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How quickly do changes I make to my policy go into effect?

What to Know

  • You can make changes to your car insurance policy at any time, and most changes go into effect the next day
  • You can make changes to things like liability car insurance levels, but always be aware of state requirements
  • It is relatively easy to make changes to your policy, but only you as the policyholder can make those changes

If you are wondering, “How quickly do changes I make to my policy go into effect?” there is some good news. In most cases, any changes you make to your car insurance policy will immediately go into effect.

Remember, you will see those changes reflected in your rates. That’s because coverage levels are among the factors that affect car insurance rates.

That said, there are some limitations to changing your car insurance policy, and you should be aware of them. Below, we have a frequently asked questions session of sorts.

Read on to know more about the changes you can make to your policy based on a few factors. But if you want to see rates from top companies in your area, you can enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

What kind of changes can I make to my car insurance policy, and when?

As your situation changes, you will need to adjust your car insurance policy. Car insurance companies understand this, so most adjustments you make to your policy will be effective immediately — if you choose.

Sometimes, there is a waiting or grace period. Also, some car insurance companies give you the flexibility to choose the effective date of the changes you make to your policy.

That said, there are many kinds of changes you can make to your policy at any time. For instance, changing your address is simple, but where you live will affect your rates. Here are some other changes you can make to your policy:

  • Adding a car to your insurance policy
  • Adding a driver to your policy
  • Changing your car insurance mid-policy
  • Changing your car insurance plan after an accident
  • Adding or dropping coverages
  • Increasing or decreasing coverage levels
  • Switching car insurance companies

Let’s examine these scenarios in depth below.

Adding a Car to Your Insurance Policy

If you need to add a car to your car insurance policy, that is somewhat different.

Many car insurance companies have a new car insurance grace period that can last from a few to 30 days.

The company will give you immediate coverage for any new vehicle you purchase/possess during that grace period. However, you need to notify the company before that period ends to retain coverage for your new car.

Adding a Driver to Your Policy

You can add a driver to your policy at any time, but there are at least a couple of restrictions. First, your car insurance company might only accept a driver with a clean or relatively clean driving record. Second, you may not file a claim for that person if they had an accident before adding them to your policy.

Changing Car Insurance Mid-Policy

Many car insurance companies are flexible, so you can change your policy before your term is up, even mid-policy. You can even make changes days before renewal.

Changing Your Car Insurance Plan After an Accident or Incident

You can change your car insurance plan after getting into a car accident, or your vehicle otherwise takes on any damage. However, if you decide to add a specific type of coverage to your policy, it will not retroactively cover the damage. For example:

  • If you increase your liability insurance coverage beyond your state’s minimum requirements, your original limit applies in this case. And if damages from your accident exceed the minimum state level, you will be responsible for covering the difference out-of-pocket.
  • If you add collision car insurance coverage post-accident, filing a collision insurance claim should prove unsuccessful.
  • If you want to add comprehensive car insurance coverage after a falling object damages your vehicle, your comprehensive insurance claim should prove unsuccessful.

In any case, you should not attempt to file a claim after the fact since that constitutes fraud.

Including or Dropping Coverages

You can add or drop coverages as needed and see those changes reflected immediately. For example:

  • Add collision or comprehensive to cover future damage to your vehicle. The Insurance Information Institute mentions that you can drop your collision or comprehensive coverage on an older car to save money.
  • Add rideshare insurance before beginning working for a transportation network service company. You can drop the coverage if you no longer work for any TNS.
  • Add personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay to supplement your health insurance. You can drop that coverage if you do not need that coverage.
  • Add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for an extra layer of protection. You can remove this coverage if you want to lower your rates and aren’t required to carry it.

In most states, you must carry a minimum level of liability insurance. Also, some states require you to buy PIP and uninsured/underinsured car insurance coverage.

Increasing or Decreasing Coverage Levels

In many cases, you can increase your levels of coverage for liability, collision, comprehensive, and car rental reimbursement insurance. Or you can decrease these levels and move toward a mileage-based policy because you will not drive that often.

And in some cases, you can suspend liability and only carry collision and comprehensive coverage if you will not use your vehicle for an extended period.

Once again, be careful when adjusting your liability car insurance levels. You will need to at least meet your state’s minimum requirement if you choose to use your vehicle again.

Switching Car Insurance Companies

You can switch car insurance companies at any time, even if you just renewed with your current car insurance company. And in some cases, you may get a refund for any advanced payments.

Just make sure that you sign up with your new company before canceling with the old company. That way, you can avoid having a lapse in car insurance coverage, and that can increase your rates.

Can you tell me how to change my insurance plan?

Changing your car insurance plan is relatively simple, as well, and here are your options:

  • Call your car insurance company’s toll-free number to talk to a representative and tell them that you need to change your policy. The representative will answer any questions you have
  • Talk directly to your car insurance agent, either by phone or in person, to initiate changes to your car insurance policy and have your questions answered.
  • Create an account on your car insurance company’s website and make changes through that portal.

Now, if you want to cancel your current insurance policy, you might not be able to do that through an online portal. Many car insurance companies allow you to do that by phone, email, or regular mail.

Who has the authority to make changes to an insurance contract?

Only the named insured can make changes to a car insurance policy. The term “named insured” refers to the owner of the policy. Even if the policyholder lists other drivers on the policy, only the first person can legally make changes. Also, only the named insured can receive payments from the car insurance company.

Is there anything else I should know about the changes I make to my policy?

Before making changes to your car insurance policy, you should consider a few things:

  • What are the laws in your state? Once again, be aware of the state minimum requirements for car insurance.
  • How much car insurance coverage do you need? Consider your driving habits, plus the likelihood of collisions and other incidents in your area.
  • Are there other ways to save money? You may be able to get discounts (like safe driving, student away, and safety equipment discounts) instead of making changes to your policy.

Regularly reassess what your insurance needs are. Also, talk to an insurance agent or representative to figure out the best solution.

We hope that this information answers any questions you have about the changes you make to your policy. And if you’re ready to see rates from top car insurance companies in your area, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below right now.