Congratulations! You’ve called around, gotten quotes from companies directly, captive agents and independent agents. You found out that you needed better coverage since you’ve gotten married and had kids. Someone recommended an Umbrella policy and this gives you triple the coverage at a better rate! This is great news! You’ve decided to go with a new company at a new agency but you have no idea where to go from here. No problem! BIG Agency is here to help!
Speak with your new agent or company. Ask them what steps need to be taken to get everything switched over. You’ll need to discuss your billing options on your new policy and when your new bill is due. Some companies require proof of prior insurance or homeownership while others require underwriting approval or photos before they start a new policy. Be sure to find out where you’ll need to send proof or photos and what paperwork is needed. Most of the time, we can handle this for you, and we will let you know what you need to do. If you feel comfortable meeting your new agent in person, set up a time to meet. Ask how you sign your new applications and what you can do to get the process rolling. Sometimes a down payment is required, while other times you may be sent a bill. Will your policy start today or in a few weeks? If it starts in a few weeks, there might be a discount for getting a quote in advance!
Review the Billing and Cancel your old Policies!
How do you currently pay your bill? Does it come out of a checking account automatically? Most companies offer a discount for having your bill taken out of your checking account every month instead of sending a paper bill. (Some companies charge a fee for mailing a bill, so make sure you ask!) Do you need the new policy to come out of your account on the same day each month that it does currently? At BIG Agency, the day a payment is withdrawn is flexible with most of our companies when we first write a policy. It might not be possible to change the date the bill is due after we issue a policy so decide ahead of time what day the bill should be due. Be sure to call and cancel your prior policy. While you might think an auto policy might cancel on its own because you’ve stopped paying on it, it might not. You could be turned over to collections because your old company was trying to give you coverage well past the date you changed to a new company.
How is your homeowners insurance paid? Do you pay your escrow every month? Even if you are sending a payment into your escrow account every month with your house payment, the bank is only making a payment once a year to your homeowner’s insurance. The payment you are sending in with your house payment is being collected in your escrow account, and they disperse a payment just one time – at renewal. When you decide to switch insurance companies, you want to be sure to do the following:
- Call your mortgage company. Let them know that you are switching companies. This makes the process smoother for us to get a payment from your escrow account. This is especially true if you are not switching at renewal.
- Cancel your old policy. We can’t stress this enough! If you are 6 months into your prior policy and we get a payment for your new policy from your escrow account, the old company has no idea you’ve switched. They will continue to give you coverage for the next 6 months unless you call and tell them otherwise. You have 6 months worth of premium that is due back to you where your bank paid the policy in advance. This could quickly turn into a headache with overdrawn escrow accounts. You would then have to show proof to your prior company that you switched and getting it fixed might be a hassle.
- Have the correct information. When you call to get it switched, be sure to have your correct bank info and loan number in hand. We always want to make sure we list your mortgage company and your loan number to prevent problems at renewal.
Sign Those Applications!
If you meet your new agent in person, you’ll be asked to sign an application right away. Treat phone and internet deals no differently. If you get the application sent to you through the mail or if you are emailed over the application, be sure to check your mailbox right away and get the applications signed. Your new policy might not be valid if you miss a single space where you need to sign or fail to sign the applications at all.
Watch for your Policy
A new policy will arrive in the mail in about 7-14 days. You’ll need to hang onto your policy paperwork and keep it in a safe place. In the envelope you’ll find your dec page (a listing of your coverage) matching the application you signed, a policy jacket with a listing of all of your policy’s coverages and ID cards for your auto insurance. Be sure to stick your new ID cards in your vehicle! Normally, bills will come separately of the policy.
Use Social Media!
Get to know your new agent or company! We love for our customers to find and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We post newsletters, blog entries and articles about insurance and beyond! We also run contests from time to time, so be sure to look us up! You can find us on Twitter or on Facebook. You might learn something new or win a prize!
Tell A Friend!
The biggest compliment a customer can pay us is a referral! If you were satisfied with your experience switching your insurance to BIG Agency, we want you to tell someone! Think of three friends that could use a great insurance agent and tell them! Right now we are running a promotion, for each customer that sends us a referral, you BOTH get a gift card! Check out our Facebook page for more information!