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Can You Change Your Car Insurance Coverage Whenever You Want?

A person driving a convertible with the top down and the sun shining.

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If you are considering changing your car insurance cover, read this first.


Important points

  • Car insurance offers important protection, so it’s important not to go without or let coverage lapse.
  • It is generally possible to make changes to car insurance cover at any time, but there are some caveats to be aware of.
  • Drivers cannot add coverage after an incident and expect it to cover that loss.

With certain types of insurance, changes to a policy are not necessarily easy – or even possible. Health insurance is one of those types. In most cases, it is only possible to change insurance companies during open enrollment, unless a qualifying life event occurs such as a change of job or a loss of coverage due to moving.

Life insurance can also be difficult to change, as adding more coverage or changing insurers can mean going through medical underwriting again.

Because of these restrictions, drivers may wonder if it’s possible to change car insurance coverage freely throughout the year – or if there are some restrictions to be aware of before changing coverage.

Here’s what drivers need to know about changing car insurance

The great thing about car insurance is that it’s usually possible to make changes to coverage at any time throughout the year without doing anything special. This can include:

  • Adding coverage, such as buying more liability protection
  • Changing the cars covered, such as when you buy a new car
  • Add a new driver to the policy, such as when a teenager starts driving
  • Reduce the coverage available
  • Changing the deductible on the policy, which is the amount to pay out of pocket for a claim that is covered before the insurer pays the rest of the bills
  • Change car insurance companies to another carrier

To make a change can however, results in premiums going up or down. For example, many drivers choose to shop around from time to time to see if another insurer offers similar coverage at a more affordable price. Changing insurance companies after getting a better quote can result in lower insurance costs. On the other hand, adding a teenage driver can send premiums skyrocketing.

It is also important to know there is some restrictions on coverage changes. For one thing it is not possible to buy coverage after an accident or covered incident and have it kick in to cover the loss. For example, if a driver’s windshield is damaged, the driver cannot add glass coverage and expect to pay for the pre-existing incident. Similarly, a driver without collision coverage could not add it after an accident had already occurred.

More: Check out our picks for the best car insurance companies

Drivers should also not drop their coverage below the required minimum amount of protection available. For example, most states set a minimum amount of liability coverage, and motorists must maintain it or face legal trouble for not having the required protection in place. And in states where Personal Injury Protection coverage is mandatory, drivers must carry that coverage as well.

How to make a change to car insurance coverage

Any driver who wants to make an allowable change to their coverage can easily do so. It is a simple matter of calling the insurance company or calling the insurance agent if the policy was purchased through an agent.

In most cases the change will take effect immediately, so there is no delay in getting the new cover in place. Any premiums to be paid will also be invoiced by the insurer.

Because it’s fairly easy to change insurance, drivers who haven’t shopped for coverage recently or who think they might need extra protection should address these issues as soon as possible so they always have the right car insurance is for them.

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Ready to shop for auto insurance? Whether you’re focused on price, claims handling or customer service, we’ve researched insurers nationwide to provide our top picks for auto insurance coverage. Read our free expert review today to start.

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