UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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It’s time to renew your car insurance policy. How do you renew your policy? How can you avoid gaps in your coverage? Will your auto insurance policy automatically renew itself? Or do you need to manually renew it every 6 to 12 months?
Today, we’re answering all the questions you might have about renewing your car insurance policy.
Most Car Insurance Policies Will Renew Automatically
The vast majority of car insurance policies will renew automatically. Most American car insurance companies offer 6 month policies, which means your policy will automatically be renewed every 6 months.
In general, you can assume your car insurance policy will be automatically renewed. If your car insurance policy is set to expire, and your insurance company can’t renew it for any reason, then they will likely contact you by phone or email – typically 45 to 60 days before your policy is set to expire.
Contact Your Insurance Company To Confirm Automatic Renewals
Most car insurance policies will be renewed automatically. However, if you’re unsure about your policy, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance company. They’ll explain the terms of your contract. They’ll explain your renewal options. You can make sure they have the correct payment or billing information to ensure your car insurance coverage doesn’t lapse.
How to Manually Renew Your Policy
Most car insurance companies in the United States make it easy to renew your policy. Most policies will be renewed automatically, although some customers set policies for manual renewal.
In that case, you’ll want to log into your insurance account and make the desired changes. Most major car insurers in America offer some type of online dashboard or account overview screen. Login to your account, then look for renewal information. Or, contact your insurance company by phone.
What Happens If You Don’t Want to Renew?
Maybe you’re moving to a new insurance company. Or maybe you’re no longer insuring this vehicle. Whatever the situation may be, you may want to avoid an automatic insurance renewal.
In this situation, your best option is to contact your insurance agency immediately. Ideally, you’ll do this 30 to 45 days before your insurance policy is scheduled to be renewed.
If you’ve missed your cancelation period, then most car insurance companies will still let you cancel your plan and get a refund. However, you may be charged a small fee – like a cancelation penalty.
Insurance Lapses Can Lead to Future Rate Increases
Automatic insurance renewals are important. Any lapse in insurance coverage – even a short lapse of 2 to 3 weeks – can lead to higher insurance rates in the future. For obvious reasons, you also want to avoid driving while uninsured.
Car insurance companies like to reward drivers who have a long, consistent history of being insured. If your car insurance lapses for an extended period of time – say, if you forgot to renew – then you might pay a higher premium when you get your new policy.
Bad Drivers Might Not Be Eligible for Automatic Renewals
Most car insurance policies will automatically be renewed at the end of your 6 month period.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you’ve been a bad driver – like if you’ve been involved in several at-fault collisions over the past few years – then your insurance company might refuse to renew your policy.
In this situation, your car insurance company could be avoiding a renewal because they no longer want to do business with you. In other cases, your car insurance premiums have risen so much that your insurance company needs to offer you a completely new policy.
Most car insurance plans will automatically be renewed at the end of your 6 or 12 month policy. If your car insurance is not scheduled to be renewed for whatever reason, then your insurance company will most likely contact you. Your insurer might have inaccurate billing information, for example. Or, they may avoid renewing the auto insurance policy of a particularly bad driver.
If you’re in doubt about the renewal status of your car insurance policy, then contact your insurance company immediately. Lapsed auto insurance coverage can be costly, and you don’t want to get caught driving without insurance.