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How to transfer car insurance
Updating your existing policy if you change cars
When you buy a new car, it's important to sort out your car insurance before you get behind the wheel. The easy option is to simply transfer your existing insurance policy over to your new car, though you may be able to cut costs by switching to a new provider. This short guide takes you through it all.
Can I transfer my existing policy to a new car?
Yes, it is possible to transfer your current car insurance policy over to a new car – and it's usually an easy process too.
If you're midway through your car insurance policy, and you change cars (or any other details for that matter) you'll need to let your insurer know. Your existing insurer will then update the details of your policy, so you'll be covered on your new car.
However, most will charge an admin fee to make the transfer, and – depending on the make and model of your new car – the overall price you pay will often change too, so you may find it ends up cheaper to switch to a new policy.
When should I tell my insurer that I'm getting a new car?
If you've decided you want to transfer your car insurance policy to your new car, your best bet is to inform your insurer as soon as you know the details of your new car, and the date it's being delivered or you're collecting it – you can usually select a start date up to a month away.
If you'll still have your old car for a period, your existing insurer may be able to insure both cars, though it's always worth comparing costs of standalone temporary car insurance to see which works out better.
What happens if I forget to update my policy?
If you forget to tell your insurer about any changes – whether that's a new car, change of job, or new address – your whole policy may be invalid.
To be on the safe side, if anything changes (including any modifications to your car such as adding a tow bar) always contact your insurer to let it know as soon as possible, so you can be sure you remain covered.
How do I transfer my car insurance?
The easiest way to transfer your current car insurance to your new vehicle will depend on your insurance provider. Most will let you make the changes yourself through your online account, or you can get in touch via online live chat, email or phone.
Your car insurance provider will ask for the make, model, and registration number of your new car, along with any additional modifications you're getting. It'll also need to know the date you'd like your cover to start.
It will then process the changes you've requested and give you a quote for transferring your insurance. There are two factors that will impact the new price:
- Your new risk profile. Your existing policy will be based on your current car. Your insurer will need to assess if your new car is a bigger risk or not (for example, a Ferrari Roma is going to have a much higher risk profile than a Ford Fiesta). See what affects your car insurance quote for full details.
- Any admin fees to make the change. You'll usually be charged an admin fee for making a change to your a policy, though some insurers will charge less (or even waive the fee) if you make the changes yourself online.
If your new price is higher, you'll need to pay the difference – either via higher monthly premiums or a one-off payment. If the new quote is less, you'll pay the lower amount each month or your insurer will offer you a refund for the part of the year remaining.
How much does it cost to transfer my policy?
You'll usually need to pay an admin fee to transfer your insurance from your old car to your new one. The fee you'll pay will vary by insurer, but typically it'll be around £10 to £30.
Changes you can make yourself online are usually cheaper than requesting a change over the phone.
If you're likely to change your car again (or make any other change – like moving house – in the near future), bear in mind you'll need to pay this fee each time.
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Compare quotes to check if switching is cheaper
Sticking with your existing insurer is one option, but it may not be the cheapest. Always get quotes from other insurers to make sure you're getting the best deal for your new car before you decide.
However, before you switch, there are a few couple of things to bear in mind:
- You won't earn the current year's no-claims bonus if you switch. If you've not made a claim at the end of a year's car insurance policy, you'll receive a 'no claims discount' that all insurers recognise for the following year(s). However, if you switch before the full year is up, you won't get this, and you'll start again with your new insurer.
You'll therefore need to be making a substantial saving from switching to make this work. See should I protect my no claims bonus for more information.
- You'll usually pay a fee around £50 to cancel your existing policy. This fee varies, so check what your insurer charges, but any savings from switching should outweigh this to make it worth it. The longer you've left on your policy, the more likely you'll be better off if you switch.
If you paid upfront, you'll usually get a refund for the rest of the year minus the fee, providing you haven't claimed. If you pay monthly, your provider will collect the fee as part of your final payment.
If other insurers are coming up much cheaper, let your existing insurer know you want to cancel (you can usually do this via live chat, email or phone) and that you've found a cheaper price – you might even find it will match that price (see our top tips for haggling with insurance providers).
Cheap car insurance tips
We've a whole host of car insurance top tips and tricks to get cheap cover. Below is a quick round-up of where we'd suggest you head to next...
Suggestions for you
- Benchmark your cheapest using our Car Insurance Compare+ tool, with personalised cost-cutting tips.
- Read our full Cheap car insurance guide, including nine ways to cut car insurance costs.
- See our full Car insurance section with all our key tools and guides.
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