What to Know About Renewing Car Insurance Automatically

With automatic renewal car insurance, your insurance company will notify you about 30 days before policy renewal. Make sure you update your driving records with automatic renewal car insurance.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 20, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Most car insurance policies offer automatic renewal plans
  • Your auto insurance provider will give you a notice about 30 days before your policy is automatically renewed
  • Make sure your insurance company has your most up-to-date driving records as this can occasionally lower your premiums

Many car insurance customers are surprised to learn that their car insurance automatically renews every year. While this may seem like a convenience, you should be sure to know all of the ins and outs of the process.

There are definite benefits and drawbacks to allowing your auto insurance policy to automatically renew. Read on to learn what you need to know to most effectively manage this process.

Learn the pros and cons about automatic insurance renewal by entering your zip code above!

About Car Insurance Auto Renewal

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Most car insurance policies have an automatic renewal. The term of a car insurance policy is usually one year, however, at the end of the year, the policy will often automatically kick in for another year.

This is specified when you agree to the terms and conditions of your automobile insurance policy. However, many consumers don’t realize or don’t remember that their policies will automatically renew.

Usually, your auto insurance provider will give you notice about 30 days before your policy is automatically renewed. This notice is a courtesy that allows you enough time to change or cancel your existing policy before it is automatically renewed.

For some consumers, automatic car insurance renewal is a great benefit. You are freed from the possibility of being inadvertently caught without coverage, which can be costly if you are involved in an accident.

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Why Your Insurer Wants to Auto Renew Your Policy

Auto insurers lose a lot of business to consumers who are shopping around for a lower rate. If auto insurance policies expire, many consumers will use the opportunity to take the initiative to look for a new provider.

When a policy is automatically renewed, the insurer automatically updates the premium information — which is usually done without the policyholder’s involvement.

Once a customer realizes that their policy has been renewed, he or she usually accepts the new rate without making the effort to try to negotiate, cancel, or look for a better one. Car insurance companies count on this reaction.

Questions to Ask before Your Policy is Automatically Renewed

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When you sign up for a car insurance policy, you should check to see if it will automatically renew at the end of the term.

If so, you will want to ask your insurer some specific questions to make sure that you continue to get the pricing and service that you are inspecting.

Make sure that your insurer is clear with you about the date of your renewal. Don’t count on the insurance company to notify you before your policy is automatically renewed.

This is also a good opportunity to make sure that you have the proper level of insurance coverage. If your insurance automatically renews at a certain coverage level every year, it may quickly become out of date.

When you need your insurance, you may discover that your level of coverage doesn’t meet your needs. To ensure that you have appropriate coverage, check these basics from the Insurance Information Institute.

Ask your insurer how and when they calculate the premiums for the renewed period. You will likely want to collaborate with your insurer throughout this process.

How to Prevent Your Insurer from Automatically Renewing Your Policy

Of course, if you don’t want to renew your policy, you have that right. You can specifically request that your insurer not automatically renew your policy.

This determination should be made at the inception of your policy. Be sure to carefully read all of the fine print before you confirm your policy.

You will want to make sure that you don’t inadvertently agree to have your policy renewed.

You can also decide to not renew your policy at any time during the term of your auto insurance policy. If this is the case, simply call or email your insurer and request that your policy not be renewed at the end of its term.

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Getting the Best Deal on Your Renewed Auto Insurance Policy

You should treat your automobile insurance renewal the same way you would shopping for a new policy. This means fully investigating your insurer’s discounts and options, as well as those of other companies.

before agreeing to your auto insurance renewal, make sure your insurer has up-to-date information that can impact your rates.

You should also ensure that your insurer is notified of any other changes. For example, if you have moved or significantly changed the amount of miles per week that you drive, these factors could impact your premiums.

Bear in mind that III reports the national average cost for an annual car insurance policy to be $1,001.

Finally, make sure that you fully explore any discounts or reductions that you may be eligible for. Ask your insurer if they have added any special programs or promotions in the past year.

These types of discounts may include insurance bundling (combining your home, life, or other insurance policies with your auto insurance) or safe driver discounts, to name a few.

What to Look For In Your New Policy

After you have followed all of the steps above, your insurer should send you a quote for your renewed insurance policy. With any luck, it will be lower than you were previously paying. However, your due diligence does not have to stop there.

Make sure you are also investigating competitive rates from other insurers. Remember, a lot could have changed in the auto insurance market in the time since you last agreed to a policy.

Check out other top insurers and compare their rates and features and benefits to your current insurer. A neutral, unbiased consumer review board such as J.D. Power and Associates or A.M. Best can give you stats and comparisons on different auto insurance providers.

Even if you have no intention of changing providers, it may be helpful to get other quotes simply to benchmark whether or not you are getting a good deal from your current insurer.

If necessary, you can share a competitive quote with your current auto insurance provider and ask them to match it in order to retain your business.

Canceling Your Renewed Auto Insurance Policy

But what happens if your auto insurance policy has already automatically renewed without your knowledge, and you didn’t have the benefit of taking all of the above steps?

Most auto insurance policies are non-binding, meaning that they can be changed or terminated at any time. If you are not happy with the price or the service of you automobile insurer, you can cancel your policy and look for another one.

If you like your current insurer but you need to disclose changes to your customer profile or you’d like a lower rate, then it is time to negotiate.

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Alternatives to Automatically Renewing Auto Insurance Policies

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of an automatically renewing traditional auto insurance policy, there are other options available. Many short term or non-traditional policies are structured not to renew.

Temporary car insurance policies expire after a certain amount of time. This can range from 30 days to 6 months.

These types of policies are great options for consumers who are looking for interim coverage. Although this may be a little pricier than traditional auto insurance, it can provide significant flexibility to drivers who don’t want to make a long-term commitment.

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