Could you save money by switching to a six-month policy?
Think back to when you signed up for your current car insurance policy. Has your credit score improved since then? Maybe some points fell off your driving record or you got married, both of which result in lower insurance rates in most states.
If any of these situations apply, you could benefit from signing up for a six-month insurance policy. However, while insurance companies prefer six-month policies, they’re not good for everyone. Here’s what you need to know to determine if a six-month policy is right for you.
Six-month car insurance is an auto insurance policy with a six-month term.
Temporary car insurance and six-month car insurance are not the same. Temporary or short-term car insurance lasts less than six months, typically 30 days.
Six-month car insurance works the same way as any other car insurance policy. Once you pay your first premium, your coverage starts on your policy’s effective date and ends on its expiration date. During the covered period, your insurance will cover accepted claims up to the limits you’ve selected in your policy. For collision and comprehensive coverage, however, you’ll have to pay a deductible before your insurer will contribute.
Auto insurance companies prefer six-month policies because they can adjust rates based on the customer’s incurred losses, as well as respond to market conditions more quickly. For example, if a customer had a few claims during their last policy period, the insurer can raise their rates more quickly with a six-month policy than with an annual policy.
These are some of the auto insurance companies that offer six-month insurance:
To get the cheapest car insurance rates, get a car insurance quote from more than one provider.
Because six-month policies last half the time of 12-month policies, costs are 50 percent lower, on average. Here are the average rates from some of the best auto insurance companies.
|Average car insurance premium||6-month policy||12-month policy|
Aside from the policy term, these are some factors that affect car insurance rates:
We don’t recommend that everyone sign up for six-month policies, but depending on your situation, six-month policies may lower your auto insurance costs significantly.
Possible rate decreases: If your rate factors changed in a positive way — for example, if a DUI is no longer on your driving record — you will see lower rates sooner by using a six-month policy.
Paid-in-full discount: Because six-month policies cost half as much as annual policies, you might be able to pay for a six-month policy all at once, which could land you a discount.1
Car insurance companies can’t change your premiums in the middle of a term. Rather, they have to wait until the end of your policy period to increase or decrease your rate.
Possible rate increases: Let’s say you got a bunch of speeding tickets, your credit score decreased, or you got divorced. In that case, your auto insurance premiums will increase in your next policy period, meaning it’s best to stick with an annual policy.
Often, insurance policies renew automatically, so it’s important to stay on top of your coverage. Your policy will only cover you for events that occur on or after your effective date and on or before your expiration date. Beyond that period, you’ll have to pay for any losses out of pocket.
Set up automatic payments to get discounts on your car insurance. Some companies, like Allstate, will even lower your installment fees if you schedule automatic payments from a bank account.2
To find these dates, check your policy’s declarations page, which summarizes your policy. Put all relevant dates in your calendar so you can reevaluate your policy before it renews automatically or expires.
Here’s a guide for selecting which policy to purchase.
Get a six-month policy if …
Get a 12-month auto insurance policy if …
If you’re a good driver with a clean record, we recommend six-month policies over 12-month policies. Not only will you see lower rates due to your lack of at-fault accidents, tickets, and points on your driving record, but you could unlock a paid-in-full, automatic payments, or loyalty discount.
But whichever policy term you choose, make sure you’re aware of the effective and expiration dates. Your insurance rates will increase if you have a gap in coverage, so it’s crucial to maintain your policy, even if you’re not driving at the time. One option is to use pay-per-mile insurance or temporary car insurance; both are affordable options to maintain your coverage.
Car insurance is billed in six-month increments so insurance companies can readjust your rates based on your personal information — like your driving record, credit score, and mailing address — and to keep up with market conditions.
The shortest term for car insurance is 30 days, which is typical of most temporary car insurance policies.
Temporary car insurance is up to four times more expensive than regular six- or 12-month policies.
Here are some reasons you might need temporary car insurance:
Six-Month Auto Policy FAQs. Amica. (2023).
Ways to pay my bill. Allstate. (2023).
Should You Buy Car Insurance For 6 months or For 12 months? InsuranceNavy. (2023).