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How to switch car insurance
Get quotes and switch your insurance to a new provider the easy way.
It’s easier to switch car insurance than you might think, and you could save a lot of money on premiums. If your premium went up or you have a new car, now could be a good time to compare rates and decide whether you should shop around or stick with your current insurer.
How do I switch car insurance companies?
Switch car insurance companies seamlessly by stepping back and looking at the whole picture before you change over. Here are six simple ways to make sure your switch is as easy as possible:
- Decide whether you want to look at other options.
- Compare car insurance online to find a new policy that’s right for you.
- Figure out if it’s better to switch or renew based on how much you could save.
- Pick the right time to switch to avoid cancellation fees.
- Have a new policy set to start the same day your old policy ends.
- Notify your current insurer that you won’t be renewing your old policy.
Before you switchRead the product disclosure statement or contact your current insurance company to get a handle on the cancellation process and how long it takes.
Make sure you tell your insurer you are canceling your policy. If you fail to renew without contacting your insurer, you might be considered in default and your credit could suffer. Sometimes your new insurer can help you cancel your old policy, so don’t be shy about asking your new agent for help.
How do I switch car insurance mid-policy?
Some circumstances may force you to change insurers before your current policy expires. You could be changing jobs, locations, drivers or cars. Or you may have just found the deal of a lifetime and you can’t afford to wait.
To make a switch before your current policy ends, follow these three steps:
- Ask your current carrier how to cancel, when the cancellation takes effect, what the associated fees and costs are and whether you will get any refunds.
- Have a replacement policy ready before you cancel to avoid a lapse in coverage. Also don’t plan on being able to pay for your new policy with a refund from your old one.
- Sign up for the new policy and then cancel the old one. If possible, try to have your new policy take effect the same day the old one ends.
When is the right time to switch car insurance companies?
The best time to switch typically comes around at least once a year, and that’s at renewal time. But there are other times you might want to change carriers.
After major life events
You’ll want to evaluate your coverage at the very least after any one of these events — you may find that switching is a good option.
- You move to another city or state. A new location can mean new coverage requirements and increased or decreased claims risk.
- You get married. Adding your spouse to your policy or combining policies might warrant changing insurers to get the best rate.
- Your teen starts driving. Drivers under 21 are some of the most expensive to insure. Make sure you’re getting the best rates when you add a teen to your policy.
- You’re buying a car. While it may be easy to switch to a new policy with your current insurer, you may be able to get better rates elsewhere. Especially if your new car qualifies for discounts your current carrier doesn’t offer.
- You change jobs or retire. While employment itself might not impact your rates much, your commute and driving habits will.
Choose from a long list of discounts and coverage for almost any driver.
Our top pick: Progressive
Choose from a long list of discounts and coverage for almost any driver.
Switch car insurance easily online
Our top tips for changing car insurance
- Mind the gap. Check the activation date on your new policy and make sure it’s before your old policy expires. Even a small gap in coverage could put you at risk, and might hurt your rates the next time you change insurers.
- Don’t be afraid to change car insurers often. Unless it’s getting you a good discount, loyalty is overrated. If you can find a better deal with another insurer, take the quote to negotiate with your current insurance company and see if it’s willing to match it. If not, make the change.
- Balance coverage with cost. Don’t base your reason for switching on price alone. Make sure any new policy you look at offers the right coverage as well. A cheaper policy with less coverage might end up costing more if you have to file a claim.
- Review your premium cost every year. Make it a habit to review your car insurance every year before renewal time. You’ll often see premium increases at this time, as insurers usually count on customers renewing their policy automatically each year without comparing other options.
- Regularly check your coverage amounts. Nix any unnecessary add-ons or coverage that may not be relevant anymore. Also consider adjusting your deductible if you’ve built up more savings or your car has depreciated significantly.
- Be ready to change policies when you buy a new car You will typically need to take out a new policy for a new — or new to you — vehicle, but it’s typically pretty easy to switch policies to a different car with your current insurer.
- Don’t be hasty about switching after an accident. Your claims history is available to your new insurer, meaning you won’t necessarily get a clean slate by switching car insurance. But having an accident certainly qualifies as a changed circumstance, so you might want to take the opportunity to shop around anyway.
Can switching car insurance save me money?
Being able to go online and compare car insurers means that you can save a lot of money by playing the field. If your current insurer won’t offer you a better deal or match a quote you’ve found, then tell it you’re thinking about switching car insurance policies.
If that doesn’t get you a better deal, then it might be time to go. You can also consider reviewing your coverage amounts and add-ons to try and lower your rate with your current provider.
What isn’t my insurer telling me?
Knowing how the industry operates can help you in your search for a better deal. The following are some things that your insurer won’t necessarily tell you, but are useful to know.
- They know if you lie on an application. Insurers share information among themselves, so don’t lie about your claims history or driving record.
- Your car value’s not based on its actual value. Insurers calculate the replacement value of your car based on the cheapest quote they can find. If you’re unhappy with your insurer’s valuation, get quotes from three different dealers yourself and submit them to your insurer.
- Your car is protected but its contents aren’t always covered. Personal items such as stereo systems aren’t usually covered by your car insurance. If stolen or damaged, try claiming them on your home or renters insurance instead.
- Loyalty isn’t always rewarded. To attract new customers, many insurers offer them better deals than their current customers are getting. To find out if that’s the case with your insurer, apply for a quote online as a new customer and compare it with what you’re currently paying.
- Your premiums could go up for no reason. Most insurance renewal statements don’t list last year’s premium amount. Make sure you look at your last bill and compare what you paid then with the renewal rate. You might be surprised to find that your car insurance premiums went up without you realizing.
Is it bad to switch car insurance too often?
No, you can’t really change car insurance too often. Insurers might see on your record that you change insurers every year or even every few months, but you won’t be penalized for switching. If you can save by switching, there’s really no downside to comparing quotes every year.
Just watch out for two potential pitfalls: Coverage gaps and cancellation fees. Make sure your new insurance starts the day your old insurance policy ends to avoid a lapse in insurance. And be sure to check if your current insurer charges cancellation fees — luckily, this isn’t common.
Switching car insurance isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Follow a few basic steps to make sure it’s the right move for you, then work with your current insurance company to find out its unique fees and switching process. You could save a bundle by comparing car insurance companies and switching to one that works better for you.
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