4 smart ways to review your auto insurance policy

The days are growing shorter and so is the number of weeks that remain on the calendar. To paraphrase a line from a familiar holiday tune, what have you done in 2016? This year is almost over and a new one is about to begin.

If you’re like many people, circumstances have probably changed for you over the last 12 months. Whether it’s getting married, buying a house, having children, or purchasing a new or used automobile, life today may be different than what it was in 2015.

It’s always nice to reflect on everything that’s happened, and one of the ways you can take stock of your current situation is by reviewing your auto insurance policy. If your situation has changed, your present provider may have a better policy available, but equally so may another insurer, which is why it’s a good idea to shop around. Here are four tips to help you determine whether you need to modify your coverage, so it aligns with life as you now know it.

1. Understand how premiums are determined

Everyone wants to rein in their expenses so they can get more bang for their buck. The same is true for auto coverage, as several polls done by J.D. Power and Associates over the years indicate that premiums have a major influence on the policies consumers choose. It’s important, however, to understand that the right car insurance policy tailors to each individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Thus, if you haven’t already, look into how insurers determine premiums. The Insurance Information Institute has a great infographic that illustrates how auto insurers establish premiums and the reasons why. For instance, if you’ve ever received a speeding ticket for going faster than the post limit, your premiums may rise because excessive speed increases the risk of a crash. Modifying your behaviors may help you find a plan that’s both affordable and sufficient.

2. Has your situation changed?

With the economy back on the mend, evidenced by an unemployment rate below 5%, according to government figures, many people who were once jobless are back in the workforce. Others have transitioned to a new position with more businesses hiring. Job status alone may be reason enough to re-examine your auto insurance policy. For example, let’s say your new position has a more demanding commute. Mileage affects your risk for being in an accident, so your current policy may not be appropriate for your needs. Get in touch with your agent. He or she will provide you with additional information on the types of car insurance that are available – like comprehensive auto insurance – which may be more suitable than what you have currently.

3. See what premiums are like where you live

You may be wondering how what you’re spending on premiums compares to others who live in the same state. Drawing on calculations from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the Insurance Information Institute has a chart that shows what average expenditures are for a 12-month policy among individual states. This can give you an idea of what others are paying. However, as previously mentioned, be advised that many factors influence premiums, so the average in your state may not be an accurate representation of people with unique situations.

4. Ask about discounts

Discounts are great because they help policyholders pay less, according to their circumstances, like having purchased a house, a recreational vehicle, taking a driver’s safety course, or being the parent of a newly licensed teen driver. Every insurer has them, but you may not be cognizant of the ones that are available and applicable to you. Some that weren’t relevant in 2015 may be this year. Be sure to ask your insurer about what deals they offer, like bundling your auto insurance with your homeowners insurance policy. You may be surprised by how much you can save. Not only does Elephant Insurance offer discounts by bundling, but you may also be able to take advantage of Elephant’s Diminishing Deductible program. You can find more details on it here, but the description alone should give you an idea of what it’s all about.

You never know what each year will bring. Now that we’re just about through 2016, make sure you apply the appropriate adjustments so that you’re properly covered in 2017.