Why Your Insurance Renewal Date Isn’t the Only Time to Shop Around

By Lesley Green
A man and woman happy about a deal they found online while at home.

The road to lower car insurance rates for many drivers starts and stops when it's time to renew. However, there are many times outside of this narrow timeframe when you can pay less for your coverage by shopping around. The secret lies in knowing when mid-policy savings may be available. The good news is these opportunities are not fleeting or obscure, in fact, they’re often milestones that are hard to miss.

10 times it pays to shop around for the lowest rates

Anytime your rates change with your current provider they're also likely to change with other insurers too, and, because every insurer calculates their rates differently you may find you can get a better deal on your coverage by switching. Cheap auto insurance rates are no accident and it’s time to shop around when any of the following things happen to you or your family.

1. The open road awaits

When you ditch the probationary licence for a fully unrestricted driver's licence you’ll be able to ditch higher auto insurance rates. You've done your part and passed all the driving tests and now it's time to put your insurer's rates to the test too!

2. Twenty-five and counting

Often drivers don't realize that once they turn 25 years old, many see their auto insurance rates dip. It's a surprise birthday present waiting to be unwrapped for good drivers.

3. A set of new wheels

Repair costs, auto theft rates, and safety features all affect how much it costs to insure your vehicle. But insurers are kind of like snowflakes as no two are alike and none calculate their rates in the exact same way. If you're driving around town in a new (or new to you car), it may be time to drive down your premiums with a new insurer

4. Tying the knot

It may be time to sever ties with your insurance provider when you marry your partner or move in together. Your spouse's driving record now affects your rates and the insurer who offered you the best rate when you were both single or living apart may no longer offer you the best rate as a couple living together.

5. Undoing the knot

Breaking up is hard to do but if your ex has a spotty driving record, a fresh start with a new insurer who offers the best rate for you, and only you and your driving record, may be a separation that helps you save.

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6. A new place to call your own

Your driving record, insurance history, vehicle driven, and commute, all play a role in the premium you pay, but so does where you live. As a result, when you move homes it may be time to move insurers too.

7. Your teenage years relived

It’s no secret, teen drivers typically pay more for insurance than experienced, older drivers. Some insurers, however, are more teen-friendly than others. If you have a new driver in your household, it's worth seeing if another insurer will give you a better rate. You’ve got nothing to lose, only money to save, when you shop around for coverage with teen drivers in the house.

8. Ticket troubles

Traffic tickets are costly, in more ways than one, but generally clear off your driving record after three years. Once your tickets are wiped away, there may be savings in sight to reward your new clean driving record with a new insurer.

9. Accidents happen, even to the most cautious drivers

Like traffic tickets, at-fault collisions can crash down hard on your premium prices. Collisions stay on your record for at least six years. After six years of accident-free driving, however, a whole new batch of lower rates will be unlocked.

10. Commute, what commute?

COVID-19 has changed how many of us work and for some this includes a change in the daily commute as more people work from home. When your daily commute changes, whether it's because of the pandemic, retirement, a switch in employment, or because you simply changed how you get into work (e.g. public transit) your insurance could change as well. By spending less time behind the wheel, you may find you could spend less on your coverage with a different insurer.

Don't wait for your premiums to decrease on their own, go after them!

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