8 Simple Steps To Switch Insurers: The Agent's Guide
“If you’ve been with your company since Urkel’s been on TV, it’s time to switch.” That’s what Compare.com insurance agent Thom tells customers all the time.
Thom got his start with Elephant Insurance Company and has been an independent agent with Compare.com since 2017. He knows a little something about claims, too, because his cars have been rear-ended and totaled seven times.
Why is switching car insurance a good idea? Over time, a lot of the front-end discounts fall off, Thom explains. The market changes too; the rate you thought was good five years ago may now be really high. That’s why now is the best time to compare personalized auto insurance quotes and consider switching. Thom will walk you through it.
Step 1: Compare Quotes
It only takes five minutes to get free, customized auto insurance quotes from multiple companies on Compare.com. Quotes for the exact same coverage can vary by $100 or more every month, so comparing is the only way to find the cheapest possible rate. Start here!
Step 2: Research the Company You Like
The cheapest insurance isn’t always the best. Here’s our guide to sorting out the good cheap insurance from the not-so-good. So when you get a great quote from a company you don’t know well, take a few minutes to Google it. Or read our guides on the companies here at Compare.com.
Just remember that bad reviews don’t necessarily indicate a bad company. “The majority of people that do a review are angry to begin with. You don’t see good reviews. That’s normal,” Thom says. Instead, look to see if the company responds courteously to complaints. Then, look at the A.M. Best rating and the Better Business Bureau ratings. “If it’s above a C+, it’s a fine company,” Thom says.
Step 3: Call the Company You’re Interested In
Call their main customer service line, just to see what vibe you get. “If you’re on hold two days in a row for an hour, you’re probably not going to want to go with that company,” Thom advises. Once you get in touch with an agent, how knowledgeable are they? Can they answer your questions? Are they responsive or dismissive?
Step 4: Verify your Compare.com quotes
You can do this while you’re on the phone with the agent, or you can easily complete the process on Compare.com. The quotes you receive on Compare.com should be accurate — if you entered all your info correctly. Many people don’t enter their recent tickets or accidents, but these driving incidents will show up when an insurance company runs your MVR (motor vehicle report). If you have bad credit, that can affect your quote too.
Step 5: Negotiate
If you really want the best and cheapest auto insurance, you can narrow down your options to two or three companies, get confirmed quotes from each, and then call them to negotiate. We spoke to one of our other licensed agents, Rebecca, about how to get the cheapest insurance policy.
Let’s say Company A quoted you $76 per month, and Company B quoted you $91 — but you really like Company B, because they have such great customer service. Go ahead and call Company B and tell them the rate A gave you, then ask if they can match it. They might offer you a policy for $82. You win!
Step 6: Buy Your New Insurance Policy!
You don’t have to wait until your current policy ends, Thom reminds people. Switching car insurance mid policy is simple, and you’ll get a refund of any unused premiums. However, you should buy your new policy before you cancel your old one. That way, you’ll avoid a lapse in coverage. Having a lapse, even if it’s only a day, will raise your auto insurance rates in the future. You can buy your new policy at the end of the quote process on Compare.com.
Step 7: Cancel Your Old Auto Insurance
Cancelling isn’t hard to do, but you want to make sure it’s done right. “Some companies will accept a written request from the new company,” Thom says. “But for me, I’m paranoid — I want to hear that they did. It’s like asking your 10-year-old to make his bed. Will it get done? Maybe. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.” This guide walks you through how to cancel your car insurance.
Step 8: Keep comparing, every now and then.
So you’ve found a great deal on your auto insurance and you’re happy with the company . . . but you don’t have to stay with them forever. Compare quotes every six months or so, just to get a sense of the rates you might qualify for. You also should check your quotes for higher liability coverage — your rate for 100/300/100 coverage may not be much higher than for 50/100/50.
Now, we’re not advising that you change insurance companies every six months, or even every year. “Just like you don’t want to be a job hopper, you don’t want to be an insurance hopper,” Thom says.
At the end of the day, you should consider changing car insurance companies only when it feels right to you. Or, as Thom puts it: “You do you, Pikachu.”