Can I make changes to my car insurance policy?

13 minute read Published on Mar 28, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

A female in her 20's leaning out of a car window holding a set of car keys and looking happy as she has passed her driving test.

It’s only natural to wonder about changing your auto insurance in order to obtain maximum savings on a solid car insurance policy. After all, every vehicle owner wants reliable insurance at a competitive price. Fortunately, switching auto insurance providers is fairly easy as long as you make sure to familiarize yourself with your current car insurance policy’s terms and conditions.

So whether you’d like to modify your current auto insurance plan because your coverage requirements have changed or you’d like to swap insurance companies to save money, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to make changes to your car insurance policy.

Can I change my car insurance policy before the renewal date?

Yes, you can make changes before your renewal date. But, doing so could have negative effects, such as cancellation fees or penalty costs for cancelling your policy early. Depending on the terms outlined in your policy, it may be best financially if you wait until your current term ends unless you and your insurance broker can determine that you would ultimately save more money by changing policies earlier.

If you’re planning on switching providers, most policyholders will wait until their current term is up and then inform their current insurance company that they do not wish to renew. Waiting until your policy expires before switching car insurance companies will allow you to avoid a penalty or cancellation fee. You can then purchase better coverage from a different insurance company. Don’t forget to have your necessary documents ready for your new car insurance quote.

Contact BrokerLink if you’re unsure whether to continue with your present carrier or not. We’ll ensure you receive the finest insurance at the most affordable price by comparing several car insurance quotes and researching discounts on your behalf.


What does a standard car insurance policy cover?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to auto insurance. As such, it only makes sense that there are numerous types of auto insurance given the large number of unique drivers on the road. While a basic car insurance policy comes with the same standard coverage, there are many other optional types of coverage for drivers to include on their policy,, each one helping to insure their unique, individual needs.

As for a standard Ontario insurance policy, you’ll always find the following four coverages:

Third-party liability coverage

If you are involved in a collision that causes property damage to another person’s property or bodily harm to someone else, third-party liability coverage will protect you. You are entitled to reimbursement under this section of your insurance (up to your policy’s limit) to cover medical costs related to bodily harm, vehicle repair costs, and any legal costs.

Ontario drivers must have third-party liability coverage of at least $200,000. However, many drivers opt to acquire greater liability insurance, frequently increasing their limit to $1,000,000 or more.

Accident benefits coverage

If you, a passenger, or a pedestrian need medical attention after an accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you can still submit an insurance claim for accident benefits coverage. It can assist in covering lost wages or medical costs, including prescription drugs, rehabilitation, or physical therapy that your health insurance may not cover, and much more.

Direct compensation - property damage coverage

This coverage pays for property damage to an insured vehicle and its contents as long as the policyholder is not responsible for the incident. The name of this coverage type comes from the fact that the insurance company often makes a direct reimbursement for the damages (i.e., replacing or repairing the vehicle).

However, a specific set of requirements must be met to qualify for direct compensation coverage: the collision must have taken place in Ontario, it must have involved multiple vehicles, and, at minimum, one of those vehicles must be covered by an Ontario auto insurance policy.

Uninsured automobile coverage

If you are involved in an accident with a negligent, uninsured or underinsured driver, you and your passengers are protected by uninsured motorist coverage. The insured may also be covered by this in the case of a hit-and-run. It could assist in covering costs like property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and more.

When should I update my car insurance policy?

There are hundreds of reasons why someone may need to update their car insurance policy before the end of the term. Major life changes provide a great opportunity to reassess your auto insurance needs and allow you to compare your options with other providers. For example, your new home or job may require a longer or shorter commute to work, and marriage could be a great opportunity to bundle your and your spouse’s policies together under one insurance provider. Whatever the reason, it’s crucial to evaluate your car insurance policy routinely to make sure your policy still fulfills your current coverage requirements.

Below are a few other common reasons that someone may need to update their car insurance mid-policy:

  • You have an older vehicle: Once a vehicle reaches a certain age, it may not be cost-effective to continue paying for full coverage, especially if its replacement value is less than your deductible.
  • You’ve retired and are over 65: On average, a senior driver’s auto insurance premiums are among the lowest. Plus, if you no longer commute every day to work, you can ask your insurance advisor about a low-mileage policy.
  • Your teenager got their driver’s licence: It goes without saying that teen drivers pay higher insurance rates than any other drivers. But, it would likely be less expensive to include them in your current auto insurance coverage as opposed to having to insure them separately.
  • You’re looking for a lower insurance rate: This is one of the most common reasons for updating policies or switching insurance providers.
  • You’re no longer satisfied with your current insurance company: It’s not just about the insurance premium rates. Other important factors include claims handling and customer service. If either is performed poorly, it may be time to look for a new insurance company.

How do I update my policy if I’m moving?

There is a good likelihood that your auto insurance premiums will change when you move to a new home. This is because the location of your house is taken into account by insurers as it affects the type of risk factors your insurance covers, such as whether your new neighbourhood has an increased risk of vandalism or car theft or if your new commute increases the likelihood of a collision.

If you’re staying within Ontario, you only have to notify your insurance company of your new address. If you are moving from one province to another you will have to start a new policy, as each individual province has different rules and regulations regarding auto insurance.

How do I update my policy after buying a new car?

In most cases, it is ideal to purchase auto insurance ahead of purchasing a new car. However, you might not need to purchase a new policy if you currently have coverage for another vehicle (e.g., the one you’re replacing). You can always contact your insurance company for a quote prior to completing the process of buying your new car, that way you will know what to expect when your bill comes. Most insurance companies let you move your coverage from one vehicle to another. Your newly updated policy will continue to protect you until your current renewal date ends, and the transfer process is rather straightforward.

Note that you may be required to pay an administrative fee to cover the additional expenses of transferring and updating your policy and that your monthly premiums may change depending on your new car.

What if I need to pause my car insurance?

Not a problem! In Canada, a majority of auto insurance providers allow customers to suspend their coverage. However, there can be a fee associated with doing so. It’s important to remember that you must have auto insurance in order to operate a vehicle anyplace in Canada legally. As a result, you must only suspend your insurance policy if you won’t be driving while it is suspended.

However, it is important to note that some insurance companies classify a “voluntary suspension” as a form of insurance cancellation and that terminating an insurance policy might have major consequences. So make sure you clarify it with your insurance provider first.

What if I forgot to update my policy before it expired?

In Canada, if you allow your auto insurance to lapse, you lose your coverage and ability to operate your vehicle legally. After all, every province and territory in Canada requires their drivers to carry valid auto insurance. But don’t worry, you have three renewal options, each one depending on how long it’s been since your policy expired. You can renew your car insurance policy immediately after the expiry date, during the grace period, or after the grace period.

If you’ve found yourself with expired insurance and are unsure where to begin, check out our blog post to learn more about your expired car insurance renewal options.

When should I cancel my old policy?

To avoid a lapse in coverage, a new insurance policy must be in place prior to cancelling the old one. Driving without insurance isn’t something to take lightly, particularly since it was mandatory in Ontario. A lapse in your insurance coverage may come with repercussions, including increased premiums, a suspension of your license, fines if caught, and even the repossession of your car. Furthermore, without insurance, you’re responsible for paying all costs associated with any damages or injuries if you’re involved in a collision.

Why do car insurance rates change annually?

Auto insurance premiums often change every year, even when your circumstances stay the same. Truthfully, the cost of your car insurance premiums is just not likely to remain consistent. Inflation can have a role in the price of insurance, as well as the price of vehicle parts, the older your vehicle is the harder or more expensive it can be to find parts for it.This means that even motorists with excellent driving records will likely experience an annual increase as insurance companies constantly reassess their customers’ risk level behind the scenes. In fact, annual insurance rate increases are one of the main reasons why Ontario policyholders opt to switch insurance companies. Switching insurance companies can help them acquire better insurance rates, thus ensuring they can pay less for their car insurance per month in Ontario.

How do I switch car insurance companies?

Examining your current car insurance coverage is the first step to ensuring you understand what you’re comparing. You might find a cheaper insurance quote; however, it might not include all of the add-ons, endorsements, or deductible amounts as your current one.

Next, wait to cancel your insurance with your current provider. You need to compare car insurance quotes from several insurance companies to find the one that best fits your needs. If you find comparing insurance quotes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact BrokerLink to speak with an insurance broker. Our insurance experts will compare quotes on your behalf from some of the leading insurance companies in Ontario to find you the right coverage and the best rate.

Then, once you’ve found a better rate and your new policy is in effect, it’s time to notify your current insurance company. Regardless of what your insurance provider requires, submitting your cancellation in writing is highly advised. Submitting it in writing ensures you have a copy of the request, including the cancellation date and the duration of your current coverage. Also, find out if your insurance company requires any additional formal or specific requests in order to make your cancellation official.

Note: You may face penalties if you begin your new insurance coverage without terminating your old one and the old one renews on its own.

Can I still switch car insurance companies after an accident?

As auto insurance claims are handled on a “claims occurred” principle, the insurance policy in effect on the day of the incident is liable for covering any settlement payments. Therefore, whether you stay with the insurance company you had when you submitted your claim or switch to a different provider makes no difference—the “claims occurred” rule still applies. So yes, you can absolutely switch insurance companies while your claim is being processed without it having any bearing on how the open claim will be resolved.

However, you will need to work with your first car insurance company to handle the claim process. Keep in mind that if you decide to switch carriers while a claim is still open, you will still need to keep up on any payments and continue to follow any procedures in regard to the claim filing process.

Can I switch car insurance companies mid-policy?

Sure, but the ideal time to switch is during the renewal process so that you can avoid any fines or losing money. Start asking questions and performing the necessary calculations before switching insurance providers because most insurance companies impose penalties on customers who cancel their policies before the renewal date.

When should I inform my leasing company of my coverage changes?

Chances are high that your financing company is already featured on your auto insurance policy if you are leasing your vehicle or are using a bank loan. When you create a new insurance policy, your prior insurance records should contain this information. As evidence that you adhere to your contract, your new insurance company will submit a copy of your new policy documents to your leasing company or bank lender.

However, just in case, you may want to give your leasing company or bank lender a follow-up call sooner rather than later to confirm they received notification of the updated changes to your policy.

Do I get a refund if I switch insurance companies mid-policy?

It may be possible to get a prorated refund if you decide to cancel early. It’s possible that your insurance provider may either prorate or short-rate your refund based on your cancellation date. However, since you committed to a one-year agreement, and because the company is no longer receiving that money, they could decide to keep some of it to cover the associated administrative expenses.

What is the difference between prorating and short-rating?

  • Prorate: You will have the unused portion of your insurance returned if your insurer prorated your return. As most policies are for a year, if you cancel after six months, you may receive a refund for the other six months.
  • Short-rate: You may have a penalty taken from any remaining refund. The short-rate penalty is typically equal to one month’s worth of your entire annual premium, however it could be more or less depending how far along you are in your policy term. In certain cases, the penalty fee is so high that customers will wait to transfer until the next renewal period.

How do I choose the right insurance company?

It is essential that you pick the best insurance provider for your unique requirements and preferences. Because each insurance company is unique, they can provide their clients with various advantages. While some companies may have superior digital solutions, others might have more expertise in their claims department. You must decide for yourself what matters to you more.

Whatever company you decide on, your insurance provider should have a solid record for resolving claims. You should therefore conduct some research, read reviews and comments from previous customers, and compare prices before making a decision. Get estimates from various car insurance providers for the plan that best suits your needs and budget.

Consider speaking with an insurance advisor if you feel you won't have the time to read reviews, conduct thorough research, or comparison shop. They’ll perform all the legwork and can offer you quotes and estimates from several companies in seconds. Even if you are able to spare the time, the number of options you will have could be too much to handle, especially if you’ve never purchased auto insurance before. An insurance expert will devote time to review everything in detail and ensure you receive the coverage you require.


Don’t forget about your home insurance policy

Your home insurance or tenant’s insurance is another factor to consider when changing your car insurance policy, particularly if you’re switching insurance companies. An insurance company frequently gives you a sizable discount if you have several things insured. If you purchased home insurance through your previous carrier, speak with your insurance broker about transferrin g it to your new company to see if you may save money on both by bundling the policies together.

Why work with a licensed insurance broker?

We are aware that you have a wide range of choices with regard to car insurance. That’s why it is such a wise decision to work with a BrokerLink insurance broker to help and advise you with your insurance. We can look for ways to obtain you the greatest offer with all the appropriate discounts you’re entitled to, saving you both time and money in the process. By opting to speak with a broker you can simplify the process of comparing rates with a single phone call where a broker can do the work for you.

Check out our blog post for a complete auto insurance refresher to help refresh your memory on car insurance before you begin changing your policy. We also explain what some of the standard insurance jargon that may be found in the terms and conditions of your car insurance means.

Contact BrokerLink to learn more about making changes to your insurance policy

Do you still have concerns about switching your Canadian car insurance policy? Our experts can help. BrokerLink is here to guide you in getting the finest coverage for your homes, businesses, vehicles, leisure equipment, and pets. You can get in touch with us over the phone, via email, or by dropping by one of our nearby locations. Whatever way you choose to contact us, a BrokerLink insurance expert will be glad to help.

You can also quickly acquire a competitive quote using our free online quote tool.

Get an auto insurance quote [phone]