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

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The Roundup
  • Most changes to your policy go into effect immediately
  • It’s rare for an insurance company to backdate changes
  • You can make most changes over the phone or online

Do you need to make changes to your insurance, and you’re wondering, “when do changes I make to my policy go into effect?” You’re not alone. Making changes to an insurance policy can seem like a big deal.

In this article, we’ll help you to understand who has the authority to make changes to an insurance contract, when and how you can make changes, how California car insurance laws apply, and how quickly policy changes take effect.

Before you make changes to an insurance policy, it’s a good idea to see if you can save a little money simply by switching. Enter your ZIP code above, and we’ll provide free quotes from top companies.

Do changes to a car insurance policy take place right away?

In most cases, a change you make to your car insurance policy will go into effect immediately. You can make changes to your policy by calling your insurance company or logging into your account using the company website or app.

Some of the changes you can make that will go into effect right away include:

  • Adding or removing a car
  • Changing coverage levels
  • Adding or removing coverage options
  • Adding or removing drivers

Every company is a little different, so in some cases, you may need to call rather than make changes online. And some changes may require verification, such as checking a new driver’s record.

As a general rule, however, as soon as you’ve added that new driver, they are covered to get behind the wheel. Don’t ever assume that a change has gone through until you’re sure. Get confirmation over the phone or online and print it out, or note the name of the person you spoke to at the company.

The last thing you want is for an error to leave you underinsured or, worse uninsured. Especially when it comes to adding a driver or a car, or increased coverage, get confirmation.

Is changing your car insurance policy after an accident allowed?

You can change your car insurance at any time, including after you have been in an accident. Changing car insurance mid-policy is permitted regardless of claims or accidents.

But can you switch insurance any time and still have the claim covered? There are a few things to know.

First, as long as your insurance policy was in force at the time of the accident, you’re covered. Barring any other reasons for the company to deny your claim, they’ll pay it regardless of whether or not you remain a customer.

Second, if you’re involved in an accident and switch insurance companies afterward, the new insurance company won’t be on the hook for that claim. Even if you switch before either the accident or the claim shows up on your record, you might still be charged for it later.

So, if you get a great rate with another company and think that the accident will never affect that rate because you changed so quickly, you might be in for a surprise. Insurance companies run your driving record regularly, and they will raise your rates on renewal if they discover an accident during the policy term.

Can I backdate changes to my insurance?

As a general rule, you can’t backdate changes to an insurance policy. This is particularly true if you have been in an accident and are trying to backdate coverage to file a claim.

Since you can’t use coverage that you have backdated, there’s no reason to pay for that coverage. Your insurance company will deny the claim if you didn’t have the coverage at the time of the accident.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. You can backdate removing a car from your policy if you have evidence that you sold it, which could get you a refund. Make sure that you have completed all of the legal paperwork for the sale before you remove the car, because you can still be on the hook for an accident until you’re legally no longer the owner.

You can also backdate adding a car, but there are some things you should know about how that works. The next section has more on how that works.

If I buy a new car, am I covered right away?

If you already have insurance and buy a new car, your insurance company will extend coverage to that car for a brief period to allow you time to contact the company and add the car. This is known as a grace period, and a lot of people think it means you get free insurance.

Unfortunately, they are wrong, and this isn’t free coverage. The insurance company will backdate the coverage on your plan and will charge you for that coverage from the day you bought your car.

That means there’s no real reason to put off adding your new car. It’s best to get that change made right away. Of course, buying a new car is also a good time to shop around and compare rates to see if you can get a better deal.

Who can make changes to my car insurance policy?

The only people who can make a change on your car insurance policy are those named as insured on the policy. When you call to make a change, the insurance representative will ask questions to verify your identity and prevent anyone else from making changes without your permission.

As with all login information, you should be very cautious about who has access to your insurance policy user name and password. Anyone who can access your account can make changes. However, if fraud is uncovered, the insurance company will revert the changes without penalizing you.

California car insurance companies will not make changes to your policy without your permission or knowledge. If for some reason, a change has to be made to your policy, they will have to notify you. For example, if an insurance company decides to stop offering roadside assistance and thus will remove it from your policy, you’ll know in advance.

How to Change My Insurance Plan and When it Goes Into Effect: The Bottom Line

You can change your insurance plan whenever you like, and most changes are effective immediately. Verify with your insurance company that changes like new drivers are complete before you let that driver get behind the wheel.

If the reason you’re changing your plan is due to the cost of your current insurance, you should consider shopping around.

Changes to your insurance policy go into effect right away, and so can a new, cheaper policy. Enter your ZIP code now to find out if there’s a better deal on car insurance for you.

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