Hello! I’m Dan Lyles with Lyles insurance. This video is about understanding the auto insurance policy expiration and renewal process.
When you approach the expiration date on your auto insurance policy, usually within a month from the expiration date, companies will re-evaluate your status and then make you a renewal offer for the upcoming policy period. Becoming familiar with this process not only gives you a better understanding of how things work, but it can also help you save money. And this information applies whether you have a six-month auto insurance policy or a 12 month policy.
So what do companies look at when they determine renewal prices? Well here’s four of the major things. Number one: driving record. Have you picked up any accidents or tickets since your policy period started? If so, that’s going to count against you and probably raise your premium. And likewise, has anything fallen off of your record since the policy period started? Remember that companies, some of them go back three years, others go back five years. But once you hit that anniversary date of one or the other, you’re going to see a drop in price, or should see a drop in price, at your next renewal. Number two is credit history. Has your credit score went up, down or stayed the same? Not all companies look at this, but some of them do. So keep that in mind. And also, due to the new law, this will not apply to Michigan drivers. This only applies to my customers in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Number three is payment history. For those of you who pay every month as you go on your policy, are you making your payments on the due date or before? Many companies will lower your rate if you make your payments on time when you come up to your next expiration/renewal period. Versus some companies on the other hand will raise your rate if you have a habit of paying late or lapsing. And on top of all of that, late fees can get very costly. So always try to make your payments on time by the due date or earlier. Number four: excessive number of changes to your policy. Now companies don’t mind making changes to your policy. For example if you moved, changed vehicles, needed to add or delete a driver, those kind of things. That’s fine. That’s what they’re there for. But if you’re constantly making changes, companies frown on that and they may slightly raise your rates because of it.
One last thing I’d like to mention is that companies make rate adjustments all the time. So if you’re looking at your renewal offer and the prices are considerably higher or lower than what you were paying, and you looked at the previous four things and thought “well that doesn’t explain why”, just understand that sometimes it’s because companies adjust their prices. Sometimes they go up, sometimes they go down. You have no control over that, of course. This has more to do with whether or not your company is making or losing money in your area. But just understand, if you can’t figure out why your prices have changed drastically, this could be a reason.
Before we finish there are three more key points that you should understand. Number one is flying under the radar. When you first start a new auto insurance policy, companies are always going to run your driving record initially. However, when you come to those expiration/renewal periods every six to twelve months, they’re not going to run your driving record every time. They only do them on a random basis because it saves them money. So consider yourself very lucky if you picked up a speeding ticket and you are not being dinged for it on your renewal offer because it doesn’t happen very often.
Number two is prior insurance discount. And this one can save you a lot of money because companies give big discounts when you’ve had prior insurance. So when you shopped around, if you didn’t have prior insurance before, once you have a renewal offer, you now have six months at least of coverage (if not 12). And so this qualifies you for a discount. So if you don’t see a drop in price on your renewal offer, this is a great time for you to shop around again for lower rates. Because some companies give bigger discounts for it than others.
Number three: Avoid the one day lapse trap. Now what I mean by this, this applies to those of you who have found a cheaper rate with a new company. And at your expiration you’re ready to switch to a new company and you want to set the start date to where there are no gaps in between or no overlap either. So to do that, what you need to do, is make sure that the start date of the new policy is same as the expiration date on the old policy. And the reason is, on the old policy, let’s say that it expires on July 15th. They mean 12:01 AM of that day. So really, your coverage expired at 11:59 PM on July 14th. So don’t make this mistake because you’re actually leaving a 24 hour gap to where you don’t have insurance.
For those of you who live in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia, if you would like for me to personally run you a quote, I will be very happy to do so. I’ve left a webpage from my site to where you can get an online quote. I’ll also post that link below the video to make it easier for you to click on. Or, if you would rather get a quote by phone, I’ve also listed my phone number. Thank you for watching and have a great day!
Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..