How to switch your car insurance

Young black woman behind the wheel of her car, smilingImage: Young black woman behind the wheel of her car, smiling

In a Nutshell

Things change, and the auto insurance company that was once an ideal match for your needs may no longer be a suitable fit. That’s why knowing how to switch car insurance providers is essential. Making this move could help you reduce your insurance premium.
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Wondering how to switch your car insurance?

Buying a policy with a car insurance company isn’t a lifetime commitment. Your situation may change in ways that make other insurers more suitable than your current provider. Fortunately, you can switch car insurance companies anytime. Taking this step could save you money.

Reasons to switch car insurance companies

  • Different driving habits — Maybe you’re driving less because you’re working from home and no longer have a commute. In that case, you may want to consider replacing your current policy with usage-based coverage.
  • Lifestyle changes — Another reason you may want to switch auto insurance companies is a change in lifestyle that affects your insurance profile. This type of change may be something like getting married or purchasing a new car or home.
  • Change in driving history — Your driving history significantly affects your car insurance rates, and a change may warrant the need to seek other coverage options. For example, an event like being ticketed or getting into an accident could cause a rate increase or necessitate a switch to a nonstandard insurance provider.
  • Need to add or remove drivers from your policy — Switching car insurance may also be worth considering if you add or remove drivers from your policy. For example, adding a teen driver to your coverage may significantly affect your rate. In that situation, it might be wise to compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your coverage.
  • Unhappy with your current provider — A poor experience with your current provider may cause you to consider switching. Maybe you had a frustrating claims or customer service experience.
  • Need coverage not offered by your current insurer — Maybe you want to change providers because you’re looking to add specialty coverage that your current insurer doesn’t provide. For example, not all insurance companies cover classic cars. If you want classic car insurance, you’ll have to look elsewhere if your current insurer doesn’t provide it.
  • Seeking the best rates — Maybe your situation hasn’t changed, but you want to make sure you’re getting the best rates possible. It’s a good idea to periodically compare prices from different insurance providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

How to switch car insurance companies

Switching car insurance companies may help you get lower rates and better coverage.

When making a switch, avoid a lapse in coverage. Remember, liability insurance is a legal requirement in most states. You could lose your license if you’re caught driving without insurance. Here are some things to consider when switching auto insurers.

Determine how much auto insurance coverage you need

When switching car insurance providers, ensure your new coverage provides all the protection you need.

The first thing to consider is the minimum coverage requirements in your state. Most states require drivers to have a minimum amount of liability coverage and some states require drivers to get other types of coverage, such as personal injury protection and/or uninsured motorist coverage. Your new coverage should meet or exceed state minimums.

If you’re financing or leasing your car, choose coverage that meets the requirements of your loan or lease provider. For example, some lenders may require you to get gap insurance for financed vehicles.

Also, some drivers are legally required to get SR-22 insurance. For example, drivers with a DUI or several at-fault accidents may have to make an SR-22 filing. Not all insurance companies provide coverage for drivers in this situation, so if you’re required to file this form, make sure to choose an insurance company that offers SR-22 filings.

Consider optional add-ons, discounts and bundling opportunities

Once those basics are handled, you’ll be ready to consider optional add-ons. This list can include options like uninsured/underinsured motorist, roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, comprehensive and collision coverages.

Before checking out, research car insurance discounts and bundling opportunities. For example, you may be able to get a discount for insuring more than one car with the same company or for getting your home and car insurance from the same provider.

Compare auto insurance rates every six months

It’s an excellent idea to price shop once or twice yearly to ensure you get the best rate. That may seem excessive, but remember that a lot can happen in this period that could change your profile as a policyholder.

Get car insurance quotes from multiple companies. You can centralize your search by using an online comparison tool. Remember to factor in available discounts when comparing providers. Now that you’ve picked your next insurer, you’re ready to think about canceling your current policy. If you’re canceling before the end of your policy term, check to see if you’ll face a cancellation fee. And if you have unused coverage that you’ve already paid for, check to see if you’re eligible for a refund.

Purchase a new auto insurance policy and cancel your current insurance

When switching insurers, purchasing new coverage before canceling your old policy is vital. And make sure there’s no coverage gap between your old and new policies. For example, if your old coverage ends on July 1, make sure your new policy takes effect on that date or sooner.

In some states, you could be penalized for driving without insurance, even if it’s a temporary lapse in coverage. A lapse could also leave you financially liable if you have an accident while in between insurance policies.

Print or download your new insurance ID cards

Once you’ve purchased your new coverage, print or download your new insurance ID card.

Most states allow digital cards that you can display on your mobile device. If you want a digital card, you may need to download it from your insurer’s website. Alternatively, some insurers may display your digital card within their mobile app. More interested in using a physical card? If so, print it from the insurer’s site. Then, keep the card in your wallet, purse or glove box for easy access if you have an accident or get pulled over.

FAQs about switching auto insurance companies

Do you have to cancel car insurance when you switch?

Once you have a new policy in place, important to cancel your old car insurance when switching to a new provider. It’s not wise to stop paying premiums and wait for the insurer to terminate the policy. If you go that route, other insurers could view it as a blemish even if you have a good driving record.

Can I change insurance companies before renewal?

You can change insurance companies before renewal. But some insurers charge a fee for early cancellation. You may be able to avoid this fee by canceling at the end of your policy term.

Can I cancel car insurance at any time?

You can cancel car insurance at any time. But some insurers may charge a fee if you cancel before renewal.

About the author: Warren Clarke is a writer whose work has been published by and the New York Daily News. He enjoys providing readers with information that can make their lives happier and more expansive. Warren holds a Bac… Read more.