Steps to Take when Switching Your Car Insurance
There are many important steps to consider when switching your car insurance to a new insurance company. You should take your time and make a good sound decision based on your research. Your first step will be to obtain cost comparisons/quotes from potential new insurance companies. Whether you contact a local agent or inquire directly through a company website to obtain the quote, be upfront and honest with the information you provide. This will ensure an accurate rate and provide assurance that if a claim arises you'll be covered.
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Try to obtain a quote with apples to apples coverage so you can easily understand a savings with a new company. After a comparison is done, ask for guidance from the agent or company to recommend any coverage which they think should be increase, omitted or added based on your particular situation. Your situation may have changed since your last renewal so it's always a smart idea to review your policy with the agent or company periodically.
Once your decision is made, you will need meet with the new agent or discuss info over the phone, deliver payment and provide some prior policy information. This information is needed in order to cancel the prior policy. The new company or agent will send a cancellation request, with your signature to your prior company and inform them of the exact cancellation date. Be sure the dates coincide so there is no lapse in coverage. Don't ever cancel a policy before the new policy takes effect. This will surely result in fines and suspensions from your local department of motor vehicles. When you old policy is cancelled, any unused premium will be prorated and returned directly to you via check.
Reasons such as why to switch are as important as when to switch. Your renewal date notice usually gives you up to 30 days to review your current policy and look around to compare other companies. Also, take into consideration your driving record. If you have any infractions against your record and they are due to clear before your renewal date, switching after they clear can save you hundreds. For example: your current policy runs from June 15-December 15, your infraction clears on July 31st, switching to a new company on August 1st allows them to quote you with a clean driving record whereas your current policy won't update your discount until your renewal date.
Your decision to make the jump to a new company should not be based on price alone however. Just remember if you're picking a doctor you wouldn't pick the cheapest one on the market. One key factor to research is the financial ranking of insurance companies. These rankings can be easily found online and should be checked to make sure you're selecting a reputable company with the financial means to pay claims. States also have consumer complaint rankings for companies and it would be a good idea to check these for the prospective company as well.
Shopping around for a better rate is a great practice but shouldn't be done annually. Building a rapport and track record with a company adds value to your business. Being a loyal customer sometimes affords you benefits with your current company such as retention credits, accident forgiveness and vanishing deductibles. Be sure to discuss discounts with your current agent or company to ensure you're receiving all the discounts available to you.