So you’ve just received a renewal letter from your car insurance company — what now? Well, first, it’s a good idea to follow any specific instructions listed in the letter. But after that, it’s important to consider a few key factors that could help save you time, money, and hassle when renewing (or not renewing) your car insurance policy. Here, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 simple steps.
What to do before you renew
1. Review your coverage needs
Policy renewal time is the perfect occasion to make any necessary updates to your insurance coverage. Have you recently gotten married, bought a house, or received a new degree? If so, there’s a good chance you could save some cash just by notifying your insurer, since these factors can positively affect your insurance premium and could even score you some discounts. Plus, it’s imperative to adjust your car insurance coverage amounts to properly protect additional drivers you’re adding to your policy (like a spouse or newly licensed teenager) and/or increased assets (like a new home or car).
Remember, too, that if you’re financing or leasing a new car, you’ll likely be required by your lender to carry comprehensive and collision coverages on your policy — so be sure to discuss your latest purchase with your insurance company. And these coverages can benefit you even if you’re not financing a vehicle. Comprehensive coverage, for example, can financially protect your ride if you’ve just moved to an area with a large deer population, since it covers you against “acts of God” such as broken windshields, vandalism, and yep, collisions with animals.
2. Consider the benefits of bundling policies
Bundling your car insurance policy with your renters, homeowners, or motorcycle policy is an easy way to save some cash while attaining the convenience of managing multiple insurance policies in one place.
Most insurers offer multiple-policy discounts — often times on each policy you maintain with them, rather than a flat, across-the-board amount. Plus it’s always nice to simplify your life by choosing a single company to insure multiple investments so you can pay premiums, manage claims, and get information from the same source.
At Esurance, this is no exception. You could score our Multi-Policy discount (and a whole lot more) when you bundle your home and auto insurance with us.
3. Check in with your current insurer
Even if you love everything about your car insurance company, you always stand to benefit from giving them a call around policy renewal time. In addition to checking up on your coverages and limits, a licensed agent can ensure you’re getting all eligible discounts and discuss other ways you could save some money.
Ask your insurer if your policy is set up for automatic renewal. This can help you avoid lapses in coverage and determine your new policy’s start date if you’re switching to another company.
Now is also a great time to assess how much you’ve been driving lately. If your current average mileage is lower than it was at your last renewal, you may be able to nab a better premium.
4. Shop around
It never hurts to get several car insurance quotes from other reputable insurers, even just to make sure your current premium is still competitive. If price isn’t the issue and you’re unsatisfied with your insurer for other reasons, it’s always good to shop other companies for things like customer service availability, their claims handling process, and their financial reputation with well-known industry rating organizations like A.M. Best (which, by the way, Esurance maintains an A+ rating with).* Ask friends and family for their experiences with potential insurers and check online reviews.
And always compare apples to apples — as in, make sure you’re getting quotes with coverages and limits that mirror your existing policy. So if you currently carry bodily injury coverage limits of $100,000/$300,000, be sure to select that same coverage amount (at minimum) when you’re getting quotes. And if you carry roadside assistance or other optional coverages, include those coverages too. That way, you’ll know you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
5. Seal the deal (and then cancel your old policy, if necessary)
Whether you’re sticking with your current car insurer or switching to a new company, if you’ve completed the 4 steps above, you should feel pretty confident about your decision at this point. Go ahead and complete your renewal (assuming you need to do anything at all, which the renewal notification from your insurer will indicate).
If you’re purchasing a new policy with a different insurance company, call your old insurer and confirm that your old policy is canceled — especially if it was set to renew automatically. Insurers typically don’t charge you any cancellation fees as long as you’re ending your policy once the term expires.
Switching to Esurance? Good call. With an easy-to-use mobile app, a top-notch customer service and claims handling experience, and a suite of online tools and tech to make the insurance process simple and transparent, we’re confident you’ll quickly see why we’re the smart choice for insurance. Get a quick, free quote online.
*Esurance Insurance Company and Esurance Property and Casualty Company have A+ ratings. Esurance Insurance Company of New Jersey has an A- rating. Rating effective as of April 7, 2016. Click here for a guide to A.M. Best’s Credit Ratings™.