All About Timing: When Is The Right Time To Switch Your Car Insurance?


May 6, 2024
Mathapelo Mosia

So, you’re thinking of switching to a different car insurance company. 

And rightfully so, you aren’t the person you were when you first took up cover with your current provider. Truth is, people change, and so do insurance providers.

Even if you’ve only had the policy for less than a year (or maybe even a week), who’s to say you can’t change your mind when a better option comes along? 

Not us.

The question now is, when do you know for sure that it’s the perfect time to seek greener pastures?

That’s precisely why we’ve put together this insightful little piece! 

We know that the one thing that’s constantly plaguing your mind, more than the recent cold temperatures, water shortages and stage 6 load shedding, is knowing when to switch from one car insurance company to another.

So, sit back, say less, and allow us to do all the (talking) typing.

Understanding Your Car Insurance Cycle

We’re not going to bore you with the tiresome details of what an insurance policy is and how it works – that’s a salesperson’s job.

(But if you’re just dying to know more, we’re not gonna stop you. If you’re that interested and have some time on your hands, here is a meaty article outlining comprehensive car insurance versus third-party coverage.)

What you’re really interested in is your insurance’s renewal process and how it can affect your desire to switch insurers.

Most car insurance policies typically last for a year, and your policy documents will clearly state the policy's start and end dates.

The end date isn’t always that; you might be surprised to know it isn’t uncommon for insurers to automatically renew the policy if you don't act fast. But this is for your own benefit; this helps ensure your policy remains uninterrupted.

Your insurance provider typically sends a renewal notice with updated details of your new premium and any changes to your coverage, if any. 

This period is a great time to review your policy, ensure it still fits your needs, and check if you could save money by switching insurers. 

If you decide to renew, you must first confirm with your insurer and pay your first new premium by the renewal date. 

Therefore it’s essential to be aware of this cycle and understand it completely.

Understanding the renewal cycle of your car insurance policy is crucial, particularly if you're considering switching policies, as it allows you to reassess your needs.

You can also consider the service you're receiving and the premium you're paying, allowing you to seek other, better options. 

A car insurance policy’s renewal stage is the perfect time to consider switching insurers.

You can see what else is out there by shopping around for quotes with different insurance providers and comparing insurance offerings available in the market.

Lower premium prices, better coverage, exceptional customer service, or other factors are potentially yours for the taking, and you’ll only know by going out there and comparing.

Of course, switching insurers is all about timing.

Whatever your motivation for switching, finding the right policy takes a bit of research and a lot of diligence.

If you happen to jump the gun, you may find yourself driving without any cover at all. Even if it’s only for a day, that can have serious financial consequences should you get into an accident.   

Therefore, to avoid any coverage gap, you want to ensure your new policy starts when your old one expires or possibly a day earlier. 

Additionally, knowing your current policy's terms can mean avoiding potential penalty fees.

Some insurers charge a cancellation fee or refuse to give you a full refund of your unused premium for that period. So, switching at the end of your policy period may be more cost-effective to avoid these potential costs.

Best Times to Consider Switching

Why settle when there’s a sea of insurance providers ready to give you what you want and more? Switching your insurance provider can be as quick and effortless as switching gears.

Thankfully, the following does not apply to all you satisfied Pineapple customers out there. You should aim to change insurers only when your current insurance provider is being unreasonable, either through their service, product offerings or premium costs.

If you’re still very happy with your current insurance provider, there’s nothing wrong with staying put and staying insured. 

Back out our regularly scheduled programme, generally, the most common time to change insurers is:

  1. At your policy renewal stage. This opportune moment allows a natural transition to another provider without having cancellation fees hanging over your head.

  1. During a significant shift in your life. Boyfriends/girlfriends become spouses, babies are born, and bigger backyards are needed – a change in circumstances is inevitable. These changes can affect your insurance premiums and needs, making it an excellent time to switch.

  1. After a premium increase. The beauty of car insurance is the peace of mind it offers and how it safeguards your finances against potential mishaps. Its importance is further enhanced by responsive and supportive customer service. That’s why you need a reliable insurer who stands by you when it counts.

  1. Poor customer service. Many people are uncomfortable with the concept of car insurance: you part with your hard-earned money monthly for invisible protection that might never come in handy. Throw in less-than-satisfactory customer service, and that’s a recipe for your exit.

  1. Added extras. Most insurance companies offer many extra benefits to add value, and if you find your current policy doesn't provide adequate bonus benefits, this could be the beginning of the end of your relationship.

Before switching, ensure you’re aware of any cancellation T&Cs. Carefully follow the outlined steps in your policy to avoid any unnecessary fees. Granted, you might have to wait a few extra days in some instances, but it is worth it in the end.

Also, while these are ideal times to consider switching, it's better to research by comparing quotes and understanding the implications before making a final decision.

Potential Consequences of Ill-timed Switches

Nothing gets a heart racing like the word ‘consequences’; however, it’s a topic we can’t and won’t shy away from. Otherwise, we’d be doing you a disservice.

The results of an ill-timed insurance switcheroo typically aren’t fatal or anything that dramatic. 

Still, you’ll want to avoid them all the same.

Consequences such as reduced coverage, cancellation fees, loss of loyalty points/bonuses and a gap in insurance coverage are all unpleasant experiences that could result from prematurely and ignorantly ditching your current insurance provider. 

Plus, claiming prematurely, usually in the first 3-6 months of being insured with a new insurer, can mean penalty fees (e.g. a higher excess amount). So, think twice, and maybe a third time just for good measure. 

There’s also the administrative hassle of ensuring your old policy is cancelled and the new one is active. 

So, before you bite the bullet, 

  • Align the new policy with the end date of your existing one to ensure continuous coverage. (The beauty with most policies is that even if you cancel during a month you’ve already paid, you’re still covered for the duration of that period. However, you must remain mindful of these dates and ensure your cancellation and commencement dates align perfectly. You don’t want to be stuck paying two different insurers for the same coverage!)

  • If a cancellation fee is unavoidable, wait until your policy is up for renewal.

  • Calculate the value of your loyalty discounts and compare this to the potential savings of a new policy. (Take Pineapple, for example; you can get up to 30% of your premium back (refunded) each month you drive under 300kms).

  • Ensure you're comparing similar coverages and aren’t compromising simply for saving.

The key is to take your time and ensure you're making the switch at a time that perfectly aligns with your personal needs, financial situation, and current policy details.

Making the Switch: A Step-by-Step Guide

You have one chance to slay the proverbial dragon. Be not afraid; we’ll be with you every step of the way. 

We’ve created a step-by-step, foolproof method of successfully switching from one insurance provider to the next with virtually no explosive side effects.

Step 1 of 10: Begin by inspecting your current policy. What type of coverage do you have? What are your policy limitations? Your excess? Consider your current premium as well.

Step 2 of 10: Have you recently purchased a new ride, moved, or added another driver to your policy? Your coverage needs may change based on these factors.

Step 3 of 10: Now that you know what you want, it’s time to research various insurance companies and get quotes. Compare like-for-like: the same coverage, limits, and excess will give you a more accurate comparison. Use comparison websites like to aid you in your quest to find the best insurer, and p.s. don’t forget to look at the company’s reviews on websites like Hellopeter!

Step 4 of 10: Price aside, keep the company's customer service reputation, coverage options, discounts, and excess costs in mind as you compare.

Step 5 of 10: A frontrunner will be clear at this stage. This means it’s time to seal the deal and choose a new insurer. Luckily, most insurance companies give you the freedom to apply on their online website, their app, or over the phone.

Step 6 of 10: This may be the most crucial of all the steps: Make sure your new policy starts before or the day your old policy expires to avoid a gap in your insurance.

Step 7 of 10: Once your new policy is in effect, get proof of insurance (either a card or document) and always keep it with you. It’s best kept in your car; you'll need it if you're involved in an accident or stopped by law enforcement.

Step 8 of 10: You’ve successfully accepted a new policy, and now’s the moment to cut ties with your old flame (insurer). Be clear about the date you want the cancellation to be effective – as previously mentioned; this should coincide with the start of your new policy.

Step 9 of 10: If you're getting help financing your car, or maybe even leasing it, ensure you notify the bank, lender or leasing company about the switch. They'll need to have the correct and updated information on file.

Step 10 of 10: It’s not yet time to kick back and relax; there’s still work to be done. Once you've switched, thoroughly review your new policy to ensure you understand all the terms, conditions, and coverages.

In Summary…

We can’t emphasise enough how much switching to a different insurance provider requires careful evaluation and proper timing.

A great place to start is to understand what you have now and what you need. 

From there, the next step is to gather and compare quotes from different insurance providers, ensuring you compare like-for-like coverage, limits, and excess amounts.

When you've chosen a new insurer, apply for the new policy, but only after ensuring it commences before your old policy ends. 

This is to ensure coverage is uninterrupted.

You’ll only cancel your old policy once your new one is alive and kicking. Ensure you’ve chosen the cancellation date accordingly to prevent any lapse in coverage.

The last bit of admin will be to notify all relevant parties, i.e. your financer or lease company, about your new insurance details.

When it comes to switching policies, timing plays a monumental role.

So, it almost goes without saying that you should consider the timing concerning any recent claims, accidents, or changes in your circumstances that might affect your premiums.

Careful planning, diligent research, and wise timing are recipes to ensure your success and are crucial for a seamless transition to a new car insurance provider. 

While we’re on the topic, there’s no better insurance provider to switch to than Pineapple (and no, that’s not us being biased.)

Okay, maybe we are biased, but can you blame us?

  • Our premiums are affordable (car insurance starts at just R19-ish a day, to be exact).
  • Our reputation precedes us (we’re the proud holders of a *9.3 on Hello Peter. Only 0.7 to go).
  • We pride ourselves on saving you money AND time (get a quote in 90 seconds or less).

Sound good? Of course, it does. That’s why you should visit our website at and get a quote today.

You’ll be happy you did.

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.

Mathapelo Mosia

Mathapelo, Pineapple's Junior Copywriter, has a diverse background, including roles like Leaflet Distributor, Bridal Stylist, and Junior Sales Activation Officer. Her love for literature was sparked in grade 5 by a teacher's challenge involving books and chocolate. Though the prize was never received, she developed a passion for reading and writing.

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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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