How quickly do changes I make to my policy go into effect?

There are many reasons you might need to change your car insurance coverage. There may be some limitations if you need to make changes outside of your renewal period. Most basic changes are simple with the help of your insurance agent. Usually, adjustments to an insurance policy don't go into effect until the next billing cycle. Sometimes changes can incur additional fees, and you will usually see this reflected on your next bill.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • In most circumstances, you can make changes to your car insurance policy at any time
  • Usually, alterations to your policy will not go into effect until your next billing cycle
  • In order to change your coverage, you will likely need to speak with your insurance agent

How quickly do changes I make to my policy go into effect? If you need to make changes to your car insurance policy, you’re not alone. Many life events happen that require changes to auto insurance coverage. Rarely do such alterations coincide with your renewal cycle.

Fortunately, with the help of your insurance agent, it can be easy to navigate the process of making changes to your policy.

If you are wondering how long it will take for changes to go into effect, this article should help you better understand the process. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so you’ll need to speak with your insurance agent before you make any changes. If you are ready to renew your policy, then you should first compare quotes from a few different insurance companies.

How long does it take for changes to your policy to go into effect?

There are many reasons why you may need to change your car insurance policy. Whether you are considering getting a better rate or changing who and what is covered, your insurance agent can assist you. Most changes to your car insurance policy can be made mid-cycle. While some exceptions exist, you usually won’t see the reflected changes immediately.

In most circumstances, alterations to your policy cannot happen instantaneously. You’ll usually see any changes to your policy reflected on your next bill. This structure exists to keep the billing process simple and easy for you and the insurance company to understand. If multiple changes occur in the middle of a billing cycle, you could end up over or underpaying for your policy.

There are times when you need the change to take effect immediately. You need instant coverage when adding or removing drivers or vehicles from your policy. If you are in a situation where you need to make changes to your policy in the midst of the cycle, this might be possible.

In the event that you can make an off-cycle change, you will likely get charged prorated fees on your next bill. A prorated fee results when the additional costs for the full billing cycle are divided into the time period in which the changes occurred. For most policies, this would involve a division of the monthly rate into the number of days it applied to the previous cycle.

If you pay your rates annually or semiannually, then these prorated charges might look different. It is best to contact your insurance agent to find out how this will look in your specific situation.

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What kind of changes can you make to a car insurance policy?

Many factors determine car insurance rates. Your age, gender, vehicle, and driving history can all impact what rates you pay for your specific policy. Any changes to these factors will directly impact your rates. Some of the most common changes that occur at mid-cycle involve who and what you are insuring.

Other changes that can be made mid-cycle include increasing or decreasing the amount of coverage you want to purchase. If you didn’t acquire your policy through a national company, then moving locations will require a mid-cycle change. You might even need to switch to a new company.

The car insurance company has the authority to make changes to the insurance contract as well. Following an accident, you might notice a change in your insurance rates. Unfortunately, when you are involved in a collision, your driving behavior is deemed a higher risk to insure.

How do you change which vehicles are insured?

If you purchase, sell, or trade in your car mid-cycle, you will need to change your insurance policy plan. You should report a change like this as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up paying unexpected fees.

When insuring a new car, this change will likely take place immediately. The reason this type of change needs to happen sooner rather than later is to guarantee that the vehicle you are driving is actually insured. If you have the wrong car on your insurance, this could lead to headaches with paperwork and legal hurdles if you are involved in an accident.

Depending on which vehicle you purchase, you might notice your rates change. If you are upgrading from an older car to a newer model, then there is the potential for your rates to decrease. Safety features for older cars are typically not as robust as the safety features of newer vehicles.

Most new cars come equipped with smart safety technology. Features like lane change awareness reduce your risk of becoming involved in a collision. For the insurance company, any reduced chance of filing a claim can lead to lower rates for consumers.

How do you add or remove drivers?

Another change to your insurance that will go into effect immediately is when you add a driver. The insurance company needs to ensure that the additional driver is covered as soon as they hit the road. Most companies will make these changes immediately to reduce the risk of having an uninsured motorist behind the wheel. You will likely see prorated charges on your next bill to cover a change in rates mid-cycle.

Removing a driver from your policy may take a little longer. Since the insurance company needs to guarantee that the removed driver has their own insurance, they may require documentation to prove it. Your insurance agent can help you navigate this paperwork, so you can easily remove the driver from your policy.

As soon as you are able to prove that the driver has their own insurance, then their removal should go into effect on your next bill. You are less likely to see a prorated reimbursement unless there are extenuating circumstances. By reviewing your policy documents, you can better understand how your insurance handles such reimbursements.

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What kind of changes can you make to your car insurance policy mid-cycle?

There are many reasons you might need to change your car insurance coverage in the middle of your covered period. Some changes may go into effect immediately, like adding a new driver or vehicle to your policy. Still, others may take a bit more time, like changing the amount of coverage or optional add-ons. Because each situation is unique, you should speak with your insurance agent to help you navigate changes to your policy.

This article should have answered your basic questions about how long it takes for changes to your policy to go into effect. Sometimes it can take up until your next billing cycle for changes to occur, while others may be instantaneous. If your renewal period is approaching, then you should shop around before settling on an insurance company. By comparing quotes from multiple auto insurance companies, you can ensure that you have the best coverage at an affordable price.

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