Last updated: October 2023

When and How to Update Your Car Insurance Policy

You may only think about your auto insurance policy when you're paying a bill or filing a claim. However, if you haven't reviewed your coverage and personal information in a while, you could be paying for coverage that's no longer applicable to your situation, or even be missing out on potential auto insurance discounts. Whether you're moving, getting married, buying a new car, or simply looking for a way to lower your monthly expenses, find out when you may want to consider updating your auto policy and how to change car insurance coverage if you're a Direct Auto Insurance customer.

When to Update Your Auto Insurance Policy

Everyone's circumstances and auto insurance policies are different. Your coworker may update their policy every three months, but you may only need to revisit yours once a year. In general, though, there are a handful of moments when it's typically a good idea to update your policy (or at least give your insurance company a call).

You should reconsider your insurance needs at every policy renewal, but here are some other instances you should consider giving your insurer a call or things to remember at renewal time as you evaluate your coverage choices.

1. There's a new driver in the household.

Is your teen running through the house yelling, "Freeeddommm"? Sounds like you've got a new driver on your hands! Congratulations! Now, here's what you need to know.

About Adding a Driver to Car Insurance

Insurers often require all household members of or near driving age to be listed on a policy (even if they’re not influencing rates just yet), so make sure your teen driver is known.

Oftentimes, your current policy will cover a young driver while they have a learner's permit, but it depends on your state's insurance requirements. Once they get their driver's license, though, you'll want to officially put them on your insurance policy as a rated driver or help them purchase a separate policy. Call your insurer and ask them to talk you through adding a teenager to your car insurance policy.

2. You're moving.

No matter where you move, keeping your personal information up to date (like your phone number, address, and email) is important for receiving communication from your insurance company.

Changing your garaging address by moving across town or to another city in your state could lower your car insurance costs because your ZIP code affects your rate. If you're moving to a new state, you’ll want to make sure that your coverage meets the state's minimum insurance requirements and that your insurance company offers coverage in your new state.

3. You're getting married or starting a family.

Once you tie the knot, what's yours often becomes theirs as well. Consolidating your insurance policies and companies could help you save. For example, with Direct Auto, you could save up to 25% on your auto insurance with a Multi-Car Discount.1 Also, if you’re getting married or having children, you might want additional auto coverage or to add a term life insurance policy policy to your coverage for additional protection now that you’re starting a family.

While you may enjoy lower rates or discounts for being married, having joint policies, and insuring multiple cars, that low rate could take a hit if one of you has a spotty driving history or poor credit. Talk to your insurer and shop around if needed to secure the lowest rate when the wedding bells finish ringing.

4. You're buying a new car.

Whether you’re looking for a car with nothing but zeroes on the odometer or a used vehicle, auto insurance can add to the overall cost of a new-to-you car. While you're still shopping, give your insurance company a call and get a quote for the vehicle make, model, and year you've got your eye on. It may cost more to insure than you expected. For example, if you’re going to lease or finance the vehicle, your lender may require you to carry collision coverage and comprehensive coverage until you pay it off, potentially driving your rates up.

About Adding a Car to Insurance

If you already have insurance, you might be able to transfer your existing coverage or add the new car to your policy as an additional vehicle. A typical policy will give you a limited period of time after purchase during which your new vehicle will be covered under your existing policy with essentially the same coverages and limits as your other vehicle(s). This time can vary from 7-30 days, so be sure to contact your carrier or agent as soon as possible to officially get your new vehicle covered.

No matter what your current insurance status is, you will need to meet your state’s minimum coverage requirements to prove you can take financial responsibility in the event of an accident. It is worth noting liability-only insurance doesn’t help pay for any injuries you suffer or damages to your vehicle, though.

And as mentioned above, you may want or need to purchase additional coverage you didn’t have before, like comprehensive or collision coverage.

5. You're adjusting your budget.

At Direct Auto, we understand that each of our customers is unique, and they deserve more than a one-size-fits-all insurance coverage plan or payment schedule. When your budget or spending ability changes, your insurance payment schedule and coverage can change too. You don't have to feel "stuck." You can re-adjust your coverage level or your deductible amount.

Perhaps you’ve changed jobs and are receiving your paycheck at a different time. Maybe you’ve moved, and your rent is due at a different time. Your policy renewal period is a great opportunity to work around these changes and adjust your insurance payment due date and payment amounts.

6. You feel like it’s time to reevaluate your coverage.

Historically, you may always have purchased the lowest liability limits required by law at the lowest price available. But if you want to better protect your assets for one reason or another, maybe you want to consider increasing your liability limits or adding collision or comprehensive coverage for added peace of mind. Maybe you want to think about adding uninsured motorist coverage for the first time.

On the other hand, if you’re not driving as much or the age or financed status of your car has changed, you might be inclined to adjust your insurance deductible on your collision or comprehensive coverage. Perhaps you want to evaluate whether you need to keep comprehensive/collision coverage at all.

7. You think you could qualify for a new discount.

Many car insurance companies offer policy renewal discounts to their customers. Typically, you could qualify for a renewal discount on your insurance premium if you’ve had no policy lapse in the prior 12 months (and you renew your policy within 7 to 10 days of the policy expiration date).2 When renewing, you could also qualify for other great insurance discounts. For example, you might qualify for a homeowner discount if you recently bought a home or a senior citizen discount if you just hit a milestone birthday.

How to Update Your Auto Insurance at Direct Auto

As a Direct Auto customer, you can make a car insurance policy change in whatever way is most convenient for you. Depending on what updates you want to make, you can try:

Some changes, like adding or updating a driver, are easy to do on your own by using MyAccount or the mobile app. For other changes, like increasing your deductible or adjusting your payment plan, you can talk to a real person over the phone or at a Direct Auto store. No matter which option you choose, we’re always here to help.

1 Insurance is produced by Direct Auto Insurance or its affiliate for carriers in the National General Group, Winston-Salem and is only offered in states where we are licensed to do business. You can find this information on our website: directauto.com. Discounts may only apply to certain coverages and are subject to terms and conditions and may not be available in all states or distribution channels. Price may vary depending on how you buy.

2 Renewal period varies by state and renewal discount is not available in all states. Policy reinstatement without a lapse in coverage is subject to terms and conditions and is not guaranteed.

For additional details and disclaimers, please see our Terms of Use.

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