There are a few to-do-list items that can always feel a little overwhelming—switching banks, switching health care providers and yes, changing insurance companies. We like to think of these as “life admin” items. Admittedly, it can be easy to put these things on the back burner when the day-to-day is already hectic. But we all know how good it feels when we accomplish one of these to-dos, and we hope in this blog post we can make switching car insurance feel a little less overwhelming.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how simple switching your car insurance is (we promise it’s easier and faster than you might think) and share when to make a switch if it’s something you’re considering. We’ll also make sure you’re not missing any big things you need to think about when you make a switch, like avoiding a lapse in coverage or overpaying. We’ll also throw in some tips on discounts and bundling, because who couldn’t use a few extra bones these days? So let’s get started!
Reasons to switch car insurance
You could save money.
Outside of factors that are not always within our control, many people—whether they know it or not—are not optimizing their insurance ownership experience. For example, in a poll done by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, more than 1 in 3 consumers said they likely were not taking advantage of as many discounts as they could be. “Many Americans could be foolishly throwing money away because they fail to ask about insurance discounts for which they may qualify,” said Madelyn Flannagan, vice president of agent development, education and research at IIABA. “Companies often offer some unique, regional, very specific and, at times, quirky discounts.”
You could get coverage that better meets your needs.
When you’re paying for coverage, you want to make sure it’s working for you in the best way possible – the right deductible, the right medical coverages, and the right policy for the car you drive. You might want to even think about how your pet is protected. That’s why Elephant created our Coverage Wizard.
Simply answer a few questions and we’ll provide you with a better understanding of some of our most common coverages—and which options are most useful to you and your lifestyle. For instance, if you have coverage with AAA, you likely don’t need towing coverage from your car insurance company. Why pay for the same thing twice?
The best part? You don’t have to give us any personal information or make any commitments to use the Coverage Wizard. We simply want to share our knowledge with you!
You could get a better service experience.
We’ve all been on the other side of a frustrating customer service situation. If lately you’ve been feeling like you’re not getting responses quickly enough, or your questions are not being answered by your current provider, it might be time to consider making a switch.
You’ve experienced a major life event.
An increase in your insurance price is the most likely reason you’d be looking to switch car insurance companies, and there are many reasons insurance rates can fluctuate—such as a change in vehicles or location. Major life events like these can impact the cost and coverage needed on an auto insurance policy. If you need to update your policy to include new life changes, or recent changes have increased the cost of your current plan, now is a good time to shop around for better prices.
Getting started with finding a new car insurance provider
Once you’re ready to make the switch, there are a few things you’ll want to do to get started finding a new provider that’s right for you.
Get multiple quotes.
Whether it’s directly getting in touch with your insurer or checking out quote comparison sites like The Zebra, Insurify, or Compare, it’s never been easier to find out how much you can save per month on premiums for auto insurance. Take advantage of these sources so you can find the plan and the provider that is best for you.
Odds are that you have a friend whose insurer is the one you’re considering. Be mindful of what they’re spending in premiums, but don’t be shy about asking for their opinion, what services are offered, and if they’ve ever had to file a claim. Make sure you check out professional resources like the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports for additional guidance.
Get familiar with what your coverage needs are and ask yourself if this new company offers what you need. You might also want to connect with your current provider to see if there are any fees to consider and make sure your current discounts will transfer over to a new provider.
How and when to switch car insurance
Make sure your new policy is up and running.
First things first, before you cancel your existing insurance policy, you will want to verify with your new insurance carrier that your new policy is approved, active, and what your effective date is. Knowing the effective date will help ensure you’re not paying twice for the same thing (no one wants to do that!) and also guarantees you won’t have a lapse in coverage.
Cancel your old policy.
Once you’ve verified that your new policy is active, call your old insurance company. If you’re feeling nervous about the call, try to remember your provider won’t take this personally—people change insurance policies all the time, it’s just how the industry works.
Once you get someone on the line, no matter what the reason is that you’re switching insurance companies, be professional and clearly state that you want to cancel your policy. Don’t forget this step—you don’t want the company to cancel your old policy for non-payment, which could lead to you getting reported to a credit agency. Do what you need to do cancel and document the effective cancellation date.
Ask about a refund.
If you switch auto insurance policies at the end of your current policy’s term, you might not be eligible for a refund. However, if you paid in full or there are several weeks/months left before your next scheduled payment, you should ask for a refund.
If needed, notify your DMV or lender of the change.
It depends on where you live or what your situation is, but you may need to notify a few other important people regarding your recent auto insurance change. Your state’s department of motor vehicles may require that you notify them of any changes to your insurance coverage. Also, if you’re still making payments on your vehicle, your lender will want to know about your new insurance policy.
When to switch car insurance.
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t have to wait to change auto insurance providers until your current policy expires. You can start researching, talking to friends, and getting quotes anytime. Any of the big life events we mentioned earlier can be a good time change your auto insurance policy, too.
Tips for saving on your new plan
Discounts, discounts, discounts.
Check with your new provider about auto insurance discounts you might qualify for, from responsible driving to going paperless with your account.
Bundling multiple types of insurance into one policy is one of the easiest and most guaranteed ways to save big on your insurance. One common insurance bundle is homeowners or renters with your auto insurance, but you might want to consider bunding other policies too like life insurance. You can also save by having multiple cars on the same policy, what we call a Multi-Car discount.
Feeling ready to make a change?
We hope this guide helped answer your questions about changing insurance companies, and that you consider getting a quote switching to Elephant. We promise if you do, we’ll be here with you every step of the way with more answers and tips to provide the best coverage for your needs.