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Changing the car on your insurance policy

In all the excitement of buying a new car, don’t let insurance slip your mind. If you change your car while your current policy is still active, you’ll need to update your cover before driving off in your new set of wheels. Here’s how to go about changing the car on your insurance.

In all the excitement of buying a new car, don’t let insurance slip your mind. If you change your car while your current policy is still active, you’ll need to update your cover before driving off in your new set of wheels. Here’s how to go about changing the car on your insurance.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
21 JULY 2023
6 min read
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Can I transfer my existing car insurance?

Yes. Almost all insurance providers allow you to transfer your policy from one car to another. Even though standard car insurance runs for 12 months, you can still make changes to your policy partway through.

It can be a fairly simple process and your updated policy will cover you until your existing renewal date. That said, be aware that you may have to pay a fee to cover admin costs and your new car might affect the cost of your premium.

When should I tell my insurance provider I want to change my insurance to a new car?

Once you’ve agreed to buy the car, let your insurance provider know the date you intend to complete the purchase and start driving it. They will then set a date for your updated policy to begin. On the day of the transfer, the cover on your new vehicle will start as soon as you set off in it, and the cover on your old vehicle will end.

If you’re buying from a dealership, you might be given temporary car insurance for a few days to tide you over until you’ve sorted it out long term. But double check in advance to make sure. If not, you’ll have to organise insurance so you can drive the car away.

If you’re buying from a private seller, your insurance needs to be in place before you pick up the car. Ideally, try to arrange the switchover at least a day before collection. If you still have your old car, you’ll need to keep it insured until you dispose of it. In this case, you’ll need to take out a new policy or temporary policy on your new vehicle.

It’s important that you don’t drive off without being properly insured.

Top tip

The car you drive, particularly how powerful it is, could have a massive impact on the cost of insurance. So don’t forget to take that into consideration when you’re working out how much you can spend.

You can find out in advance how the car you’re thinking of buying is likely to affect the cost of your cover by getting a quote from your provider or running a comparison with us. You can also see if your premium is likely to change by checking which car insurance group it’s in with our handy tool.

It’s better to find out how much your insurance is likely to cost before you buy the car than getting a nasty surprise later on.

How do I transfer insurance from one car to another?

Just get in touch with your provider, either by phone or via their online portal.

You’ll need to provide details about your new vehicle, including the make, model and registration number. You’ll also need to give information about any modifications that may have been made to the car. The dealership or garage should have that information – if you’re buying privately ask the existing owner.

Your provider might also ask if you need to make any other changes to your policy, for example, if your annual mileage has gone down or you now park overnight in a garage rather than on the street. They’ll then be able to give you a cost for insuring the new car taking all the changes into account.

Will switching the car on my insurance affect the cost?

Quite possibly. The cost of your insurance could go up, down or remain the same, depending on the type of car you buy and how it compares with the old one. For example, if the value of your new car is greater than your previous car and it’s a more powerful model, your premium will probably go up. If you’re downsizing to a smaller car with a smaller engine, your premium might go down.

In fact, some motorists downgrade the horsepower and in turn the purchase price of their next car to help with budgeting. However, some older models could cost more to insure as they don’t have as many safety features as newer vehicles.

What do I do if my premium goes up?

If your premium goes up, you’ll need to meet the increase. You’ll usually be asked to pay the extra by the same method you agreed to at the start of the policy – either a lump sum or an increase to your monthly payments. That’s why it’s so important to know how your new car will affect your premiums ahead of time.

If you initially paid your insurance upfront, it’s worth checking to see if the extra cost could be spread over the number of months remaining on your policy.

How much does a car insurance transfer cost?

Most insurance providers charge an administration fee, which can range from £15 to £25 – but it could be more depending on the provider.

However, some insurance providers may waive or reduce the fee if you transfer your policy online. Explore your options and check the terms and conditions of your policy before you go ahead.

This fee will be on top of any increases in your premium based on your new vehicle.

Do I need to stay with my insurance provider when I change my car?

No, you don’t need to stay with your current insurance provider. However, if you’re happy with them and the costs are reasonable, it might be the most straightforward option.

If you’re not happy with the new premium and feel you could get a better deal elsewhere, you can cancel your car insurance policy and take out a new one. But be aware that there’s usually a cancellation fee to pay, which could cost more than the admin fee.

Nor will you earn your no-claims discount if you cancel before the end of your 12-month policy. You’ll need to weigh up the cancellation costs against the saving you’d make by switching. The fees should be outlined in the terms and conditions of your policy.

What happens if I forget to update my car insurance?

In short, it’s not great. If you don’t tell your insurance provider that you’re driving a different car, your cover will no longer be valid and you’ll be driving illegally. It also means you won’t be able to claim on your insurance if your new car is stolen or you’re involved in an accident. 

What’s more, driving without valid insurance could land you with a fine and points on your licence. You could even have your new car seized by the police.

Compare car insurance quotes

If you’re transferring your insurance, it’s always worth running a comparison before speaking with your insurance provider. That way you’ll have a good idea of what they should be offering you. If you think your current provider is too expensive, you’ll have a number of other options to choose from.

And, of course, our comparison service is a quick and easy way to compare quotes and may even save you money.

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