Motorists who change their car insurance save several hundred euros a year. When is the switch worthwhile and where do customers get the best conditions.

Admittedly, the market for car insurance used to be clearer. And admittedly, it’s a little tiresome to keep fleeing through the conditions of the various companies for savings opportunities.

And even those who are already accommodated with a cheap insurer should, for example, take a closer look at the offers of the competition when buying a new car. Because, according to the experience of Elke Weidenbach, insurance expert at the consumer center in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Improved services for the same money are usually still possible.”

Anyone who is interested in a change, however, has to hurry: The deadline for termination with the previous motor vehicle insurer is November 30th for most policies.

Some large service providers are now swimming against the tide and are no longer slavishly sticking to the uniform changeover date of January 1st. In these cases, the insurance year is no longer the calendar year, but an individually specified contract date, as with other policies. “The companies want to get away from this date because they regularly lose stock in the competition,” explains Andrea Heyer from the consumer advice center in Saxony. Irrespective of the form of the contract, customers who miss their personal termination date are by no means in a lost position.

Apart from the regular cut-off date for termination with the previous motor vehicle insurer (November 30), they benefit from various special termination rights, for example if the insurance company increases the contributions without improving the benefits at the same time. “In this case, the customer has one month to give notice of termination,” says expert Weidenbach. “The period runs from the day on which he receives the notification letter from the insurance company.”

Insured persons can also pull the ripcord if they deregister or shut down their vehicle. The insurance also ends when the car is sold. In addition, after a claim, customers are free to turn their backs on their insurer and go over to the competition – regardless of whether and how the insurance company settles the claim. Financial losses are not usually associated with such an exit: the law stipulates that Allianz and Co. must reimburse overpaid contributions. So if you have already paid for the whole year but are already getting out of the contract at the end of June, you can reclaim your premiums for the second half of the year. The only exception: “Customers who stay with their insurer for less than a year must expect that the insurance company in the event of early termination of the contract according to a special ‘short-term tariff’. These are usually more expensive. In such a constellation, defectors usually only get part of their money back,” says consumer advocate Weidenbach.

However, if you are thinking about changing, you should take a close look at the conditions of your preferred provider. That is not always easy. Societies do a lot to make it harder for customers to compare. While all insurers offer discounts for long-term accident-free driving, conditions vary.

Some ensnare their customers with discounts for second cars, others advertise special conditions for women, fathers, bank employees or civil servants. Also new in the range are price reductions for novice drivers and low-cost family tariffs. Nevertheless, nobody should be blinded by euphonious discount offers. Some companies already undercut the cheap offers of expensive companies with their normal tariffs. In many cases, the discounts are also linked to conditions: For example, the car may only be driven by the owner or the mileage is limited.

Another shortcoming when changing: If you only look at the price, you risk a lot. The cheapest car insurance can quickly become the most expensive option if the benefits are not right in an emergency. “There are minimum standards that no policy should fall below,” says expert Weidenbach. While personal security needs, the age of the car and personal driving style can also determine the choice of tariff for comprehensive insurance, the expert strongly advises, for example, to choose the highest possible coverage for liability insurance.

The comparison calculator therefore not only selects based on price, but also identifies particularly high-performance products with a seal of quality. It is essential for this award that the customer receives coverage of 100 million euros for liability, that the insurance also pays for damage that occurs with rental cars abroad (the so-called Mallorca policy) and that the insurance company also pays if the customer has caused damage through gross negligence.