Switching insurance companies is a great way to save money, and it is sometimes necessary if you move to a different state. “Can you switch auto insurance at any time” is a common question customers ask when they are in either one of these predicaments, and the good news is that the answer is “yes.”
Most insurance companies will not penalize their customers for canceling their policies, and you will likely get a refund for the unused portion of your premium if it was prepaid. Some companies may charge a cancellation fee, though, for early termination, so it is essential to read your policy before switching.
The important thing to remember is your new policy must be active before you cancel your old one so you don’t experience any gaps in coverage.
Reasons to Consider Switching Insurance Companies
Car insurance is vital to protecting one of your major assets, your vehicle. You count on your insurance company to provide you with reasonable rates and proper services in the event you have to file a claim. If your insurance company is not performing as it should, it might be time to consider switching. Some of the most common reasons customers decide to switch insurance companies include:
- They have experienced poor customer service.
- They feel their rates are too high.
- They are adding a new driver and need a carrier with better discounts.
- They are planning to move to a different state.
- They have recently had a drastic change in credit scores.
- They are looking for more specialty coverages.
- They had a bad experience during the claims process.
How To Make the Switch
When you decide it’s time to make the switch, follow these simple steps to ensure the process goes smoothly.
- Compare auto insurance carriers: Determine which carriers you want to consider. Review all their policy features and optional coverages. Send out a quote request, and compare them side by side. Consider the deductibles and policy features from each company along with the price.
- Check out each company’s reviews and ratings: Look for customer complaints and the company’s response, if you can find them. Focus on reviews about the claims process, as this is when your company needs to step up the most.
- See if your current insurer will match: If your main complaint with your current insurance company is price, you might want to give them the chance to match the best price. Contact them and share the particulars of your best quote to see if they can match the price and deductibles.
- Discuss your cancellation: If your current insurer cannot match the price or you are switching for another reason, call your current company to discuss the cancellation process. Ask if you must pay any fees for canceling mid-policy. You also might want to ask if you will receive a refund for any prepaid premium and, if so, what percentage.
- Sign up for your new policy: If you choose to go with a new insurer, you will need to complete the paperwork to purchase your new policy. Ensure the effective date is the same day your other policy cancels to avoid a lapse in coverage. If you decide to switch at the end of a policy, you will likely have to sign up a week before the lapse to ensure better rates for continuous coverage.
- Get new ID cards: Print out or download a digital copy of your new insurance card to make it available immediately if you need it. If you have old printed copies of your old policy in your car, discard them to avoid confusion. It is also advisable to print a copy of your ID card for your glove box so you don’t have to rely on your phone as your only insurance proof.
- Notify your loan or leasing companies: If you still owe money on your car, you will need to notify your loan or leasing company of the insurance change. They might ask for documentation to prove you meet their minimum comprehensive and collision coverage requirements.
Canceling Your Old Auto Policy
Citations for driving without insurance and lapses in coverage can also lead to higher insurance rates. Driving without insurance is illegal in many states. You could also run into problems with your leasing or loan company if you end up with a lapse in coverage.
To ensure your policy does not lapse, have all documentation of your new policy in hand with the correct start date listed. Once you have obtained this documentation, it is safe to cancel your previous policy.
Canceling your policy is likely as simple as calling your agent or the customer service department. With some companies, you might be able to cancel your policy by mail, email, or online. You might want to stop in if your insurance is through a local company with a physical office. This way, you can address any needed forms and get information about your refund directly from a representative. Most companies will make a last-ditch effort to keep your business by offering a discount.
You will be asked to verify some account and identity information during the cancellation process and should have both the policy you plan to cancel and the new policy information when canceling. Your insurance company might ask for the new policy number and its effective date.
Can You Cancel Your Policy With an Open Claim?
If you have an auto claim in progress, you might be nervous about changing insurance. You can cancel your current policy in the midst of a claim, as long as the policy was in effect on the day of the loss. You will need to resolve the claim completely with your current company. The claim will not transfer over to the new insurer. It is important to note that if you were at fault for the accident, it could affect your rates with the new company.
With most insurance companies, you can switch auto insurance at any time without penalty. The most important thing to remember is to avoid a lapse in your coverage at any time.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.