The Best Time to Buy Insurance

How to Maximize Your Savings

woman filling out form for car insurance
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Kittisak Jirasittichai EyeEm/ Getty Images

Shopping for insurance is a little different than shopping for new clothes or furniture. Holiday sales and last-chance deals are not available for insurance as they are in retail, but there are better times than others to shop around for a new policy. The best time to shop for insurance actually depends on your current policy and the reason you would like to switch.

Begin Shopping When You Receive Your Renewal Info

The date your policy is scheduled to renew is the best time to switch insurance. Once you receive your renewal paperwork, you know what your future rates are going to be, and you can compare those rates to other offers.

Renewal paperwork usually comes in the mail approximately 30 to 45 days in advance of your actual renewal date, though requirements for this vary by state. If you are seeing a major change in your insurance rates, it may signal that it’s time to buy insurance through a different carrier or at least contact your agent. Shop around to see how your renewal rates stack up against other insurers

Perks to Shopping Ahead of Renewal

Shopping for car insurance before your policy's renewal date has its benefits.

Key Benefits

  • You will have the most recent copy of your declarations page.
  • You make a clean break from your current insurance company by switching at renewal time. You won't have to worry about getting your premium refunded.
  • Shopping ahead of your renewal date could potentially get you an extra discount.

Your declarations page is important when shopping for insurance because it verifies your current coverage, and proof of prior insurance is often required to get a preferred insurance rate. It also allows an accurate comparison between your current coverage and the quotes you receive. Your declarations page has all the details about your coverage limits, deductibles, premium, and more. If you do not have a current copy of your declarations page, get one from your agent before shopping.

Switching at your renewal gives you a clean break from your prior insurance company. As long as you haven’t made recent changes to the policy, nobody should owe anyone money. Insurance companies also often reward clients who shop ahead of time with an advance-quote discount.

Typically, this discount will depend on how far in advance of your renewal date it is when you request a quote. The earlier, the better. Shopping ahead portrays you as a responsible client, something that insurance companies want to see.

Shop Any Time

Renewal time might be the best time to shop, but you can switch your insurance at any point in time. For instance, if you are frustrated with your current agent because nobody ever answers the phone or returns your call, now might be the best time for you to shop for insurance.

Most of the time, as long as you have had your insurance policy for a few months, a penalty fee is not charged for switching midterm. Your policy should clearly state ay fees for early termination. Upon cancellation, you will be refunded any unused premium within a few weeks.

How to Shop for Insurance Midterm

Shopping for car insurance midterm can be tricky. Make sure to follow these guidelines to keep it as simple as possible.

  • Keep payments up to date with your current insurance company. If you fall behind and then cancel the policy, you are still responsible for the days you were insured. It can be a hassle getting the last payment into the company after cancellation, and it could go to collections if it goes overlooked. Having your payment current makes for a smoother transition.
  • Choose your payment date. Switching insurance midterm gives you the opportunity to pick the day of the month you'd like your payments to be due. Insurance companies typically set your due date as the date of purchase. Shop for your new policy at least a week in advance of when you would like your new payment date to be.

If you start your new policy on the third of the month, the third will be your new due date. It is possible to change your payment date with most companies, but why not kill two birds with one stone and preselect your payment date and starting your policy at that time?

Even though shopping for insurance may not be your idea of fun, it can really pay off. The best time to shop for car insurance is shortly after receiving your renewal paperwork. But don't let that stop you from switching midterm if your current carrier isn't a good fit.

Article Sources

  1. United Policyholders. "Conditional Renewal Notification Requirements by State." Accessed March 3, 2020.

  2. Travelers. "Car Insurance Discounts." Accessed March 3, 2020.

  3. Autoinsurance.org. "Can I Cancel My Car Insurance Policy Within 14 Days?" Accessed March 3, 2020.