Can I change my car insurance policy at any time?

Can I change my car insurance policy at any time?

Whether you want to modify your current car insurance policy because your coverage needs have changed or you want to switch insurance companies to save money, most companies make it easy to do so. Here’s what you need to know before changing your car insurance policy.

Yes, in most cases, you can change your car insurance policy whenever you want – you don’t have to wait for the policy renewal period. To make changes to an existing policy, such as modifying existing coverage limits or adding a teen driver, all you need to do is call your insurance company’s customer service number or speak with your local agent. In most cases, any policy changes take effect immediately, although you will be required to pay any resulting increase in your premium up front.

You can also switch car insurance companies at any time. Many insurance companies will allow you to cancel your existing policy for free, but others charge a fee. Check with your current insurance company to see if you will be subject to any of these changes. If your motivation is to save money, you may be able to do so simply by adjusting your existing policy – such as raising the deductible amount or lowering your coverage limits.

Even if you are in the middle of an insurance claim, you can switch your insurance policy. However, your open claim must remain with your current insurance company. Therefore, you will have to continue to navigate the claim process with your original insurance company. Remember, if you choose to go with another carrier during an open claim, make sure you are up to date on all payments and follow the rules for making claims.

When should I change my car insurance?

As the seasons of life change, your car may need insurance, too. That’s why it’s important to review your insurance policy regularly to make sure it still meets your coverage needs. Whether it’s adjusting your current policy or shopping for another provider, reasons to change your car insurance include:

  • you will marry. If you and your partner own a car, it may be cheaper for you to insure both cars under the same policy rather than keeping separate documents. You may be able to see additional savings by pooling your car and home insurance.
  • Your car is getting bigger. It may not make sense financially to take out full insurance on an old car, especially if the car’s book value is very low.
  • You are moving. Whether your new home is across town or across the country, your address is a major factor in determining your insurance rates. Related factors, such as whether you have a garage or must park your car on the street, can affect your insurance premiums.
  • Your teen has got his driver’s license. It is no secret that insurance premiums for teenage drivers are higher than for older drivers. But if your teen starts driving, it’s probably cheaper to add it to your existing car insurance policy than it is to insure it separately. Many insurance companies offer discounts on auto insurance for teens if they get good grades or leave the car at home while they are in college.
  • You are retired. Senior drivers enjoy some of the cheapest car insurance rates on average. And if you no longer commute to work every day, you may also be able to save with a long haul insurance policy.
  • You want to lower your premium. Switching between insurance companies can help you save money. The Insurance Information Institute advises comparing quotes from at least three insurance companies.
  • You are not satisfied with the current insurance company. Cost isn’t the only reason people change car insurance. Customer service and claims handling are two other factors of what we consider to be our Best Auto Insurance Companies rankings for 2022.

When (or if) you decide to switch carriers, you should first review your current policy and see if there is a fee for cancellation prior to the renewal period. This way, you can avoid any surprise charges. Following a few steps can help simplify the transition between insurance companies.

  1. Gather relevant documents. This includes details of your current policy, driver’s licence, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for all the cars you want to insure.
  2. Shop around. You’ll want to compare policies automatically before you jump on to a new car insurance company. While price is an important factor, be sure to know the details of your policy’s coverage (eg, deductibles, types of coverage, and coverage limits), so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison. Giving up some coverages may lower the cost of insurance, but it can also reduce your coverage. In other words, you may have to pay more money if you get into a crash or your car is damaged.
  3. Select and sign up for a new policy. Once you’ve selected the appropriate coverage and you’re happy with the price, it’s time to sign up for your new policy. Before you terminate your original policy, you will need to make sure that the new policy is activated. Failure to do so may result in an imbalance of coverage, which could affect your rate. Also, get a copy of your new insurance card. Some companies let you instantly access your card through their mobile apps, making it easy to provide proof of insurance.
  4. Let the lender know. If you finance or lease your current vehicle, you will need to notify the lender or lessor.
  5. Cancel your old insurance policy. After verifying that your document is active, you can cancel your current document. Depending on when you cancel, you may be entitled to a refund of coverage funds that have not been used.

Although many insurance companies allow you to cancel at any time, some may apply a cancellation fee if you leave halfway through your policy. For this reason, you should speak with your current insurance company to review the terms and conditions of your policy so that you can avoid unexpected fees.

Having a new policy in place before the old policy is rescinded is critical to preventing coverage from lapse. Since auto insurance is mandatory in almost every state, the lack of coverage is not taken lightly. An interruption in coverage can lead to consequences, such as a price increase, license suspension, fines, or the recall of your vehicle. If you get into an accident without insurance, you will also be in trouble for any expenses resulting from damages or injuries for which you are responsible.

Depending on when you cancel your current policy, it is possible to receive a proportional refund. For example, if you pay your annual premium up front and decide to switch for four months, you’ll receive a split refund for coverage you didn’t use.

Switching auto insurance companies will not affect your credit score. Because insurance providers do not report your payment history to credit bureaus, policy activity will not appear in your credit history. However, your credit score can affect the price you pay for coverage. Most insurance providers use a credit-based insurance score, which is factors in your credit history when calculating your rate.

You have the right to swap insurance companies at any time, even after an accident. But remember, depending on the severity of the accident and your driving history, your insurance rate can increase. When not writing your policy, insurance companies usually look back at the last 3-5 years of your driving record. As a result, the accident could translate to a higher rate with a new insurance company.

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For more information about auto insurance, see the following guides:

Other ratings from 360 reviews

For more information about other types of insurance, see the following guides:

At US News & World Report, we rate the best hospitals, best colleges, and best cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complex decisions. Our 360 Reviews team uses the same unbiased approach to evaluating insurance companies and agencies. The team does not hold samples, gifts, or credits for the products or services we review. Additionally, we maintain a separate team that has no bearing on our methodology or recommendations.

Please note that the information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor is it intended to do so.

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