Life moves at a fast pace, and it is easy to forget to do some things, such as updating your car insurance company about important changes.
However, it’s never wise to keep key information from your insurer, as this can lead to problems with your coverage. It also might prevent you from saving some money on your car insurance costs.
Following are some of the most important situations where you need to contact your insurer.
When you’ve been in an accident
Let your car insurance company know right away that you’ve been in an accident. Your agent will begin the process of determining if you can file a claim and help you learn if your car insurance coverage is adequate to compensate for losses.
Your insurance company may even help you gather evidence at the scene of the accident by providing information about what to collect and how to handle the immediate aftermath.
You may not have to do this after minor accidents. However, if someone is injured, you don’t trust the other driver, or the costs for repairs will be high, don’t wait to contact your insurer.
When your driving habits change
Driving habits often change, and such switches can impact your insurance coverage needs.
For example, once you retire, you stop commuting to work, reducing the number of miles you drive. Some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who drive relatively few miles annually.
On the other hand, if you start driving much more than you did before, you should let your insurer know that as well.
When you add a security feature to your car
Some features that help reduce the risk of accidents or theft can reduce the cost of car insurance. These include collision warning and blind-spot detection features, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, and adaptive cruise control.
Let your insurer know if you have these features or plan to add new technology or other accessories, such as a rearview camera or anti-theft device. The insurer might give you a discount on your premiums.
When you’re using the car for business
Using your car for business purposes and expecting your personal car insurance policy to cover you is unwise. This is true whether you're driving your car to earn extra cash as a gig worker or are going from one client’s location to the next for your small business.
Before you do this, contact your car insurance company and ask if you need to purchase separate commercial car insurance to remain covered when driving the car for business. Make sure your insurer spells out exactly when you will and will not be covered.
Having the right insurance when driving your car for business purposes minimizes liability risks and helps cover your vehicle if you’re in an accident.
When someone not on your insurance is driving the car often
If you lend your car to a friend for a few hours, it’s not necessary to alert your insurance company, since most policies will cover those uses. Anyone who regularly drives your car should be a named party on your insurance policy, however.
This might include anyone who uses the car on a consistent basis, such as going to and from work or activities. It also includes a teen driver who just started using your car.
Also, all owners of the vehicle should be listed on your insurance policy. An owner who is not listed may not be covered in some situations.
When you buy a new car
Typically, you will not be able to leave the car lot without first showing proof that the car is insured. So, before you head to the dealer lot, ask your insurance company if the new car will be covered right away.
Some insurers will offer a grace period of up to 30 days that will allow the new car to be covered under the old car’s policy. But this will vary from one insurer to the next.
Without insurance coverage, an accident that occurs anywhere could put your new vehicle at risk, and you may have to pay out of pocket for any losses you have.
So remove financial stress from your life by making sure the car will be covered right away.
When you add expensive upgrades to the car
Making significant upgrades to your car could cause your car insurance rates to climb. But regardless, you must inform your insurer about these upgrades to make sure you have the proper coverage.
Such upgrades might include changes to the engine, new high-performance wheels, exhaust upgrades, and sway bars.
If you are in a car accident, you want to be sure your insurer covers these high-end upgrades. So, tell your insurer about them and make sure they are clearly outlined in your policy.
Keeping your car insurance provider up to date helps ensure your vehicle’s coverage remains robust, and that you save as much as possible on your premiums.
Remember, every dollar you save is another way to reduce the pain of high gas prices and the other climbing costs of owning a vehicle today.
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