How to Switch Car Insurance Companies

Switch your car insurance in 6 quick and easy steps.

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Switching car insurance companies: tips and considerations

Loyalty to your car insurance company doesn’t always guarantee better rates or better treatment when making claims. There are a number of other insurers out there who could be offering more wide-ranging coverage at better rates. Even if you haven’t been frustrated by rate hikes or problems with your claims, looking for a new car insurance policy can make a lot of sense.

If you’re wondering how to switch car insurance companies, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not as complicated as you might think. Having an idea of how the process works can help to ensure that you get the best coverage. We’ll review how to switch car insurance step by step.

 

Changing your car insurance policy:

 


 

How to switch car insurance companies: 6 easy steps

 

1. Compare policies

Your first step in getting the best auto insurance coverage should be to see what other companies are offering. Getting car insurance quotes has never been easier. All it usually takes are few personal details to get the ball rolling. 

The wide array of available car insurance options makes it worthwhile to compare premiums and policies from as many insurers as possible. Online services can fetch quotes from multiple companies at once, providing a snapshot of the savings you can expect. Compare extras and add-ons like occupation-based discounts, telematics-powered policies, "photo-filing" for damages, and more. 

Don’t discount a smaller insurance company that provides a great quote just because of its size. A local or regional auto insurance company can be just as effective and supportive as a major insurer. When searching for new coverage, it’s also a good idea to see if your new company offers discounts through bundling. You could find significant savings by bundling your home or renters insurance with your car insurance coverage. 

Remember: car insurance quotes are always free. If an insurer tries to sell you a quote, this is an unnecessary expense. Do not pay for car insurance quotes — they're readily available for free online.

 

2. Understand your coverage needs

As you start requesting car insurance quotes from other companies, it’s important to start thinking about what your current insurance policy covers and the coverage you’ll need going forward. Do you need collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured coverage? What’s your deductible? If you’ve just moved to a new state, what is the minimum level of insurance required by your state?

This information can be found on your declarations page. You should always keep a copy of this page — also called a “dec page” — on-hand at home. More specifically, you should have your current dec page directly in front of you when requesting auto insurance quotes. If you do not have one at home, request a hard copy via your current insurer or try to access your account online.

 

3. Do your research

Before signing up for coverage with a new company, a little research never hurts. The best rate doesn’t always guarantee the best coverage. Does the company have good reviews? Does the rating organization J.D. Power give the company its seal of approval? You can also check with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to check an insurance company's financial viability, as well as looking into the company’s customer complaint ratio. 

Firsthand reports are extremely valuable. If the insurance company has a Facebook page, check out examples of back-and-forth with customers (remember online forums should always be taken with a grain of salt). Is the company responsive after someone files an insurance claim? Are they courteous after a car accident? Chances are that the way a company responds to other customers is how they will respond to you.

If you expect your car insurance company to be a good neighbor, you should hold up your end of the bargain. For the first 60 to 90 days of a new insurance policy, it’s relatively easy for a company to drop you if you file a claim for an at-fault accident or violation. You should always strive to be a safe driver — but be especially mindful early on in your policy.

 

4. Contact your current insurer

If you’ve found a great rate from an insurer that looks promising, you may be itching to get started. However, it’s not a bad idea to give your old insurance provider one last chance to potentially keep your business by first showing them the discounted rate you found elsewhere — especially if you’ve been a loyal customer for years. While car insurance companies don’t often price match, there may be a way to find additional savings. 

One option is to request an insurance policy review. A policy review is basically a check-up on your current plan. You can speak with a company representative who can scan the policy for any discounts for which you qualify that weren’t available when you originally joined. Also, make sure that you aren’t being charged for tickets or accidents that should have by now fallen off your record. Car insurance companies frequently reassess customer rating factors and rate revisions are as routine as choosing a new phone plan.

In the end, your current company might already be giving you every possible discount on your insurance premium. Still, it never hurts to ask.

 

5. Don't let your coverage lapse

No matter if you choose to transfer your car insurance policy to a new company or re-up with your current insurer, it's important to cancel your current policy soon after your new contract begins. Be sure not to cancel before your new policy kicks in. Car insurance companies look closely for lapses in coverage, and you could be penalized for even the smallest of gaps. Another important consideration: driving without car insurance in the US is illegal in almost every circumstance. 

This is also a good time to check for any cancellation fees for switching car insurance companies early on in your policy term. Not every company charges such a fee, so make sure to find out your company’s policy on early cancellation. Call or email your current insurer with your intent to suspend service andget the company's confirmation in writing.

 

6. Keep your new documents secure

You’ve got a new policy, a better insurance premium, and maybe even improved coverage. With this comes new ID cards and a new dec page. 

Make sure to keep you documents where you can find them. You’ll need your dec page if you want to review your policy limits and coverage. Also, have your ID cards handy in case you get pulled over, are involved in a collision, or purchase a new vehicle. Most larger insurance companies have an app that allows you to store or download policy documents, but having printed copies is never a bad idea, as a lost phone or some other technical glitch could prove problematic.

Switching insurance companies can seem daunting, but that shouldn’t keep you from finding the best insurance rate possible. Take it one step at a time and you'll be driving around with the coverage you need — hopefully with a little extra change in your pocket.

 


 

How to cancel car insurance

If you have just purchased a policy with a new car insurance company, you’ll need to cancel your previous policy to avoid overlapping coverage. In many cases, your insurance company’s website will clearly lay out the process. However, most prefer you call and speak directly with an agent. 

While each car insurance company has its own specific policy cancellation protocol, have a look at these basic guidelines to see how the car insurance cancellation process works.

  • Contact your current insurer. Many of the top carriers — GEICO, Allstate, State Farm — have apps or websites with instructions for how to cancel. Some allow you to begin the process online. Otherwise, you can always give the company a call and express your interest in canceling. You can even mail in a written request for cancellation. 
  • Ask about cancellation requirements. Some auto insurance companies require written notice via mail. Others may allow for an e-signature. Depending on your company, there may even be a period of advance notice to which you'll need to adhere. 
  • Find out about cancellation fees or refunds. Many companies do not charge fees for canceling your current coverage, but others might. If you’ve paid your premium upfront, you are entitled to the unused portion, minus any fees that your insurance company might charge. 
  • Contact your bank. If you have any automatic payments in place, make sure they are stopped. 
  • Get a written notice from the insurance company that your coverage has ended. 

What if you give up driving altogether? Maybe you’ve moved to a city where having a car is more of a burden than a convenience, or perhaps you’re just tired of the expenses associated with maintaining a car. For these purposes, canceling your insurance coverage follows much the same process as above. However, depending on your insurer, you may be required to show a bill of sale for your previously insured vehicle if you are not providing new proof of insurance. 

That said, if you plan to continue driving at some point in the near future, canceling your car insurance might not be the best idea. Car insurance companies like to see continuous coverage when putting together your policy. A lapse in coverage may your rates to increase in the future. If you think you may be going carless for a few months, consider a non-owners policy to maintain your coverage. 

 


 

Switching car insurance when you move

Moving is stressful, but switching car insurance shouldn’t add to that stress. In many cases, you may be fine by just updating the address on your old policy. However, where you live can affect your insurance rates, so getting some fresh auto insurance quotes is never a bad idea. 

Regardless of whether or not you switch insurance carriers, it is mandatory to update your address. This is especially true if you move states, as each state has its own insurance laws. Not updating your information can lead to having your claims denied or being dropped from your current coverage altogether. 

Learn more about how to handle car insurance when you move between states.

 


 

Can you switch car insurance companies with an open claim?

Yes, you are allowed to switch auto insurance companies with an open claim. As long as the incident occurred while you were covered by your previous insurance company, the insurer will still pay out your claim.

Insurance companies don’t penalize you for switching your car insurance with an open claim. Stay in contact with your previous insurer until the claim is settled. Keep in mind some claims can have an impact on your rates.

 


 

How to get the best rates on a new car insurance policy

If you’re looking for the best car insurance rates, searching for a new provider is a no-brainer. Whether you plan on switching car insurance companies mid-policy or waiting until your current policy ends, getting the best coverage doesn’t have to be complicated. Start the process by gathering free car insurance quotes by entering your ZIP code below and you could enjoy a better rate before you know it.

Compare rates today!

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