The surprising time it pays to re-shop your auto insurance



Myles Ma

Myles Ma

Senior Managing Editor

Myles Ma is a health care expert & personal finance writer for Policygenius. He edits the Easy Money newsletter.

Published July 31, 2019|2 min read

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When is the best time to re-shop for auto insurance? We would say all the time, but we're biased.

It might seem counterintuitive, but one good time to shop around for insurance is after you get into a car accident. You'll have a lot on your mind after an accident for sure, but once your insurance claim is wrapped up, you should add re-shopping your insurance to your to-do list.

After an accident, you can expect your insurance rates to rise, said Fabio Faschi, property and casualty team lead for Policygenius. And the best carrier for someone with a clean driving record might not be the best for someone with an accident on their record. You can save money by seeking out the right carrier for your needs.

Why you should re-shop your auto insurance

Someone with an accident on their record has a different risk profile than someone who has never had an accident. Some car insurance carriers treat accidents more leniently than others, Faschi said.

If you manage to make it three subsequent years without another accident, your risk profile changes again. Your carrier may drop your rates on its own after this period. But even if that happens, your current carrier might not necessarily be the best fit for your risk profile.

An accident isn't the only time your risk profile changes. Rate changes are triggered by other events, Faschi said. They can include:

Adding a new driver to your policy

Changing your address

Getting a new car

Changing your marital status

Changing your job

Getting a degree

If you experience any of these events, there may be a better insurance carrier be out there for your new profile. Shopping around for new coverage can help you find a lower monthly payment or coverage better suited to your driving needs.

How to re-shop your auto insurance

Not everyone needs the same amount of auto insurance, so you should know what coverage you're looking for. Most states require you to carry liability coverage, which pays for the damage you cause to other people, cars and property.

But remember that your state’s required coverage amounts are just a starting place: You should also consider raising your limits beyond what’s required and adding other types of coverage when switching insurance, such as:

Medical expenses or personal injury protection, which covers medical expenses for yourself and your passengers, no matter who was at fault in an accident.

Collision coverage, which covers damage to your own car in an accident if you were at fault.

Comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your car that can happen while you're not driving, like damage from extreme weather, falling objects, vandalism or theft. Note: If you lease or finance your car, you’ll be required to buy collision and comprehensive coverage.

Navigating insurance can get complicated. If you need assistance, Policygenius can help you compare auto insurance quotes to find the right coverage.