Important Tips for switching California Auto Insurance Carriers

Posted on: 11Feb,2016

Although switching California auto insurance carriers can be a challenging and oftentimes frustrating task, it really doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, switching to a new insurer may be a lot easier than what you are thinking. Look at changing auto insurance companies just like you would plan your vacation. Instead of plotting your route to your destination, you’ll be plotting your policy route to your new insurance company. Just as the natural starting point of your vacation is your home, the natural starting point with changing insurers is the expiration date on your current policy.

There could be Penalties

Most of the California auto insurance policies are valid for 6 or 12 months and some of them will charge you a hefty penalty if change companies prior to the end of your policy’s term. So if you wait to change at the expiration date, you shouldn’t incur any penalties at that time. Some companies will also penalize you if you wait past the expiration date to inform them that you are switching carriers. Additionally, should you cancel mid-term, you will most likely have to wait until the policy expires to receive a refund on any premiums you have paid to date and you might receive less of a refund than what you anticipated.

Reasons for switching Insurance Companies

As we have mentioned in previous articles, there are a number of reasons for switching California auto insurance carriers. The obvious reason for changing companies is that you have found the same coverage for less money with another insurer. However, the change could also be attributed to inadequate coverage, negative claims experiences, and of course the big one – poor customer service. In addition to the reasons for switching mentioned here, it has never been easier to investigate the options available to you and you’re your comparisons using the internet. So switching insurers is far simpler than it used to be.

Making the Switch

It is recommended that you do your comparisons of other insurers just before your current policy is up for renewal, so start your searching and comparing 3 to 4 weeks before your policy expires. You can make comparisons in a number of ways including:

• Research the California Department of Insurance online to evaluate your current coverage against what other companies provide.

• The easiest way to make comparisons is to visit an insurance coverage comparison website. You simply put in your information regarding the types of coverage you need and it gives you a list of several companies that can accommodate your needs and their premium rates.

• Visit each insurance company’s website and making notes on coverage and premium rates. You can create a journal or spreadsheet to help you make your comparisons straight across the board.

If you don’t have the time to look through several websites and do the research online, visit any independent insurance agent and ask them to make the comparisons for you. Since they will see you as a potential client, they should be more than willing to do the work for you and show you the options that are available.

Cancelling Your Old Policy

Once you have made the decision to switch insurance companies, you will need to cancel your old policy. Just make sure that your new insurance is in place first and that you wait until your old policy expires. Cancelling your old policy should be fairly simple. In most cases, all you will need to do is inform your old insurance company in writing that you are cancelling your policy. Be sure to include a reason for the cancellation and specify the date that you want your policy to be cancelled.

As a precaution, don’t want to walk away from your old insurance company without first confirming that the cancellation is in force. Most insurance policies are categorized as “continuous”, meaning that they will automatically renew once every 6 months or year. Basically, if you fail to notify them of intent to cancel, your old policy will renew again and your old insurer will bill you for it and eventually cancel it for failure to pay. Once you have received your official cancellation notice, you will know that it has been properly processed.