Can I Switch Car Insurance Anytime? 

Why You Can Trust Compare.com

At Compare.com, it’s our mission to find simple ways to help our customers save money on the things they need. While we partner with some of the companies and brands we talk about in our articles, all of our content is written and reviewed by our independent editorial team and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn about how we make money, review our editorial standards, and reference our data methodology to learn more about why you can trust Compare.com.

parents and child standing in front of their vehicle smiling

It’s important to find the right car insurance to fit your needs and your budget. If your life circumstances change, the policy that was right for you at one time might no longer be the perfect fit, and you might want to switch. It’s also possible that you’ll find a better rate from another car insurance provider and be tempted to change your insurance. Before you do, it’s important to be aware of how changing your insurance works and what pros and cons can come with that decision. 


Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure you read the fine print in your insurance policy or speak to your insurance carrier before switching your auto insurance mid-term to avoid penalties
  • It’s important to ensure you pick an auto insurance carrier that offers what you need in terms of coverage, price, and service
  • Take the appropriate steps in the right order when switching to a new auto insurance carrier to avoid a lapse in your insurance coverage
  • Identify the right time and best reasons to look for a new auto insurance carriers

Can I Switch My Auto Insurance at Any Time?

Yes, you can cancel your car insurance policy at any time, including right after it’s activated and right before it’s scheduled to renew. You don’t have to wait until your renewal date to cancel a policy that you no longer want or need, meaning if you would like to, you can shop around for a new policy whenever you choose. 

You should be aware that if you cancel your insurance last-minute, you might face a fee for a short-rate cancellation. Some car insurance companies have these fees and will deduct between 10 and 15% of your unused premium before they refund the rest of your premium balance. 

To understand what fees or penalties you might face, it’s best to read the fine print of your contract or call your insurance company to ask. If your insurance company does have a short-rate cancellation fee, then you could save money by waiting until your policy is about to renew before changing your insurance. 

How to Switch Your Car Insurance in 6 Steps

Switching your car insurance isn’t a hugely complicated process, but it is important to take the right steps to make sure you’re insured throughout the transition so your insurance doesn’t lapse. 

Shop Around

The best way to determine if there’s a better car insurance plan available is to request quotes from multiple insurance companies. That can take time, but Compare.com makes it easy. With our auto insurance comparison tool, you just need to fill out one quote request form, which takes about five minutes. Then, we’ll receive personalized quotes from over 65 top insurance companies and present you with a list of the best ones that fit your needs. 

You can easily compare those quotes to see how the coverage stacks up and which policies offer you the best rates. You might find that there are multiple policies where you’ll get the same coverage that you have now, but at a more affordable rate. 


Get Car Insurance Quotes Before You Switch


Choose the Best Coverage

While it might be tempting to just choose the policy that’s the cheapest, make sure you’re buying enough coverage so you will feel well-protected. Just purchasing coverage that meets your state minimum requirements means you could still be liable for unpaid expenses resulting from a car accident. It’s typically a good idea to purchase more than the state minimum within a price range that you can afford.

Don’t forget to consider your deductible, too. Choosing a policy with a higher deductible will reduce your monthly payments, but if you ever need to use your insurance, you will need to be prepared to pay that larger deductible out of pocket. Consider how much money you have saved and how much of a risk you’re willing to take when deciding if a policy with a higher deductible is right for you. 

It’s also important to think about the type of coverage that’s best for you. You might want to add on options like uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, roadside assistance, or accident forgiveness for additional peace of mind.

Consider Which Car Insurance Company is Best for You

In addition to deciding which insurance policy is right for you, it’s also important to think about the car insurance company that you will be switching to. Factors like the quality of the customer service, the company’s overall responsiveness to claims, and even whether a company is operated entirely online can affect whether it’s a good fit for your preferences. 

Thanks to evolving technology, more insurance companies are offering perks like robust apps or even the ability to use an app in your phone to track your driving habits, possibly qualifying you for a discount on your premium. Consider what features are most important to you when deciding which insurance company is truly the best fit. 

Schedule the Change to Avoid a Lapse in Coverage

Once you’ve decided which policy you want, purchase it before you cancel your old one. It’s important to do this so you avoid a lapse in coverage, which can occur if your old policy is canceled before your new policy takes effect. Insurance companies view this lapse in coverage as a negative element on your driving history, and they may increase the price of your premium as a result. 

Get Proof of Your New Insurance

Before you drive your vehicle, make sure you have proof of your new insurance policy. That can be a card you access through an app, or a hard copy of your insurance card that you receive in the mail or print out yourself. You need to carry this proof of insurance with you every time you drive your car.

Your proof of your insurance also confirms that your purchase has gone through and that your vehicle is fully insured. Once you have that confirmation, you can cancel your old policy. 

Cancel Your Old Policy

To cancel your old policy, contact your previous insurance company. An insurance agent will walk you through the cancellation process. Request proof of the cancellation so you know that you won’t be accidentally paying for two insurance policies. 

The agent should be able to advise you about any refund you might be eligible for, depending on your payment schedule. 

When to Switch Auto Insurance Companies

newly married couple moving into new house

You can switch auto insurance companies at any time. It’s always a good idea to do so if you feel your current company isn’t meeting your needs, or if you’ll no longer qualify for coverage because of a situation like a move or a drunk driving charge. 

It’s also a good idea to switch auto insurance companies if your current rates are increasing but you can get the same or better coverage elsewhere for a similar or lower price. It pays off to periodically shop for car insurance after major life events, like getting married or graduating from college. You should also put it on your list to compare rates every 6 months or annually to see if you could save money by switching companies. 

Why Switch Car Insurance Companies

There is no shortage of car insurance companies for you to choose from, meaning you don’t have to stay with a company if your policy or that company just isn’t working for you. There are several common reasons why you might want to change your auto insurance company. 

Moving to a New State

It’s common for drivers to switch their insurance companies when they move to a new state. Some insurance providers only offer car insurance in certain states, so if you move out of the area, you might be forced to consider new car insurance providers. 

Keep in mind that different states have varying car insurance requirements, including required minimums that your policy will need to meet. You can call your new provider’s customer service department and they will ensure that your new policy gives you the coverage you need by law. 

Dissatisfaction with the Service

You might also decide it’s time to switch companies because of a negative experience you’ve had with your current provider. You might have had a claim denied or disagreed with the amount the insurer gave you after an accident. There are many good reasons to decide that the service you’re receiving isn’t satisfactory. 

You can shop for a new insurer that offers the type of customer service that you want, whether that’s an online-only insurer or a company with local offices where you can work with an insurance agent in-person. 

Selling Your Vehicle

If you sell your vehicle and don’t plan on replacing it with a new one, or haven’t yet bought a new one then you will need to cancel your old policy. Keep in mind that you may want to keep your policy active if you plan to replace your vehicle in the near future to avoid a lapse in your insurance history, which can be a costly mistake. You might decide to start over with a new insurance company once you’ve found a new vehicle. Regardless of whether you plan to buy another vehicle, it’s important to follow the insurer’s procedures for canceling your current policy so you aren’t making payments on insurance that you won’t use.

Looking for Different Insurance Products

As your life changes, your auto insurance policy might no longer meet your coverage needs. You could want to find a new policy that includes options like pay-per-mile rates or horse trailer insurance coverage that your current insurer doesn’t offer. Insurance companies have different offerings, and with more and more incorporating telematics into their policies, chances are you can find a new provider that gives you the specific products you’re seeking. 

Getting Lower Rates Elsewhere

Many people choose to leave their insurance company if they can get a lower rate elsewhere. If you shop around and compare quotes, you might find you can get the same coverage on a new policy for less than what you’re paying with your current insurer. 

You could also find that another company is a better fit and makes you eligible for more discounts. For example, if you have a homeowner’s insurance policy with another insurance company, changing your car insurance to that company could qualify you for a multi-policy discount and give you a better deal than your current policy. 

Compare.com makes it easy to know whether you’re getting the best rates, or if it might make sense to change to another policy and insurance company. Using our auto insurance comparison tool, you can easily gather quotes from multiple companies, so there’s no need to take the time to contact these companies individually. 

Drivers who use our tool save an average of $720 per year on their car insurance. Knowing that a better deal is available can help you decide if it’s time to switch from your current insurer. 


Save up to $720 on your car insurance


Frequently Asked Questions About Switching Car Insurance

Can you change car insurance mid-policy? 

You can change your insurance at any time, including in the middle of your policy. Some car insurance companies will keep a percentage of the balance of your policy or charge a flat cancellation fee for cancelling mid-term, so it’s best to call your insurer and ask about fees you might face for changing mid-policy. 

Do you have to cancel car insurance when you switch carriers? 

When you switch car insurance companies, it’s important to cancel your old policy so you don’t pay on two insurance policies simultaneously. Be sure to contact your old insurer and tell them that you would like to cancel your policy after you have secured a new one, then follow any steps that they ask you to take to complete that cancellation. You just want to make sure your auto insurance doesn’t lapse. 

Does it hurt to switch car insurance companies? 

If you repeatedly switch car insurance companies, those changes won’t affect your credit or make insurance companies view you as a high-risk driver. However, if you make the change and create a lapse in your coverage, that lapse can negatively impact your driving record and cause future insurance companies to charge you higher premiums.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

About Compare.com

Compare.com’s #1 goal is to save you money. We publish resources that are based on hard-hitting data and years of industry experience to help you make more informed decisions with your wallet.

  • All of Compare.com’s content is written and reviewed for accuracy by a team of experienced writers and editors who are experts on the topics they cover.
  • None of Compare.com’s content is ever influenced by the companies and brands we partner with.
  • Compare.com’s editorial team operates independently of any of the company’s partnership or business development interests. We publish unbiased information strictly for the benefit of our readers.
  • All of the content you see on Compare.com is based on comprehensive analysis and all data is gathered and vetted from trustworthy sources.

Learn more about us, our team, and what makes us tick.