Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • With little exception, all drivers in the USA are required to have auto insurance
  • State laws surrounding auto insurance and consequences for no auto insurance will vary
  • Many insurance companies offer flexible payment plans on either a monthly, six-month or 12-month basis
  • There are steps you can take to decrease your auto insurance premium such as asking for discounts

Although auto insurance is an important part of being a responsible driver, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out where it fits in the budget. Thankfully, many car insurance carriers offer convenient payment options and methods.

You can also help your auto insurance fit into your budget by making sure you are paying the lowest possible premium. Use a car insurance rate comparison tool to compare rates and pick the policy that best suits your driving and financial needs.

It’s not always possible for every driver. You have to consider what fits into your budget. If you decide to put your entire premium on a credit card, always consider the interest rate. Is it more than the discount you’d get for paying all at once?

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How Much Auto Insurance Do You Need?

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With little exception, no matter where you live in America you are required to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage on your vehicle in order to legally drive it on the road. The exact requirements vary. Some states require personal injury protection to cover a small amount of medical bills for you. In most states, it’s liability insurance. In a few states, drivers can submit another form of financial responsibility such as a deposit with the state or a bond for a certain amount.

Most states strictly enforce their auto insurance laws in order to protect everyone on the roads whether they are a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist.

The vast majority of drivers could not afford to pay out of their own pockets for the property and bodily injury damages they might cause in an accident. In serious accidents involving multiple vehicles, the price tag could easily reach 6 or more digits.

This is where auto insurance comes in and pays the bills drivers would not be able to afford to pay on their own. If you have the minimum liability coverage, you cannot be sued for another driver’s injuries and property damage within those limits.

It may not come as a surprise that minimum liability insurance is generally cheap even with a bad driving record. Unfortunately, even in a small accident, this could end up costing you a lot more. It has a disproportionate effect on those who might choose minimum liability insurance because they struggle to afford more coverage.

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What if I drive uninsured?

Most states take driving without insurance very seriously. So the consequences and penalties for driving without the proper auto insurance in place are serious and costly. Even if you don’t get in an accident, the state could take serious actions and impose penalties. While the punishments you may face will vary by state, they will most commonly include the following:

  • Fines up to $1000
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Suspension of vehicle registration
  • Jail time
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Community service

In addition to these things, you could potentially be named in a civil lawsuit by victims in the accident. A six-month policy will cost you much less over the years. If you get caught without insurance, the cost of that same six-month policy could double or cost even more.

This means you could be forced by a judge to pay for the damages you caused to other parties by means of wage garnishment or even liens on your property. Then you have to pay more for your auto insurance. Driving without auto insurance coverage simply isn’t worth it.

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Can I pay my car insurance every six months?

Most car insurance carriers allow very flexible options when it comes to paying your premium. Most will allow monthly payments and some even give a discount for paying your premium in full every six months or every 12 months. It’s easier for them if you pay all at once. You’re also more likely to stay with the plan until it expires. Then most companies auto renew and start the process over.

Many drivers choose to pay their policy in one lump sum every six months and not have to worry about it for the remaining term. For some people, this works well for their budget but for other people it does not. You should always consider what’s practical for you right now and if you have options.

No matter the frequency in which you decide to pay your auto insurance premiums, just be sure to get it paid on time. Not paying by the due date could lead to the termination of your policy and leave you dangerously without proper coverage.

Saving Money on Auto Insurance with Discounts

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There are many different ways to save money on auto insurance. Shopping around for the best price is one while asking for discounts is another.

You should ask your auto insurance carrier about the following discounts as many times they do not provide them unless the consumer asks for them:

  • Military – Whether you are a veteran or a current member of the armed forces, some car insurance carriers will grant you a discount as a way of saying thank you.
  • Loyalty – If you have been with the same insurance carrier for several years, they may honor your loyalty by giving you a reduced price on your premium.
  • Low-mileage – If you do not drive very far under normal circumstances on a yearly or weekly basis, your car insurance company might reward you. With less time spent on the road, the less of a risk you are to them.
  • Good student – If you are or have a high school or college student, some insurance carriers will reduce your premium if a student on the policy is making good grades. Proof of this may also be required.
  • Safe driver – Drivers who have never had a ticket or an accident or haven’t recently had either may be awarded a discount on their premium for being a safe driver.
  • Multi-car – Having more than one vehicle on your policy could potentially earn you a discount on your policy premium.
  • Multi-policy – In much the same way, having multiple policies with the same carrier, such as homeowners or renters insurance can also earn you a discount on your car insurance policy.

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Other Ways to Save

Other ways to save money on your auto insurance premium include:

Increase Your Deductibles

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be better of increasing your deductibles. If you have the money in savings to pay your deductible if the need to file a claim arises, you may be better off raising your deductibles in order to lower your premium price.

Consider Dropping Non-Essential Coverages

While it is always important to make sure you have the minimum amounts of insurance required by law in your state, you can often save money by dropping coverages you may not need. You should also evaluate your financial situation when doing so.

Purchase Vehicles with Insurance in Mind

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, talk to your insurance company. Some vehicles are less safe, more expensive to replace, or more difficult to fix. Purchasing a vehicle in these categories will increase your premiums.

Car insurance doesn’t have to be expensive and inflexible.

By learning more about your options and selecting the best ones for you, you can save money. No matter how often you choose to pay your auto policy premium, you can feel confident that you are paying the lowest possible price when you shop by using an online price comparison tool.

Enter your zip code below to compare car insurance rates from multiple companies at once!