Can I switch my car insurance after an accident?

You can switch your car insurance after an accident, but we recommend waiting until after the claims process is finished and paid out before changing providers. Switching auto insurance after an accident before your claim is settled can be problematic, especially if you end up challenging the settlement amount. In the meantime, you can shop around and compare car insurance companies online to find the best rates. Start now with our free comparison tool below.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 29, 2020

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Things to know...

  • Some drivers are unhappy with how their last insurance claim was processed
  • Filing a claim can cause your insurance premium to increase
  • Drivers are able to switch providers at any time, but it makes sense to wait until all outstanding claims have been settled to your satisfaction

Many car insurance companies have a stellar reputation in the marketplace, but some insurance companies have been plagued by consumer complaints over the years. These may be complaints about unnecessary rate increases or a bad claims process.

There are many reasons why you may be unhappy with your current auto insurance provider, and you may be ready to start shopping around for new coverage.

However, timing is critical if you have recently filed a claim on your insurance policy or if you need to do so.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool above to find the best coverage at the best rate!

Canceling your coverage before or during the claims process can be problematic. It may be necessary to work through your current challenges for at least a short period of time until your claim is settled before signing up for coverage with a new car insurance company.

When You Disagree With the Settlement of Your Claim


One of the more common reasons why drivers want to switch providers is because they had an unpleasant claims experience. When you file an auto insurance claim, you reasonably expect the insurance company to pay to repair your car quickly and without hassle.

However, some insurance companies may stall on the processing of your claim or may not agree to pay out at all.

If you are unhappy with how your claim was handled, you may reasonably want to change providers, but there are other solutions available as well to settle your claim to your satisfaction.

For example

  • You can dispute the matter in writing and provide supporting documentation to back up your beliefs.
  • You may also file a dispute or claim with your state’s insurance department if you believe that the provider did not follow established rules and regulations.
  • Requesting a meeting with a third party arbitration company may be an option, but you may have to make comprises through this process.
  • You can pursue legal action through the court system or attempt to have your attorney settle the matter out of court through negotiations.

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Why Your Insurance Premium May Increase

On the other hand, your claim may have been settled perfectly but you may have recently received notice that your insurance premium is increasing.

This can be problematic for your budget, and you may be looking for any methods possible to lower your insurance rates.

Any accident, citation, or insurance claim can affect your driving record, and this plays a direct role in how your insurance rates are calculated.

Your auto insurance premium is a major expense that you are responsible for each month, and taking any steps possible to reduce this expense can help you to manage your budget more effectively. You may be able to lower your rates with your current insurance provider by:

  • Increasing your deductible
  • Adjusting your coverage limits and types
  • Maximizing the benefits of discounts available to you

Other Reasons Your Insurance Rates May Increase


Remember that filing a claim or having a citation on your driving record is just one of the reasons why your insurance rates may increase. Some companies simply raise their rates as part of the normal course of business.

The factors that are used to determine your auto insurance rates may also change periodically, and this can include:

  • Theft and accident statistics in your zip code
  • The replacement cost or repair statistics for your vehicle
  • Changing your covered vehicles or drivers
  • Changing your coverage terms and limits
  • Adding optional coverage, such as roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement coverage
  • A decline in your credit rating

When to Switch Car Insurance Providers


There may be legitimate reasons why you want to shop around for new coverage through a different and more reputable provider.

However, you should wait for your current claim to be fully settled before you take action. The last thing you want is to cancel your coverage and be unable to finalize the settlement of an outstanding claim.

You can, however, start to shop around and request quotes while you walk through the claims process with your current provider.

You may think that you need to wait for your current policy to expire before you request new quotes or switch providers, but this is not true.

Your existing coverage can be canceled at any time, and you only need to pay your premium to your current provider for the dates when your coverage is active. There is no need to pay out the remaining premium amount if you cancel your coverage before it expires.

Remember that you must have a minimum amount of car insurance at all times according to your state’s driving laws. Avoid having a lapse in coverage while making this transition.

Always make sure that your new coverage is in effect before canceling coverage with your current car insurance company.

Deciding Which Providers to Request Quotes From

Getting quotes for new coverage is a fast and easy process, and it begins when you decide which providers you want to contact.

The overall reputation of the company with consumers as well as the company’s financial strength should be researched, and you can easily obtain information about providers online.

Select a minimum of three providers to request quotes from now, and consider requesting new quotes at least once or twice per year to avoid overpaying for your car insurance.

Choosing the Right Amount and Type of Coverage

To request a quote, you will need to provide each auto insurance company with details about the following:

  • yourself
  • your driving history
  • your vehicle
  • the amount and type of coverage that you want

You can fill out an application for a quote online or over the phone, but some drivers prefer to request quotes through a car insurance brokerage firm.

Your auto insurance coverage types and amounts should at least comply with your state’s minimum insurance requirements as well as any additional requirements from your auto lender, but you may also want to purchase additional coverage for added benefits.

Your car insurance company is only required to pay out on claims up to the coverage limits you have selected and only based on the coverage types you purchased.

Any expenses not included in your coverage will be yours to pay for. With this in mind, it makes sense to buy a fully protective policy and to buy optional coverages as desired.

Some optional coverages that you may want to consider adding to your new or existing policy include:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Towing service

Using Auto Insurance Discounts

Saving money on your new auto insurance policy is understandably a top goal, and there are a few different ways you can accomplish this.

For example, requesting a higher deductible can result in a lower premium. You should, however, avoid selecting a deductible that is not affordable for you to pay as needed.

You may also be able to qualify for several discounts offered by some car insurance companies. You can typically find great auto insurance discounts for:

  • Student or senior drivers
  • Low mileage
  • Safe driving or taking a driver’s education course
  • Bundling your home or life policies with your auto policy
  • Insuring more than one driver or vehicle under the same policy

Nobody wants to continue to pay an unaffordable premium amount for their car insurance, and they also do not want to maintain a relationship with an insurance company they had a bad claims experience with.

If you have decided to switch insurance providers after an accident, you may be able to enjoy lower rates and better customer service through a more reputable car insurance company.

While you can start shopping for lower rates for auto coverage right away, it may be wise to finalize your current claim with your provider before you cancel your existing coverage and buy insurance from another provider.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find which company is right for your insurance needs. Enter your zip code below to get started.

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