How Long Does Auto Insurance Last?

How long auto insurance lasts depends on the length of the policy term. The most common auto insurance policy length is six months, but you can get auto insurance policies that last for one year from some companies. For a better rate, you can cancel your insurance policy before renewal. Learn more about how long auto insurance lasts.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Mar 11, 2022

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Auto Insurance Summary Table
Auto Insurance Policy InformationDetails
Average length of policy term6 months
Other available term lengths12 months
National average auto insurance monthly rate$84.11
National average auto insurance annual rate$1,009.38
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How long does auto insurance last? Part of understanding auto insurance is knowing how long your policy term is and how renewals work.

Your auto insurance policy lasts for the duration of the policy term. That’s outlined in your policy contract and is usually six months, but might be a full year in some cases. In this guide, we’ll discuss policy terms and how long a car insurance policy lasts.

Read on to learn about how long car insurance lasts, but first secure yourself a great rate by entering your ZIP code into our free tool above.

How Long Does an Auto Insurance Policy Last?

When you purchase a quote from an auto insurance company, you agree to an auto insurance term. What is an auto insurance term? The length of time you are guaranteed coverage from the company at the agreed-upon rate.

Can you get year-long policies? Yes. Usually, your insurance term is either six or twelve months.

Once your term ends, you may be subject to rate changes, which could mean increases or decreases in your premiums. To help understand the jargon used by insurance companies, see our glossary of insurance terms for clear definitions.

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What is the Most Common Auto Insurance Policy Length?

The standard policy length is six months. Twelve-month policies exist but are less common. See what policies are offered by large companies in the table below.

Auto Insurance Policy Terms and Types by Company
Company6-Month Policy12-Month PolicyPay Per Mile Policy
Liberty MutualYesYesYes
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Places like Geico and Progressive will only provide 12-month terms in states where laws require those options to be available. Consider using a smaller, local agency in your area for a 12-month policy.

Pros and Cons of a Six Month Term

Opting for a six-month term means your rates get reviewed more often. Unfortunately, frequent reviews could lead to increases in your policy.

However, it could mean more savings, especially if you qualify for discounts.

Waiting for an at-fault accident to fall off your record? Consumers that insurance companies handle traffic violations separate from the demerit system used by DMVs, so savings do not always correlate.

The six-month term also allows you to change companies sooner if you’re unhappy with your insurer without having to pay cancellation fees.

The average cost of auto insurance in the USA fluctuates depending on where you live; life events can impact your rates. Find the average annual rate for your state in the table below.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rate
West Virginia$1,025.78
Rhode Island$1,303.50
District of Columbia$1,330.73
New York$1,360.66
New Jersey$1,382.79
South Dakota$766.91
North Dakota$773.30
North Carolina$789.09
New Hampshire$818.75
New Mexico$937.59
South Carolina$973.10
U.S. Average$1,009.38
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To ensure you aren’t paying too much, consider comparison shopping when your policy is up for renewal.

Pros and Cons of a 12 Month Term

A  12-month auto insurance term means no surprise raises to your rates. You’ll know with certainty your cost of auto insurance for the entire year.

However, if you are unhappy with your insurance company you will have to wait longer before you can switch, or you risk paying cancellation fees and penalties.

You may also have to wait longer to qualify for discounts and other savings.

Usually, only local agencies provide 12-month terms. Their rates are often more expensive than larger commercial companies.

Are there Exceptions to these Timelines?

You can opt for a pay-per-mile insurance policy.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance means you’re only paying for how much you drive, and how safe your driving is.

The coverage is still comprehensive and will meet state minimum standards.

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What Happens When An Auto Insurance Policy Ends?

At the end of your term, you will be able to either renew your policy or switch to a different provider.

One exception to the standard insurance policy renewal process is if your policy is being non-renewed, which we cover later in this article.

Will My Auto Insurance Policy Automatically Renew?

Customarily, auto insurance policies automatically renew. How often does a car insurance policy renew?

It will happen at the end of your term, so every six or twelve months.

Can I Cancel My Auto Insurance Policy Before Renewal?

Generally, you cancel your policy before it is up for renewal. Remember, there may be cancellation fees or penalties.

If you have an open claim, consider waiting before canceling. The following video from LawFull offers more details.

Most experts agree you should wait until your claim closes before canceling a policy.

What is Auto Insurance Non-Renewal?

A non-renewal is when an insurance company chooses not to renew your auto insurance policy possibly because you are too high-risk of a driver for the company to insure.

The following video from eHow Finance goes into more detail about why your company may drop you.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, your insurance company will send you a notice before your policy expires.

They also must explain why they are not renewing your policy.

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Frequently Asked Questions: How long does auto insurance last?

You are now an expert about auto insurance in the USA. Check out our faq and see more questions below.

#1 – Can I change my policy before renewal?

Yes, most companies allow you to change or cancel your policy at any time, potentially with associated fees.

#2 – Can I get short term or weekend insurance?

No. The shortest term for coverage is six months. There are some forms of temporary insurance in some states, but the question of “How long does temporary car insurance last?” is difficult to answer as it varies.

#3 – What time does an insurance policy expire?

How long does car insurance last after cancellation? Depending on your auto insurance expiration date, you will be covered through 11:59 pm of the last day of your policy. For specific details about your auto insurance effective date and time, contact your insurance agent.

#4 – How fast can you get insurance on a car?

It takes only minutes to complete the process and attain coverage. Experts like Edgar Snyder and Associates encourage you to be sure your coverage meets your state’s minimum legal standards.

How long does a car insurance quote last? Act fast, because quotes do expire. Some may be good for as long as 60 days, but most expire sooner.

#5 – Does car insurance last a year?

Yes, but there is a difference between six-month vs 12-month auto insurance policies. Be sure you know how long your insurance policy effective date and time is when you sign up.

Find out how long your car insurance will last, and then get some quotes to save money before it renews. Now’s the time to get that cheap rate by entering your ZIP code into our FREE tool below.

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