Saving money: what to look out for when changing the vehicle policy?

Changeover season in autumn: For some, this applies not only to tires, but also to car insurance – but what should those who want to change pay attention to?

Save several hundred euros a year – who doesn’t want that? This can be possible with car insurance. It is not only many providers that suggest potential savings at the moment. Also the magazine “Financial test“(Edition 11/2021) found out in a comparison of 159 tariffs from 70 providers that a change of insurance can definitely be worthwhile. The model calculations often refer to savings of up to several hundred euros.

The providers advertise for new customers, according to the financial experts at Stiftung Warentest. Therefore, the tariffs for changers could sometimes be cheaper than for existing customers. But there are a few things to consider when changing.

Where can I find the cheapest tariff?

The price of a policy is made up of many components such as age, driving experience, place of residence, vehicle and no-claims discount (SF discount). The desired services also play a role. Basically, the foundation advises not only to use common online comparison portals. Because not all insurers are always listed there. Therefore, it is best to take a look at the own pages of relevant insurers.

It can also be worthwhile to have an individual conversation with the previous insurer to check whether the current tariff is still appropriate or a new one would be cheaper. Changes in the group of drivers, annual kilometers or other parameters also affect the tariff.

What services do I need?

It is important to carefully check whether all the components that are still desired also appear in a new, possibly cheaper policy. Among other things, the Stiftung Warentest advises at least the following components: In the case of motor vehicle liability, the sum insured should be 100 million euros and at least 15 million euros maximum coverage per injured person.

With comprehensive insurance, there should be no reduction in the case of gross negligence. And wildlife accident protection does not only apply to wild animals, but ideally also to animals of all kinds. The partial insurance should not only cover direct damage from marten bites, but also consequential damage with at least 5,000 euros. In the case of fully comprehensive insurance, it makes sense: new price reimbursement for at least 12 months.

Those who have been insured for a long time often have a so-called discount saver included in the old contract at no extra charge. You will not be downgraded immediately after the first damage. Instead, new contracts usually offer discount protection for a surcharge of around 20 to 30 percent under individual circumstances. This often allows one damage per year without slipping into a worse class.

Important: It is essential to clarify with the new provider whether this class will be retained when you change. Because mostly it is classified as if there had been no discount protection, according to “Finanztest”.

If you want to save even more, you can pay the bill all at once. The savings are often 5 percent compared to quarterly and 3 percent compared to semi-annual payments. A direct debit can also save a bit compared to bank transfers. And companies now often offer their own contracts for e-cars.

How do you cancel on time?

As a rule, the contracts end at the end of the year. Therefore, the cancellation must be received by the provider by November 30th. All you need to do is send an informal letter with the date, signature, contract number, registration number and the corresponding contract end on December 31st. It should also contain a prompt for confirmation.

You can be on the safe side if you send the letter by registered post a few days in advance. Contracts concluded since October 1, 2016 can also be terminated by email or fax. If it depends on the day, the declaration must be available in the e-mail inbox or fax machine during normal office hours. Emails or faxes sent late in the evening were only received on the following working day, according to Stiftung Warentest.

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There are also providers for whom the insurance year does not end on December 31, but to the day exactly one year after conclusion. Then a month before this day is the reference date. Incidentally, there is, among other things, a special right of termination, for example in the event of a price increase. Then the contract can still be canceled after November 30th. Some providers will send out the new invoices in December.

It is true that providers of motor vehicle liability insurance must insure every customer at least under statutory conditions. But the desired insurer does not have to include everyone in comprehensive insurance. According to Stiftung Warentest, this can be the case when it comes to very expensive cars or those with high type classes. Then the advice is to first look for a new provider before canceling the old one.