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Switching Auto Insurance Companies

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You may choose to terminate your auto insurance policy for any number of reasons. Maybe you're moving to another state, getting rid of your car altogether, or maybe you're just dissatisfied with your existing company's service. Beware, however, that if you don't give your insurer sufficient notice, it could end up costing you money, or negatively affecting your credit history.

Standard practice for most insurance companies is to allow you to cancel your policy at any time during the policy term by sending written notice stating the date of cancellation. Your car insurance policy does not necessarily terminate at the end of each policy term, so it isn't safe to assume that you can just cancel by failing to pay your next bill. If you don't send notice of cancellation, your insurance company will automatically bill you in advance for the next term's premium payment. If you don't pay it, they'll cancel your policy and it will go on your credit report.

Don't expect this information to be made explicit in your policy; while insurers are quick to inform you that your coverage will terminate at the end of the policy period if you don't pay your next premium, they don't always inform you of the repercussions you may face for not giving formal notice of your policy termination.

Another thing to keep in mind is that allowing your car insurance policy to be canceled may hurt your chances of obtaining auto coverage in the future. A cancellation in your insurance history may cause other companies to label you a high-risk applicant, thus giving them an excuse to charge you a higher premium. However, you can usually avoid this trap by officially terminating your policy in a timely manner.

Here's what to do: Call your insurer, let them know that you want to cancel your policy and give them an effective date. They will then send you a cancellation request form - review this form carefully before you sign and return it to your insurer.

If you're switching to another insurer, and you plan on driving your car throughout the process, you want to make sure there is no lapse in your car insurance coverage. Therefore, be sure to coordinate the effective starting date of your new policy with the termination date of your old policy. The last thing you want is to get in an accident during an uninsured interim - how stupid would you feel if that happened?

As long as you are considerate about giving your insurance company plenty of notice when you want to cancel your auto policy, and then go through the official termination process, you should avoid any negative repercussions.

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