Once I buy the policy, will I ever need to change my insurance coverage?

Once you buy a car insurance policy, you don't always think about having to switch plans down the road. However, it's common to change your insurance coverage, and you can do so whenever you want.

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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

  • You’ll likely need to change your car insurance coverage eventually due to higher premiums, moving to a new ZIP code, or negative customer service experiences
  • You can change policies whenever you want, even in the middle of the year
  • Follow the easy steps mentioned in this article to switch plans with no hassle

If you’re in the middle of your current car insurance policy year and it’s not enough for your needs, you can easily switch to another plan right now.

There are rarely consequences switching coverage. Even if the insurance plan is a couple of years old, anyone can change their car insurance.

While many reasons exist to switch your coverage, do plenty of research before making a final decision.

When should I change my car insurance coverage?

Just because you can change your car insurance coverage at any time you like doesn’t mean you should do it. You should put a lot of thought into canceling your plan and purchasing a new one. Here is a list of common reasons why people decide to ditch their policies for new ones:

  • You move to a new city, state, or zip code. Where you live can affect your car insurance rates. So if you’re making a big move to a new place, check in with your insurance company if your rates go up.
  • You make a big life decision such as getting married or buying a house. New life changes mean you might need an update in coverage.
  • Your plan renewal date is approaching, which may allow you to look into new car insurance policies.
  • You add a new car or driver to your policy. Your 16-year-old may have just received their learner’s permit, or maybe you just bought a new car. Either way, this kind of change could call for some changes.
  • You’re retired and putting less mileage on your vehicle.
  • One of the most popular reasons to switch coverage is high premiums. If the plan gets too expensive, you could look for a more affordable one elsewhere.
  • You could have had a difficult time submitting claims without problems.

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How do I switch my car insurance policy?

If you have decided that you’re ready to change policies, there are five simple steps to take to do so. Here’s how to change your insurance plan:

1. Research

The first thing to do once you’ve decided to change car insurance plans is to research the best plans out there. You don’t want to shop around completely clueless. So you’ll need to do your homework to figure out the best fit for you.

2. Shop

Make sure to shop around a lot when looking for a new policy. There are many companies with several plans. You’ll want to find an insurance company that offers the best rate while providing you the necessary coverage you need on the road.

Most websites provide quote comparisons for you to compare plans side by side and decide the better one. Some companies, like State Farm and Farmers, offer discounts, so check if you are eligible for any of them.

3. Purchase a policy

After picking out the best fit, you’ll want to purchase the insurance policy. To avoid a gap in coverage and higher rates, schedule your new policy to start when your old one expires. You can also change your insurance plan in the middle of a policy year.

4. Cancel your old insurance

Immediately after you purchase a new policy, contact your old insurance company. Try and do so at least a day after coverage starts to cancel the old plan. Some people pay their annual car insurance premiums in full, and if you switch afterwards, almost all companies will refund you the unapplied credit left in the time frame.

5. Get your insurance ID cards

Proof of insurance is required to be on the road. So it’s important to either print, download, or save a copy of your insurance card if you get into an accident or a cop pulls you over.

6. Tell your lenders

If you have a lease or a loan on your car, you must immediately inform your lender about the changes. Sometimes the insurance company will do this step, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to something this important.

How many times can I change my car insurance policy?

You’ll be happy to learn that you can switch policies as often as you like. So, if you don’t like the customer service offered by the insurance company, or the coverage you want is no longer available, you can switch. However, it’s not always a great idea to keep switching.

When should I not switch insurance?

Having the ability to change plans whenever is great, but there are some situations where you shouldn’t change insurance plans. If you’ve recently been in an accident or have a traffic violation, you might not want to be in the market for new coverage. After an accident or ticket, insurance companies are more likely to raise your rates than they would if you didn’t recently file a claim.

Another reason to stick with the same insurance company and plan is if you already have a bundle or discount. Companies offer loyalty programs and premium discounts to keep long-standing customers.

The longer you stay with one plan, the more accident forgiveness you can earn. Companies only offer accident forgiveness after three or four years with the same plan.

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Are there any cancellation fees for changing plans?

Although you can terminate your policy early for a new one, there is another downside to that option. While most companies don’t charge cancellation fees for canceling the policy before its year-end date, some do. They are a “flat” one-time fee of $100 or less for ending the policy earlier than the agreed-upon expiration date.

Be sure to research your specific plan’s cancellation policies to make sure your insurer refunds any leftover money to you.

During this process, it’s a good idea to speak with a live agent from the insurance company you’re considering. They can help you pick out the best plan for your situation and go over any questions or concerns you may have.

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