7 Steps to switching car insurance

7 Steps to switching car insurance

Switching your car insurance is easy if it’s done correctly and can be done at any time. If you feel your car insurance is not keeping pace with your changing needs, it may be time to shop around - just make sure that you don’t risk any gaps in your cover or receive any surprises with cover shortfall in the event of a claim.

Here are seven steps to follow when considering changing your car insurance.

1. Review your current insurance to see if it matches your needs.

Assess your current driving habits to make sure that there’s a match between your insurance needs and your current living and working environment. Changing insurance can be as simple as switching to a different level of cover without having to move to a different insurer. Most car insurers offer similar solutions; these typically range from comprehensive car insurance, which is the most complete type of vehicle cover, to third party insurance only. This is the most basic level of cover that protects you against damages caused to another vehicle as a result of your actions.

Speak to your broker to find out which cover option is best suited for your needs before making any drastic decisions. Cancelling your insurance could cost you in the long run as you might lose out on multi-insurance benefits in future. It is important to remember that insurers check the records of potential clients to determine if they are prone to “insurance hopping” which is a good indication of a client’s level of commitment and loyalty.

2. Contact your current insurer to discuss reduced premiums

Sometimes it’s better to stay with your current insurer. If cost is the primary focus for wanting to change insurers, speak to your provider first to see if they are willing to meet competitor quotes. Most companies will be keen to reward your loyalty with a reduced premium. At the same time, you may want to stay with your current insurer to benefit from no-claim bonuses due to favourable claims history.

Make sure you are familiar with any recent additions to your existing insurer’s cover options, such as the SmartPark offering by Santam. The impact of Covid-19 has had a major effect on driving habits of South Africans in general and most insurers have introduced savings on car insurance premiums to compensate for the reduced exposure to everyday risks on the roads.

3. Speak to a broker and get input from reliable sources

If you feel it’s time to move on, do your homework first to make sure you choose the right insurer that would fit your needs. You may want to speak to a broker to get their input on which companies offer the most appropriate cover or services that would address your specific circumstances. Get input from objective and reliable sources to gauge the various insurers’ customer service ratings and their ability to pay claims.

Insurers often offer a host of additional lifestyle benefits and support services – make sure that you familiarise yourself with these offerings, such as free roadside assistance, emergency support and concierge services.

4. Check that you’re getting the same cover and benefits and read the fine print

While it’s helpful to get a number of quotes from different insurers to help you negotiate the best price, it’s important that you compare quotes based on the same level of cover. If you are getting a better price, look carefully at the details to ensure you are getting exactly the same benefits and value added services. At the same time, make sure that you have a good understanding of the policy terms and conditions. For example, check whether the excess is a fixed amount or a percentage of the value of the claim, and if your premium will change after you have claimed. 

5. Make the deal and get it in writing

Once you have decided on your ideal insurance provider based on a combination of price, level of cover and service record, make sure you get the offer in writing and that you understand every aspect of the policy document before signing the new document. Before cancelling the old policy, make sure that the new policy is active – the last thing you want is to have a gap in cover in the unfortunate event of an accident.

6. Cancel with your previous insurer - in writing

Even if it’s not required, always cancel your policy in writing so you have a record of the requested cancellation in case the company continues to bill you or deduct premiums. There should be no costs involved when cancelling your insurance.

7. Save your new insurer’s details 

Display your new insurer’s details on your car and always have it handy and within easy reach. Ask your new insurer if they’re able to provide you with a sticker for your car and save all relevant emergency and customer service contact numbers on your phone. 

If you are currently looking for an insurance provider who understands your specific vehicle cover needs, switch to Santam and get the right type of cover for all vehicle types and car emergencies. Request a quote, speak to your broker or call Santam Direct on 0860 444 444.

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