Car Insurance Dos and Don’ts

Car insurance dos include shopping around for quotes, choosing the right coverage options, and taking advantage of discounts for big savings.
Written by Amy Bobinger
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Reviewed by Brice Regling
Buying and maintaining
car insurance
can seem like a big job, especially for new drivers. We’re making it easy by breaking down what to do—and what not to do.

Don’t: Go with the first insurer you find

Insurance rates are highly individualized, and you can get very different rates from one insurance company to another. By purchasing the first insurance policy you find, you run the risk of paying too much for coverage.

Do: Compare quotes to save

Insurance companies use a complicated formula to set rates. They consider factors including:
  • How long you’ve been driving
  • Your history of auto accidents, traffic violations, and insurance claims
  • Whether you’ve held continuous insurance coverage in the past
  • The vehicle you drive
  • Where you live
  • Personal factors like whether you own a home, your credit score, and whether you’re married (in states where it’s permitted)
comparing quotes
from at least 3–5 insurance companies, you improve your chances of finding an insurer that offers low rates to drivers like you.
app screenshot
, it’s easy to compare quotes from some of the top insurance companies in the nation.
Just sign up with some basic information, and in minutes, you’ll have the most competitive quotes sent right to your app.

Don’t: Stick to the state minimum liability limits

Each state sets a
minimum amount of liability insurance
that all drivers must carry to drive legally. But a serious accident can easily surpass the minimum liability limits in most states—and that could leave you open to a lawsuit.

Do: Customize your coverage based on what you need.

Insurance experts recommend raising your liability limits to at least 100/300/100, which breaks down to: 
In addition, consider adding physical damage protection if your car is less than 10 years old. 
Physical damage protection is made up of
collision coverage
comprehensive coverage
, together called
full coverage
. Collision insurance will help pay for damages to your car after an accident, regardless of fault, while comprehensive will help pay for damage due to theft, vandalism, falling objects, severe weather, and more.
You might also add optional coverages like:
  • Gap insurance
    : Helps pay for the difference between your car loan and the payoff value if you total a financed car
  • Roadside assistance
    : Comes to your aid for things like jumpstarts, tows, tire changes, refueling, and lockouts (sometimes called towing and labor coverage)
  • Rental car reimbursement
    : Helps cover the cost of a rental car if your car is in the shop for a covered claim
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
    : Helps pay for medical expenses if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver
  • Underinsured motorist coverage: Helps cover medical expenses that exceed the at-fault driver’s liability limits
app screenshot
It’s never been faster to customize your policy.
When you shop for insurance with
, you can easily view quotes for different coverage levels, right in the app.

Don’t: Miss out on discounts

Almost every car insurance provider offers discounts—but they don’t always advertise them. If you don’t ask about discounts, you could be missing a chance for big savings.

Do: Ask your insurer if you qualify for unadvertised discounts

Car insurance discounts
can have a big impact on your insurance costs. Even better, you can usually stack discounts, which can shave a good percentage off of your car insurance premium.
But since insurers don’t always advertise their discounts, it may be helpful to call your insurance agent and ask if there are any discounts that you qualify for that you’re not already getting.
Here are a few common discounts:
  • Continuously insured discount: Maintain insurance coverage without any lapses for a set amount of time
  • Paid-in-full discount: Pay for your entire six- or 12-month policy at once instead of in monthly installments
  • Automatic payment discount: Set up an electronic funds transfer (EFT) or autopay with your debit card or credit card
  • Early sign-up discount: Sign up for a new insurance policy in advance of the effective date
  • Safe driver discount
    : Avoid accidents, traffic violations, or insurance claims for a certain amount of time
  • Track my driving discount: Enroll in
    to get rewarded for safe driving
  • Bundling discount: Purchase your auto insurance and homeowners insurance or renters insurance from the same company
  • Multi-car discount: Insure more than one car with the same company

Don’t: Provide inaccurate information to your insurance company

Even unintentionally misrepresenting yourself to your insurance company could lead to a delay in coverage. But some inaccuracies could lead to more serious consequences—you could see an increase in your car insurance rates, your policy could be canceled, and you could even be investigated for insurance fraud.

Do: Carefully double-check your information to make sure it’s correct

When you shop for car insurance quotes, you’ll typically be asked if you’ve gotten any tickets, been in any accidents, or filed any auto insurance claims in the last five years. You’ll also be asked to give the current address where you park your car.
It might not seem like a big deal to fib about a speeding ticket, give an old address, or leave off a claim that someone else filed against you. But all of this information is important to the insurance company, and they’ll use it when they’re setting your rates. 
If you provide inaccurate information in an attempt to get lower insurance rates (or even just as a mistake), it could be considered fraud—and your insurance company might refuse to cover you in the future.

Don’t: Let your insurance coverage lapse

An insurance lapse can have serious consequences, including fines, license suspension, suspension of your vehicle registration, and an increase in your future insurance rates.

Do: Maintain continuous coverage

Even if it’s hard to pay your insurance bill, don’t let your insurance coverage drop. Even a
lapse in insurance
that only lasts a few weeks can lead to a 10% increase in your car insurance rates when you buy a new policy. If the lapse lasts more than a month, your rates could go up from 35–50%.


Try these tips to save:

  • Shop around to see if another provider can offer you a lower price

  • Take advantage of discounts

  • Adjust your coverage levels

  • Raise your deductible

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Don’t: Renew your policy without reviewing your rates

Car insurance policies usually last either six or 12 months. At the end of the policy term, your insurer will calculate a new rate for you. If you’re enrolled in autopay, this new rate could take effect without you even realizing it.

Do: Reshop at each renewal

It’s a good idea to compare car insurance quotes each time your policy is set to renew. If you buy an auto insurance policy with
, you can turn on the automatic reshop feature in the app. That way, you’ll be notified before each renewal if you can get a lower price with another insurance company.

Don’t: Forget to update your car insurance if your circumstances change

Changes in your driving profile can make a big difference in your car insurance premium. If you don’t update your insurer, you could be paying too much for your car insurance

Do: Log into your insurance account to update your profile as soon as anything changes

Here are a few reasons you might need to update your insurance information:
  • Driving a lot more or less than normal
  • Selling your car
  • Buying a new car
  • Having a teen driver
  • Moving to a new location
  • Getting married
In some cases, these changes could raise your insurance rates—but as we mentioned above, failing to disclose them to your insurance company could lead to serious consequences, including cancellation of your policy or denial of a claim. 


What are three things that will affect your car insurance?

Your location, driving history, and types of coverage will typically have a significant effect on your car insurance.

What are two things that can lower your car insurance?

Maintaining a good driving record and qualifying for discounts are two of the best ways to lower your car insurance over time.

Does your credit score affect car insurance?

In most states, car insurance companies are permitted to consider your credit score when they set your insurance rates.

What should you not tell your insurance company?

It’s okay to only give your insurance company information that they ask for, but don’t try to hide anything from them, either. They represent you, so if you’re at fault in an accident, you’ll need to be honest about that.

What are the red flags of insurance?

Insurance red flags might include not paying your premium on time, having a history of spotty insurance coverage, having claims that involve an unlisted driver, and having numerous or serious accidents or violations on your record.

Why does my car insurance go up every six months?

Your car insurance might go up due to new accidents, violations, or car insurance claims on your record, or if you add new cars or drivers to your policy. If nothing has changed on your end, an increase might be due to industry factors like inflation.

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