Everybody likes a good deal. It's ingrained in our DNA. You feel better when you believe you got a steal and no one wants to feel like they got overcharged. This is particularly the case when it comes to insurance.
Insurance isn't one of those fun, exciting things you get to spend your money on. No, it's more of a must-have. Insurance isn't a choice—at least, it shouldn't be. Insurance is how you protect your family and your assets. And while it isn't free, it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg (see, for example, this list of 10 Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Rate).
Why It's Not a Good Idea to Switch Insurance Companies Every 6 Months
You may be one of those people who is always looking for a good deal on insurance. You look online and pay attention when an insurance commercial comes on TV. You've jumped at a few offers before terms have been over in the past. And while that may have seemed like a good idea at the time, it probably wasn't.
Here are five reasons why it's not a good idea to switch insurance companies every six months:
1. Longevity Is Key
First and foremost, insurance companies love longevity and stability. Most companies give better rates to customers who have been with the same insurer for years on end. If you stick it out with one agent and company, you'll find preferential treatment and rates come your way.
2. Cancellation Fees
Most insurance policies run on a yearlong term. This means canceling after only six months cuts the policy in half. If you run this route, you may end up having to pay hefty cancellation fees to get out of your current policy. Make sure to take these into consideration before changing, as they can completely negate any additional savings you think you found.
3. No Coverage Gaps
If you're continually switching coverage, you may leave yourself open to a slight coverage gap or lapse. While proper planning can typically prevent such occurrences, there's always a slight chance that you make a mistake and leave yourself vulnerable (that is, without insurance). After all, we are all just humans.
4. Further Investigation
The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Before you jump on that great insurance offer you saw on TV, you need to do all your homework. Compare the current plan to the one that entices you. Often, you'll find the minor difference in price is due to significantly different coverage options. You may also have a previous relationship with an insurance agent that takes good care of you, and that's something to consider (see Insurance Agents: What's the Point? to find out what an agent can do for you).
5. Quick Drop
Lastly, you need to be especially careful with car insurance. Car insurance companies don't have to show much loyalty to new customers. If you have an accident or file a claim within the first 90 days of coverage, there's a good chance they can drop you as a client without remorse. This could leave you with a coverage gap (learn more about car insurance in our Ultimate Guide to Auto Insurance).
Stop Switching and Start Saving
While comparing quotes and shopping around every year or two isn't a bad idea, make sure you understand how insurance works before you make any drastic changes. If you're unhappy with the prices you're paying, get a few quotes and then present them to your current agent. There's a chance they'll improve upon the offer and reward you for the loyalty.
How Well Do You Know Your Life Insurance?
The more you know about life insurance, the better prepared you are to find the best coverage for you.
Whether you're just starting to look into life insurance coverage or you've carried a policy for years, there's always something to learn.