The new year is a great time to shop for car insurance. Getting a few quotes at the beginning of the year will make car insurance companies more competitive, thus offering you better. But how do you know if you should switch to a new car insurance provider?
Keep reading for a handy guide on how to pick the best car insurance. Getting the best deal on car insurance involves more than getting the lowest price. You also need to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need to stay legal and to protect what’s yours.
Getting the best deal may require staying with the company you have, and you should always include your current provider in your quote search. That said, sometimes it’s best to switch. First, let’s look at the common times you should check for new quotes:
When your current coverage is set to expire:
This is a great time to check for new insurance quotes. If your current provider offers a loyalty discount, this is the time to ask about it. Also, check for other coverage options that match your current coverage to make sure you are getting the best deal for your money. It would be a shame to lose the coverage you really needed because you were tricked into what looked like a good deal.
When you move:
Your ZIP code can have a considerable impact on your car insurance rates. If you live in a big city and move to the suburbs, you can expect your auto insurance rates to change. You may be driving more or less, depending on your circumstances, and this is sure to change your car insurance quotes as well. If you move in with family, you can potentially get a discount by bundling or save money by removing a car you no longer need from your policy.
When you experience major life changes:
Just as moving changes your demographic information, so does getting married or growing older. You may qualify for other discounts depending on you or your family’s situation.
When you add a driver or vehicle to your policy:
Any time you add a driver to your policy, whether that’s a new spouse or a teen driver, or a family member who has moved in, you would be wise to get a new car insurance quote.
Adding a vehicle to your car insurance policy is another time to get a new quote, preferably before you sign on the dotted line. You want to make sure you can afford the premiums for your new car before you drive it off the lot.
The same is true if you have a new driver in your family with a new set of wheels. Make sure you’re getting the best deal by bundling insurance policies you already have or switching policies to save money.
Next, if you’ve found the deal you’re looking for, it’s time to switch if any of the following is true:
You experience poor customer service
Car insurance companies must stay competitive to retain their customers and gain new ones. If you’re experiencing bad customer service, you deserve better. No amount of money-saving is worth being treated poorly as a customer. If you are unhappy with your current provider’s customer service, it’s time to look for a new insurance company that will value your business.
Drastic increase in premium prices
Unless you’ve had a recent ticket or accident to explain the increase in your premium rates, your insurance company should notify you of any increases expected by the time your policy is set to expire. Make sure your rates are locked in for the entirety of your coverage period. You should also be notified of any increases without cause.
Drastic increase in credit score
If your credit score increases drastically, you should be eligible for lower premiums. If your current provider doesn’t adjust your premiums after you’ve improved your credit score, it may be time to switch to a new insurance provider.
There isn’t a penalty for shopping for quotes online, so you should do so as often as you feel comfortable. On the other hand, there are also times when you should put off changing insurance providers:
- After a recent accident or ticket
- You’re receiving a loyalty or bundle discount
- You qualify for accident forgiveness
The Bottom Line
Be sure to keep your current provider in mind when shopping around for car insurance. You may be eligible for new or loyalty discounts with your current provider and have no need to switch. If it’s time to go, you should know how switching insurance providers can benefit you.