5 steps to switching your car insurance companies

step 1: research and evaluate your coverage needs

Buying a new car, getting married, moving, or having a child � just to name a few life-changing scenarios � can all impact your coverage needs. And there's no shortage of coverage options, limits, and deductibles to choose from.

If you're looking for a policy recommendation, spend a few minutes with our handy Coverage Counselor�.

As a general rule, you'll typically want to get the most coverage that you can comfortably afford.

step 2: shop around

When you know what coverages you want, check out what insurance companies have to offer.
Compare your options with prospective insurers

    Get a free quote to see what you'd pay for a policy.
    Compare coverages, limits, and deductibles side by side � not just the policy price. That way, you compare apples to apples.
    Find out about all your payment options.
    Check for discounts (like our Switch & Save� or Claim-Free discounts) that might apply to you.

Research dependability

    Verify the reputation of potential insurers by researching them on websites like A.M. Best. And let the record show that Esurance � a member of the Allstate family � is rated A+ (Superior) for financial strength.
    Ask neighbors and (real-life or Facebook) friends about their experiences with certain companies.

Check on convenience

    Since you never know when you might need to speak with someone, 24/7 customer service is a reassuring factor. This way, you can always count on speaking to a real person if you need to file a claim or have questions about your policy.
    With some companies, like us, you can manage your policy, file claims, and track repairs online anytime.
    See if a company has a well-regarded mobile app and an easy-to-use mobile site. These can help you manage your policy or file a claim down the road. Check out our mobile app here.

Additional benefits.

    If there's nothing to separate similar-sounding insurers, consider other factors that matter to you, like the company's community involvement or environmentally friendly policies. Visit their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to get a feel for the community you're about to join.

step 3: make the switch

With the groundwork finished, it's time to put your plan in action.

Once you have a quote on a policy that best suits your needs, buy your new car insurance policy before terminating your old policy.

    In many states, when you drop your car insurance, your insurer is required to report it to your state's motor vehicle department. Make sure your new car insurance policy starts before or on the same day that your old insurance ends. Even a one-day lapse in coverage could lead to increased rates in the future.

If you have any questions at this stage, don't hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to an agent. At Esurance, you can speak to one of our real-life coverage counselors 24 hours a day.

step 4: cancel or don�t renew your previous coverage

A few things to consider when you call your prior insurer to cancel or to let them know you won't be renewing your policy:

    Ask about cancellation fees. If your term's set to expire, you should be free of any cancellation charges unless you choose to cancel it before the policy term ends.
    Schedule the cancellation date to be no later than the effective start date of your new coverage to avoid a lapse in coverage.
    Ask for confirmation that your policy has been canceled and won't be automatically renewed.

Your prior insurer will walk you through the entire cancellation process. If you're switching your policy to a new car insurance company mid-term, you may be entitled to a premium refund depending on your payment plan.

step 5: print your ID cards and celebrate

With all that behind you, make sure you swap your old insurance ID cards for the new ones by the time your new policy kicks in. Keep one handy in each car's glove box (unless ID cards aren't required in your state).

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