Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonReviewed By: Sara RouthierUPDATED: Jan 24, 2013Fact Checked

Insurance needs change all the time, as do insurance rates and laws. If you are not being an active and informed consumer, it is likely that you are paying more for your insurance than you should. There are a number of instances that might change the amount or type of insurance that you should be carrying on your vehicle.

Before you settle for renewing the coverage you already have just because it is familiar to you, you should at least compare coverage and rates. Here are some of the situations that might require a change in coverage types:

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  • If you get married, divorced or have a child.
  • If one of your children becomes old enough to drive.
  • If you buy or lease a new or used car.
  • If you pay off a loan on the car that you are currently insuring.
  • If you are moving to a new home.

There are other factors that might change how your insurance rates are figured including changes in insurance laws in your state; you would be unlikely to know about those if you are not checking rates on a regular basis.

Before You Renew Your Current Insurance, Check the Car Insurance Calculator

About two months before your current insurance expires, you should consider looking for new coverage. You can do this quickly and easily by using a car insurance calculator to determine the estimated amount that you will be paying for coverage. When you do so, look for:

  • Coverage that is equal to your current coverage unless you feel you need more or less
  • The cost of coverage that is higher than what you have now as well as a lower amount of coverage.

Remember that there are discounts that the calculator will not include and you should only base your comparisons on those as estimates, not the actual price.

Once You Get the Estimates, Then What?

Your insurance estimates can serve as a starting place for a number of different tasks. You can determine if you have the right amount of coverage or if you need more (or less). You can also determine if you are using the right insurance agency/company/provider or if it is time to make a change. Before you change:

  • Call your insurance agent (if you are using one) and discuss your intentions. They may be able to find a comparable solution or offer a loyalty discount.
  • Determine how many discounts that you should be eligible for and then investigate for new ones.
  • Consider your need for personal contact versus online convenience. Not everybody is ready to give up human contact to save a few minutes of time.

Safety Matters When Using the Car Insurance Calculator

A fake site can trick you into giving away far too much of your personal information and may leave you with a major case of identity theft. Before you give anything more than basic information:

  • Know the site you are using. If you do not have a trusted calculator site that you have gone to in the past, ask a friend for their advice.
  • Look for a locked padlock symbol at the bottom of the web page so that you know it is secure.
  • The web address should begin with “https” to indicate that it is a secure site.
  • You should be the one initiating the search for the insurance calculator; do not click through links that suddenly appear or are emailed to you from third party sources.

The site should only need very basic information, and in most cases you should not have to even give your full name. Remember, the calculator is meant to give you insurance estimates, not actual price quotes and you are not actually buying anything at this point. Do not be fooled into giving away too much of your personal identifying information before you are ready to actually buy a policy.

How Fake Sites Use the Lure of the Car Insurance Calculator to Get You

Identity thieves and scam artists may try to get your information by luring you with false sites. They look perfectly legitimate often using the same wording to get your attention and to draw you in. However, once they have your info they are gone; when you try to click back on those pages you will get an error message instead. They get you because they know that you have been searching for insurance information – they send you emails and you click a link and you either forget or do not know how to check for security.

Car Insurance Quotes and Calculations

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier