When should I compare car insurance rates?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®https://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/ciccom-live/41b5e36b-joel-ohman.jpg

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2017

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Here's what you need to know...
  • You should compare rates at least once a year to ensure that you are getting the best insurance rates
  • You can change car insurance companies as often as you like; however doing so could result in higher rates
  • Discuss how to lower your auto insurance rates with your insurance company by asking for discounts

Anytime you are in the market for car insurance, whether it is because you are buying a new car or because your current policy is about to expire, is a good time to compare car insurance rates.

The great thing about comparing car insurance rates is that all you are doing is looking.

You aren’t obligated to make a purchase, and if you use a free quote tool, you aren’t going to be pressured by phone calls and agents to make a purchase.

Once you select a car insurance company, the rate you choose is the rate you will pay for the entirety of your contract, which is typically six months.

Enter your ZIP code below and compare car insurance rates right now!

How often should I change car insurance companies?


The truth is that you can change car insurance companies as often as you would like.

However, changing car insurance companies too often can lead to you paying higher rates than if you stayed with one company for a longer period of time.

One of the factors that insurance companies use to determine your car insurance rate is the length of time that you have spent with a particular company.

In most cases, to get the best rates, you need to stay with the same company for a year or more.

According to the Consumer Watchdog, some companies will increase your rates by 50 percent or more if you don’t have at least a year with one insurance company.

Mercury is a company that applies this type of rate to what they call “insurance inexperienced drivers.”

However, you should not stay with a company that is charging you hundreds of dollars more than one of its competitors!

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Can an insurance company turn me down because I switch so often?

An insurance company can turn you down for car insurance for this reason, but they don’t typically do that.

Instead, they will simply charge you higher fees than someone else who has a similar driving history as you.

What some companies do in order to reduce the number of insurance hoppers is charge a termination fee if you switch to another insurance company.

In some cases, this fee is based on how soon after you purchase your policy that you switch. In other cases, it is simply a base fee that anyone is charged if they make a change.

What if I love my car insurance company but its rates aren’t competitive?


If you have been with a car insurance company for an extended period of time and you find that you are paying more with the company than you would elsewhere, call your agent to see if you can negotiate.

The first thing that you will want to discuss is any discounts for which you might qualify. If you got married, graduated from college, or had kids, your insurance company won’t know unless you tell them.

Another thing that you will want to do is discuss your other quotes with them.

Make sure that your other quotes are exactly the same as what you are getting from your insurance company now. 

Lastly, you need to check out ratings and reviews for your each potential insurance company from sources like the Better Business Bureau, A.M. Best, and from your state’s Department of Insurance website.

You want to ensure that you are not leaving an excellent company for a company that has a terrible reputation or that is about to go bankrupt!

Compare car insurance rates between reputable companies by entering your ZIP code below!

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