When it pays to change car insurance policies

Sometimes you need car insurance sooner than you think. (symbol image)

Sometimes you need car insurance sooner than you think. (symbol image) christin klose

Every car must be insured. How much it costs is up to car owners themselves. At least once a year, you have the opportunity to optimize your tariff and, if necessary, change your insurer.

"a car insurance policy can always be changed at the end of its individual insurance year, which is also the turn of the year for most car insurance policies," says gerrit reichel of automobil club verkehr (ACV).

Deadline 30. November

Drivers should therefore consider the 30. mark november red in your calendar. "this is the deadline by which the insurance company must receive notice of termination," says reichel. However, under certain circumstances, policyholders also have the option of changing insurers outside the normal cancellation period.

"in the event of a premium increase, the insured always has the option of canceling the policy. This is still possible even if the new premium bill doesn’t arrive until mid-December," says elke weidenbach from verbrauchzentrale NRW. Even in the event of damage or vehicle deregistration, the insurance can be changed or terminated immediately. The savings potential is huge.

The savings can add up to quite a bit

In a recent comparative test, the magazine "finanztest" determined a rate range of between 214 and 600 euros per year for motor vehicle liability insurance for a family. Basically, a lot of factors influence the price of insurance, explains lena sington of "finanztest". "it starts with the vehicle age and model and ends with the number of accident-free years."

"the price is also significantly influenced by the number of drivers, i.e. how many people use the vehicle. This is much more important than, for example, the number of kilometers driven per year or a parking space in a garage," says the expert.

How much individual components affect the price of the policy varies from insurer to insurer.

What do I actually need and what not anymore?

Elke weidenbach advises people to think carefully about the scope of the insurance cover they need and what they can do without before changing insurers. "Particularly in the case of comprehensive insurance, it is worth considering whether you only need partial coverage or whether you need fully comprehensive insurance. Often, but not always, the differences in premiums are large."

Offers such as discount protection should also be taken with a grain of salt, especially when changing insurers. "this means that the insurance company will grant a free firecracker and will not upgrade the policyholder," says weidenbach. "However, if you then change insurers, you will still be classified lower by the new provider, because the downgrade will be taken into account."A discount protection clause can only ever be applied to the current insurer, not to a change of insurer.

"However, it can be worthwhile to ask the new provider under what conditions you can still remain in the old class," says lena sington. For example, by taking out a new discount insurance policy.

First compare and then perhaps change

If you want to change and save money, you should make a good comparison beforehand. "This can be done quickly and easily via comparison portals. But you should take the trouble to adjust the search profile with all the details in order to really get a meaningful result," says Gerrit Reichel. The replacement value indemnity option, for example, is only worthwhile if a new vehicle is insured.

In the case of liability insurance, customers should make sure that the sum insured is not at the lower end of the scale. Today, a sum insured of 100 million euros for personal injury, property damage and financial loss is the norm, says reichel. But local insurance brokers can also offer good prices.

"if the agent has negotiated high discounts with the insurer through fleet insurance, for example, he can pass these on to private customers if necessary," says weidenbach. Another advantage for some customers is that they usually have a direct contact in the event of a claim.

class society with damages

Whether online or offline: whenever an agent comes into play, a commission payment is also due from the insurance company to the broker. This makes the insurance more expensive.

"it can therefore be well worthwhile to check online whether you are taking out a contract with a direct insurer," says weidenbach. The comparative calculator from stiftung warentest works completely independently. The consumer advice centers also offer help.

Further savings potential is to be found in the no-claims classes (sF classes). Accident-free years are documented by the classification in an SF class.

"if you have been driving accident-free for many years and have an older contract, you may already be at SF 35 in the SF scale and have thus reached the end," says sington. "here it can be worthwhile to ask for a new contract with a longer SF scale, for example up to SF 50."but there is no uniform regulation among the insurers here.

How many classes will i be downgraded?

Downgrading in the SF class after a claim is not regulated uniformly either. There are differences both between insurers and between tariffs: "Generally speaking, downgrading in basic tariffs is often stricter and more severe than in comfort or premium tariffs," says sington. Customers can find out how many SF classes they will actually be downgraded by after a claim in the respective terms and conditions of the contract.

If you want to change insurers, you should always do it yourself and not leave the cancellation to the new insurer. "the new policy should also be signed before the old contract is cancelled. This is the only way to guarantee continuous insurance coverage," says reichel.

By the way, the insured does not have to inform the vehicle registration office. "the insurers will take care of that automatically," says reichel. "both in the case of a termination and in the case of a new termination."

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