When should you change your insurance after a big event?

From hurricanes to moving

Author profile picture

Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

Author profile picture

Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

Sometimes your car insurance or home insurance is a great fit for your budget, but you realize it doesn’t offer the protection you need when something goes wrong. Or sometimes your life changes and you could be getting a better deal elsewhere.

Life events both positive and negative can mean it’s a good time to switch if you get the timing right. Here are a few to consider:

You get in a car accident

Getting in a car accident is always a stressful situation. Sometimes dealing with your insurance company can add to the stress and make you realize you want to make a change. But when is the best time to make a switch? 

You can actually switch insurance companies even while you have an open claim, even if you were at fault in the accident. That said, you will still need to work with your previous insurance company to settle the open claim. 

Getting in a car accident – whether you’re at fault or not – can lead to a significant increase in car insurance premiums. Even if you do switch companies, you will still have to disclose your accident to your new company. That said, some companies might still offer you a lower rate, so it may be worth comparing your options.

A hurricane is heading for your house.

You’ve just got word a hurricane is heading to your area. Is now the right time to update your home insurance?

Unfortunately, no. Once the hurricane has been declared, insurance companies will impose moratoriums during which they stop writing new policies or letting existing policyholders make changes. Typically, a moratorium applies 24 to 48 hours before a storm’s projected impact. 

After a natural disaster like a hurricane, you may find rates go up as insurance companies try to recoup some losses. That said, the changes might not happen right after the disaster. Because insurance is an industry regulated at the state level, insurance companies have to request approval for new rates. It’s possible if you switch policies shortly after a natural disaster, you will see a lower rate but be prepared for it to jump when you go renew.

You move to a new area.

Looking strictly at car insurance, where you live can have a big impact on what you pay. If you move to a densely populated city or an area with high crime, expect to pay a bit more. 

If you move from a rental to a condo or house, now might be an excellent time to consider bundling insurance either with your existing auto insurance company or with a new one to cover both home and auto. Bundling can potentially offer you savings, while also simplifying your life by having all your policies with one company.

You retire from your job.

If you have a milestone birthday, it may be worth looking around to see if you could be saving money on car insurance. Often car insurance companies offer better rates to older drivers who are considered to have significant experience. 

Additionally, if you previously had a long commute that you no longer have, you might want to look into insurance companies that offer better rates for low-mileage drivers.

Wrapping up

If you are unhappy with your insurance company or you think you might be able to get a lower rate elsewhere, it's worth considering a switch. Just make sure you get the timing right and do not leave any loose ends or open claims.