Shopping for car insurance is less like shopping for a cast iron skillet or diamond ring — which are designed to last a lifetime — and more like replacing a toilet brush. It’s probably not high on your to-do list, but you really should get into the habit of doing it more often.
So what’s the ideal cadence? Once a year.
While it may be tempting to sit tight with your current provider, one analysis found that you could save an average of $560 by switching. (This figure is based on self-reported savings from QuinStreet customers in the U.S., but you could save more or less depending on your situation.)
While it may sound like a lot of work to comb through car insurance quotes from several companies, it doesn’t have to be. Using an online car insurance comparison tool can help you save time.
Other times to compare rates
While our general guideline is to shop around for a better rate once a year, there are a few other times when it’s optimal to see if you can land a better rate:
You’ve had a car accident, DUI or traffic ticket (or it’s been three or five years since your last one).
You’re about to move.
Your credit score has gone up or down significantly — unless you're in California, Hawaii or Massachusetts. Those states ban car insurers from increasing rates based on credit information.
You’re adding another driver (such as your spouse or child) to your policy.
Make it easier to shop
Pro tip: Pick one day out of the year — or two, if you’re feeling ambitious — to be your designated “car insurance shopping” day. Put it on the calendar so you don’t forget. Create a go-to folder with your vehicle information and any past violations so that it’ll be easy to reference. Finally, use a car insurance comparison tool and try to get at least three quotes.
Taking this proactive approach to car insurance could lead to meaningful savings over time. And hey, at least it’s not as bad as doing your taxes.