I tore open our renewal notice and scrutinized the sum at the bottom.
Our car insurance rates had been creeping up for the past four years. Now, they’d almost doubled.
“It’s that time again,” I told my husband, Aaron.
Every few years, we shop around for new car insurance.
Because I’m sick of paying crazy-high premiums for the same coverage. And I discovered I don’t have to!
Car insurance is one of those necessary bills with a great range of rates, depending on your car and amount of coverage you need.
You can save some money by having only liability insurance, which will cover you for accidents that are your fault.
Or it may be wise to go with comprehensive insurance, which insures you for accidents, theft, natural disasters, damage caused by uninsured drivers, etc.
Everything you add -- plus your deductible -- will influence your premiums.
And with so many insurance carriers, you’ll find an equally wide range of similar coverage rates.
For now, let’s assume you’ve already made all those decisions and want to keep approximately the same coverage, but just pay less.
The process is simple.
First, we completed the form on a car insurance quote website. We went with Zander.
The form is easy to fill out. We just answered a few questions about the year and make of our two cars, the number of miles in our daily commute, and specifics we wanted included in our coverage.
There were also questions about our cars’ safety features, such as driver- and passenger-side airbags and anti-theft devices that could help lower insurance rates.
Sure enough, when the quotes came back, some of the companies offered lower rates than we were currently paying. Score!
We weren’t done yet.
On a whim, we decided to request a quote from our insurance company to see what they’d charge a brand-new customer.
The rate we got was considerably lower than the rate we were paying.
It didn’t seem right they’d cover a new client for this low price, but not a faithful customer who’d been with them for several years.
When the company’s insurance rep called us for a follow up, we told him that actually we were already customers.
He worked up a new policy with the new, lower rate without any loss of coverage. In fact, we even got slightly better coverage, plus we keep all the same policy features that were important to us.
In 2015, we paid $170 per month for insurance for two cars.
In 2016, we’re paying $90 per month for two cars. For the same policy. With the same insurance company!
There’s no reason to sit back and accept rising insurance rates.
Companies will bump rates up every year. If you don’t complain, or leave to find a cheaper competitor, you’ll end up paying too much.
Just one phone call increased our coverage -- and will save us nearly $1,000 this year!
Side note: If you negotiate a new rate with your same company, don’t expect it to be retroactive. We asked, and it was a no-go. But it was worth a try!
1. Check your bill. Has your premium increased considerably?
2. Call around to various insurance companies. Request rate quotes, or use an online insurance quote website to do the work for you.
3. Compare coverage and rates.
4. Call your current company. Ask if they can get you a better rate.
Your Turn: Will you call and renegotiate your auto insurance rates?
Kate Fenner graduated from Cornell University and works as a Database Developer for 3M.