6-Month vs. Annual Car Insurance: Which is Better?
Should you buy a 12-month car insurance policy?
Car insurance policies usually come in two durations: six months and 12 months. Six-month policies are more common than annual insurance policies, as they allow insurance companies to easily recalculate rates, factoring in routine price revisions and changes to your driving profile.
Explore our guide to the differences between six- and 12-month car insurance policies below.
Six-month auto insurance policy benefits
A six-month car insurance policy comes with two primary upsides:
- Additional flexibility
- Frequent rate revisions
Frequent recalculation of insurance premiums
Depending on your driving record, more frequent premium reviews can save you money. Most at-fault accidents remain on your insurance record for three to five years. If a violation is set to fall off your record midway through your policy, most insurance companies will not adjust your premium until the policy period ends or you specifically ask. A shorter policy duration allows penalties to “fall off” your record more quickly.
Other reasons your auto insurance rates might be revised downward:
- Celebrating a birthday (young drivers face expensive premiums)
- Improved credit score
- Expiration of tickets/moving violations
- Paid-off auto loan
- Telematics period ends and new behavior-based rates begin
Improved flexibility with your auto insurance policy
Although you are not locked into your car insurance policy, a shorter policy period provides more flexibility than does an annual policy. If you’re unhappy with your current insurance provider but want to avoid cancellation fees or a lapse in coverage, you can simply non-renew at the end of your six-month term.
Benefits of an annual (12-month) auto insurance policy
The primary benefit conferred by a 12-month car insurance policy is the lack of surprises (excluding any changes you make to your policy). If you add or remove a vehicle or driver, your premium will change, but otherwise, you will be immune to rate revision for at least one year.
A rate revision is a standard procedure for car insurance companies at the end of a policy period. Insurers compare the previous year's claim payouts to their revenue and adjust prices accordingly. If the previous time period resulted in a deficit, the insurance company may raise rates going forward.
Auto insurance premiums typically get more expensive as the years go by. Although you will most likely experience a rate revision when your policy renews each year, you can avoid a twice-annual revision by purchasing a longer 12-month policy.
Which is cheaper: 6-month car insurance or a 12-month policy?
Many popular insurance companies don’t offer annual policies. Our experts gathered rates — via a methodology outlined here — to compare average six- and 12-month rates for a typical driver. Remember: your rates may vary, depending on your driving history. Compare personalized rates today to find a policy that fits your profile.
|Company||Avg. 6 Mo. Premium||Avg. Annual Premium|
Dynamic auto insurance data methodology
Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.
Find affordable car insurance today: compare rates.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.