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How to switch car insurance

Switching auto insurance providers doesn’t have to be a big deal.

If you’re a car owner, you probably already have car insurance. At least some amount of coverage is required in almost every U.S. state, and in the few states where it isn’t, having auto insurance is still a good idea.

But you may feel like it’s a good time to change providers, perhaps because you think you could get a better rate, you need a different kind of coverage or for some other reason entirely. Luckily, switching car insurance is a fairly simple process, as long as you’re prepared. Here’s how to switch auto policies.

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Why would I switch car insurance?

One of the most common reasons for switching car insurance providers is that your current rates have increased, and you may be curious to see if you can get a better deal with a different company. Another commonly reported reason for switching is if you filed a claim with your current car insurer and were dissatisfied — either with the amount you were offered or the process.

How to shop around for new car insurance

It’s always a smart idea to shop around and compare quotes before settling on a new provider. Set aside some time to do this research; you want to ensure you’re getting the right policy for your needs (and your wallet). Here is a quick refresher on how to compare car insurance quotes:

Figure out exactly what kinds of coverage you’ll want and how much you want to pay

You can start with your state’s minimum requirements. You’re usually required to carry some level of liability insurance. Bodily Injury (BI) covers the cost of injuries (or death) that result from an accident you caused; Property Damage (PD) covers damage made to another car or piece of property you crashes into.

State minimums are generally low when it comes to adequate coverage. As such, you should also consider all the other kinds of car insurance coverage you might need. These coverages include:

  • Medical Expenses or Personal Injury Protection, which covers injuries or medical expenses for you and any passengers
  • Collision Coverage, which will cover damage caused by an accident if you were at fault
  • Comprehensive Coverage, which covers basically anything that happens to your car while you’re not driving.

You’ll also want to figure out what you want your deductible to be. That’s the amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance takes over. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums — but you have to be prepared to pay the full amount of your deductible if needed.

Compare and contrast

Once you’ve decided how much insurance you want, you can start shopping around. Some providers will quote you based on what you’ll pay monthly and some will show the annual cost of the policy, so make sure you’re comparing prices by the same metrics.

When insurance shopping, you should also check out online reviews and the insurer’s J.D. Power rating. Here at Policygenius, we can help you compare car insurance quotes and make sure you’re choosing a policy that’s right for you.

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How to switch car insurance policies

Switching auto insurance can be fairly easy, depending on your driving record and your claims history. But before you apply for a new policy, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all the required information and documents, including:

  • Names, birth dates and Social Security numbers for all drivers
  • Driver's license numbers for all drivers
  • VINs (Vehicle Information Numbers) for all vehicles
  • The declarations page, or “dec page” from your current car insurance policy. If you don’t have this handy, you can request a copy from your current provider. It basically has all your info about your current policy in one place, including how much you pay in premiums, the dates of the policy period, everyone relevant to the policy and some information about your vehicle.

Once you have selected a new policy, you will need to cancel your old one. You can do this by calling your soon-to-be-former car insurance company directly. Sometimes, your new car insurer or brokerage can assist with the transition. Policygenius, for instance, will cancel the old car insurance policy for you.

Make sure your car coverage doesn’t lapse

When switching from one car insurance provider to the other, it’s super important to make sure your coverage doesn’t lapse during the transition. To do this, you’ll want to make sure the cancellation date of your old policy and the effective date of your new policy are the same. Insurance policies begin and end at 12:01 AM on a given date, so you don’t have to worry about having a full day of overlapping insurance.

Tips for saving money on car insurance

There are always ways to save money when choosing a car insurance policy. Look into any and all discounts you may qualify for. Common car insurance discounts include: .

  • Good driver discounts, usually available to motorists who have gone three-to-five years without filing a claim, getting into a car accident or getting ticketed
  • Low-mileage discounts, which are offered to motorists who drive infrequently
  • Affiliation discounts, which are offered to members of certain groups, like alumni associations, fraternities or sororities, and/or people in certain like occupations, like military members

You can also usually get a discount by bundling your auto and homeowners insurance through the same carrier, so be sure to consider this option when you shop around. If you are already bundling, it makes sense to re-shop your car insurance and homeowners insurance in tandem.

Learn more about getting car insurance discounts.

Are there any downsides to switching insurance?

If switching car insurance is so simple, then why doesn’t everyone do it all the time? Well, switching insurance can help you find a better rate, but switching providers too frequently can also mean missing out on loyalty discounts.

Most major carriers offer continuous insurance discounts for staying with them for a certain number of years. Find out whether you qualify for a loyalty discount with your current provider and be sure to factor that in when considering switching car insurance.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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