Switching Auto Insurance: When, If Ever, Is The Right Time?

car insurance

Photo from Hauke Sandhaus

A recent article from NJ1015.com asked the question, “How often do you change carriers?” In the accompanying poll, more than 79 percent said they simply stayed with one carrier, a finding that could be even higher in other parts of the United States where rates are closer to the national average.

(New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the US, and rates typically run $390 more per year than the national average at more than $1,300 annually, on average.) http://bit.ly/1azbqBf

Nevertheless, switching auto insurance carriers can be tempting for consumers whenever there is a rate increase; but before jumping headfirst into another policy, it’s important to understand the fine print and to closely examine relations with the current provider.

Here’s how an individual can know when, if ever, is the right time to think about a new carrier.


Get Multiple Quotes

When looking for new quotes regarding your service, make sure that you get a large enough field of comparison. Seek prices from at least three other carriers, and make sure that the level of service is the same as what you currently have. That means all the same coverage limits, deductibles, and terms.

It’s entirely possible another company can offer a better deal, but you’ll only know for sure if the numbers they’re quoting have all details factored in.


The Change Isn’t Simply For The Sake Of Change

Change for the sake of change is never a good idea. Some consumers can make snap decisions and give up key coverages and discounts because they get tired of the landscape and hope to shake things up with a surface quote that doesn’t show the full extent to which their current insurer is watching out for them.

Sometimes snap decisions can work out for the best, but only by luck. When it comes to getting the best service for your dollar, a customer needs to ask themselves what they’re giving up, and they need to consult with the company they’re considering to ensure that all the same discounts and coverages will apply.

Furthermore, it’s best to get the details in writing before ever considering dropping an existing carrier.


A Final Word

If switching your carrier makes sense, be very cautious about how you choose to leave things. Some customers, knowing that unpaid policies might be canceled past a certain length of time, will just not pay their premiums.

Big mistake.

Many states allow credit rating to be factored in to the cost of insurance, and if you’ve been dropped because you failed to pay your premiums, that can negatively affect the price quote you get from the new company as well as you future ability to buy a home or car.

It may seem awkward, but insurance agents are professionals, and they’re used to the very human urge of consumers to shop around. Be open and honest about your decision to leave and seal the gaps in coverage so that you’re never left without insurance. Last but not least, fulfill the terms of cancellation by giving your current provider enough time to settle existing accounts.

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