Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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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 Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • A quote for car insurance does not last for an indefinite amount of time because factors that influence the quote you receive change all the time
  • If you make a change in the type or amount of coverage that you are requesting, this will change the quote that you receive
  • If you have an accident or get a traffic ticket that dropped since you last requested a quote for car insurance, this would almost certainly increase the rate that you are quoted at
  • The area that you live in affects the rate that you pay. So if crime or accident statistics in your particular area change, this could also affect your auto insurance rate
  • The time of the year and changing weather patterns can affect the auto insurance rates in general. So a change in seasons could mean that you are quoted at a different rate for coverage

When you receive a quote for a car insurance policy, this quote does not last forever. In fact, it can change rather quickly because it depends on a long list of factors that are constantly in flux. You have some control over factors like your driving history and what auto insurance coverage you sign up for. You can’t always control the crime rate or accident claims rate in your zip code. Even when it comes to maintaining a clean driving record, you can’t avoid every accident. Sometimes the weather and other drivers have their own ideas.

If you are worried about a great quote slipping away, you should either act fast to lock it in or inquire with the auto insurance company if there is an expiration date or time for the quote. Just as insurance companies evaluate the risk you pose differently, they have different standards for locking in quotes.

It may be frustrating to know that your car insurance quotes may change very quickly based on things that are totally outside of your control, but there are still plenty of things that you can do to avoid paying more than what you need to for car insurance coverage.

Get quotes to compare today! Just enter your zip code in our free rate tool above.

What factors influence the quotes you receive for car insurance coverage?


While it may seem unfair to you, your car insurance quote is almost always based on things that have nothing to do with how good of a driver you are or how safe your car is. In general terms, you can lower your rate by driving responsibly. But even the best driving can be offset by getting your insurance quote on the wrong day.

When auto insurance companies are coming up with insurance rates, they are trying to decide what risk level each insured driver poses because they do not want to insure too many drivers that have a very high risk of filing a claim through their auto insurance policies.

Insurance companies realize that claims are unavoidable, but they want to make sure that drivers who are at a higher risk of actually filing one are paying more for their coverage to compensate for that fact.

Here are some factors that could make your quotes fluctuate:

If you live and drive in an area that has a higher than average crime rate, this could be a very good reason why your car insurance quotes go up. Keep in mind that if you change zip codes, this is another reason why the car insurance quotes you receive could change.

Safer areas with low crime and accident rates tend to have lower insurance rates. Cities generally have higher claim rates because of the higher volume of traffic in those areas, so this can lead to higher insurance quotes in urban areas.

Keep in mind that every time you apply for a car insurance quote, the insurance company does an inquiry into your driving record and accident history.

If you reapply for a quote after an accident or having received a traffic record, this could be the culprit behind you receiving a higher quote than you have in the recent past.

While it is difficult to do anything to drastically improve your driving record in the short-term, you could look into various discounts for having completed an approved driving safety course.

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Are you getting the right coverage?

It is easy to become singularly focused on the price of the car insurance you are getting. However, you should not ignore your specific coverage needs in your quest for the cheapest rate. Unfortunately, you could end up spending thousands covering your own auto damage if you try to cut costs by cutting coverage now.

Having a general understanding of what types of coverage apply to your specific situation is essential to making a knowledgeable decision about the car insurance policy that you sign up for.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in trying to find the lowest quote for car insurance is to only stick with the requirements of your state for car insurance.

These should be thought of as the very bare minimum for coverage and are not a good indicator of having adequate coverage.

The problem with only getting coverage up to these requirements is that you will probably find yourself having to dip into your own assets if you hit another car or pedestrian. You also have to pay for the damage to or replacement of your own car. This may not matter if you have an older car that doesn’t cost much to replace. No matter what you drive, liability limits that cover potentially serious accidents and personal injury protection are essential. Collision and comprehensive coverage can be expensive, but your coverage should always be tailored to your unique situation.

The liability limits on the minimum insurance policies fall well below the average damages incurred in an auto accident today.

In addition to raising the limits on your liability coverage, it may be best for you to get extra coverages for your own car. If you do not, then there is no protection for your own vehicle if it is damaged by something other than another driver.

Besides that concern, there is a real possibility that the other driver responsible for an accident does not have enough insurance or any coverage at all to be able to cover the damages you incur.

In this situation, you would be very glad that you had uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage so that there is some way to pay for the repairs to your car. Some states require drivers to opt out if they don’t want uninsured or underinsured coverage. You’ll see it on online quotes. You can also ask an agent in your state.

Otherwise, you would be stuck paying for the damage yourself, which means that you may actually need to replace the entire car on your own.

The positive side of these extra coverages is that they will probably not raise your premiums by a significant amount. The coverage that you get is likely worth the extra price increases.

What else can you do about changing auto insurance quotes?


You should not be surprised if you find that the quotes you receive for auto insurance change over time.

These quotes are certainly not stagnant because they depend on a long list of factors that car insurance companies consider when figuring out what type of risk and how much risk each driver contributes to their overall risk pool. When you move to a new area or buy a new car, these are obvious triggers for rate changes. Your rates can change even when you stay in the same place and drive the same car (as your car ages). The good news is when you buy a safer car, improve your driving record, or even improve your credit scores, your auto insurance quotes could drop.

While sometimes a quote may change because of something that you can directly influence, it is also possible for cheap car insurance to change based on something that is completely out of your own control.

The following are examples of factors you can directly influence:

  • Purchasing a new car
  • Making a change to the type or amount of coverage that you want
  • Adding another driver
  • Talking to insurance agents about the discounts you qualify for

Some of the things that you have no control over include the crime rate in your area or any changes in the overall market rates for car insurance.

Compare online quotes today using our free rate tool.