Getting into an accident without insurance can be costly

How do I go about switching auto insurance providers?

Whether you feel as though you're being charged too much or you aren't happy with your provider, changes to your car insurance policy could be in the future. However, sometimes people don't switch auto insurance companies because they believe it will be too difficult, but that doesn't have to be the case. 

Consider the following tips to help make this move successful:

Comparing car insurance quotes online: When changing providers, chances are you won't be opposed to a cheaper policy. Comparing online quotes can make this possible, as you are able to see the cost and features of multiple plans from the comfort of your own home, according to Autos.com. You might also want to do a side-by-side comparison of the features each policy offers to ensure you are obtaining the coverage needed. 

Have your new policy in place before cancelling: In order to legally operate your vehicle on the road, you'll need car insurance. DMV.org recommends that before you even think about cancelling your old policy, you should be sure that you have a new one in place. Eliminating your old insurance plan could lead to a lapse, a period of time where you aren't insured.

For example, your new application could be denied for some reason. DMV.org also recommends you pay your first premium before getting rid of your old policy, so your coverage kicks in at the earliest possible time. If you are involved in an accident while not covered, and are found to be at fault, then the costs to repair your vehicle and the other drivers could be expensive.

Inquire about any fees: Unless you are switching car insurance companies after your current policy expires, there is a chance you could face cancelation fees. For this reason, consider contacting your provider and ask if there is a fee associated with early cancelation. This could determine whether or not you change providers.  A small fee may not be a deal breaker, but if the cancelation fee is more than $100, you may decide to switch providers once your current policy expires.

Don't forget to notify your provider: If you're getting a new policy, you'll want to inform your current provider so they can stop billing you. This may seem like common sense, but people can forget to complete this step. If you fail to notify your insurance provider, they will continue to bill you as if you were still using their services. These unpaid bills could end up hurting your credit score if your policy is canceled for non-payment. It is recommended that you request and receive written confirmation that your car insurance policy was canceled.

Set a firm start date: You never want to go without car insurance, so when you make the switch to a new provider it is important to align your cancelation and start dates. If you do have a week or two that you don't have insurance, you might end up in a compromising situation. Again, it's worth remembering that getting into an accident without insurance is costly, because having to cover repair bills out-of-pocket. 

Ask for a refund: If you're cancelling before the end of your current policy, you may want to ask your provider for a refund on unused premiums. There is no requirement that they have to give you the money back, but there is also no risk in asking. Typically if you do receive a refund it will arrive after your new policy has begun and can be used towards your next payment.