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Florida Auto Insurance: How To Switch Auto Insurance Companies

By Insurance.com Posted : 02/19/2007

It may be easier than you think!
There are many reasons why, as a resident of Florida, you may choose to move your auto insurance coverage to another company. You might have changed jobs and are eligible for a group discount through another insurer, or maybe you're unhappy with the service that your present company provides. Perhaps you've simply found another company willing to offer you the same level of coverage for considerably less money. Nowadays, you can get 24-hour rate information through the toll-free numbers or websites, so investigating your options has never been easier. Another valuable source of information is the Florida Department of Insurance.

Why switch to a new auto insurance carrier?
Regularly review your auto coverage to make sure that you're receiving the best insurance value for your money. You'll discover that it pays to shop around. In Florida, premiums for identical policies may vary widely among different companies. The reasons for this price variation can be very complicated, but they boil down to a company's claims experience with policyholders in your coverage group (e.g. other people in Florida, people of similar age, number of accidents, type of vehicle). For example, if a large number of people in your coverage group files claims during a given year, your rates will likely rise. When this happens, better discounts and lower overall premiums may be available at other companies, although some states strictly regulate the price of coverage. When you decide to switch your auto insurance to another company, you'll find that it's fairly easy to do so.

Be sure to get a new policy first
Always have a new policy in place before canceling your old auto insurance coverage. You don't want to have a gap in protection for even one day. This imposes serious risk if you were to have an accident or claim. Also, being uninsured for even a few days can cause your auto insurance rate to rise dramatically. Fortunately, there is little danger of this happening. Florida requires all drivers living within their borders to carry a minimum level of auto insurance. So, most auto insurance companies now require policyholders to present proof of new coverage before they will cancel an active policy. You may need to show your old carrier copies of a new insurance identification card or the Declarations Page of your new policy. Your new company will be able to time the onset of your new policy to coincide with the cancellation of your old coverage.

How to cancel your old policy
Generally, all you need to do to cancel your auto policy is to inform your insurance company in writing, specifying the date you want the policy canceled. In some states, your new agent must notify your previous agent of the policy change. Some companies ask that you send back the actual printed policy. Your insurance company will send you a cancellation request form that you should sign and return. Examine the form carefully to make sure that all information regarding your policy is correct. If you do not receive this form within two weeks of sending your letter, call your agent or the company immediately to check on the status of your cancellation. Don't just walk away from your old policy without formally canceling it. Otherwise, the insurance company might assume you wished to continue your coverage, and it might eventually terminate the policy for failure to pay premiums and report your lack of coverage to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. This can hurt your credit rating, the price of a new policy and even your ability to get a new policy.

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.

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