Thinking about switching your insurance provider but you aren’t quite sure how or when to do it? We’re here to help! Whether you’re switching because you don’t like your current policy or just because you want something a little better, these tips will help you make the transition smoothly.
1. Shop around
We know this is an obvious one, but if you’re desperate to get out of your current policy you might forget and just pick the first offer that looks good. There are tons of services out there to help you compare insurance quotes, and don’t forget to call your top insurance companies and compare their quotes, premiums, deductibles, and services they provide. Don’t shop just based on price, look at the whole insurance package and find your best fit.
2. Research key insurance companies
This sounds like shopping around, but it’s more in-depth than that. Once you have a couple insurance companies in mind that you’d like to get a policy with, do some digging around and figure out their details. How often is their customer service available? How have previous customers rated these companies? Do they have any hidden fees? These are the sorts of questions you want answers to before choosing an insurance company.
3. Tell your current insurance company you’re leaving
This is extremely important! If you don’t tell your current insurance company you’re leaving they may charge you for more service than you want, and if you don’t pay that it’ll show up on your credit score and could label you a high-risk individual and increase the price of your next insurance policy. Call your insurance company a month or so before you plan to leave and let them know what you intend to do. They will send you a form to fill out, read it carefully and send it back to them. That will keep any issues at bay.
4. Make sure you stay covered
When switching insurance, it’s easy to leave a small window when you’re uninsured. Maybe your first policy ends a couple days before your second policy begins, that can be an issue. If you don’t have auto insurance in any US state, that can carry a hefty fine if it’s discovered. You also don’t want to get in a crash over the weekend waiting for your new insurance policy, you will not be covered. Retroactive insurance doesn’t exist. To avoid this, make sure that your new policy ends on the day your old policy ends.
5. Switch towards the end of your current policy
Some insurance companies will let you pay your premiums in full to avoid monthly payments. If you’ve done this and change policies in the middle of your policy’s term you are owed money back from your prepaid premiums that you won’t be using, but that money might not come for a while. In order to avoid this and other potential repercussions of ending your policy midway through, switch towards the end of your policy, making sure your insurance doesn’t lapse.
6. Don’t let your insurance lapse
Insurance companies look at your previous (or current) insurance policy to help determine your premiums. If you have a current insurance policy and are up to date on payments, that will be very appealing to other insurance companies and will give you better premiums. Allowing your insurance coverage to lapse before purchasing a new policy will do the exact opposite. You may be labeled as high-risk and have significantly higher premiums with your new policy.
7. Gather your information before you talk to insurance companies
This will make everything go much more smoothly when you begin talking to an insurance company. Include the make, model, and year of your car or cars to be covered. If there are any other drivers, how many miles you drive, where you live, what you use your cars for, and any accident or ticket history you might have. This is the basic information any insurance company will want, so having it at your fingertips is a good idea.
8. Accident forgiveness will likely not carry over
Accident forgiveness doesn’t generally carry over from one insurance company to another. You will have to start your record over to build up your discounts. Any service like this will likely not carry over as well, don’t expect it to. This could cause unexpected changes in your premiums if you forget to account for this.
9. Be aware your old insurance company may check for your new coverage
In many states it is required that insurance companies confirm that you have a new policy before they’re allowed to end your current policy. Give them enough information to confirm that you have a new policy or they will likely have to report you as uninsured to the state, which could cause confusion down the road.
10. Once insured, make sure your previous policy is terminated
Once you’re with a new insurance company, double check with your old insurance company and make sure that your policy is cancelled and you won’t be charged any more fees, including cancellation fees.