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When do I get my car insurance renewal?

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Things to Remember...
  • A car insurance renewal notice is a document that your rent with new rates that take effect when your term expires
  • By law, insurance companies are required to notify you in advance before your rates change or your new term takes effect
  • While some states have different rules, it’s typical for companies to send out renewal notices between 30 and 45 days prior to the expiration date
  • Insurance rates will be different at renewal because the policy is underwritten against to assess new risk ratings
  • Some companies offer their customers the option to automatically renew if they’re set up for automatic payments

Standard car insurance policies only last for either 6 months or 12 months at a time. During this time, the premiums that you pay after the policy is issued are the premiums you’ll pay until the term expires as long as you don’t make any changes to drivers, vehicles, locations and coverage limits.

It’s not until the policy is set for renewal that the premiums can change for the better or possibly for the worse. Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE quote tool above!

It’s important to budget for your insurance costs every year so that you can maintain continuous coverage without any lapses.

Since there’s a possibility that your insurance expenses could involuntarily go up at your renewal, you might be interested in learning when you should expect to get a notice in the mail.

Read this guide to car insurance renewals, and learn more about when they’re processed and what happens as your renewal approaches.

What exactly is a car insurance renewal?

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Car insurance policies renew after every term. Once the 6-month or 12-month term you carry expires, the policy must actually renew for your coverage to remain in effect.

While your first term isn’t a renewal, every term that you stay with an insurer after the initial term will be considered a renewal because it’s when a policy is reassessed for risk.

Typically, the state department of insurance has rules regarding how much advance notice you must be given before the rate changes.

If the company decides that the household is still an acceptable risk, new documents will be sent out and the policyholder will have the option to continue the coverage or to shop around for better rates elsewhere.

Why do insurance rates change when a car insurance renewal is processed?

There are several different reasons why your rates can go up or down when the policy renews. When you buy coverage, your premiums must stay level for the entire term after the policy has been underwritten, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay level for life.

At some point, the insurer is free to reassess risk and to adjust the premiums when necessary. This happens when the term expires and the policy renews.

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Most Common Reasons for Rates to Go Up at Renewal

All too often, consumers receive their auto insurance bills to find that their rates have gone up even when there’s been no real change to the policy itself. For loyal consumers who’ve stayed with an insurer for years, a 25 percent increase can feel like a slap in the face.

Many experts say that being a loyal customer in the insurance market can cost you. Here are some reasons a company might increase your renewal rate:

  • The company has filed a higher gross rate through the department and it has taken effect
  • Your Motor Vehicle Report has new driving convictions reported
  • You’ve filed a claim that’s considered a chargeable loss
  • You haven’t responded to a request for your odometer reading and current annual mileage
  • Insurer has discovered a new household member and has rated them as a covered driver
  • You’ve lost Good Driver Discount because of chargeable loss or multiple violations
  • You’ve failed to provide proof to renew discounts for Mature Driver Training or Good Student Discounts
  • You haven’t signed a waiver for medical payments or uninsured motorist and it’s been added to the policy

Most Common Reasons for Premium Decreases at Renewal

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While it’s not common, rate decreases at the time of renewal are possible. More often than not, the rate change is because of something that’s changed in your favor and not because the company has lowered their base rates.

Here are some changes that can lead to rate decreases:

  • You’re a young driver and your driving experience qualifies you for Good Driver Discounts
  • You have a conviction on your record that’s fallen off after 36 months
  • You have an at-fault accident that’s fallen off of your insurance record
  • Your new clean record qualifies you for Good Driver Discounts
  • You’re eligible for a new loyalty discount
  • Your child earns good grades and received the Good Student Discount
  • You provide an odometer reading and you’re in a low mileage class

How much notice will you receive?

You want to be sure that you have enough time to review your renewal notice so that you can shop the market to look for lower rates. It’s also important that you review the details and rating factors for errors that could save you money.

In most cases, the states require that companies send out your renewal documents at least 30 to 45 days before your term expires. You’ll need to be given at least 45 to 60 days notice if the policy is set for non-renewal.

What do underwriters look at when they process renewals?

Processing a renewal is a lot like underwriting a new policy application. Since everything is reassessed, the professionals will run all of the same reports they run when they’re issuing a policy.

Here are some of the things they might do:

  • Run drivers Motor Vehicle Reports
  • Run the Claims Underwriting Exchange report
  • Discount eligibility will be evaluated
  • Usage, mileage and vehicle ratings will be reassessed

If you’re about to receive your renewal, it’s important that you are prepared to shop the market. Taking the information on your renewal and getting multiple rate quotes is an efficient way to keep your auto insurance premiums low.

If you want to save time on your mission to find affordable coverage, use an online comparison shopping tool and you can see what each competitor in the market charges instantly.

Start comparing auto insurance rates now by entering your zip code into our FREE quote tool below!

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