Some people stick with a bad insurance agent because they like their insurance rate with their current insurance carrier. They may be afraid they'll have to switch policies or have their rates changed.
In reality, it's not necessary to put up with bad customer service from a bad insurance agent. It's possible to switch insurance agents without affecting your current insurance policy. Let's look at how it works.
- The first step in switching insurance agents is finding another agent through your carrier's website.
- Speak with potential agents about the problems you have with your current agent to ensure that they will address those issues.
- You may have to refile your insurance paperwork to officially request your transfer.
Reasons for Switching Insurance Agents
A lot of different reasons can motivate you to make a change to your car insurance agent. A few common ones are:
- Terrible customer service
- Poor availability
- Personality conflicts
- Moving within your state
Issues such as these are agent-specific, rather than a problem with your carrier, so switching agents within the same insurance carrier could solve your issues.
If you think you're ready to make a switch, you'll first need to find an agent. The fastest way to find a new agent who sells insurance through the same insurance carrier you currently have is to go to your carrier's website. Most carriers have a "Find an Agent" link on their homepage. Input your ZIP code, and the site will generate a list of carriers in your area.
What if No Other Agents Appear in My Area?
If you live in a small town, it is possible that no other agents for your current carrier are available. If you are still determined to replace your agent, you may need to broaden your search. Certainly, your agent is not the only one in the state to sell through a particular insurance carrier. Even if an agent is located a little farther away, most transactions can be handled over the phone. Great insurance service is still attainable even without face-to-face meetings.
You are allowed to switch to any agent within the state in which you reside, as long as they are licensed in your state and base your rates off of where you live.
Talk to the Prospective New Agent
Talk to your new prospective agent. Let them know what you have been dealing with and what you are looking for in an insurance agent. Once you get a good feel for them, ask them how to go about transferring your current policy over to them. Keep in mind that this only works if you are switching to an agent who sells insurance for the same insurance carrier in the same state.
Guide to Transferring Insurance Agents
Once you've decided to make the switch, the transfer process is relatively straightforward. You'll typically need to submit all of your policy numbers (for car policies and any others you'll be moving over) and renewal dates and file some paperwork for a relatively quick process.
Once you've filed your paperwork, at your next renewal your insurance information and policy will be transferred over to the new agent. Your old agent will no longer have access to your policy once it is renewed. Payments, questions, and help with claims will now all be handled by your newly appointed agent.
Do I Have to Notify My Old Insurance Agent?
An agent transfer is all handled through the insurance carrier, so you do not need to contact your old agent to complete the transfer. Your insurance carrier will probably notify your old agent through the mail, and your agent might contact you to investigate the situation, but most likely you will not need to speak with them.
Will My Rate Remain the Same?
As long as you're not moving, everything should remain the same on your insurance policy. However, the transfer takes place at your renewal, and your rate is subject to change at renewal time. If your rates are going to change, then it will happen regardless of whether you are with a new agent or not.
It is always a good idea to review your insurance policy at renewal time. Double-check your paperwork for your new insurance agent's name to verify that the transfer was completed.
If you need to switch sooner than your renewal, you will have to go through the quote process. Getting a new quote through the same insurance carrier could affect your rates due to losing any earned discounts.
Switching insurance agents may seem intimidating, but it is a fairly simple process. Do not let an agent's bad service keep you from the insurance carrier of your choice. A helpful insurance agent is out there waiting for your call. You just have to find them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When can I change my insurance agent?
If you are staying with the same carrier, you can switch agents at any time and transfer your policy to the new agent. If you're switching companies, you can usually cancel your policy at any time. However, some types of insurance policies can have cancellation fees. Be sure to check your policy details before you switch carriers.
How often should you change insurance companies?
There's no specific rule for how often you should or shouldn't change insurance companies, but it's a good idea to shop policies and rates every year around your renewal time. Even if you don't switch, you may be able to use new policy quotes as leverage for renegotiating rates with your current agent.
Do I have to change my insurance when I move?
Some insurance can travel with you easily, but other types don't. You'll obviously need to change your homeowner's or renter's policy if you move. Car insurance can travel with you, but you'll need to change it if you move to a state where your current carrier isn't licensed. Even if the company is licensed in your new state, some of your policy terms and rates may change according to state laws and rates in your area. Other policies, such as a life insurance plan you purchased outside of work, can usually travel with you without any issues. As you're planning your move, call your agent to discuss your options.