Reminders—we all need them. There is the yearly reminder to change your smoke detector batteries. And the little plastic tab in your upper left car window is to remind you when to change your oil. Or even the first day of the month has been dedicated to change your air filters in the home.
So, why not a reminder to review your car insurance?
Consider today that day. Many experts recommend shopping for a new policy every two to three years. Switching car insurance companies can be a great way to save money as well as ensure you are getting the right coverage for your needs in the event they have changed.
It is easier than ever before to compare quotes and find a better deal. With comparison tools online or insurance agents over the phone, there just isn’t a reason not to investigate the options. But switching car insurance companies the right way is equally important. Here are some things to consider:
When to switch
Investigate the new company
Ensuring new coverage in effect
Watch for cancellation fees
Cancel your old auto insurance
Get a refund
Make a good impression
The easiest time to switch is before your next renewal. Starting a few weeks out, shop around for policies that equal your current coverage or covers changes you need due to life changing situations. Big events 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. Be sure to read the fine print to determine what is allowed, required and makes sense in your situation.
Check out an insurer thoroughly before signing on. Most state insurance offices monitor carriers’ customer complaint ratios (such as the number of complaints for every $1 million in premiums collected). You want to be sure other customers have been satisfied and that your potential claim will be handled professionally and timely. Just because a company offers the lowest rate doesn’t mean their service is up to par.
You should always buy the new policy before cancelling the old one. A gap of even one day could be costly in the event of an accident. Further, some states penalize registered cars if they do not keep continuous coverage. Finally, a gap of any kind could be looked upon negatively as you shop for new coverage and could affect the rates you are quoted.
Back to reading that fine print, it could potentially save you on fees in the event your current policy has early cancellation riders. Most companies offer a discount to new customers or transferring customers, but you might also be losing some perks offered by your current insurer. Your current company could also offer you a discount to stay with them. You will need to weigh the benefits for your situation before deciding.
Once you have your new policy in place, it is time to cancel your old one. You might need to do so in writing and provide your new policy number so the state can prove continuous coverage.
Much like your old company wants proof, you should be seeking confirmation of the cancellation from them. You certainly don’t want the auto renewal to occur and your record be dinged for non-payment. In the event you are cancelling in between renewals, you should get a refund of unused premium, less any fees that might be imposed.
Finally, it is up to you to continue your safe driving habits. When a new policy is less than 90 days old, a company can drop your coverage if you file a claim, are involved in an accident or receive a speeding ticket. You have expectations from your new company and they have expectations from you.
The process to change your car insurance policy is not difficult, but it will take some diligence on your part.
There usually isn’t a reward without effort, however. If you are interested in reviewing your options, let us know. We at California Southwestern Insurance Agency are here to help. We have the resources and time to ensure you get the best outcome. Visit our website or call us at
(949) 588-8844 to get started.