including the following:
1. You move – Some locations put you more at risk.
- If you move from a low-traffic rural area to a city with more commuters on the road, you will pay higher rates.
- A move to a part of the country where natural disasters such as tornadoes occur, will likely mean higher rates. Conversely, moving into an area with few climate issues can bring your rates down.
- Moving into or out of areas high in crime can change rates. Note that car thefts can be more common in high population locations.
2. Your driving record changes – If you get an infraction or are involved in an accident, your premium will probably go up. If an infraction is lifted from your record, you might receive a bit of rate relief.
3. Your credit score changes – Most states allow insurance companies to factor in your credit score when deciding what your premium rate will be. A Bureau of Business Research study concluded that if you have a bad credit score you are a risk to auto insurance companies because you’re more likely to file a claim, or be the driver at fault in a car accident. As a result, your rate tends to increase if you have bad credit.
4. Your state’s laws or guidelines change – States differ on legal requirements for insurance coverage and these requirements can change. The kind of insurance and amount of coverage you are required to have can mean higher costs for you.
5. Life changes – There’s a whole laundry list of life-related events that can affect how much you pay for car insurance including:
- A teenager is added to your policy, so you pay more.
- You are now older than 60, so your rates will probably increase.
- Receiving a college degree can result in lower premiums, by as much as 20%.
- Get a new car and rates can go up, but a depreciated vehicle results in lower rates.
- You get married and are automatically considered less of a risk, so your rates are lower.
Why Shop Car Insurance Every 6 Months?
Insurance providers differ and circumstances change. Here are some good reasons to shop around for new car insurance coverage every 6 months:
1. You have at least 6 months of continuous coverage.
The longer and more consistent your coverage is, the better rate you’ll get. You might be able to get a lower premium with another company.
2. Your car or truck depreciates.
Compare rates to see how much that can save you.
3. You have a birthday.
Getting older can bring you discounts and turning 60 or older can result in higher costs. Either way, now’s a good time to explore your options.
4. You might get a better deal.
Given the competitive insurance industry environment, and with variables ever-changing, it never hurts to compare rates and policies. You might find lower cost and/or better coverage with another carrier, so it pays to shop.
It can certainly be worth your while to shop around for car insurance and compare coverage costs every 6 months. You might be surprised at how much you can save. Shop car insurance around is quick and easy when you use Einsurance online.