How to Switch Auto Insurance

Have you ever felt trapped paying expensive premiums to an auto insurer that offers poor service? Or perhaps your rates mysteriously spiked despite no changes? If so, you’re not alone. Deciding when and how to switch your auto insurance companies can seem complicated. But with some planning and know-how, switching providers can be simple.

6 Basic Steps on How to Switch Auto Insurance

This post covers the critical steps for seamlessly moving your auto insurance so you can find the best coverage at the lowest price.

Why Consider Switching?

There are many good reasons to shop around for a new insurer. Rates can change over time, even if your situation stays the same.

Every company uses its formula to calculate premiums based on age, driving record, credit, location, vehicle type, mileage, coverage limits, and more.

So when one or more of those variables shifts, your price may go up or down significantly with your current provider.

Below are some of the most common life events that impact policy costs:

  • Moving to a new home, especially if it’s in a pricier ZIP code
  • Adding or removing drivers from your policy
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Improving your credit score
  • Buying or leasing a different vehicle
  • Changing commute patterns and driving fewer annual miles
  • Having a teen get licensed
  • Filing a claim, at-fault accident or traffic violation

Beyond price, you may want to switch if you had poor customer service, delays getting coverage documents or a claims process that was difficult to navigate. The right insurer should provide affordable rates plus top-notch support.

When Can You Switch Car Insurance?

You can switch car insurance companies at any time. This includes the day you start coverage, even when you have specific open claims. You also won’t be penalized for switching multiple times in one year. When your car insurance needs to change, you may need to change car insurance providers, which can happen anytime. It can be a bit of a hassle to do many times, but you can make changes whenever you need to.

We recommend shopping around for coverage at least once per policy term to ensure you have the best price. Beyond that, it’s a good idea to consider a switch if your life situation changes in one of the ways described above.

Shop for rates if you are also thinking of changing your coverage amounts. Some providers are cheaper for minimum liability car insurance, while others offer more affordable total coverage rates.

When Is Switching Not Advised?

While it’s generally acceptable to switch at any time, there are a few instances when it’s better to wait:

  • If you’ll owe cancellation fees to your current insurer
  • If your policy renews soon since you’ll likely get new rate quotes then, anyway
  • If you have an open claim, as leaving mid-process can complicate things
  • If you’ve held your policy for less than six months since some companies offer discounts for longevity

If none of those cases apply to you, feel free to shop around and move your coverage if you find a better option. Just be sure to coordinate carefully so there are no gaps between policies.

Steps To Switch Auto Insurance

These critical steps ensure your vehicle and assets stay protected without coverage gaps, billing confusion or compliance issues. While switching insurers might seem time-consuming upfront, finding the suitable carrier at the best rate is worth the effort. Saving hundreds of dollars a year makes the short-term hassle worthwhile in the long term.

The right insurance coverage at a fair price gives peace of mind. Following this switching guide empowers you to smoothly transition between providers so that your financial security blanket stays intact. Drivers who shop around and visit Vigilant save the most over many years of vehicle ownership.

Step 1: Compare Car Insurance Rates

The first step is to request quotes from multiple top insurers so you can compare pricing. Be sure to get estimates from at least three companies. Provide the exact coverage details to each so you’re seeing apples-to-apples comparisons.

Online quote tools make this process easy by letting you enter your details once to get multiple quotes back. You can see within minutes if cheaper alternatives work for your budget and needs. Make sure to consider national companies like Geico, Allstate and State Farm and regional insurance providers.

Look closely at the coverage inclusions, limitations and discounts each insurer offers. For example, one may offer accident forgiveness while another has superior roadside assistance benefits. Identify carriers with special discounts that apply to you, such as affinity group memberships, driving safety apps, good students, ensuring multiple vehicles/policies, or paying annually.

Step 2: Evaluate More Than Just Price

Cheaper premiums are significant but not the only factor when choosing an auto insurance provider. You also want excellent customer service, efficient digital account access, helpful claims representatives and strong financial standing.

Do some research before switching to ensure the new insurer meets those standards. Check ratings and reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau, Google, Yelp and industry expert evaluations from groups like AM Best. Ask people in your network about their experiences with potential carriers.

Step 3: Purchase Your New Policy

Once you’ve selected a top contender for your business, it’s time to purchase a policy. Carefully choose the coverage types and limits that best fit your situation. Required minimums are inadequate, so consider adding collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist and higher liability limits.

Schedule your new policy to start at least one day before the renewal date on your current policy, so there is no gap in coverage. Even a single day without insurance can cause problems. List any lienholders like banks/lenders that need to be notified.

Step 4: Cancel Your Previous Policy

Give written notice to your prior insurer once your new coverage is bound, requesting to terminate service on the new policy’s effective date (or shortly after). This prevents double-paying for overlapping insurance. Let them know if you have any open claims so they can be adequately closed out later.

If you paid for your entire policy term upfront and cancelled mid-period, you’ll likely receive a prorated premium refund check for the unused days. Return any insurance cards and documents to that prior carrier once the policy terminates so they have confirmation it’s no longer active.

Step 5: Notify Your Lender if Applicable

Your bank or lender requires continual auto insurance coverage for leased and financed vehicles to protect their financial interest. So, they need updates on any policy changes. Call them when you bind new coverage to provide the insurance details, and send a copy of your further proof of insurance documents.

Step 6: Save Proof of New Insurance

Finally, keep digital and paper evidence of your new insurance in your glove compartment, wallet and phone. This typically includes an insurance card with a policy number, carrier contact information and effective dates. You need to present it if pulled over or upon vehicle registration renewal. If tickets result from lack of proof, it causes headaches.


Switching auto insurance companies can achieve significant savings if done methodically. Follow this step-by-step guide when you experience life changes altering rates or want better service.

Carefully comparing insurers on both price and quality prevents gaps in coverage or conflicts. Being an informed policyholder optimizes costs and protection over the long run.

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