How do I switch car insurance?

When switching car insurance, choose a new policy and then notify your current car insurance company. Switching car insurance is easiest when your policy is up for renewal.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 17, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You can switch companies anytime, but when your renewal is up is the most convenient time
  • Make sure your new policy is in place before canceling your old one
  • Not having insurance, even for a day, is illegal and can put you at risk for financial ruin

Switching car insurance is a relatively easy thing to do. It simply requires putting a new policy in place and then notifying your old insurer that you no longer need the policy that you have had with them.

Typically, you will need to notify your auto insurance company in writing that you are switching your car insurance coverage to a new company.

The most important aspect of switching insurance is to make sure the new policy is in place prior to canceling the old one. This will protect you from going uninsured for any period of time at all.

To find and compare price quotes from many different car insurance companies just enter your zip code into the tool at the top of this page. Get started with your free auto insurance comparison!

The Best Time to Switch Car Insurance

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The best time, logistically, to switch car insurance is when your insurance is up for renewal.

Often, it simply occurs naturally that way because you have received your renewal from your current insurer and are prompted to shop around for a better price or just to see what is out there.

However, sometimes you find yourself looking for car insurance part way through your policy for a variety of reasons.

You can choose to switch car insurance at any point throughout the policy, however, by opting to do so before the end of your current policy you will face a few inconveniences.

Usually, payments are made in advance for car insurance. Whether you pay the full amount in advance or are on monthly payments you will likely be owed a refund from the insurer you are leaving. Such refunds usually take time to be processed no matter who the insurer is.

If you are relying on the refund to make payments on the new policy you may find yourself short on funds for a while. The easiest time to transition from one policy to another without the hassle of refunds is when your policy is up for renewal.

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The Importance of Timing

If you are looking to switch car insurance you should make sure that the timing is right.

Any period of time, even a day, without insurance puts you at risk for being involved in an accident or other loss without insurance coverage to save you from financial disaster.

Not having insurance puts you at risk for the following:

  • Financial loss – You need to make sure you are covered on the old policy until the new one takes effect protects you financially.
  • Violation of state laws – Being without insurance can also mean that you are in violation of your state’s laws concerning mandatory coverage and the necessity of carrying insurance on all vehicles that are registered in the state.
  • Fines – Not have insurance can mean hefty fines in many states. For these reasons, you will want to make sure the new policy is in your hand and that the effective date is before your old one expires.

Shopping Around for Replacement Car Insurance

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Before you switch insurance you will need to find a replacement car insurance policy that will take care of your needs.

Shopping around for coverage is quicker and easier than it ever has been. It used to take hours of your time as you contacted company after company giving the same answer to the same questions from different agents.

Now you can get quotes from multiple companies at once and you only need to answer those questions once. A free online quote tool now does all the work for you by submitting your information to insurance companies serving your area.

Once you get your personalized quotes from all those companies, the only thing left to do is make your choice. Of course, there will be a discrepancy in prices because of the fact that different insurers use different criteria in setting premiums.

However, choosing the best coverage is more than just the lowest price. Be sure to compare the quality of service and the financial strength of the insurer in question before taking out a policy.

You can learn a lot about the quality of service an insurer provides its clients by researching online. Search for reviews and even complaints about the company by name.

You may also want to check with the department of insurance in the state in which you live for more information on it.

In order to learn about its financial strength, check with one of the independent insurance ratings companies like Moody’s or Weiss Ratings. They rate insurers worldwide on financial strength and ability to meet current and future obligations.

Once you have compared quotes on these criteria, you will have found the perfect insurance company to switch to.

Get started today by typing your zip code into our quote tool for the easiest and best insurance shopping experience ever. Start now!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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