Switching auto insurance is a temptation that should be carefully considered, and you should only change if you are absolutely certain that it will save you money or hassle. There are a million great offers from companies all over the planet hoping to get a piece of your insurance business. It can be quite confusing trying to compare your old policy to your new one, but this is the only way to tell if you are truly getting a great deal on car insurance.
Be Sure to Cancel Your First Policy
One of the first things which can go wrong when changing insurance companies is that the old company might not quite get the message, and you might continue to receive invoices from them. There can be cases where they send you to a collections agency over this premium if you cannot prove in writing that you canceled them in time. This can sometimes happen if you cancel over the phone, since data entry issues can occur where records are lost or are not updated properly. This can be avoided by cancelling in writing, and also by making sure to alert the old company of your intent to cancel well in advance. This period of transition is a time to be extra careful behind the wheel, because it will be hard to work through things if you have an accident after canceling the old and still working on starting the new. In a perfect world, the one coverage would end and at the same exact moment the new would begin, but sometimes you may need to settle for a few days of overlap in premiums, which is preferable to a gap in coverage.
Make Sure Your New Insurance Starts on Time
Sometimes something goes wrong, and the new car insurance company does not enable your new policy until some date after the old one is already shut down. Again, it is wise to get your new policy start date in writing, and make sure you follow up with your new company around the time the switch is supposed to occur. If you are a week from the two insurance companies switching and do not have a policy in hand from the new company, then get over to their office and find out why. If you do have a brief lapse, there is a chance that you could have an accident, and then it would be a huge battle for you to get anything resolved. This often happens with health insurance changes as well.
Check to See If You Are Under-Insured
Sometimes, the new auto insurance company does not provide you with the same level of coverage as your former insurer, and you are now saving money but may also be under-insured. You don’t want to find out about this after you have an accident, so make sure to do a side-by-side comparison of your old policy against the new one. Remember, the agent is there to clarify any items that you may find confusing. Take the time to go over this line by line, and make notes in an insurance folder so that you know what was happening when you decided to switch. Keep this folder in a handy and safe place, and re-evaluate your coverage every six months to be sure you are getting the best coverage at the best rates.
Verify the Security of Your Policy
The fourth thing that may go wrong when switching car insurance is that the new company may have far more strict cancellation policies or stronger policies on dropping you in the event that you ever make a claim. I was with one company for over 20 years, and after I had one accident they dropped me like a hot rock. I was shocked at how fast they dropped me. Make sure you understand their terms regarding making claims and dropping your policy. It is wise to do this at the beginning, when everyone is still happy with each other, and they are still interested in having you as a customer.
Find Out What Will Happen If You Can’t Make a Payment
The fifth thing that can go wrong in your new insurance coverage is that you could have setbacks where you cannot make your premium payment on time. What happens with your insurance? Do they turn off your policy instantly, or will they work with you until you get back on your feet? There is nothing more frustrating than having to fight with an insurance company over your payment amount when you really are struggling to make ends meet. Talk to them about this kind of thing in advance, and ask them if they have any programs that could help you if there was a loss of employment or other situation where you cannot reliably make your premiums.
All things considered, using the Internet and working closely with your agent can make switching your auto insurance go very smoothly, with no hitches or glitches. Making sure you know your local insurance agent can make this change a lot easier to manage, so take the time to visit with your agent periodically. Once you have established a rapport with them, it will help make the entire insurance process easier.