Updated: October 2016
Many experts recommend reviewing your insurance needs every year or so — sooner if you experience life changes that could affect your policy. That way, you can make sure your car insurance coverage fits your current needs and life situation.
If it's time for you to do an auto insurance tune-up, here are four things to think about as you assess your policy.
What you pay for car insurance is determined by many factors. Some may be out of your control — such as your age and gender or where you live and park your car. You do have control, however, when it comes to choosing coverages, deductibles and limits. For example, you may be able to reduce your premium by increasing your deductibles — just remember that you'd likely pay more out of pocket for a covered claim.
Do you own an older vehicle? If your older car is paid off, you may have the option to adjust certain coverages. One rule of thumb from the Insurance Information Institute: If your car is worth less than 10 times the annual premium you pay for comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, it might make sense to drop them.
Read more: Insurance Considerations for Older Cars
On the other hand, if you own a brand-new vehicle, you may want to purchase extra coverage to help protect your investment. In addition to comprehensive and collision coverage (which are typically required by your lender), additional coverage to consider for a brand-new car may include loan/lease gap coverage, new car replacement coverage and repair provision coverage.
Read more: Do I Need Extra Insurance on My New Car?
What's been happening with you and your family recently? Milestones in your life may also affect your car insurance. For instance, maybe you have a teen who's just starting to drive. You'll need to add him or her to your policy. Or maybe you're sending your high school graduate off to college. Depending on where his or her vehicle is kept, you may be eligible for a discount. Even getting married and divorced have insurance implications — whether it's combining or separating policies.
Just as the type of car you drive and life changes may affect your coverage, they may also mean you're eligible for car insurance discounts. Have you recently bought a home? Bundling homeowners and auto insurance policies may help you save money. Is your car equipped with airbags or anti-lock brakes? You may be able to take advantage of discounts.
You also may find discounts are available for safe driving, good grades and even renewing your car insurance policy early. It's a good idea to ask your agent what discounts you qualify for to help you save money.
Read more: 6 Car Insurance Discounts That May Save You Money
If it's been a while since you've assessed your car insurance needs, now may be the time. After all, it's a good opportunity to make sure that you, your family members and your vehicle are adequately protected on the road. A local agent can help you review your policy to make sure your coverage fits your current lifestyle.