Buying car insurance online before your policy expires will help ensure you don’t miss out on coverage that may protect you in the event of an accident or other vehicle-related emergency. But what if you still have time to buy your insurance policy in person? Does the  buying of your auto insurance online still making sense? Here’s why it can be a good idea to purchase your insurance policy online when you renew it, no matter how close to the expiration date it is.

Where to find cheap auto insurance

Buying auto insurance online is generally much cheaper than buying it from a traditional agent. But if you’re still driving around on your previous policy, that’s not much of a savings. Because policies renew based on your anniversary date, buy car insurance online before your current coverage expires; that way, you get to enjoy an automatic discount without having to do anything else. If you’re buying a new policy, your provider may also offer discounts for doing so online. Regardless of whether you’re renewing or getting an entirely new auto insurance policy, be sure to shop around before you buy car insurance online. Having a good understanding of what options are available and how much each covers will help ensure that you get an affordable rate. Buying auto insurance online is one way to make sure your coverage stays competitive at all times.

How your driving record affects your premiums

When purchasing a car insurance policy, most states require you to indicate how many points you’ve accrued on your driving record. Points can come from moving violations like speeding, making illegal turns and running red lights. The more infractions that you accrue, the higher that  your premiums will be. And if a lot of time passes between when an infraction occurs and when you buy car insurance again, any points on your record will result in a big premium spike. To mitigate rising costs: buy car insurance online before your policy expires. Depending on your state, a single ticket or accident can cause you to lose your driving privileges and car insurance. If you have a DUI conviction or accumulate 12 points on your license, you’re typically suspended from driving until your case is adjudicated. During that time, you won’t be able to apply for a new car insurance policy. This can result in steep fees for reinstatement of your license, hefty fines for getting behind-the-wheel before you’ve resolved everything and hefty premiums after purchasing a new policy. When it comes to saving money: buy car insurance online before your policy expires if there’s any chance that your rates will increase.

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What you can do before your auto policy expires

Some insurance companies make you start a new policy before your current one expires. If so, make sure to buy car insurance online because many carriers won’t let you purchase coverage online after a policy has already expired. Why? Automated underwriting systems analyze your driving record during periods of time when you were insured, so if there was a gap in your coverage that included part of your driving history it may get flagged and they may require additional information. It is in their best interest to weed out risky drivers, so just be aware that some companies won’t offer you coverage after your existing policy has lapsed.

The importance of proofreading the application and terms

As with most insurance products, what you don’t know about your auto policy could result in some substantial financial losses. For instance, did you know that bodily injury can be interpreted very broadly and might not even include a driver? And it gets worse: There have been cases of bodily injury claims being denied because customers didn’t pay close enough attention to wording that excludes injuries sustained by minors or dependent family members. If you are interested in buying car insurance online—or if you already have—make sure you understand all of its terms before finalizing your purchase.

Understanding the coverage limits in your state

Insurance companies in every state are required to outline your coverage limits in a Declarations Page or Certificate of Liability, typically included in your policy packet. Reviewing your coverage limits is an important part of buying car insurance online. Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance with minimum amounts that vary by state. For instance, many states mandate $25,000 for property damage and personal injury protection (for injuries you cause), also known as PIP for short. If you live in a state without these mandates, you may still want to purchase higher than minimum liability limits or policies with specific coverages depending on your situation and risk profile.

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