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When you buy car insurance, you typically choose between two term options: six months and 12 months. Six-month policies offer flexibility and convenience for those who don’t need year-long coverage. 

On the other hand, a 12-month policy is ideal for drivers seeking consistent rates throughout the year. Regardless of the policy duration, it’s important to compare car insurance quotes before the policy term ends. It allows you to analyze your options and find affordable coverage.

What is a 6 month premium?

6-month car insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides coverage for your vehicle for a period of six months. It works similarly to an annual policy, offering protection against financial losses due to accidents, theft, and other covered perils.

The duration of a six-month car insurance policy, as the name suggests, covers you for a period of six months. It provides insurance coverage for your vehicle and liabilities during this specific half-year timeframe. After the six months are up, the policy expires unless it’s renewed for another term. This type of policy allows for more flexibility, as you are not locked into a long-term commitment.

Average car insurance for 6 months vs annual 

The average cost of car insurance for a 6-month policy is $947, whereas drivers who purchase car insurance for a period of 12 months pay $1,895, based on a detailed data analysis by 

Your age, driving record, credit score, location, and vehicle type all play a significant role in determining your premium.

Typically, paying for a year’s worth of car insurance upfront offers some cost savings compared to paying every six months. Insurance companies might offer discounts for paying annually because it ensures they have your business for a longer period. However, the difference in cost between paying every six months versus annually mostly depends on your insurance company and its policies.

Below are car insurance rates  for 6-month and 12-month policies. 

StateAbbreviationAverage 6 months premiumAverage annual premium
District of ColombiaDC$1,079$2,157
New HampshireNE$951$1,902
New JerseyNH$633$1,265
New MexicoNJ$951$1,902
New YorkNM$1,024$2,049
North CarolinaNV$1,030$2,060
North DakotaNY$935$1,870
Rhone IslandRI$1,030$2,061
South CarolinaSC$1,005$2,009
South DakotaSD$1,140$2,280
West VirginiaWI$832$1,664

6-month vs 12-month car insurance cost comparison

Choosing the right car insurance policy term – six months or twelve months – can be a strategic decision with significant financial implications. Six-month car insurance policies offer flexibility to compare rates after each term but may lead to frequent rate changes. On the other hand, annual policies lock your rates for a year but offer less flexibility.

If you need temporary car insurance for short-term needs, consider a 6-month car insurance policy with monthly payments. This way, you only pay for as long as you need coverage and can easily cancel the car insurance policy when you no longer need it.

While temporary auto insurance options for less than six months might not exist, this approach offers freedom and helps avoid unnecessary long-term commitments.

6 months vs 12 months cost by top car insurance companies

Based on a detailed analysis, found that Nationwide offers the cheap 6 months car insurance rates at $774, whereas a 12-month car insurance policy costs $1,548 a year.

Insurance companies recalculate rates at the end of a policy term, regardless of its duration. However, with a six-month policy, rates may be adjusted more frequently due to the shorter time frame.

Your specific car insurance rates may be higher or lower depending on several factors, including the insurance company, your location, your driving history, and the specific coverage options you choose. Even if you’re planning to purchase a 6 month auto insurance policy, make sure you compare car insurance quotes from major auto insurance companies to get the best deal.

CompanyAverage 6 months premiumAverage 12-month premium
Geico$881 $1,763
State Farm$987$1,975

6 months car insurance cost by policy type 

Coverage type has a significant impact on the cost of your car insurance policy, often being the biggest factor influencing the premium. But when you look at the rates of a 6-month policy for different coverage options in the table below, there is not much difference.  For instance, a six-month full-coverage car insurance policy from Nationwide costs $774, whereas liability-only and state-minimum policies cost $775 and $768 respectively.  

Know car insurance premiums of different insurance companies by coverage type for a 6-month auto policy.

Company Average Cost for a Six-Month full coverage premiumAverage Cost for a Six-Month liability onlyAverage Cost for a Six-Month State Minimum
Nationwide$774$775 $768 
Travelers$794 $759$693
State Farm$987$934$858

Pros and cons: Paying for insurance semi-annually vs annually

Paying for insurance semi-annually and annually has its own set of pros and cons. 

Pros of a semi-annual car insurance policy 

There are some pros to choosing a 6-month car insurance policy over a 12-month policy.

  • Flexibility: Short-term car insurance policies offer flexibility. If you’re unsure about committing to a longer-term plan or have changing circumstances, a 6-month policy might suit you better.
  • Cost: Sometimes, shorter-term policies can cost less upfront. If you’re not planning on using the car for an extended period, paying for only 6 months can be more economical.
  • Ability to switch: You have the chance to reassess your insurance needs more frequently. If better deals or coverage options become available, you can switch more frequently than with an annual policy.
  • Avoiding commitment: If you’re uncertain about your driving situation or might not need the car for a full year, a shorter-term policy lets you avoid a long commitment.

Cons of a semi-annual auto insurance policy

Here are some of the cons of a semi-annual auto insurance policy

  • Potentially higher rates: Most car insurance companies charge slightly higher premiums for 6-month policies due to administrative costs of more frequent renewals.
  • Increased risk of lapse: With more renewals, the chance of forgetting to renew and experiencing a coverage gap is higher.
  • No long-term stability: You might miss out on car insurance discounts offered for loyal customers with 12-month car insurance policies.
  • More administrative hassle: You’ll deal with renewals, paperwork, and potentially new car insurance costs often.

Pros of annual car insurance

Choosing a 12-month car insurance policy comes with several potential advantages.

  • Locked-in rates: Your premium is fixed for the entire year, protecting you from unexpected mid-term rate hikes due to general re-evaluations or external factors. This allows for easier budgeting and avoids financial surprises.
  • Lower monthly payments: Paying annually often translates to slightly lower monthly auto insurance rates compared to bi-annual installments. While the total cost remains the same, it eases the financial burden of larger installments.
  • Fewer renewals: You only need to deal with the renewal process once a year, saving you time and paperwork compared to the twice-yearly renewals of 6-month policies.
  • Upfront payment incentives: Some insurers offer discounts for paying your entire premium upfront, further decreasing your overall cost.
  • Loyalty rewards: Sticking with the same insurer for a year can unlock loyalty discounts or other benefits offered for long-term commitments.
  • Reduced lapse risk: You’re less likely to accidentally let your insurance lapse with a longer policy term, potentially avoiding coverage gaps.

Cons of annual car insurance policy

Here are some potential downsides to consider when choosing a 12-month car insurance policy.

  • Early Cancellation Fees: Switching insurance providers or vehicles mid-term often incur cancellation fees, making it less flexible if your needs change unexpectedly.
  • Missed rate reductions: Positive changes in your driving record (like completing defensive driving courses) or significant life changes (like moving to a safer neighborhood) might not be reflected in your premiums until your next renewal.
  • Premium commitment: Opting for a 12-month policy means committing to a specific premium for the entire year. If your circumstances change or you find a better deal elsewhere, you may be locked into a higher premium.

Is it better to pay car insurance annually or every 6 months?

If you prefer spreading out your expenses over the year and have a tight monthly budget, paying car insurance premiums every six months might be more manageable. However, if you can afford a lump sum payment annually, it could save you money in the long run.

Some insurance companies offer discounts when you pay your car insurance premium annually. It’s worth checking with your insurer to see if this option is available and if it can help you save on your overall premium costs.  

Ultimately, the decision between paying annually or every six months depends on your individual preferences, financial situation, and convenience. It’s best to compare quotes from different insurers to determine which option works best for you.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, choosing between a six-month and a twelve-month car insurance policy involves weighing flexibility against stability. Six-month policies offer greater flexibility, allowing drivers to reassess and potentially switch to better rates more frequently, which is ideal for those with changing circumstances or short-term insurance needs. However, this flexibility can come at a cost, including potentially higher premiums due to more frequent renewals and administrative tasks.

Frequently asked questions

Does a 6-month car insurance policy cost more than 12-month car insurance?

No. A 6-month car insurance policy costs less than a 12-month car insurance. If you only plan to own the car for a short period, a 6-month policy will obviously be cheaper than a 12-month policy. A 6-month policy costs an average of $947 a year, whereas a 12-month policy costs $1,895 annually- that’s a difference of $948.

Which insurance companies offer 6-month and 12-month policies?

Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm and Travelers are auto insurance companies that offer 6-month and 12-month policies to drivers in most states, according to a recent in-depth data analysis by

Does six-month car insurance offer the same discounts as 12-month insurance?

While most insurance companies offer similar discounts regardless of policy duration, it’s always a good idea to double-check their specific policies by getting in touch with the insurer or your auto insurance agent. Common discounts include multi-car, multi-policy, and good driver benefits.