- You can switch car insurance at any time.
- Life events can impact your car insurance rates.
- Always get at quotes from multiple insurers before you make a change.
There are lots of reasons you might want to switch car insurance, but actually doing it can feel daunting. If you’re wondering how to change car insurance companies, follow these easy steps.
There are a lot of decisions you make for the long haul, but which car insurance company you use doesn’t have to be one of them. You can switch car insurance companies at any time and as often as you like, though that doesn’t mean you should.
Here are some reasons you may want to consider changing insurers:
- You got married. Many insurers offer car insurance discounts to customers who insure more than one vehicle. Shopping for coverage with your new spouse can help you lower your rates.
- You moved. Insurance rates and availability vary by state. If you move to a new state, you may find your insurer does not offer coverage there, or that their rates are less competitive. Where you live and park your car will also affect your rates, so moving is always a good time to reevaluate your car insurance needs.
- There’s a new driver in the house. If you’re adding a teen driver to your policy, be prepared for higher rates. Comparing rates and other benefits, like discounts for good students, is a good way to find the best car insurance for teens.
- You bought a house. If you buy a house, you’ll likely need homeowners insurance. Most insurance companies offer a home and auto bundling discount, but some are larger than others.
- You’re unhappy with your insurer. Maybe you had a bad claim experience or your rates have increased. Either way, if you’re not happy with your insurer, it’s time to shop around.
5 steps to switch car insurance companies
Once you’ve decided you want to switch car insurance companies, these steps will help you navigate the process.
1. Gather information
Collect the information you’ll need to get and compare car insurance quotes from several companies. This can include:
- Name and address.
- Social security number.
- Driver’s license number.
- Make and model of vehicle.
- Vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Current odometer reading, or number of miles on the vehicle.
- Desired coverage types and amounts.
You can find a lot of this information on your current car insurance policy’s declaration page. This document outlines the specifics of your policy, including the type and amount of coverage you have as well as any discounts you may currently have. The policy declaration page is often available on your insurer’s customer portal or app, but you can also contact your insurer if you’re unable to locate it.
If you want more than one driver or vehicle on the new policy, you’ll need to have all the pertinent information for each.
2. Decide what type and how much car insurance you need
Even if your primary goal is to change insurers, not coverage amounts, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your insurance needs before you purchase a new policy.
Over time, you may find you need more or less coverage than you once did. Here are a few factors that can help you evaluate your coverage needs.
- State car insurance requirements. Most states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, and many have additional requirements, such as uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage or personal injury protection (PIP).
- Lending or leasing agreements. If you finance your vehicle, your lender or lessor will likely require you to carry full coverage car insurance. Full coverage usually includes any coverage mandated by your state as well as collision and comprehensive car insurance.
- Your assets. You should consider carrying enough liability insurance to cover your assets if you are ever sued after an accident.
3. Get and compare car insurance quotes
With information in hand, it’s time to start collecting car insurance quotes. It’s a good idea to get quotes from at least three different insurers to give you an idea of how much coverage will cost and who has the cheapest car insurance rates.
If you want to cast the widest net with the least amount of legwork. Consider using a quote comparison tool, such as EverQuote. These tools allow you to enter basic information to get quotes from multiple insurers at once. You can also go directly to each insurer or work with an independent agent or broker who can provide quotes from various insurers.
If you’re happy with your current coverage but aren’t a fan of the rate, reach out to your insurer to see if they can offer a better rate, and then factor that into your comparison.
Tip: Make sure each quote is for the same type and amount of coverage. That will make it easier to compare your options.
4. Research car insurance companies
After you get quotes, it may be tempting to go with the cheapest rate and call it a day, but you may want to do some research first. Customer service and satisfaction, optional coverages and policy benefits are all worth considering before you purchase your policy, especially if rates are similar.
The following can help gather information about each insurer.
- Online reviews and ratings.
- Customer complaint scores, such as those available on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website.
- Feedback from friends and family members.
- Insurer’s website and social media accounts.
5. Choose and purchase your new policy
You’ve gathered quotes and researched your options and decided which company you’re going to choose. Now it’s time to submit your application and purchase your new policy.
If you didn’t provide information like your Social Security number or VIN during the quote process, you will need to do so at this point. You’ll also need to select a deductible, or the amount your insurer will subtract from your claims payout after certain types of claims.
Most insurers will let you complete your purchase online, but you can also work directly with an agent. Doing so may help you identify any discounts you’re eligible for that didn’t show up online.
Keep in mind that your new coverage should start before your old policy expires. That way you’re not driving uninsured, which is illegal in most states and can lead to substantial out-of-pocket expenses if you’re in an accident, especially if you’re at fault.
Once your purchase is complete, make sure you can print your insurance card. You can also usually access a digital copy of your insurance card, which is acceptable as proof of insurance in most states.
If you finance your vehicle, contact your lender or lessor to provide them with your new car insurance policy information.
You can switch your car insurance at any time, even if you have an open claim. You can also switch car insurance companies multiple times in a year, regardless of how long you’ve had the policy.
In most cases, you won’t have to worry about cancellation fees, though some insurers do apply them. Always contact your insurer to find out what, if any, fees you’d be on the hook for.
If you prepaid your policy and are canceling before the renewal period, your insurer will issue a prorated refund for the remaining policy term.