Whether you already purchased a new vehicle or you’re planning on doing so in the very near future, researching your options when it comes to personal car insurance is a great idea. It can save you money and time as well as heartache down the line if you so happen to get in an accident in your brand-new car.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions that new car owners have about car insurance. Should you switch to a new insurance provider? Do you need more or less coverage? When — and how — do you alert your current insurance provider about your new vehicle? Fear not — all of your pressing questions, and more, will be answered below.
Do I need insurance before I buy a new car?
Yes. In almost every state, you will need to show proof of insurance before you are able to drive off the lot in your new purchase. If your insurance policy is for your current vehicle, not your new one, that is fine — you generally have a few days of overlap before you are required to notify your provider about your new car. But check your state requirements before heading to the dealership, just to be certain. You don’t want to get there, checkbook in hand, and be turned around for lack of proper insurance.
Do I need to alert my insurance company about my new purchase?
Yes, you do. Policies that extend coverage to new cars usually give you between 14 and 30 days to alert your insurance company about your new car. It’s important to know exactly how long you have based on your specific provider, so make sure you give them a call within 14 days at most. Otherwise, you could end up unintentionally driving without insurance.
You should also ask your provider what kind of coverage is offered during this grace period. Some insurance companies don’t automatically include collision and/or comprehensive coverage, and if they don’t, your lender will require you to tack on these additional damage coverages immediately.
The best rule of thumb is to call your insurance company before you go to the dealership. You can choose to do so as early as when you begin car shopping. Even if you’re considering switching providers, it’s good practice to gather all the information you need prior to the day of purchase, so you won’t run into any hiccups at the dealership or once you’re back on the road in a new car.
Do I need more or less coverage on my new vehicle?
It really depends on what kind of coverage you currently have, and what kind of coverage you want your new vehicle to have. This can also be dependent on the make and model of your new car. You were driving an older car and thus elected to have limited coverage. Now, if you’ve upgraded to a newer vehicle, you may want to protect it — and yourself — with more coverage.
Should I switch to a new insurance provider?
The short answer is: it’s entirely up to you. The biggest reason that people switch insurance carriers is to save money, and the best times to shop around for lower rates tend to line up with big life events.
If you just got married, you may be eligible for discounts for couples. If your kids recently left for college and you’re downsizing to a smaller, more environmentally-friendly vehicle, that’s another good time to see if you qualify for lower rates. If it’s been a few years since your last at-fault accident, you might benefit from researching other insurance agencies’ premiums.
And if you’ve just bought a new car, no matter what make or model, we recommend looking around for the lowest rates available to you. Again, it’s entirely up to you, but you have nothing to lose by doing your research. Below we’ve detailed some of the pros and cons of switching to a new provider.
What are the pros and cons of switching to a new provider?
The pros heavily outweigh the cons of switching to a new provider — so long as you do your research and find out where the best rates really are. Take your time with this process and make sure you consider other factors that are important to you when picking a new insurance company. Perhaps customer service at your old provider was less-than-ideal; you’ll want to ensure that your new carrier has better relationships with its customers.
Run through as many what-if scenarios and make a running list of questions to ask a customer service rep at each company you’re interested in. For example, the scenario “what if I got in an accident today?” might be accompanied by questions such as, “what is the penalty for at-fault accidents?” and “will my premium go up, and if so, by how much?” By asking these questions now, you’ll get a much better idea of what kind of company you’re dealing with, and you’ll know what to expect in the future if any of these situations actually occur.
There are very few cons when switching to a new provider, given that you’ve done your research. One of the few true cons is paying a cancellation fee, if you’re changing providers in the middle of your policy period. Some big insurance companies don’t charge a fee at all, but other companies may require you to pay or wait until your next renewal period.
In short, if your current provider offers the lowest rates and has customer service that you feel comfortable with, then, by all means, stick with what you’ve got. But if you find better deals or more responsive customer service while shopping around, it may be time to make the switch.
If you would to like to discuss your options for car insurance please call us at 561-732-9305 our quoting hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. In addition, you can request a quote online. Please remember, We Handle All the Work, While You Save!
Robert Macoviak is the President of Oyer, Macoviak and Associates. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is the oldest independent insurance agency in Boynton Beach and has been in business since 1953. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates are vested members of the community who are committed to doing business face-to-face and being your insurance advocate in times of need.