It's easier than ever before to compare car insurance quotes and find a better deal. You can do it using Insurance.com's quote comparison tool below or over the phone.
But switching car insurance companies the right way is every bit as important.
You don't want a gap between your policies that can come back to haunt you. You don't want your old insurance company to cancel your policy for nonpayment and report you to the state. And you want a refund of any premiums that may be due.
- When to switch car insurance
- Be sure to get new car insurance first
- You don't have to wait until renewal
- Watch for cancellation fees
- How to cancel your old auto insurance
- Confirm cancellation and get a refund
A quick guide to switching car insurance companies
Take these six steps when you want to switch your car insurance company:
- When to switch car insurance: The best and easiest time to switch is before your renewal. Start four to five weeks out so you have enough time to shop around, find a new policy and possibly qualify for any early-shopper discount with a new company. But you are free to switch companies at any time, so if you're unhappy or want to find a lower price, shop around and switch if you want even in the middle of your policy period.
- Buy a new policy before you drop the old one: A gap of even one day can be costly, not just if you have an accident, but also if your state penalizes registered cars without continuous coverage. Also, a gap of any kind is looked at poorly by auto insurers and may affect what rates you get for your new policy.
- You don't need to wait for renewal: Big changes in your life -- change in vehicles, your address, or even getting married -- can mean big savings. Shop around and see if it's worth changing to a new provider.
- Consider the downsides: Some companies may charge an early cancellation fee. While many companies offer a discount to new customers, you may lose some perks and discounts by leaving a longtime insurer so you will want to weigh that.
- Cancel your old policy. Usually you have to do this in writing. Your old company may ask for a new policy number, so that your state knows you are continuously insured.
- Confirm cancellation and any refund: Make sure your old insurance company confirms; otherwise it may automatically renew you and then cancel you for nonpayment. You should get a refund of unused premium if you cancel early, minus any fees.
The best time to shop for insurance is about four to five weeks before your old policy is about to renew. Depending on the regulations in your state, a renewal notice will be sent to you approximately a month before your new policy period begins. The notice will describe your coverage, discounts, and your premium amount. Using that information, you can shop online for the same coverages to see your options.
If you have moved, gotten married, bought a house, made major improvements in your credit or changed vehicles, you're likely to see a substantial difference in rates. Shop around to make sure you can't do better with a new car insurance company.
Before switching do your homework on the new insurance company, such as reviewing consumer reviews, complaint data, financial stability ratings.
Don't just walk away from your old policy without formally canceling it, because most policies are "continuous" - which means your policy will continue to be renewed every six or 12 months, unless you cancel it. If you fail to cancel, your auto insurance company will continue to bill you for insurance and will eventually cancel the policy for failure to pay. It's much easier to cancel in writing when you're ready to switch -- and also doesn't potentially put a black mark on credit report for a failure to pay on the old policy.
Once a policy is canceled properly, you should expect a final notice confirming the cancellation and a pro-rated refund of your premium from the date of your cancellation through the end of your term.
Switching car insurance companies can be a great way to save money. Before switching insurers though, you need to compare the benefits of going with a new insurer or keeping your current policy. Once you're comfortable with switching, you should then take the time to fully understand how to properly cancel your auto insurance so you're not hit with any charges.