How to renew your car insurance

Car insurance renewal online is the easiest option, although most insurance companies make renewing very simple. In most cases, the policy will auto-renew, and you won’t have to do anything. Your plan will continue as before for another term, which will most likely be six months long, although some companies offer 12-month policies.

“Pretty much any policy that we write automatically renews. There’s really nothing that the client needs to do,” says Josiah Hatch, owner and CEO of Bender Hatch Insurance in Boston, Mass.

While that is easy, there are a few things to consider. Automatic renewal will lock in the new rate for the coming term from your provider, which might mean a rate increase.

Your provider will send you a car insurance renewal notice, usually about a month before your renewal date. This will have all the terms and necessary information you need to renew. Continuing payments will lock you into that rate for the next term, indicating that you agree to the renewal terms.

However, before you let the old policy renew, you should compare car insurance rates from other companies. Some companies may offer discounts your current provider doesn’t or weigh risk factors differently, resulting in a lower rate. The only way to know is to price shop and compare companies, big and small.

What if you don’t want to renew your auto insurance?

You should notify your insurance provider if you don’t want to renew. You can do this over the phone or in writing; in some cases, you can do it online. If you decide not to renew, ensure there’s no risk that your coverage will lapse.

You must have a new policy lined up to kick in the day your old policy ends. Remember that if you don’t notify your provider that you don’t plan to renew may wind up paying for two policies if they overlap. Or, if you simply don’t pay the bill, it could wind up on your credit history. Contact the company before the renewal date to ensure coverage and payments end.

In many cases, your new insurance company will notify the old one for you, but it’s best to confirm.

When does car insurance renew?

Car insurance policies will renew every six or 12 months. You’ll be informed of your term length when you first take out the policy. If you’re unsure, look at your policy documents, which outline how long the term is and when you should expect a renewal notice.

Although annual renewals were once common, these days, it’s more common to have a six-month term. 

Does car insurance automatically renew?

For the most part, yes. Car insurance will usually renew automatically as long as you continue making payments. It makes the process easy for you as the customer and the companies as it is less paperwork and bureaucracy.

However, ensure you know the renewal process with your insurance company. Read any documentation they send to ensure you don’t have to do anything for the renewal to process.

What does it mean to be non-renewed by the insurance company?

A non-renewal means that your insurance company will not renew your policy when it ends. That means your coverage ends on the last day of the policy term. Insurers must notify you, in writing, that they plan to non-renew your policy, with enough time to get a new policy. So you’ll be notified well in advance.

You can’t be non-renewed for just any reason. “There’s a very short list of levers [insurance companies] can pull to get off a policy midterm. In terms of a non-renewal that could be any number of things. It could be due to points on your license, [or] if you haven’t gotten a…license [in your new home state],” says Hatch.

Getting car insurance after a non-renewal can be difficult, depending on why the insurance company dropped you. If you have racked up tickets and accidents, the odds are good that other insurance companies will also see you as high-risk. However, not all insurance companies look at your record the same way, so your best bet is to request quotes from as many insurers as possible.

What to do if your car insurance rates increase on renewal

If your car insurance rates are going up on renewal, you should first contact your insurer. Ask about the reason for the increase and any options to get the rate back down.

You should also start shopping around; request quotes from multiple companies to compare. You could get cheaper car insurance rates than what you were paying even before the renewal by shopping around.

You can switch car insurance companies anytime, so there is still time to shop around, even if the new rate has already kicked in.