Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 27, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • When you apply for auto insurance, you select the coverage that you want as soon as the policy takes effect
  • After underwriting, the policy will be issued with the coverage that you select on the vehicles that you list
  • If you want to make a change to your policy, you need to contact your agent so that the changes can be processed
  • After the change is processed you will receive new documents in the mail showing when the endorsement has taken effect
  • If the change raises your premium, you will be billed to pay the pro-rated difference according to your payment plan

Auto insurance is one of those products that you purchase in hopes of never needing it. Like most types of insurance policies, you have to experience a sometimes devastating loss before you can ever get your money’s worth.

This is why it’s so important to buy your policy from a carrier that offers not just great products but also great service.

When you receive all of your insurance documents in the mail, you review them and then file them away for safekeeping. You might need to pull them out when you need to file a claim or when you’re trying to compare premiums, but your declarations page isn’t something you’ll reference often.

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It’s not until you need to make changes to your policy that you’ll have to update your files. Here’s what you need to know about changing your coverage:

Table of Contents

You Can Make Changes to Quotes

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The first thing that you do when you’re shopping for insurance is to get quotes. It’s the quotes that will help you pinpoint which insurance companies have the best premiums and which insurers have overpriced products.

After you get quotes, you’ll be able to find a provider that’s targeting the segment of the market that you fall into.

If you’re trying to decide how much coverage you need, you can easily adjust the limits on the policy and see how much the adjustment changes your rate.

It’s even possible to get dozens of quotes for dozens of different vehicle models so that you can decide which vehicle you can afford to purchase.

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What happens after you find the policy that you want to apply for?

Once you find a quote that you think is reasonable, it’s time to start filling out the application. A quote is just an estimate.

The estimate isn’t guaranteed and the coverage is not binding until after you submit your application and the application has been underwritten.

When you fill your information out in the application form and then submit the document with an effective date, the form is then given to an underwriter.

The underwriter is the one who will review the information that you’ve provided and determine if you gave honest information that’s verifiable. As long as everything is accurate, your policy will be issued and your premium won’t change.

Can your policy be issued with a different premium?

When an applicant fails to mention that they have a moving violation on their record or the date that was disclosed for a non-fault accident was off by a year, it’s quite possible that your premium will change.

Your premiums aren’t final until the application is fully reviewed and you get a declarations page in the mail.

Until you get paperwork with the final premium, it’s possible that your rate could change. When you’re billed to pay more than you were quoted, it’s called a misquote.

The premium can change as long as there’s a valid reason and the agent didn’t intentionally try to low-ball you.

After the policy is issued, the rate can only change when you choose to make changes to your policy during the term.

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If you’re not happy with the change in your rates, can you lower your coverage?

You’re entitled to make changes to your policy if you’re not happy with your official final premium. One of the options is to lower your coverage limits so that you’ll pay less for your protection.

If you want to lower your limits, you can call the agent to make the change as long as you’re requesting the change in a future date.

Unfortunately, lowering your premiums by reducing your coverage isn’t always an option when you already carry a basic policy with bare minimum coverage limits.

If you have mandatory minimums, you’ll have to shop around or look for discounts that might lower your rates.

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Can you change the car that’s listed on your policy?

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If you trade in your car, you can change the property that’s on the policy by making the request. You’ll need to date of sale, the date of purchase, and other details on the vehicle to have the change processed. After it’s processed, you’ll get an endorsed policy that you can file away.

Most carriers will backdate a transaction up to 14 or 30 days when you need to process a change without asking for proof. If you procrastinate, you might be asked for a bill of sale.

The bill of sale or the sales agreement is needed to cancel insurance on a car after you’ve already sold it. Legally, if you have proof, the insurer has to cancel the coverage back to the day after the sale.

Can you make changes to the drivers on the policy?

Drivers need to be listed on your policy when they have regular access to your car or when they live in the household. If someone moves into your home and they don’t have their own car, you need to call your agent and add the driver.

You need the driver’s:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • License number and state
  • Occupation
  • Age licensed
  • Driving record
  • Driving habits

Adding a driver is a bit easier than removing one. Some more risky drivers with blemishes on their record can cost a lot to cover.

When you want them removed, the insurer might ask for proof that they have insurance. If you can’t do this, then you’ll be asked to sign a form saying they will be excluded from your policy.

You have control over the changes that are made to your insurance. When you change the coverage, you’ll get endorsed documents. If a change isn’t enough to reduce your rates, get instant online quotes and see if you can save money with a new company.

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References:

  1. http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/consumer-information/auto-and-vehicle-insurance/understanding-insurance.html
  2. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/11/21/347749.htm
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/insurance-endorsement-or-rider-2645729
  4. https://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/d/declarations.aspx
  5. http://insurance.illinois.gov/autoinsurance/shopping_auto_ins.asp
  6. http://www.edmunds.com/auto-insurance/10-steps-to-buying-auto-insurance.html
  7. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-insurance-underwriting-2645778
  8. http://www.insureuonline.org/consumer_auto_faqs.htm
  9. http://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Insurance/Cars-and-Auto-Insurance/State-by-State-Minimum-Coverage-Requirements
  10. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/b04d574c-a959-4160-953b-faf62a66cd3a/reg135.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
  11. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-an-excluded-driver-527281