Changing the car on your insurance

Is there anything better than that new car feeling? (Never-ending pack of Pringles, probably.)
Once you’ve fallen in love with a new set of wheels, found the perfect finance deal, and signed all the paperwork, the only thing on your mind is probably hitting the road (and posting a selfie of you and your brand-spanking-new car on Stories). But don’t be tempted to get behind the wheel just yet – you’ll need to get your insurance sorted first.
We know insurance isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it is important. Not only does it protect you and other road users, but it’s illegal to drive your new pride and joy without insurance.
The good news is that you don’t have to get a whole new policy if you’ve already got one in place. Instead, you can keep your existing insurance and simply change the car on it.
Of course, there are steps you need to follow and there might be a few fees involved but switching your insurance from your old car to your new one can be quicker and easier than you might think. Read on to find out more.

Can I change the car on my existing insurance?

If you’re midway through your insurance term but you’re ready to switch cars, you might be able to switch your insurance over too.
Although most policies last 12 months, there’s nothing stopping you making changes before the term ends.
No matter whether you’ve had to change cars after being involved in an accident (that pole came out of nowhere!) or you simply need a change, most insurers will let you transfer your existing policy over to a new car. Not only do you skip the hassle of arranging a new policy, but you’ll also likely keep your no claims bonus.
Even so, changing the car on your existing insurance isn’t your only option; you could cancel, compare quotes, and swap to a completely new policy – it might even save you some money.

When should I let my insurer know?

Once you’ve signed the contract for your new wheels, your next call (it’s 2024, or email) should be to your insurer.
It’s important to let them know as soon as you know you’ll be changing cars and – crucially – before you hit the road.
Most insurance policies are tied to both you as the main driver and your car, so if either your circumstances or the car you drive change, your policy won’t be valid anymore. It’s also against the law to drive without insurance so don’t be tempted to take a chance.
Luckily, making the switch is usually a straightforward process. You don’t even need to wait until the day you officially pick up the keys to your new wheels, you can usually select a start date up to a month away. If you do decide to complete the transfer immediately, you could get temporary cover for the final few days that you’re driving your old model.

How can I transfer my policy?

Depending on the insurer, you can usually transfer your policy to a new car by giving them a call, sending an email, or using live chat – some will even allow you to complete the whole process online without having to speak to anyone. Nice.

You’ll need to share a few details including:

  • The new car’s registration number
  • The make and model
  • Any modifications that differ from the manufacturer’s standard specs

It’s also important that you let them know if any other details have changed, for example, if you’re going to store your new car in the garage rather than on the road or if you’ve been promoted and now have a different job title.
Once you’ve provided all the info, the insurer will send across a new quote if there’s a price difference or confirm that your policy has been switched.
You can then enjoy the remaining months left on your policy with the same level of cover before it’s time to renew.

Will the cost of my insurance be affected?

When you change the car on your insurance policy, you’ll likely be affecting your premium too. The cost of your policy is based on a whole host of factors that help insurers work out the risk involved. If you change your car, they’ll have to scrap their previous figure and start the calculation all over again.
If you’ve upgraded to a car with a larger engine or a higher price tag, for example, your premium could increase as the insurer may decide you’re more at risk of being a victim of theft or getting involved in an accident.
On the other hand, if you’ve downsized and swapped your luxury SUV for a chic supermini, you could qualify for a lower premium and get a refund if you paid for your annual insurance upfront.
That’s not all; you’ll also need to factor in any fees involved. There might be an admin cost associated with switching your existing policy, but you’ll likely also be charged if you cancel early.
The only way you can know for sure that you’ve got the best deal for you is to get quotes. Take a few minutes to search online and compare policies using your new car’s details. Once you have all the facts and figures, you can weigh the cost of a brand-new policy plus cancellation fees against the potential increase to your premium and the admin fees involved in switching.
If you do need to pay more to continue your existing cover, you’ll usually either pay a higher amount each month or settle the difference with a one-off payment.

Will there be a charge for changing the car on my insurance?

As well as potential changes to your premium, you’ll also likely need to pay an admin charge. This is true no matter whether you choose to change the car on your policy or cancel it altogether. These fees typically range from £10 to £30, but you might find it’s cheaper if you log on and handle the process online rather than doing it over the phone.
If you do choose to cancel, your admin fee may be at the higher end of this range - £25 is an average charge – but you should get a refund for any unused months if you paid for annual cover upfront.

What happens if I don’t update these details?

Forgetting to switch your policy could leave you at risk of your policy becoming invalid, so you’ll technically be driving without insurance.
It’s against the law to drive on UK roads without valid insurance and you could face a fine and points on your licence if you’re caught. Your car could even be seized by the police!
You also won’t be able to make a claim if your new wheels are stolen or you’re involved in an accident, so it’s best to get your insurance sorted before you leave the dealer’s forecourt.

FAQs about changing the car on your car insurance

What is transfer of ownership?

When you buy a car, you can become the car’s registered keeper, its legal owner, or both. If you paid for the car in cash or with a personal loan then you’ll likely be its official owner as soon as you hand over the payment, but with a finance loan like Hire Purchase (HP) or Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), you’ll only be its registered keeper until the loan term ends (or you settle the finance early).
Both car ownership and registered keeper status need to be registered with the DVLA. If you decide to give it away, sell it, or offer it as a part-exchange (once you’re the owner, of course), then you’ll need to complete a transfer of ownership so the DVLA’s records are kept up to date. This applies even if no money is changing hands and you’re giving your car to your son, daughter, or best friend (lucky them!).
This is relatively simple to tackle by either logging the transfer of ownership online on the DVLA’s website or filling out Section 6 in the car’s V5C logbook.

Can I keep my old car without insurance?

If you can’t bear to say goodbye to your old car or want to keep it in the garage, just in case, you’ll need to declare it officially off-road if you don’t want to pay to insure it. Don’t worry; this is completely free of charge. All you need is to get a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) from the Post Office.
Once your car is declared SORN, you’ll need to make sure it’s not stored on a public road and that you get it insured again if you ever change your mind and decide to take it out for a spin.

Can I do a car insurance transfer mid-policy?

In most cases, there’s nothing stopping you transferring your car insurance mid-policy. Double-check the terms and conditions of your agreement, but you’ll usually be able to make the switch assuming you agree to pay any admin fees and make up the difference if your new car increases your premium.
Make sure you let them know the date you’re planning to make the switch before you start driving your new car, otherwise you might still be insured on your old model as the transfer isn’t always automatic.

When else might I need to change my car insurance?

Insurance policies are based on you and your car at a fixed moment in time; if anything changes, either to your circumstances or to your car, you’ll need to let your insurer know as it might affect your risk profile or potentially even invalidate your policy.
These changes include:

  • If you’ve moved house
  • If you’ve got married or changed your name
  • If you’ve changed where you keep your car
  • If the main driver has changed or you’d like to add an additional driver
  • If you’ve changed jobs or have a new job title
  • If you’ve been involved in an accident
  • If you’ve received a driving conviction