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Changing your car insurance

Transferring your car insurance when you change cars

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Written by  Sara Newell
5 min read
Updated: 14 Feb 2024

You can transfer your car insurance to your new car – here’s what you need to know about how to do it, and whether it will affect your cover

Navigating the world of car insurance can be as tricky as a tight parallel parking spot. When you're switching cars, understanding how to transfer your car insurance policy is crucial. Most insurers are quite accommodating, allowing policyholders to transfer their existing coverage to another vehicle. However, it's not always a simple swap. There may be a small fee for this service, and the cost of your premium could change based on the new car's specifications. If the premiums increase, you'll need to pay the difference. 

The vital step: Insurance before you drive off 

Either way, the most important thing is to make sure you’re insured before you start driving your new car, especially if you are buying it from a private individual. Dealerships will often offer you temporary insurance to cover you for the first few days of ownership, but if you’re buying a vehicle privately, you’ll need insurance in place before you pick it up. This is a non-negotiable step to ensure that you're legally covered and protected from the moment you take ownership. 

Cars salesman proffers car key to client

How to transfer your car insurance policy  

When the time comes to transfer your car insurance policy, the process is relatively straightforward. You'll need to contact your insurer with the new car's details, including make, model, and registration number. But it's not just about the car; you may also need to update your policy for a host of other reasons, such as changing jobs, receiving a driving conviction, modifying your car, or even changing where you park your car overnight. Additionally, you should update your policy if you're moving house, changing gender, or getting married or divorced. 

What happens after you provide the new car details?  

Once you've provided your insurer with all the necessary details of your new car, they'll assess the information and quote you the cost for transferring the policy. This quote will reflect any changes in risk that your new car presents compared to your old one. 

Understanding the costs of changing vehicles  

When you transfer your insurance to another car, insurers typically charge a transfer or administration fee. These fees can range between £10 and £45. Some insurers may waive this fee if you make the transfer online, making it a more cost-effective option. 

Obligation to inform your insurer  

It's crucial to inform your insurer about the change in vehicles. Failing to do so can invalidate your policy, leaving you without coverage when you need it most. This is a step you cannot afford to overlook. 

How your new car affects insurance costs  

Yes, the cost of your car insurance also depends on the type of car you drive, as well as other factors such as your age and driving history. If you drive a car in lower insurance group, usually something inexpensive with a small engine, you'll pay a lot less than someone with a powerful sports car or a luxury 4x4. The reason is simple: a bigger engine and more expensive car increase the risk and cost of potential claims. If you're downsizing to a smaller car, your premiums may come down, and if they don't, it might be worth shopping around for a new policy with another insurer. 

Estimating premiums with a car insurance group checker 

Before you commit to a new car, it's wise to estimate how it might affect your insurance premiums. You can find out how the car you’re thinking of buying is likely to affect your premiums with our handy car insurance group checker

The freedom to switch insurance providers 

No, you’re under no obligation to stay with the same insurer when you buy a new car during the term of your existing cover, and you may well be able to save money by finding a better deal elsewhere. While you'll usually have to pay a fee to cancel your policy mid-term, you might also be eligible for a refund for the remaining months of cover you haven't used, or you can stop making payments if you pay monthly. However, remember to consider the loss of a no claims discount for the year if you cancel your policy before the 12-month term is up. 

Pros and cons of switching insurers 

When checking whether or not you can save money by switching to a new insurer, remember to factor in the cost of cancelling your current policy. Remember too that you will also probably lose your no claims discount for the year if you cancel your policy before the 12-month term is up. 

Compare car insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket 

Comparing car insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket is a quick and easy way to check if you can save money by changing insurers rather than transferring your existing car insurance policy. All you need to do is provide some personal information, details about the car you’re buying, and your driving history to receive a list of quotes tailored to your needs. 

After you've compared policies, taking into account the cost, coverage, and excess for claims, you can finalise the purchase with the new provider if it offers significant savings. Remember, the goal is to strike a balance between cost and coverage. You don't want to be over-insured and waste money, but you also don't want to be under-insured and at risk. 

Finding the right car insurance policy when changing vehicles is about more than just ticking a box. It's about ensuring you're adequately protected without paying over the odds.  

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