What should you do when it’s time to renew auto insurance, and why do rates go up after a renewal? It’s important for drivers to understand the steps to take and what the options are for car insurance renewal. You can either stay with your current insurer, or you can choose a new company that may be more beneficial to you.

We researched some of the best car insurance companies to help you make your decision, studying customer satisfaction, rates, service areas, coverage options, and more. Read on to learn what to do when it’s time to renew your auto insurance, then discover top providers you may want to get a car insurance quote from. When you’re ready to start comparing top providers, use our tool above for free, personalized quotes.

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How Do You Renew Auto Insurance?

When it comes time to renew an auto insurance policy, a couple of things might happen. If your car insurance company offers automatic renewal, your current insurance policy will simply renew itself. Otherwise, a month before your insurance policy is set to renew or expire, you’ll get a letter from your insurance company, including details on your car insurance coverage, premium, and any discounts you’re eligible for.

You may be asked to log into your account to verify that your information is still correct or use this time to request any changes to your policy. You should also be able to update account information over the phone.

What Is A Renewal Payment For Car Insurance?

The car insurance renewal fee is the first payment that starts your new policy term. If your insurance agency automatically renews policies, it may withdraw these funds from your account on the date of renewal. You can find more information about your renewal payment by speaking with your insurance company.

When Do You Renew Auto Insurance?

At the start of an auto insurance policy, you choose a policy period. You can find these dates on insurance documents like your ID card or bill. Your car insurance renewal date is determined by the date your policy became effective. Many providers offer 6-month insurance policies, while others last 12 months

What Should You Do When Your Auto Insurance Policy Renews?

As you’re approaching your car insurance policy renewal date, this is a good time to review your auto insurance coverage level, discounts, and your provider’s terms and conditions. Take a look at the coverage you currently have and determine whether you need more or less.

You may find you’re paying for coverage that you do not have use for. It can help you save money when you remove that extra protection. You can also add more coverage if you think you will need it in the coming months or years.

Manually Renewing Car Insurance

Renewing car insurance is simple. In many cases, your insurance company will automatically renew your coverage unless you opt-out, so no action is required from you. If your car insurance plan is pending expiration and your insurance company does not automatically renew it, the policyholder will likely be notified a month or so ahead of time and can manually elect to renew your policy.

Most of the time, you will log into your car insurance provider’s online platform to find information about renewal. You may be asked to review and update your personal information. If everything looks good, you can pay your renewal fee, and your new policy will begin.

To make changes before renewing auto insurance, contact your insurance provider. A representative can walk you through the terms of your policy, and you can request changes at this time. You can also update billing information.

Declining Your Insurance Policy Renewal

If you no longer are satisfied with your current policy, or if you are no longer insuring a car, contact your agent right away. Try to notify them of your cancellation request 30 to 45 days before your insurance policy is set to expire or renew.

If you forget to notify your car insurance company in time, you may be automatically charged a car insurance renewal fee for not canceling. In this case, most companies will work with you to cancel your policy and offer a refund where applicable.

Unfortunately for some drivers, a car insurance provider can elect to decline renewal if you are too high-risk. Non-renewal is when a company no longer wishes to insure you. This can be the result of you filing a large car insurance claim after a severe accident. Non-renewal may also result from an issue within the company itself. Some providers downsize and start to limit policies. In this case, the company will send you a notification of non-renewal.

Why Would Your Auto Insurance Rate Change At Renewal?

When you renew car insurance, you may find that your insurance premium has changed, and you may be experiencing a rate increase. This often happens when you have significant life changes or updates to your driving record.

Here are some factors that can result in a lower or higher premium:

  • Changing the level of coverage you have
  • Adjusting your deductible
  • Moving to a new location
  • Adding or removing a driver
  • Adding or removing a motor vehicle
  • Annual mileage on your car

With many car insurance providers, going a period of time without an accident could make you eligible for a claims-free discount. However, even if you have an accident, that may not automatically mean you’re going to pay a higher rate. The amount that car insurance rates increase depends on how severe the accident was and whether or not you were at fault.

Even if your price hasn’t changed, it’s always wise to shop around with other top providers in the insurance industry. Use our tool to get started:

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Your rates will also change if you have gotten a traffic ticket or other moving violation. Always talk to your car insurance agent about factors that could increase or decrease your payment. The insurer should work with you to help you get the best rates and stay within your budget.

It’s important to remember that if you go through a lapse in coverage, your insurance rates may increase once you reinstate a policy.

Compare Rates Before Renewing Car Insurance

Don’t renew car insurance until you shop around. You should never assume that your auto insurance company has the best rates. When it’s time for your car insurance policy to renew, get some insurance quotes from a few other providers and compare coverage.

You have many options for both local and national companies. Car insurance rates are always changing because companies want to remain competitive and earn more customers. After getting a quote online, you may find another company that is able to give you a better rate for the coverage you need.

You may even want to work with an independent insurance agency that can provide you with multiple auto insurance quotes from third-party carriers to find the best rate.

If after shopping around for new insurance coverage, you still decide to stay with your original provider, that’s great. Many people develop strong relationships with agents and end up remaining loyal for years. However, you can still change your coverage options if you need more or less protection. If your car’s value has dropped, you may not need as much coverage as you did a year ago.

Our Recommendations For Car Insurance

Don’t settle for less when it comes to motor insurance. It’s always a good idea to be aware of your options so you can compare and get the best value, whether you are renewing car insurance or looking to buy insurance for a new car.

We researched the top car insurance providers to make your decision easy. USAA and Progressive were two of the auto insurer that came out on top for great coverage, positive customer reviews, discounts on car insurance premiums, and more.

Use our tool below to start comparing free car insurance quotes from these companies and more.

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USAA: Best For Military

USAA auto insurance earns a perfect 4.8-star rating from our review team. The company provides affordable car insurance options for military members and their families and achieved an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, which shows it has excellent financial standing to pay out policyholders’ claims. USAA also receives great ratings from J.D. Power for claims processing.

You can get USAA car insurance in all 50 states. In addition to discounts for active and veteran service members, USAA offers discounts for insuring multiple vehicles, bundling multiple policies, being a student, and completing a new driver safety course. The company also offers other services, including banking, health insurance, homeowners and renters insurance, and others. Learn more in our full review of USAA auto insurance.

Progressive: Best For High-Risk Drivers

In our Progressive auto insurance review, we gave the company a 4.6-star rating overall. Like USAA, it is available in every state in the nation, but there are no restrictions on who can purchase coverage. Progressive has a great reputation for above-average customer service, too.

With Progressive, you may be eligible for student discounts, new driver discounts, bundling discounts, and more. You can also try out the Name Your Price tool to build a policy around what you’d like to pay each month. With new car replacement and accident forgiveness, Progressive has many programs that provide strong protection for customers.

FAQ About Car Insurance


In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.