What's the Best Time to Shop for Car Insurance Quotes?

Although car insurance pricing is relatively static, there are good and bad times to purchase a policy.

When should you shop for car insurance quotes?


This depends on two variables: you and the car insurance industry. For you, the best time to shop for car insurance quotes is immediately after any life event or change that might impact your rates. Looking at the car insurance industry as a whole, December is typically a good time of year to shop around.


When is the best time to shop for car insurance?
  1. After important life events
  2. Before annual insurance filings
  3. Additional resources




The best time to get quotes depends on your personal situation


Car insurance companies use aspects of your life — rating factors — to determine your premium. When these rating factors change, it can lead to big shifts in your rates. Primary insurance rating factors include age, driving record, and credit score.


Age

Because the number of years of driving experience is a major rating factor used by all insurers, a birthday can result in discounted insurance rates. A driver in their 20s pays $510 more per year for car insurance than does the average driver in their 30s.


Age GroupAverage Annual Insurance PremiumDifference
16-19$5,151--
20-29$1,918169%
30-39$1,40736%
40-49$1,3554%
50-59$1,2588%
60-69$1,287-2%
70-79$1,514-15%
80-85$1,804-16%

Overall, drivers aged 16-19 pay the most for car insurance. There is a price difference of nearly $2,000 per year between 17-year-old and 18-year-old drivers. If you’re a young driver or a parent insuring a young driver, keep these key birthdays in mind.


AgeAverage Annual PremiumDifference
16$6,573--
17$5,70415%
18$4,97015%
19$3,35648%
20$3,00512%
21$2,40025%
22$2,15012%
23$1,9908%
24$1,8597%
25$1,59217%

Learn more about how age impacts car insurance rates.


Driving record

Every state and every insurance company uses driving history to set its rates. Insurance companies use a driver's previous behavior as a way of predicting future driving outcomes. "Previous driving history” does not include your entire driving history. While the statute varies by state and violation, most at-fault accidents, tickets, and other citations will only impact your premium for three to five years.

An example: after colliding with a pole in August 2015, you file a collision claim with your current car insurance provider. By August 2018, your premium should no longer be rated for that at-fault accident. However, if your policy doesn’t renew in August, it’s very unlikely your premium will reflect the accident “falling off” your record. This is why it’s important to shop for new car insurance occasionally.

Because your current insurance company will not automatically update your premium, you should shop for car insurance after any type of chargeable violation falls off your insurance record.

See below the impact at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, and other common charges have on insurance premiums.


Violation/CitationAverage Annual PremiumDifference From No Violations
None$1,427--
DUI$2,585$1,158
Reckless Driving$2,472$1,045
Driving With Suspended License$2,163$736
At-Fault Accident — Damages Greater Than $2,000$2,072$645
Speeding — 16-20 MPH Over Limit$1,764$337
Texting While Driving$1,607$180
Cell Phone Violation$1,607$180

For more information on how your driving record can impact your car insurance policy, see our guides below.

Cheap car insurance for high-risk drivers
Does a bad driving history affect your car insurance rates?
How to find insurance coverage with an open claim

Credit score

Any changes to your credit score will affect your insurance premium. Credit is viewed by nearly all insurers is a risk indicator. Studies show drivers with poor credit tend to file claims more often than do drivers with better credit. These claims tend to be more costly for car insurance companies. As a result, drivers with lower credit tend to pay much more for car insurance.


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If your credit has improved between policy periods, this is a great time to shop for car insurance. Just as with a violation or claim falling off your record, your current provider will not automatically review your credit score if it changes. So keep your credit in mind when thinking about the best times to shop for car insurance.

For more information regarding car insurance and credit scores, see our additional resources:

Cheapest insurance companies for bad credit
Best insurers for drivers with good credit
Which insurance companies don't use credit score?




The best time to shop depends on your auto insurance company


While not as impactful as rating factors directly related to you, understanding the way car insurance companies price premiums can be helpful. Car insurance companies use end-of-year claim filings to set their rates moving forward. If in the prior year, the insurance company paid out more in claims than it earned in premiums, you can expect to see a rate hike as a result.

These "rate revisions" occur every year. An increase in insurance premiums is common after natural disasters, such as hurricanes or wildfires, in which an insurance company had to pay out a large number of claims in a short period of time.

Although this is difficult to predict, you can set aside a time in December to shop for car insurance for the coming year.


Additional resources


Car insurance is a state-regulated industry, so you typically won't find holiday savings or promotions. Trying to anticipate insurance companies' rate revisions can be hit or miss. The best time to shop for car insurance occurs immediately following life events that result in personal rate revisions. If you celebrate a birthday, improve your credit score, or have a violation fall off your record, you should consider that a sign to shop around.

While we only mentioned three key life events, below are other events which may impact insurance rates:


If you’ve experienced one of these life events, you should shop for car insurance. Enter your zip code below to see how much you could be saving with dozens of local and national companies.


Shop today and find an affordable policy!




Related topics


If you’re looking for more information on how to shop for car insurance, see the related articles below.

What goes into your car insurance quote?
What is covered by your liability insurance?
Understanding your uninsured motorist coverage