You always retain the option to switch car insurance providers. You can opt to change your policy even if it is not up for renewal. This can change you a ton of money down the road, irrespective of whether you’re getting full coverage or going with the minimum coverage required by state law, also known as ‘barebones coverage’.
While it is technically possible to switch car insurance providers at any time during you’re your policy, the best time to do so is when your policy is nearly over. The best time to start your research is a few weeks or a month before your renewal date or the end of the current policy.
It is not desirable to have any gap in your coverage should you decide on canceling your current policy. It is better for your new policy to overlap with your soon-to-expire policy by a few days than to go even a single day without insurance. In fact, in some states, even a single day of lapse may result in a fine.
If you do desire to cancel your insurance policy, make sure to inform the auto insurance provider that you want to opt out and want to terminate the policy on a certain date. Just don’t make the mistake of assuming they will terminate the policy for you. If you don’t initiate the cancellation process now, there is the likelihood you may receive a bill from your older auto insurance provider in the near future. Do not ignore it otherwise, it will end up on your credit report!
Steps To Take Before You Switch Car Insurance Providers
The first step before you switch car insurance providers is to do your research and shop around. Your goal should be to find affordable rates and more features. This should definitely be the case when time is on your side and there is no urgency. Try comparing each insurance company’s reputation via online websites and compare their prices.
When it comes to the research, you really can’t overdo it. Try checking and comparing as many car insurance policies as you can. As a general rule of thumb collect at least three to six from different insurers. This includes independent agents, online-only, and captive agents. Make sure to compare the average rates in your area to get an idea of what prices are considered competitive.
The average rates drastically fluctuate from one auto insurance provider to another, sometimes to the tune of as much as 50%. Imagine what you can do with the money saved by going to a cheaper company that offers the same benefits as the more expensive one.
Also worth noting is the fact that insurance companies don’t stick to the same rates they offered to you during your sign-up. Their rates vary from year to year depending on their profitability and prior losses. It isn’t unheard of for an auto insurance provider to give you fantastic rates in the first year only to spike it up by 40% the next at renewal. This is why experts recommend shopping around every couple of years to keep a lid on those rising premiums.
There are several factors that could affect auto insurance rates including:
- Type of vehicle
- Number of insurance policies
- Prior insurance
- Zip code
- Driving record
- Your credit
Any one of these factors could change and by extension, change your premium rates. Every auto insurance provider has its own criteria for deciding premium rates. For instance, some insurance companies work better for families with multiple vehicles and will offer better rates to those folks. Other insurance companies work best for single people with just one car.
When you get a quote, make sure to carefully examine whether the current coverage offers anything in the way of discounts. It is always possible that your current needs and situations have changed. This may include adding a new family member to the policy, adding a new car, including safety features to your car, retiring from work, and a slew of other factors.
Why Should I change my Auto Insurance Provider?
There are a number of reasons people look to switch car insurance providers. These include the following:
- An unresponsive or terrible customer service experience
- Your rates have increased far beyond what you expected
- You seek lower rates than what you are currently getting
Your auto insurance provider is not doing financially well (the idea is to pay to a company that is financially stable and can reimburse you when you make a claim)
You have married, divorced, bought a new house, or car, or have a baby on the way.
The main reason why anyone would want to leave their auto insurance provider is when they seek lower rates. The idea is to find a company that fits in well with your particular risk factors. And that, of course, means doing a lot of research.
Why You Shouldn’t Change Your Car Insurance Providers
So far, this article has been all about bashing your old insurance provider. This doesn’t mean that you should change your current insurance provider. Switching is not a good idea for you if:
- You already have negotiated low enough rates from your current company
- You really like your existing perks and would lose them if you leave the insurer, these include items that you have had to earn over a period of years including accident forgiveness and a vanishing deductible.
- You’re happy with the service provided and the other company isn’t known for good customer service
- You have bundled coverage with the company and prefer the convenience of having only one insurance company to deal with:
Switch Car Insurance Providers: Do’s & Dont’s
- Shop around to find the lowers price.
- Thoroughly review the policy of the new company to make sure the change is worth it.
- Let your old insurance company know you’re about to cancel your policy.
- Make sure to compare the coverage with other companies.
- Inform your auto insurance provider of the change.
- Remember to down the app for your new company.
- Cancel the current policy before your new one is in effect.
- Change an insurance provider based on price alone, and look at other factors such as financial stability.
- Switch to a lesser reputable company that you don’t know much about.
- Be afraid to experiment with a new company if your research shows it to be a good fit.
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