Car insurance is an expense no one likes to pay. Fortunately, there are many ways to cut car insurance rates. Comparison shopping, bundling your coverages and driving more cautiously all can net you car insurance discounts and so can paying your premium all at once, rather than paying in installments or locking in rates for 12 months instead of six.

Not every insurer offers 12-month auto insurance policies, though. Car insurance policies traditionally run on a six-month cycle. After those six months, the policy renews.

“Many insurers offer discounts for paying a full year’s worth of premiums all at once,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute.

So, if you want a 12-month car insurance policy, you may need to shop around. Here, we’ve covered everything you need to know about 12-month car insurance, including where to get it.

What is 12-month car insurance?

A 12-month auto insurance policy is one where you get a full year of coverage, rather than having to renew your policy every six months. Some drivers like the idea of securing a policy upfront for 12 months – it gives them one less thing to worry about. They simply renew their policy once a year and don’t worry about it again until the following year.

Others like one-year car insurance because it allows them to pay for a full year of coverage upfront. Paying for a full year of car insurance in advance offers some advantages to policyholders. For example, getting car insurance for 12 months locks in your rate for an entire year. It also may be more convenient for some drivers. If you pay in advance, you only have to remember to pay your premium one time each year, which reduces the odds that you will accidentally forget to make a payment, leading to a gap in your coverage until you remember to pay the bill.

Some people also may find that an auto insurance one-year policy is easier on their budgeting process. They may prefer to save a little money each month for the following year’s policy and then just make a single payment the next year. For example, they would save a little extra cash each month during 2020, so they would be ready to make one large premium payment at the beginning of 2022.

Perhaps most importantly, agreeing to a 12-month auto insurance term may net you a discount on your premiums.  

"The amount of the discount varies by insurer, but usually it's around 15% to 20%," Worters says. 

In some cases, the price break may be lower, however.

How does 12-month car insurance work?

If you are interested in a one-year car insurance policy, call your insurer and ask if it offers the option. If not, don’t be afraid to shop around – as Worters says, many insurance companies offer this type of policy.

The underwriting rules and guidelines of car insurance companies vary and will determine if you’re eligible for a 12-month policy. Just because a car insurance company says it offers a 12-month policy doesn’t mean you'll automatically be found suitable according to a company’s underwriting criteria.

Compare car insurance rate quotes and find out what policy terms you’re eligible for.

Once you find an insurer willing to sell you a 12-month car insurance policy, the process should unfold much as it would with any type of policy. You will either pay in installments or will pay upfront for one year of coverage.

What auto insurance companies offer 12-month policies?

Several auto insurance companies offer 12-month policies. Typically, you also can earn a discount on your car insurance costs if you opt for a 12-month auto insurance policy and agree to pay the full year of premium costs upfront. Start by contacting these insurance companies to ask if you're eligible to receive 12-month auto insurance quotes.

  • Auto-Owners
  • Auto Club of Southern California
  • CSAA Insurance Group
  • Elephant
  • Erie Insurance
  • Infinity
  • Kemper Direct
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Metlife
  • Safeco
  • The General
  • The Hartford
  • USAA

Frequently asked questions about one-year insurance policies

Car insurance rates differ from insurer to insurer, with each company using its own formula for setting costs. Comparison shopping for six-month and 12-month auto insurance policies is the best way to determine whether a 12-month policy will save you money.

As noted above, paying your policy in full usually will save you money on your car insurance. But Worters says the savings of paying for a full year in advance typically are the same as paying for a full six months – about 15% to 20%.

You can start by contacting your current car insurance company to see if you qualify for 12-month car insurance. Or, if you'd prefer to get a new insurer, contact those we've mentioned like Liberty Mutual, Infinity, The General and The Hartford that offer 12-month car insurance. Getting multiple 12-month auto insurance quotes will help to ensure you'll get the best deal available.

If you pay your full premium in advance, many insurance companies will offer a discount of 15% to 20% off your premium. But the same is true if you pay your six-month policy in advance. A 12-month car insurance policy allows you to lock in your premium for a year instead of six months, which means you could save yourself an increased premium for the last six months of your policy.

Progressive does not offer 12-month policies if you buy direct from Progressive, but if you purchase through a Progressive agent, you may qualify for a 12-month option.

Final thoughts on one-year car insurance

Purchasing a 12-month car insurance policy can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you will have coverage for a full year and that your premium costs will remain fixed during that time.

In addition, if you are willing to pay for a full year’s worth of premiums upfront, you might save a lot of cash – potentially as much as 20%.

If a 12-month car insurance policy sounds right for you, compare car insurance rate quotes and discover which insurance company can offer you the best 12-month car insurance.