When and how to modify your car insurance contract?

Why modify an auto insurance contract?

When you get a car, by signing the contract, you and the insurer agree on the conditions of cover for a specific risk. The risk was accepted and priced by the insurer on the basis of the elements that you declared when answering the preliminary questionnaire. As the insured, by signing you are deemed to have read and accepted the warranty conditions.

Consequently, any change, whatever it may be, in the insured risk or in the conditions of its cover, must be noted.

When can an auto insurance contract be modified?

It should be remembered that the insured, by signing the contract, undertakes to notify the insurer of any change in risk. And who says modification of the risk generally also says modification of the contribution (which can increase or decrease according to the modification). The reasons for modifying the contract are many and varied. For example:

  • a change of insured vehicle;
  • a change of address of the insured (which may have an impact on the garage area and therefore on the rate);
  • a change in use of the vehicle / change in the profession of the insured (which may have an impact on the usage clause and therefore on the rate);
  • a change at driver level (addition of a second regular driver, introduction of an exclusive driving clause, addition of driving by a novice driver);
  • a modification of the guarantees (removal of the all-risk guarantee on a contract covering an aging vehicle, addition of a trailer whose GVW exceeds 750 kg, etc.).

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By whom can the auto insurance contract be modified?

The contract binding the two parties (insurer and insured), it can therefore be modified by the 2 parties. If it is more often at the request of the insured (we have seen the main reasons for this above), it can also be modified by the insurer in certain specific cases specified below:

  • The insurer modifies the conditions of cover: in particular by replacing the general conditions of the contract with a new edition (generally by an endorsement letter), or by deciding to remove the “Damage” cover for an insured with excessive claims, or again by introducing a deductible of a higher amount. In these cases, the insured has the right to refuse the modifications and to terminate his contract.
  • The insurer decides to terminate the contract following a claim. In this case, the insured has the option of terminating the other contracts taken out with the insurer.

Finally, with regard to tariff changes that occur on expiry, the Chatel law, then now the infra-annual termination of the Hamon law, allow the insured who refuses them to terminate the contract.

Good to know : the insured is advised to make known the modifications and changes affecting the risk by registered letter, SMS or e-mail sent to the insurer or his representative, as soon as he becomes aware of them. It is also possible to go to the agency to make the declaration against receipt. The key is to have physical proof that the change has been reported, especially if it is going to lead to an increase in risk pricing.

Procedure and deadlines for requesting a modification of the contract

Like the conclusion, the modification of an insurance contract is the result of an exchange of consent between the insurer and the insured. Any modification to the initial contract must be the subject of an addendum signed by both parties, so as to establish proof of the agreement reached (article L.112-3 of the Insurance Code). The endorsement drawn up by the insurer following the request for modification made by the insured confirms the insurer’s agreement to the proposed modification and its commitment.

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How do I submit my change request?

When the insured requests a modification of his contract, it is deemed accepted if the insurer has not opposed it by making known his refusal within 10 days after receipt of the request sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. (article L.112-2 of the Insurance Code). In practice, and depending on the insurers, several other solutions are available to the insured:

  • Your insurer has a network of agencies: you can go to an agency to register the changes to be made to your contract.
  • You have subscribed to your contract via the Internet or your insurer offers you a customer space allowing you to modify your contract: Connect to your customer space. And don’t hesitate to contact customer service by phone if you have any difficulties.
  • Some insurers also accept that their policyholders make known the modifications and changes affecting the risk by SMS or email addressed to the insurer or its representative.

To find out the means of transmission accepted by your insurer, refer to the general conditions of the contract.

Good to know : regardless of the method used to send his request for modification to the insurer, it is recommended that the insured ask for an acknowledgment of receipt and carefully keep a record of his request, because he will have to provide proof of it in the event of dispute.

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How soon to notify the insurer?

The insured has a 15 day period, from the moment he becomes aware of it, to notify the insurer of any modification affecting the risk and to invalidate the declarations made at the time of subscription. In addition to your surname, first name and address, the letter must justify the number of your contract. It must also specify the date of modification of the risk and explain how the risk is modified (change of vehicle, addition of a driver, reduction of guarantees, etc.).

If the reported change constitutes an aggravation of the risk, the insurer may either:

  • cancel the contract ;
  • propose a new tariff. If the insured does not follow up on this tariff proposal or expressly refuses it, within the 30-day period the insurer has the right to terminate the contract at the end of this period. In this case, the termination takes effect 10 days after the expiry of the 30-day period.

To note : in the event of a change of vehicle, it is imperative that the change be certain that the property has been registered by the insurer or its representative, before putting the new vehicle into circulation.

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