As you move through life, your wants, needs and long-term goals will change with your lifestyle. Often, that means your insurance requirements evolve, too. Knowing when to change insurance carriers or plans ensures your coverage stays in line with your busy life.
Here are a few important considerations when you need to shop for insurance.
How Often Should You Change Your Insurance Plans?
As a general rule, it’s wise to review your insurance plans:
Every 6-12 months or once per coverage period
Anytime your insurer hikes premium costs or slashes benefits
When you experience a major event that impacts your coverage needs, like:
Moving to a new house or region
Making a major purchase (vehicles, fine jewelry)
A birth or death in the immediate family
Any of these reasons is enough to change insurance plans or carriers. Updating your coverage to match your needs (and your budget) ensures you protect the people and possessions you value most.
But while cash is king, getting a good deal isn’t everything – the content of your policy matters, too. Sometimes, it’s worth paying a little more for your peace of mind.
Benzinga explores a few potential reasons to change insurance carriers.
You Can Find Cheaper Rates Elsewhere
Regularly shopping for insurance helps you sniff out the carriers that offer better rates or discounts. Compare offers from at least three to five companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal on coverage.
You’ve Recently Moved
You may need to change insurance carriers when you move, especially if the move impacts your rates or coverage. Not all insurers operate in all regions – and even if yours does, your rates may rise based on location. For instance, you may pay higher auto insurance premiums in more populated areas.
You Experience a Qualifying Event or Lifestyle Change
Generally, you should reevaluate your coverage anytime you experience a “qualifying event” or major milestone like:
Getting married or divorced
Adding your teenager to your auto insurance
Having or adopting a baby
Whether you need more coverage, less coverage or a more affordable policy, consider such events an opportunity to evaluate and change insurance plans or carriers to fit your new lifestyle.
Your Insurance Carrier Changes its Terms
Maybe it’s not you who changes but your insurer. Carriers periodically update their geographic policies, prices, coverage offerings and accepted service providers. While the company may suggest alternatives, there’s no guarantee a replacement will suit your needs. You might as well take that opportunity to shop for insurance on your own.
Your Provider Stops Accepting Insurance
Health insurance is particularly finicky, with providers, insurers and in-network hospitals in flux. Maybe your doctor stops accepting Medicare insurance – or your Medicare plan stops paying for your doctor. Either way, you’ll have to switch insurance plans, doctors or both.
Poor Customer Service or Claims Experiences
When you’re paying your premiums, your insurance company is happy to take your money. But when you actually need to make a claim, you may find that it is reluctant to pay out. If you have to go through a major hassle to make a claim, receive your funds or just get a call back, it’s time to reconsider your carrier.
Which Insurance Plans Should Change Regularly?
You should review and compare insurance at least once a year, regardless of the type of policy. But some plans may need to change more – or less – frequently.
Shopping for homeowner’s insurance at least once a year ensures you don’t miss a better deal elsewhere. You may also change insurance carriers when your rates increase or you move to a new city. Making expensive renovations or purchases that require enhanced coverage also provides opportunities to change insurance plans.
Car insurance policies may not last a full year; some offer six-month plans. Either way, it’s wise to re-shop your auto insurance before every renewal, as car insurance rates famously fluctuate on a dime. Time, location, your driving history and even accidents that aren’t your fault can impact your individual premiums.
Health insurance is a bit unique because many insurers limit plan switches or sign-ups to their annual open enrollment period. However, special exceptions exist for “qualifying life events” like marriage and divorce, having children, losing work coverage or moving to a new zip code.
Life insurance pays out when the policyholder dies. Because it’s designed to pay for end-of-life expenses, lost income and housing costs, it’s crucial to buy enough coverage to secure your family’s future. On top of your annual evaluation, consider whether other life events impact your coverage needs, like:
Your age and relationship status
Having a baby
Buying a home
You might need to switch if your rates rise or you need higher coverage amounts. You may also want to switch to a different type of policy, such as moving from whole to permanent life insurance).
Business insurance is a must for business owners to cover property damage, liability and business interruption costs. Because business needs are change, you may need to shop for insurance more than once a year.
For instance, when you hire more employees, move to a new office or release new products, it’s probably time to increase your coverage or change insurance carriers.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How frequently can you change car insurance?
You can change car insurance as often as you need. You may have to pay a cancellation fee if you leave your current carrier in the middle of a policy.
When should you switch insurance companies?
You should consider switching insurance companies at least once a year to ensure you’re getting the best rates and coverage. You should actually make the switch when you can get better value elsewhere.