10 Essential Questions To Ask Before Switching Your Car Insurance Company


May 31, 2024
Team Pineapple

It’s been a long time coming, and though you tried to deny it, there’s no running from the truth.

Your goals no longer align, the spark is gone, and you might’ve caught yourself eyeing another here and there.

That’s when you know it’s time to switch insurance providers.

Your current insurer might’ve met your needs in the past, but you’re in the present now, and things change, so there’s no reason your insurance shouldn’t either. 

Before jumping ship and swimming to greener pastures, you must research your destination thoroughly to avoid getting lost at sea.

A bit of investigation goes a long way – you’ll learn how well a potential new provider will help you manage risks, understand the terms of your policy, and get a sense of how easy (or difficult) getting help will be.

So, without further ado, let’s look into ten essential questions to ask before switching your insurer and why.

Why It's Important to Ask Questions

If you’ve ever spent time around young children, you’ll know their favourite word is “Why?”

For the average Joe, hearing this question time and again might’ve been the most annoying thing in the world, but real intellectuals were able to appreciate the profoundness of this scholarly query.

‘Children are the future’ is a famous saying for a reason; asking “Why” will get you the answers you’re desperately seeking.

The treacherous waters of car insurance can be choppy and unpredictable.

So, asking the right questions lets you understand the coverage you're purchasing and determine whether it suits your specific circumstances.

Doing some digging about different insurance ensures you get the best possible deal, discover potential discounts, evaluate an insurer’s reputation, and understand complex insurance terms.

When switching to a different car insurance company, making enquiries and conducting due diligence enables you to make well-informed decisions.

This helps you avoid potential pitfalls – you’ll have a clear idea of what is and isn’t covered, making you aware of what out-of-pocket expenses you can expect, if there are any, that is.

Conducting thorough research allows you to understand the cost implications of various insurance options and helps you avoid unnecessary financial strain.


And the major motivator would be familiarising yourself with a company’s reputation.

Customer review sites like Google Reviews and Hellopeter can help you find answers to questions like “How easy will it be to claim?”, “What is the customer service like?” and “How efficient are their processes?”

Asking these questions is vital in saving you stress and avoiding future disputes.

The time you spend researching and asking questions is a small price to pay for long-term satisfaction.

And the peace of mind you’ll have knowing you're well-covered and prepared for whatever may come is virtually priceless.

Key Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company

Alright, we’ve teased you long enough, and you’re probably on the verge of annoyance.

Here are the ten essential questions to ask before switching your car insurance company:

  1. What types of coverage does the potential car insurance company offer?

Do they offer fully comprehensive coverage or third-party policies? It’s essential to ensure the perfect policy exists so you can choose the necessary coverage type to avoid gaps in your car’s insurance.

  1. How much will my premium be affected by increasing/decreasing the excess? 

Premium and excess go together like peanut butter and jam. So, how will changing one influence the other? Usually, a higher excess will result in a lower premium, and your task is figuring out how well an insurer can do the Limbo (how low can they go?). 

Take Pineapple, for example; choosing our highest excess of R15 950 can mean paying as little as *R750 in monthly insurance premiums for a Volkswagen Polo. 

That’s only R25 a day!

*Premiums are risk profile dependent.

  1. How does the claims process work, and what’s your turnaround time? 

Knowing how a company’s claiming process operates and when to expect a resolution helps you avoid the stress and frustration of failure to acknowledge, investigate, pay, or deny claims within specified timeframes.

  1. Aside from the initial fee, are there any other excess fees payable when claiming?

Not all insurance companies are honourable, with some purposefully omitting crucial information to get you to buy a policy by any means. That’s why it’s important to enquire about hidden fees so as not to get ‘jump scared’ should you need to claim.

  1. Are other drivers covered should they decide to use my car?

You were probably taught that sharing is caring, and you might even extend this philosophy to your car. But not every insurer agrees. And that’s why you must find out how your mother, brother, partner or best friend is covered should they borrow your wheels for a quick trip around the block.

  1. Is my vehicle covered for market, trade or retail value?

Market value: what you’ll likely get if you sell your car privately. 

Trade value: the average price a dealership would pay for your car. 

Retail value: closest amount to the vehicle’s actual replacement value. 

Knowing this will determine how much you can expect to receive if your car is stolen or written off.

  1. How can I reach customer service, and how are they rated? 

Insurance’s biggest bragging right is its promise to deliver peace of mind. You’ll need to verify this by finding out how easily you can contact the insurer if they have a reputation for excellent customer service. (Some insurers *cough* Pineapple *cough* even have an app and/or WhatsApp line specifically dedicated to getting queries answered quickly, all without having to speak to someone!)

  1. Is car hire included while my car is being repaired or replaced?

As a motorist, you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle and particular comforts and being without your car for extended periods is less than ideal. If your vehicle is in the shop for repairs or needs to be replaced, you may need a rental car to get around. 

  1. Am I limited on where or when I can drive?

It may be hard to believe, but some insurance companies believe setting parameters for your driving is for your benefit. After all, why are you on the road at 3 A.M on a Thursday (raises eyebrow)? Unless you’re working the night shift. And that’s why it’s essential to determine if driving during these odds hours might count against you.

  1. Does the potential insurance provider offer discounts?

A good discount is one of the easiest ways to save money on your premium. Many insurers offer various discounts while vying for your attention in an effort to outdo their competitors. So, it’s not a bad idea to ask how the insurance company plans on scratching your back.

How the Answers Can Influence Your Decision

Now that you’re equipped with the right ammo, confronting different insurance companies with your wealth of knowledge is the next step in your battle. 

Whether you accept the policies they provide and switch insurance companies or reject their offer and stick with your current provider rests on their answers to the above questions.

It’ll also become clear which option works best for you and your car, making the decision to switch or stay relatively easy.

Red flags to look out for are:

🚩 An insurer with limited coverage options.

🚩 Unreasonably high excess amounts that will strain your finances in the event of a claim.

🚩 The insurance company covers the car for its trade or market value, which can be significantly lower.

🚩 A convoluted claims process that doesn't provide adequate support.

🚩 Few discounts are available, or you don't qualify for the available discounts.

🚩 Poor customer service ratings or limited customer support channels.

Ultimately, this exercise is all about finding the policy and the provider that is the best fit for you. 

Asking the right questions and paying attention to the insights they provide will help you make a well-informed decision.

Making the Final Decision

Using the intel these very essential questions will allow you to gather from possible insurance companies can help illuminate the pros and cons of each car insurance provider and their respective policies.

Once you have this information, you can compare and evaluate the different offerings side by side.

Of course, different factors hold varying degrees of importance, so you’ll need to decide your priorities.

For some, a low excess is a non-negotiable; for others, impeccable customer service might take centre stage.

Your final decision will rest on which insurance company offers the best combination of affordability, coverage, customer service, and other factors you prioritise.  

We can appreciate that switching car insurance companies isn't a decision to take lightly. 

That’s why it's crucial to thoroughly compare your current and potential new providers by evaluating differences in benefits, coverage, costs, and customer service. 

Making the wrong decision could leave you out in the cold, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?

Guaranteeing a beneficial switch is as easy as ensuring the new provider offers equal or better value in terms of coverage and cost.

Doing so will allow for a smooth transition without any coverage lapses and yield favourable outcomes. 

The bottom line is don't hesitate to ask questions, and always trust your instincts when making the final decision!

Do you know who is here to answer any and all questions you may have? Pineapple. 

We’ll have you know we’re well-rated, with 9776 5-star reviews and counting! And our coverage is affordable; our comprehensive car insurance starts from only R19-ish per day.

Talk about a bargain!

You can get a quote in under 90 seconds online or by visiting your relevant app store and downloading our app, whichever floats your boat.

Pineapple (FSP 48650) is underwritten by Old Mutual Insure, a licensed FSP and non-life insurer. T&Cs apply. Premium is risk profile dependent.

Please Note: The information provided above is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as legal or financial advice.

Team Pineapple

Team Pineapple comprises our company’s top talents, who are dedicated to creating clear, high-quality content on essential vehicle insurance topics. This diverse group, including actuaries, accountants, data scientists, and insurance professionals across South Africa, collaborates to produce enlightening and empowering articles.

Each piece is thoroughly researched, factually accurate, and rigorously reviewed to ensure quality.

*We say they’re the finest because we want them to keep writing for us!

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Please Note: The information provided above is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as legal or financial advice.

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