What to Consider When Shopping for Car Insurance

If you want to save on car insurance, you may have to shop around and compare your current rate with what other providers are offering.

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To get the best deal on your car insurance, you'll have to navigate the policies and savings offered by different carriers, which can be a confusing experience. Knowing when to shop for a better deal can help you keep costs low and ensure you're protected with the coverage you need.

If you're considering the switch to a new car-insurance policy, keep in mind how your finances, driving history, and coverage needs may impact your decision. Requesting quotes before dropping your provider can help you avoid any coverage gaps — or you may even discover your current coverage is still your best option.

How Often Should You Shop for Car Insurance?

While there may not be a one-size-fits-all time to shop for car insurance, some experts recommend browsing at least once a year to ensure you're not missing out on potential savings.

Since your personal circumstances, as well as macroeconomic conditions — such as inflation and taxes — change over time, you could be eligible for a better deal today than you were last year. For example, if you recently purchased a car and are now insuring a new home, it might be worthwhile to reassess your insurance situation.

Another time to consider shopping for car insurance is after a major life event or change. If you recently purchased a new vehicle, added a new driver to your family, or experienced a change in your financial situation, getting new quotes can offer a clearer picture of available deals.

Ultimately, the best time to shop for car insurance is when you notice your rates have gone up. Getting a new quote can offer perspective on your options and may be useful in potentially negotiating better policy terms with your current provider.

Balance Budget and Car-Insurance Coverage

Two key elements to consider when shopping for a car-insurance policy are the premium and the deductible. Your deductible is the amount you will pay in the event of an accident. The lower the deductible, the less you can expect to pay out of pocket. However, as the deductible goes down, your premium (or monthly costs) will go up.

Determining what coverage you need to feel secure, what you're willing to pay monthly, how effectively you feel you can pay your deductible in the event of an accident, and your likelihood of filing a claim can help steer your decision.

Understand What Coverage Is Required

While almost every state requires a minimum amount of liability coverage, your state may also have other requirements that can affect your premium. Some states, such as Michigan and Oregon, require personal injury protection insurance — also known as no-fault insurance.

Other states require protections such as uninsured motorist coverage, which can add to your final quote. Understanding what coverage is required, especially when moving from state to state, could be essential to getting more accurate car-insurance quotes.

Discover Your Car-Insurance Discounts

Many providers offer policyholders the opportunity to earn loyalty discounts that could even outweigh the savings offered in a new quote. Some providers offer these discounts even if you switch from another company — as long as you can prove there are no gaps in your coverage history.

Some car-insurance companies also offer discounts based on your driving habits and record. If you're considered a safe driver, it may be worth comparing the potential savings each provider will offer you for driving responsibly.

There may also be discounts for bundling insurance policies together. The savings opportunities from holding home, motorcycle, or even renters insurance policies with your car-insurance provider could help you determine which company to choose.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
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Elliot Rieth
Elliot Rieth is a writer who was born and raised in Michigan, the center of the American automotive industry. With a background in the industry that spans from sales to digital marketing, Elliot has years of experience working directly with dealers and OEMs to create digital content and educate potential customers. When Elliot isn’t writing about horsepower or EVs, he can be found with his two greyhounds enjoying a new book or record.