Finding the Optimal Time to Purchase Car Insurance

You know you need car insurance to drive legally and protect yourself financially. But is there an ideal time of year when coverage is cheapest? This guide will explore expert tips on the best day and time period to buy car insurance.

We’ll look at factors like policy renewal cycles, life changes, driving records, and seasonal discounts that can impact pricing. Read on to learn how timing your car insurance shopping right pays dividends through maximum savings.

Do Auto Insurance Rates Change Throughout the Year?

Auto insurance rates themselves don’t necessarily fluctuate at different times of year. However, there are seasonal trends that can affect costs:

  • Spring and summer rate hikes – Added driving in good weather and road construction can increase claims. Rates may rise to compensate.

  • Fall and winter discounts – Less driving in poor weather equals fewer accidents. Some insurers offer winter discounts.

  • End of the year changes – Companies revise rates quarterly and annually. Shop around these times to find deals.

  • Beginning of new year changes – Renewal rate hikes often hit in January or February as yearly policies expire.

While pricing is generally stable, shopping around during seasons when insurers compete aggressively on rates can yield savings.

Factors That Influence the Best Time to Buy Car Insurance

Outside of seasonal fluctuations, several key factors impact when it makes sense to reassess your coverage:

Life Changes

Major life events can signal a good opportunity to realign your insurance needs through updated or new policies.

  • Moved to a new home or city
  • Bought or leased a different vehicle
  • Added teen or elderly drivers to your policy
  • Removed drivers due to divorce or kids moving away
  • Wanting more liability or collision coverage
  • Purchasing umbrella or rideshare insurance

Driving and Credit History

Improvements in your driving record or credit score over time can translate to lower premiums.

  • Traffic violations and at-fault accidents falling off your motor vehicle record
  • Completing defensive driving courses to offset tickets
  • Improving poor credit scores by paying down debts
  • Maintaining a clean record over multiple years

Renewal Cycles

  • 2-3 weeks before your policy expires – Shop around before auto-renewing
  • 30-60 days before expiry – Notify insurer if canceling a policy
  • Every 6 or 12 months – Regularly compare rates from other providers

Leveraging these timing “triggers” ensures you don’t overpay for outdated or ill-fitting coverage.

The Best Day of the Week to Buy Car Insurance

Insurers operate Monday through Friday during normal business hours. There is no universally agreed upon “best” day of the week to purchase coverage.

However, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are traditionally recommended by experts. Reasons include:

  • Less weekend backlog – Mondays see high call and email volumes after 2 days off. Wait times may be longer.

  • Avoid rushed Fridays – Some insurance agents focus on weekend prep on Fridays. You may get less informed service.

  • Sales agent motivation – Midweek is when insurance providers focus on meeting quota. More deals to be had!

  • Timing for a new policy – Applying Tuesday through Thursday gives you coverage by the upcoming weekend.

While any weekday works, aiming for the middle of the workweek balances availability, attention, and flexibility.

The Best Months to Buy Car Insurance

Certain months see more bargain-hunting along with annual insurance trends:


  • Insurers compete for year-end business
  • Take advantage of tax write-offs
  • Lock in lower rates before January hikes


  • Spring discounts from less winter driving
  • Avoid rate hikes during peak accident season


  • Shop ahead of Thanksgiving/Christmas rush
  • Insure new cars bought earlier in fall
  • Get lower prices before winter rate increases

December gives you the combined advantage of year-end competition and timing before January renewals. Late spring and fall let you get ahead of seasonal rate swings.

The Worst Times to Buy Car Insurance

While any time is okay to get insured, a few periods are less ideal if you want optimal value:

  • January to February – Renewal rate hikes hit for new policy years. Existing insurer likely won’t negotiate.

  • Early summer – Rates inch up with more driving, accidents, and road construction.

  • Black Friday weekend – Busy holiday shopping time means some insurance offices have limited staff.

  • Right after a moving violation – Wait until the ticket falls off your MVR for new insurer quotes.

  • Day before a policy expires – Last-minute needs force you to accept higher offers. Give yourself lead time.

Avoiding these crunch times reduces stress and overpayment. Build in a 60+ day buffer before renewals or life changes.

How to Time Car Insurance Purchases Right

Follow these tips for expertly timing your next auto insurance application or renewal:

  • Shop early – Get quotes 60+ days ahead to compare multiple insurers thoroughly.

  • Note renewal dates – Mark your calendar to shop around 2-3 weeks before policies expire.

  • Consider life events – Shop when moving, buying a car, or adding drivers.

  • Check driving records – Revisit quotes after violations fall off your MVR.

  • Compare annually – Reassess insurers every 6 or 12 months as needs evolve.

  • Watch for discounts – Take advantage of winter or affinity member reductions.

  • Avoid last-minute needs – Don’t wait until the day before expiration to replace coverage.

Proper timing means paying the best rate possible for the insurance protection you require.

Does Comparison Shopping Save Money?

Yes – regular comparison shopping is proven to save on car insurance:

  • Rates vary by insurer – Each company uses different formulas and data sets to set pricing.

  • New discounts emerge – Checking competitors periodically uncovers new ways to save.

  • Your needs change – Life events impact optimal deductibles, liability limits, and coverages.

  • Improved driving skills – Ongoing safe driving lets you qualify for lower premiums.

  • Market competition – Companies battle for your business by reducing rates.

Insurers count on complacency. Proactively comparing rates guarantees you always pay the minimum necessary premium.

Use Events and Milestones to Your Advantage

Savvy auto insurance customers leverage major events and milestones to find discounts and value:

  • New teen driver – Ask about good student discounts

  • Wedding or new home – Bundle policies to save

  • Moving cross-country – Compare regional quotes

  • Speeding ticket falls off record – Revisit insurers that previously rejected you

  • New higher-paying job – Increase liability coverage limits

  • Turning 25, 40, or 55+ – Milestone ages equal better rates

Let life changes remind you to explore savings, not just when renewing, but any time your needs evolve.

Find the Best Rates with the Right Timing

While insurance rates are generally consistent, strategic timing based on seasonal trends, life events, and renewal cycles can help you score the lowest price. Avoid last-minute needs and periods when insurers hike rates. Instead, give yourself lead time to compare multiple carriers.

Shopping ahead makes it easy to obtain quotes during insurer sales drives or right after your driving history improves. With the right timing, you can secure coverage without overpaying. Discuss your situation with an independent insurance agent for expert guidance on when to buy.

How Much Car Insurance Do I Actually Need?


What day is cheapest to buy car insurance?

2. The best time to get car insurance quotes is 20 to 26 days before you need the policy to start. Your renewal notice from your insurer will show the new price for next year (and the price you paid last year). It’s usually sent around 28 days before your current policy ends.

What day is the best day to renew car insurance?

Most car insurance policies run for 12 months, with a new price calculated for the following year around a month before it ends. Yet you should never just auto-renew as it’s likely you’ll pay more than you need to. Always compare prices 20 to 26 days ahead, as this is usually the cheapest time.

What is the best time to shop for car insurance?

If you look at the auto insurance sector as a whole, December is generally a good time of the year to shop for quotes. Since auto insurance is state-regulated, you typically won’t find an insurer that offers promotions or holiday savings, according to The Zebra.

What month is car insurance most expensive?

It’s often slated that December can be the most expensive month to insure your car, but is that really correct? Drivers who insure their cars in December may pay more than 15% more than those who insure in February, the cheapest time of year, research by MoneySuperMarket found.

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