Switching Auto Insurance: Can I Change My Car Insurance Before the Renewal Date?
Thursday, 5 October 2023
Purchasing a car is one of the most liberating feelings one can experience. As a car owner, you can enjoy the freedom of being able to drive wherever you want, whenever you want. That said, there are many responsibilities that you will now carry as a driver. Scheduling regular maintenance, coordinating repairs, purchasing gas, and practicing safe driving are all great examples. However, before any of these can take place, the most important responsibility is to secure car insurance.
As you likely already know, having an auto insurance policy is mandatory before you take your car out on the road. If driving is an absolute necessity for your daily routine, you might skip the shopping phase of finding the best coverage and jump on the first quote you receive. While this will help you get your car on the road quicker, you might soon realize that you are unhappy with your coverage or that there are better rates available, and suddenly, you feel like you are trapped in a plan that you are not satisfied with.
With all of that having been said, you might find yourself wondering, “Can I change my car insurance before the renewal date?” This blog will give you more insight on auto insurance and whether you can change your auto insurance mid-policy. Keep reading to learn more so you can make an informed decision regarding your auto insurance.
What is Covered by Car Insurance?
Not only does car insurance provide coverage to you as a driver, it is also a safeguard that is in place to protect those around you. It serves as a way to ensure all parties involved in an automobile incident are taken care of. Generally speaking, car insurance includes Accident Benefit Coverage, Uninsured Automobile Coverage, Third Party Liability Coverage, and Property Damage Coverage. More details on what each of these forms of coverage provide are available below.
Accident Benefits Coverage
This is an important part of auto insurance as it provides financial support to individuals who are injured in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage not only covers you as the driver, but it also extends to passengers and pedestrians. Accident benefits coverage can help cover medical expenses like hospital bills, doctor visits, and the cost of rehabilitation, as well as lost wages if you are unable to work due to the injuries you incurred.
Uninsured Automobile Coverage
If you are in an accident with a driver who is either uninsured or underinsured, this form of coverage will protect you. Just like it sounds, an uninsured driver is someone who is operating a vehicle without auto insurance. Underinsured refers to a driver whose insurance is insufficient to cover your losses. This will help pay for medical expenses and property damage and can help replace income. It will also be of use if you are involved in a hit-and-run or are hit by an uninsured motorist while walking or riding a bike.
Third-Party Liability Coverage
This portion of your insurance is fundamental and designed to protect you in the event you cause an accident that results in injury, death, or damage to another person’s property. If you are sued by the injured parties, your policy can also pay for your legal defence costs so that you can secure yourself legal representation in the event of a lawsuit.
Property Damage Coverage
Should you be in an accident, but not considered to be at fault, Direct Compensation - Property Damage will pay for repairs to your vehicle and the contents inside. This type of coverage is part of the no-fault insurance system, which means you will deal with your own insurance provider when filing a claim. Unlike traditional liability insurance, where you'd have to go through the at-fault driver's insurance, DCPD allows you to file a claim with your own insurer. This system is meant to expedite the claims process and reduce the need for litigation.
Common Reasons for a Car Insurance Change
There are a variety of reasons why you might consider switching your auto insurance. Whether it be due to exciting life milestones or personal experiences with a current insurance provider, many people find themselves in the same situation every day. Let’s take a closer look at why you might consider making a change to your coverage.
You are moving
Your address plays a big role in determining your auto insurance rates, so whether it be across town, to a new city, out of province, or to a new country, informing your insurance provider of this change is important and could lead to an increase or decrease in your premium. Not only does the area you are living in affect your insurance, but the location in which you park your car when it’s not in use (i.e. personal garage, parking garage, driveway, street, etc.) plays a factor as well.
You recently got married
Depending on the province you live in, getting married can lead to a change in your insurance policy. Married individuals tend to be viewed as safer drivers when compared to their single counterparts. This is due to the fact that they are usually older in age and, thus, more experienced as drivers in addition to having a significant other and potentially children that they are responsible for.
You are adding your kids to your policy
Building off of the last point, if your children are starting to drive and will need to access your car, you will want to look into updating your insurance. Keep in mind that this only comes into effect when they can drive alone. If they are still using a beginner’s or learner’s permit and must be accompanied by an experienced motorist while driving, they do not need to be added just yet. Once they can drive on their own, they can be added to your car as an occasional driver. Remember that by adding a young or inexperienced driver, you will likely see an increase in your rates. That said, there may be discounts available if your child is a student with good grades or has gone through driver training courses.
Your driving habits are changing
Let’s say you are prepping for retirement and will be getting behind the wheel less frequently. In this case, you might be entitled to lower rates on your auto insurance. By driving less, your chances of getting in an accident will decrease as well and make you less of a risk to insure. Some insurance companies offer usage-based insurance policies that track your driving habits. If you drive less and maintain safe driving behaviours, you may qualify for discounts or reduced premiums.
You had a poor experience with your current provider
For most people, insurance can be a bit of a complex subject. While it is a legal requirement for driving a car, you may not be fully informed on the technical jargon and conditions that come with your coverage. That, coupled with a poor experience due to slow claims processing, uniformed representatives, and unresponsive agents, can lead to you feeling rather unsatisfied. If that sounds like your situation, you may want to start shopping around and look for a new provider that will prioritise you when you need them the most. When it comes to insurance, there is no better feeling than knowing that your provider always has your back.
You want to pay less for auto insurance
As outlined in many of the other reasons below, money is a big factor in deciding to change your policy. Many people switch car insurance providers to find more affordable coverage. They may receive lower quotes from other insurers or find that their current provider has raised their rates. At the end of the day, you want to find something that fits your budget and provides ample protection.
Can I Change My Car Insurance Policy Before the Renewal Date?
Many people ask the question, “Can you switch car insurance mid-policy?” Simply put, the answer to this question is yes. You can typically make changes to your auto insurance policy before the renewal date. Insurance policies are not set in stone, and most insurance companies allow policyholders to make adjustments to their coverage during the policy term.
Before making any changes to your policy, it's wise to carefully consider your insurance needs and how adjustments may impact your coverage. Always ensure that you maintain the required minimum coverage mandated by your province or territory's regulations. Making necessary updates to your policy can help ensure you have the right coverage to protect yourself and your assets.
How Do I Change My Car Insurance?
Changing your car insurance involves a few steps, and it's essential to do so carefully to avoid any coverage gaps. Here's a general guide as well as some tips and best practices on how to change your car insurance:
- Review your existing car insurance policy to understand your current coverage, limits, deductibles, and any additional coverages or endorsements.
- Assess your insurance needs, such as the type and level of coverage you require. Consider factors like your driving habits, the vehicles you own, and any recent life changes that may affect your coverage.
- Start shopping for a new car insurance policy by researching different insurance providers.
- Request quotes from multiple insurance companies to compare rates and coverage options. Make sure the quotes align with the coverage you need and are accurate in terms of your driving history and other relevant information.
- Reach out to insurance providers and ask any questions you have about their policies, coverage options, discounts, and the claims process.
- Compare the quotes and policies you've received, taking into account factors such as premiums, coverage limits, deductibles, and any additional features or discounts offered.
- Once you've reviewed your options and identified a policy that suits your needs, contact the selected insurance company to initiate the purchase.
- Thoroughly review your new car insurance policy to confirm it accurately reflects your chosen coverage, limits, and any other details you discussed with the insurer. Ensure that your new policy takes effect on the same day or before your old policy expires. This is crucial to maintain continuous insurance coverage, as lapses could result in legal and financial consequences.
- Notify your current insurance provider that you wish to cancel your policy. Be sure to follow their specific cancellation procedures, which may include providing written notice.
- Update your vehicle's registration and inform your lender (if you have a car loan or lease), employer, vehicle registration authority, and anyone else who may require it, and retain copies of all documentation related to your policy change for your own records.
Hopefully, the content outlined above has given you a better understanding of how auto insurance works, why you might consider changing your insurance, and the process by which you can do so. We’ve compiled a series of frequently asked questions to provide more insight into some areas you might be wondering about.
Can I switch insurance companies in the middle of a policy?
Yes, you can switch car companies in the middle of a policy. While your provider might allow you to cancel for free, others might require you to pay a fee to end your current policy with them. Before switching companies, contact your current provider to confirm what steps you need to take to end your policy.
Can I change my car insurance at any time?
In Canada, you can generally change your insurance at any time. That said, there are some important considerations and potential limitations to be aware of. Policies typically run on a one-year term, so you can always change your coverage when it comes time to renew. Mid-term changes can also be made when adding or removing drivers or vehicles, updating your address, or adjusting coverage limits.
Is switching insurance companies with an open claim a possibility?
Yes, you can do this as well. Your old insurance company will handle the claims process and any payouts. Keep in mind that if you were involved in at-fault claim, you can expect your rates to rise.
Secure Top-Notch Auto Insurance with BIG
Reevaluating and changing your auto insurance policy is a vital step to ensure that you are adequately protected and financially secure on the road. As our lives, circumstances, and driving habits evolve, so too must our insurance coverage to meet our changing needs.
The Canadian auto insurance landscape is dynamic, with various factors affecting premiums, coverage, and policy terms. By staying informed and regularly reviewing your auto insurance policy, you can take control of your financial well-being while driving. It's essential to consider factors such as changes in your vehicle, your driving habits, and life circumstances like moving, marriage, or a new job.
In reevaluating your auto insurance policy, remember that flexibility and personalization are key. Tailoring your coverage to your unique needs and preferences is a growing trend in the industry. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities for potential discounts or bundling options, as these can lead to cost savings. Utilise technology, like telematics, to your advantage in tracking and improving your driving habits, potentially reducing your premiums.
If you are looking to make updates to your auto insurance coverage or want to change providers altogether, a BIG broker can help. With access to a large network of insurance carriers, a BIG broker will do the shopping for you and find a policy that meets all of your needs at the best price possible. Request a quote online or visit your nearest BIG branch to get in touch with a broker and learn about the options available to you.