5 Things to Consider Before Cancelling Your Car Insurance

Changing Car Insurance
Getty Images/Paul Bradbury

The decision to cancel a car insurance policy should not be made lightly. There are many factors to consider and some could have huge impacts on your financial future. It is extremely important to make an informed decision on the subject matter. Know the risks involved in canceling a car insurance policy before you make the call.

1. How Long Will You Be Without a Car?

It's a pretty important question.

If you are in between cars for just a short time, you should definitely keep your car insurance intact. Most states penalize drivers for going without car insurance for any length of time. Which means, when you go to purchase car insurance again, you will be high risk. Charged a higher rate just because you do not have an active policy.

2. Can You Be Added As a Driver on Someone's Policy In Your Household?

One alternative is to be added as a driver onto another policy, usually, someone who lives in your household. Being added as a driver is usually fairly inexpensive. Rates could go up depending on your driving record and other rating factors. It would keep your insured status active, therefore you would not be considered high risk when you decide to insure another vehicle. 

3. Can You Reduce Coverage Instead of Canceling?

Can't make your payments? Does your lender require you to carry full coverage?

I've seen it many times. A person can not afford their car insurance payments. Their lender requires full coverage. Instead of reducing coverage, they just let the policy cancel. Will dropping comprehensive and collision make your lender angry? Yes. Will they take out a policy in your name and send you the bill?

Probably. But, it could give you some extra time. Plus, you will still be covered for liability and medical depending on your selected coverage. What I am trying to say is why would anyone think they are better off canceling an entire policy verse just dropping physical damage? The lender will respond the same either way, but you will pay a much higher price if you cancel your policy in its entirety. One last possibility is to raise the deductible on comprehensive and collision to the maximum allowed. Save some money and keep some coverage.

4. Do You Have a New Car Insurance Policy In Place?

Switching car insurance does need to be timed properly. Most importantly the new policy needs to be active before canceling your old policy. You should also be sure to request a cancellation from your prior insurance carrier versus letting it cancel by not making a payment. It is not only good manners, but will also save some hassle with grace periods, refunds, and extra paperwork.

5. Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance

Thinking of driving your car uninsured? I'm sure it has crossed many people's mind to attempt it in order to save some money. Insurance is often regarded as being unimportant because there is a "chance" you may not use it at all.

The problem is, it is not something we can predict. It is actually very probable driving uninsured will cost you a whole lot more than the cost of a policy. Being caught by law enforcement can cost you hundreds of dollars and you will still need to purchase car insurance on top of it. Being caught in an accident without car insurance can cost you everything. Most likely you will be held personally liable for all damages and it can be financially crippling. 

Alternatives to Cancelling Your Car Insurance