Car insurance: watch out when switching insurers

(verpd) many a car owner will now be thinking again about switching to a cheaper car insurer. because an existing car insurance policy can still be cancelled until the end of november in order to switch to a new provider by the beginning of the year. But a favorable insurance premium does not always bring real savings. If, for example, the scope of insurance in the new contract is less than in the previous one, this can cost x times the premium saved in the event of a claim.

Almost no two car insurance policies are the same – and that doesn’t just apply to insurance premiums. There are also possible differences in the scope of insurance as well as in the amount of the no-claims bonus granted and/or the SFR downgrading after a claim. For this reason, you should not only look at the insurance premium when planning to change your car insurance to another provider. If the scope of insurance in the new contract is less than in the previous policy, this can be expensive, for example, in the event of a claim.

If you have to pay for a claim yourself because the new policy does not cover it, unlike the previous one, the premium savings achieved by changing insurer can be far less than the amount of the claim you have to pay yourself, even over a period of years. changing the policy would therefore be expensive. This applies if the worse SFR for a self-inflicted accident is higher in the new policy than it would have been in the previous policy.

Minimum coverage or highest possible protection

Differences in the scope of insurance cover are already possible with motor vehicle liability insurance – the compulsory insurance for anyone who wants to use a car on public roads. In principle, motor vehicle liability insurance covers the costs of personal injury, property damage and pure financial loss caused by the insured car to other parties, but also defends against unjustified or excessive claims by third parties.

However, while some policies only cover the legally prescribed minimum sums insured per claim – i.e. 7.5 million euros for personal injury, 1.22 million euros for property damage and 50.000 for property damage – other policies have high flat-rate sums insured. Frequently offered, for example, is a lump sum insured per claim of a maximum of 50 or 100 million euros, including a maximum of eight, twelve or 15 million euros for personal injury per injured person.

Generally speaking, the higher the agreed sum insured, the better, because if the agreed sum insured is not enough to cover the damage caused by the other party or parties involved in the accident, the driver or owner of the vehicle must pay the remaining amount out of his or her own pocket.

Motor vehicle liability insurance with supplement

In addition to the classic liability risk, some motor vehicle liability policies can also cover additional claims for an additional charge or are already included in the policy free of charge. These include the mallorca policy, a driver protection insurance, a foreign country protection and/or a protection letter.

Example of foreign coverage: in some countries, the benefit obligations of the local motor insurers are significantly lower than in germany, which means that an accident victim abroad would receive far less compensation than in this country, depending on the type of damage. For example, in some countries, the minimum coverage for motor vehicle liability insurance is lower than in Germany.

In some countries, the innocent party involved in an accident is not entitled to compensation for any reduction in the value of the car as a result of the accident. With a foreign country cover included in the motor vehicle liability policy, the insurance customer is placed in the same position as if the accident had occurred in germany if he is innocently involved in an accident with his car abroad.

Comprehensive insurance with basic or premium protection

Depending on the policy, there can also be serious differences in the scope of insurance for fully or partially comprehensive insurance. While, for example, some partially comprehensive insurance plans only cover accidents with furred game such as deer, foxes and wild boar, others also cover collisions with other animal species such as dogs, birds and sheep.

In addition, some comprehensive policies also cover damage to the driver’s own car caused by marten bites, avalanches, landslides or gross negligence on the part of the driver, while others do not or only at an additional cost.

Comprehensive policies sometimes also differ in the amount of compensation: they include an agreement that after a total loss of a car up to six, twelve, 18 or even 24 months old, the replacement value will be reimbursed instead of the current value. In addition, comprehensive policies can differ in the amount of insurance cover provided for optional equipment such as permanently installed navigation devices, radio systems and even special paintwork.

There are even differences in the no-claims bonus

In addition, there are various other criteria according to which motor insurance policies can differ. The amount of the no-claims discount granted, which is usually based on the number of years without a claim, may differ from one insurer to the next. Some insurers charge 46 percent of the basic premium after five claim-free years (SF class 5), while others charge only 38 percent for the same SF class.

However, this does not mean that the premium is lower with more discount, as it always depends on the basic premium. In some policies, the downgrade to a lower SFR class in the event of a claim is less drastic than in others. Some policies also include the promise that, despite a motor vehicle liability or fully comprehensive claim, you will not have to fear a premium increase due to a lower SFR in the next year, provided you have reached a certain no-claims bonus class.

there are often differences in the agreed deductibles in the comprehensive tariffs as well as in the discounts granted by the car insurers, such as single driver discount, garage discount, user discount up to the low driver discount. Whoever takes advantage of such a discount should also meet the discount criteria. Otherwise, the insurer can demand an additional premium payment, demand a full annual premium as a penalty, or even reduce comprehensive damage benefits.

Cheaper premium without switching

Only those who make sure that the scope of insurance and the other contractual agreements of the new policy are not worse than the previous car insurance policy can avoid disadvantages – also from a financial perspective. As a rule, most car owners can get insurance coverage until the age of 30. November you can cancel your car insurance at the end of the year due to the one-month cancellation period, in order to be able to start the insurance on the 1st of November. January to insure with a different vehicle insurer.

In principle, a motor vehicle insurer must provide motor vehicle liability insurance with minimum cover, but not fully or partially comprehensive cover. Therefore, if you are planning to switch, you should make sure that the new vehicle insurance policy offers the desired insurance coverage seamlessly from the end of the previous policy. If you want to be on the safe side, you should submit an insurance application to the desired insurer and obtain confirmation that the insurance coverage will be granted in accordance with the application, if possible, before you terminate the contract.

If you want to reduce your insurance premium without changing insurers, you can change the payment method from during the year to annually or take advantage of discounts that were previously not taken into account, even though you meet the criteria for doing so. It is also possible to change tariffs with the same car insurer in some cases. But even then, it is important to check to what extent the new tariff differs from the previous one. In principle, it makes sense to ask the insurance broker about possible premium optimization before terminating the contract.

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Christina Cherry
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