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  • Insurance companies require some money upfront before insuring your vehicle. You typically can either pay a down-payment or have the first monthly payments that act like one.
  • Depending on your insurer, you may be able to pay your premium in person, over the phone, or online.
  • When you can't afford to pay for the policy in full, you’ll need to set up a payment plan.
  • Paying your policy in full up front can provide the added bonus of a "paid in full" discount.

Car insurance payment options

Depending upon your car insurance company, you may be able to pay in person, over the phone, by going online or through a mobile app.

The types of payment accepted vary, too, but typically include:

  • Check or money order
  • Bank bill pay
  • Electronic funds transfer (EFT) – automatic online payment
  • Credit card
  • Debit card

The way in which you buy your car insurance may limit your payment method.

For instance, if you buy online with an insurer that doesn’t have an office in your area, then you won’t be able to pay in person. You need to pick the payment method that is best suited for your lifestyle so that you’ll be able to pay on time. There are no grace periods for car insurance bills. (See “When you forget to pay the car insurance bill.”)

Down payments on car insurance>

Your payment schedule will depend on how much you can pay at once for your car insurance.

The best option is to pay your policy in full up front, which comes with the bonus of receiving a “paid in full” discount that can be 5 to 10 percent.

If you can’t afford to pay for the whole policy at once, you’ll need to set up a payment plan. As part of a payment plan you will need to:

  • Make a down payment (typically runs from 8 to 33 percent of your total policy premium).
  • Set up a payment plan.
  • Be prepared to pay an installment fee (typically between $3 to $10 per payment)

Over a year, if you pay monthly, fees can quickly add up.

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