Changing insurance from one car to another

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So, you want to buy a new car and you need to switch over your insurance. Here's what you need to know, in nine easy steps

Buying a new car is exciting. The thrill of exploring its new features and enjoying that unique ‘new car smell’ is great, by comparison, buying insurance isn’t so thrilling.

However, insurance is a vital part of car ownership and switching your existing policy over to your new car is simple and convenient.

Our handy guide explains how it works, the costs involved, and the information you’ll need to hand.

1. Check the cost

It’s important to check you can afford the insurance on your new car before you buy it, so ring to get a quote on the change in advance.

Even if the new car is worth less, has a smaller engine or is older than the one it’s replacing, your insurance could go up in price. Older cars can fall into higher insurance groups as they have fewer safety and security features, making claims either more likely, or more expensive when they do happen.

2. What information you need

Provide as much information as possible when getting your quote. A registration number will usually tell us about the make, model, engine size and trim level; but we’ll also ask you about modifications, optional extras and so forth.

If you’ve not found an exact car and don’t have a registration number, you should decide on an exact model in advance; two similar vehicles can be priced very differently because of differences in engine size /specification.

3. Temporarily changing to another car

If you need to drive another car temporarily and want to be insured on a comprehensive basis, you can arrange short-term cover with Admiral’s Car Sharing Insurance.

It’s ideal if you’re borrowing a friend or family member’s car for a few days, or using a courtesy car while your vehicle is undergoing repairs.

4. Is it better to take out a new policy?

Arranging a brand new policy for your new car would mean cancelling your old one midway through, and that can incur cancellation charges.

It could also mean losing the year’s No Claims Bonus that you’re in the process of building up. So it may make more sense to wait until renewal time before shopping around.

5. What costs are involved with changing insurance from one car to another?

Your insurer will calculate the difference in price between the old car and the new one on a 12-month basis, then work out how much to charge on a pro-rata basis, down to the day.

On top of this, an administration fee is charged to cover the cost of updating your policy and updating the Motor Insurance Database.

6. How can I pay for any charges?

You’ll have to pay for any change in the same way you paid for your policy when you first bought it (or last renewed, whichever is the more recent). So, if you’re paying monthly already, you’ll be able to spread the cost over any instalments that haven’t yet been collected.

If you have paid for the policy in full the additional premium will be taken from the credit/debit card details we hold on file.

7. What’s the process?

You can arrange to amend your insurance policy with Admiral over the phone or online. If you’re doing it online you’ll need to have a few details to hand, including your policy number.

Over the phone, we can track down your records using your name and address if you don’t have the old documents available. You’ll be asked to provide a few concrete details, including the car’s registration number and when you want the change to take place. You’ll be quoted a price, and once you’ve arranged payment Admiral will generate a new set of documents, including a certificate of motor insurance and a schedule.

On the day of the change, there’s a little flexibility about when the switchover happens. The cover on the new vehicle/the cover on the old vehicle will start/cease as soon as you step inside the new vehicle.

8. When to arrange the change

When you buy any car, you’ll need to arrange road tax. You can buy this online as long as you have a copy of the new keeper supplement from the car’s logbook.

When you come to do this, you’ll need to have insurance in place for when the tax is set to start. Computer systems need a little time to update, so it’s a good idea to arrange the switchover at least the day before you collect the new car.

That said, cover can be changed immediately if you buy a new car on the spur of the moment.

9. Think about breakdown cover

While it's nice to imagine every car we buy is going to be reliable, there are no guarantees. So think hard about whether to take out breakdown cover, especially if a car is second-hand and you don’t know its history. If you are buying a used car read our handy checklist to make sure you ask all the right questions. 

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