Shopping to make sure you are getting a good deal on your insurance isn't the only reason why you might consider switching to another carrier. For example, you may have changed jobs and become eligible for a group discount through a different insurer. Or perhaps, you are dissatisfied with the service your current insurer provides. Bundling is another reason—some insurers offer multiple product lines and extend discounts to policyholders who combine all of their policies with a single insurer.
Switching policies in 4 easy steps
1. When to switch
The easiest time to change carriers is when your old policy is up for renewal. Depending on the regulations in your state, a renewal notice will be sent to you approximately one month before the next policy period begins. The notice will describe your coverage, discounts and premium. With that information in hand, you can shop online and compare coverages and rates. You don't have to wait until renewal time to change policies. All standard auto insurance policies contain a provision giving you the right to cancel your policy at any time—provided that you have given your current insurer proper notice. If you choose to make a change in the middle of a cycle, your current insurer may prorate your latest premium payment up to the cancellation date and return the remainder to you. Be prepared to incur a short-rate or cancellation penalty covering administrative costs that may be deducted from your refund.
2. Thorough comparison-shopping
Sometimes your new quote may not have the same coverage options or limits as your current policy, or the deductibles may not be the same, so check carefully to make sure you are comparing apples with apples.
3. Get your new policy before canceling the current one
It's a good idea to have a new policy in place before canceling your current coverage. Since most states require drivers to have a minimum level of auto insurance, it is important to make sure there are no gaps in your auto insurance coverage when switching between carriers.
4. Canceling your current policy
Review the cancellation steps outlined in your current policy. Generally, all you need to do is notify your insurer in writing, specifying the date you want the policy canceled and the reason. Your new insurer should be able to time the onset of your new policy to coincide with the cancellation of your old coverage.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Exploring all of your insurance options can help you find the best value when the time comes to switch.