Life doesn’t stay the same forever – shift happens, and sometimes we have to make changes to match. But did you know that certain changes in your life could also impact your car insurance? Yes, it’s true! There are so many factors that could affect the coverage you need – where you live, new drivers in the home… even a job change might warrant reaching out to your insurance provider.
Tip: You can easily update your Sonnet policy through your online account.
Why do I need to update my details?
Insurance coverage is as unique as you are! Providing accurate details helps insurance providers evaluate your risk and give you a price that’s tailored to your situation. It also helps them ensure they can help you during a claim. While some changes may increase your premium, others could result in savings.
Not providing the correct information to insurance companies is known as misrepresentation. Someone who is found to have misrepresented details about their situation could experience serious consequences like denied claims or even having their policy cancelled. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your policy information is up to date.
So, here are seven times you should remember to update your auto insurance policy.
1. When your address changes
You’ll need to tell your insurance company about your new place whether you’re relocating to a different province or just moving up the street. Sure, you’ve probably opted out of snail mail and paper documents, but there are other reasons they still need to know your new address.
It's vital to understand how location affects insurance because it plays a huge role in how much you pay for coverage. Things like neighbourhood crime rates, accident frequency in the area, and local traffic patterns can all impact insurance premiums.
“So, what happens if I don’t change my address on my car insurance?” We’re glad you asked. Your province requires you to update the address on your vehicle registration within a set number of days. Once it’s changed, you need to promptly notify your insurance provider to update your policy. Otherwise, you could run the risk of claims not being covered or even having your policy cancelled.
2. When your personal details change
Basic facts about you help insurance companies give you the best and most accurate price. Here are some changes to personal details that you should inform your insurer about.
- Legal name change. Perhaps it’s a change due to marriage, divorce, or gender transition. Even though a name change won’t affect your rates, your carrier still needs to have your legal name on file.
- Gender. Let your insurer know if you’ve transitioned to another gender or identify as gender X on your government ID. In some cases, it may affect your premium.
- Marital status. Tying the knot or separating from a spouse could impact your car insurance. Often newlyweds will combine their vehicles onto one policy and save on their premiums. Or you might remove an ex-spouse from your policy – especially if you no longer share the same address or the vehicle’s ownership has changed.
Did you know? Having multiple vehicles on one policy can result in incredible savings! Get a quote to get discover how much you could save.
3. When your driving habits change
The next reason to contact your insurance company is if you start using your vehicle differently. Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Your regular commute has changed. Perhaps you’re visiting the office more or you took a job that’s farther from home. This new driving distance changes the risks you face and may affect your insurance rate.
- You use your vehicle for business or rideshare programs. You might need special coverage or a different policy to better protect yourself, your passengers, and the materials you transport. Using your personal car for business, ridesharing, or food delivery has its own set of risks since you’re spending more time on the road. Contact your insurer to see if they cover this type of use.
- You’re driving less. Maybe you’ve retired or started working from home. You might benefit from usage-based insurance. It rewards you with lower premiums for lower mileage and safe driving habits.
4. When new drivers are added to your household
Got a newly licensed teen who’s driving on their own? Or just welcomed your in-laws into your home? You should add those drivers to your policy so they’re protected if they drive your car. Always disclose all drivers in your household including teen drivers, adult children, aging parents, and even employees like nannies – even if they have their own policy. When in doubt, ask your agent, broker, or insurer directly. They’ll be able to confirm when you need to add a new driver to insurance. Just make sure you understand the risks of letting someone borrow your car.
If you add a driver to your car insurance, will it go up? It really depends! Each person is rated based on their driving experience, claims history, tickets (and more!). If they aren’t a safe driver, you could ask them to get their own policy and exclude them from driving your vehicles.
5. When you purchase or sell a vehicle
You should reach out to your insurance company before you drive off into the sunset with a new (or new-to-you) car. Each vehicle presents a different set of risks that insurance companies need to evaluate (like the vehicle’s make and model, accident rates, repair costs, etc.). Plus, some coverages like collision, comprehensive, or a depreciation waiver might be mandatory when you lease or finance.
On the flip side, make sure you remove vehicles from your policy after you sell them. After all, who wants to be paying extra for coverage you don’t need?
6. When your payment information changes
Notify your insurance provider if you switch banks or want your pre-authorized payments to come from another account. The same goes for credit cards when the expiry dates change. Missing policy payments isn’t ideal, so always keep payment details up to date before your next installment is due.
7. When your discount eligibility changes
Your insurance provider might offer discounts or perks. For example, here at Sonnet we’ve partnered with over 2,000 employers and groups to bring you greater savings. Plus, university students and alumni can save, too! Ask your agent, broker or carrier about any discounts you might qualify for.
Tip: Follow these steps on how to add a group discount to see if you’re eligible at Sonnet!
On the other hand, you might no longer qualify for the savings you had before. Say you move to another job or stopped using winter tires – telling your insurer is the right thing to do. We understand no one likes to lose a discount. However, in some cases (like winter tires), it affects your risk and your insurer needs to know that.
When should I tell my insurer about these changes?
We encourage you to notify your insurer about any changes as soon as possible. Usually, all it takes is a quick phone call or email. Some companies, like Sonnet, even have an online self-serve option where you can easily update your details.
Insurance might not be top of mind when you go through a change in life. That’s why we also recommend reviewing your policy when it comes up for renewal. Reach out to your insurance company any time you think a change could affect your car insurance. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Contact us at Sonnet if you have any questions – we’d be happy to help!