Life changes that may affect your car insurance
Life doesn't slow down – for anyone! Blink and suddenly you're a new homeowner. Or – gasp – a new parent! With all of the excitement, the last thing you're probably thinking about is car insurance.
But here's why you should: certain events can impact your insurance needs. You might want to boost your coverage limits to make sure you're fully protected. Or you might want to bundle policies together to make things simpler (plus get a discount). Either way, reevaluating your car insurance is pretty simple and only takes a few minutes. Below are some scenarios of when you should consider updating your policy:
Tying the knot
When it comes to car insurance, married vs. single matters. Married people tend to get into fewer accidents, which usually translates to lower rates. Why's that? Well, taking a legal step in adulthood shows a sense of maturity. So if you've recently got hitched, let your insurer know or make sure you include your newlywed status when shopping around for insurance. Also, some insurance companies will offer a discount for domestic partners. Sweet!
Moving towns (or states)
Whether you're moving to the city for work or moving to the country for play, it could mean a few things for your car insurance. For example, if you have a shorter commute to work, lower mileage could equal big savings. Or if you're moving from a small town to a big city (or vice versa), you may see a change in your premium. In addition to many other factors, car insurance rates are determined by where you live. So if you make a move, you'll need to let your insurance company know your new address.
If you're relocating to a different state, you might be wondering, "Do I need to change car insurance when I move?" The answer: YES. Most insurance companies offer coverage across the U.S. (Esurance offers auto insurance in 43 states!) However, each state has their own minimum requirements for coverage. So if you're swapping one state for another, do a little homework to find out how this could impact your insurance needs – and of course your rates.
Becoming a homeowner
Buying a new home is one of the biggest purchases you can make. So first off, congrats! It can also (surprisingly) affect your car insurance. As a new homeowner, you now have more assets. Which means you might need to adjust your coverage levels to adequately protect those assets. Here's why: let's say you cause a car accident – and another driver sues you for damages. If you don't have enough coverage, your house, savings, and belongings could be on the line. So if you've just bought a house, double check your coverages and make sure you have enough liability insurance to ensure you're FULLY protected.
Putting down roots can also earn you discounts on your car insurance. Most insurance companies offer savings just for owning a home or condo. Plus, some companies (like Esurance) offer a discount when you bundle your home and car policies.
Bringing home a baby
A new bundle of joy won't immediately affect your car insurance. But as a parent, priorities shift and you might start to reconsider your sporty sedan. There's a reason soccer Moms love minivans – they're typically safer and more spacious.
If you decide to trade in your wheels for something safer, it could mean lower rates. Many insurers will offer a discount for vehicle safety features. Check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Picks. Then, compare quotes on car insurance for a new car to see how much you could save.
Just note that many newer vehicles have expensive built-in tech – and replacing things like back-up cams can be costly. Because insurers have to account for that, too, buying a newer, more expensive car might also mean paying a bit more to insure all those bells and whistles.
Reaching a milestone birthday
In the world of car insurance, a major milestone birthday is 25. And it might cause a drop in your rates, if you're a good driver. Why is that? Well, more experienced drivers tend to have fewer accidents than rookies of the road.
However, some states don't allow insurance companies to use age as a factor, including California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.
How to compare quotes
When shopping for car insurance, you've likely been nudged to "compare quotes." But how does it work? Should you make a spreadsheet? Does it take hours? Good news: comparing quotes is pretty effortless – and you can do it all online. Here are a few pointers:
Ensure policies are apples to apples
This might seem obvious but start by creating a level-playing field. Make sure to input the same info across quotes. Also, select the same coverages, limits, and deductibles. Take note of any discounts that affect your rate and how long they'll apply.
Compare auto insurance companies
Quick research can save you from dealing with a shady or less-than-stellar insurer. Does the company have a good financial rating with A.M. Best? If you get into an accident, how is their claims service? Reading testimonials can also give you an idea of how well a company treats their customers.
Avoid focusing on the final price
They say you get what you pay for. It's true. And so the cheapest insurance isn't always the best insurance. Make sure to look at the whole picture and decide what works best for you. You should also consider how much you would have to pay out-of-pocket if you ever got into an accident.
How to switch car insurance
Switching car insurance could save you money almost immediately. A common misconception is that you have to wait until your current policy expires. Not the case! Most insurance companies, including Esurance, offer fast, free car insurance quotes online – making it easy to switch. Our 5-step guide offers a detailed plan on how to make the switch.
Now that you know when to reevaluate your car insurance, you can feel confident you're getting great coverage at a great price. If you're ready to shop, start by getting a fast, free Esurance quote online.
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