Can you send that to me in writing?

I say this a couple of times a week.  When it comes to insurance there are two specific times that this is a popular phrase; claims and loyalty.

With claims, I am asked “but will my rate go up?”  Odds are pretty good but it is not certain that your rate goes up if you file a claim.  I have seen plenty of awful driving records but since they have not had their records reviewed by the current company the rate is solid.  That doesn’t mean rates do not go up with claims, it just means that you have somehow avoided having your record looked at.  Also find it amusing to watch Nationwide and Allstate advertise “diminishing deductibles.”  Seriously, most people do not have claims.  The most common claim is an auto insurance glass claim and that already has no deductible.  In my opinion you are better off holding on to to your money.

The value of discounts

is not really what it seems when it comes to insurance.  Reality is they are a seemingly wonderful tool used to advertise to the masses of people that are required to have insurance.  Do they create a savings, yes they absolutely do.  Are they worth paying attention to?  Yes, if you  are entitled you should be asking about them and receiving the credit.

Big portions = insurance discounts

Stumbling through any amount of commercials can be entertaining and also very revealing.   Many times entertainment takes precedent over information.  Actually more times than not things are done to get your attention in the hopes that  you will provide some attention/dollars to their product.

I have harped on insurance discounts for a while, bottom line is any list of discounts you can provide does not out do your characteristics.  Your credit score, education, residence and marital status mean way more than all the discounts.  But talking about this, the facts, is not appealing so we disguise it with discounts.  Same thing with food.

Who causes “higher” insurance rates?

Most people will immediately think it is the company.  The company sets the rates and the underwriting standards that you accepted when you signed your contract with them.  The company determines which of your tickets, accidents and claims will have an impact on your rate and for how long. ** Despite what you may have heard corporations are not people and cannot get tickets or have accidents or claims**

Is time the best Insurance Discount?

It might be.  It might also be the most under used and least asked about.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 25 your lack of time on this planet is a reason why you spend more on insurance.  BUT what if you pay attention?  Maybe you start on your parents policy and make sure they have solid coverage so when it is time to switch you are in a better position.  Then, typically after three years of being licensed, it is time to shop.  Now just stay on top of things because you get a little older you can likely improve your rate, assuming a clean to fairly clean record.

Price versus value

Want to change the discussion from Price to value?  STOP ADVERTISING PRICE.  Advertising on price is the easy way.  It is basically telling the consumer we are a commodity and can not come up with anything original that might bring some value to your life.

Want some evidence?  Follow your mail for a month and count the generic garbage being put in front of you that thinks your only concern is price. Even worse , I received the same exact awful letter from four different State Farm agents.  Not only is it an awful, demeaning marketing piece but why does State Farm allow there agents to cannibalize each other?

What professionals do you see each year?

So the obvious one for most people is the doctor, most insurance companies pay for an annual physical so hopefully you use it.  How about the accountant who does your taxes?  If you use a financial planner I hope you are checking in at least once if not twice or even four times a year.  You probably even see the dentist once a year as well.

Why not your insurance consultant?

New Year New Insurance?

Why not?  When was the last time you changed companies?  When was the last time you actually made your agent or broker actually earn their commission.  Make them actually shop around, we are in a competitive market here in New York why not take advantage of it.

How do you start? 

Pretty simple, two steps;

  1. Start with a “baseline” of coverage that you are comfortable with having in place.
  2. Talk to 3-5 companies to see where your rate compares.

That’s it.  Worst case scenario you feel really good about your rate.  Best case you save some money and maybe find a better agent.

The Anatomy of a Car’s Value

2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL:  So according to KBB.com  the Good Trade in Value is $1700 and Fair is $1125 so maybe I am around $1500.  Now private party says $3225 and Fair is $2525, let’s keep being reasonable and say $2875 as private party we won’t use retail because this car is not in excellent condition.

How about Edmunds?  A little different process here comes up with $2734 as a trade in $3752 as a private party, same thing here retail seems a bit high.

So KBB average with my adjustments is $2187.50 and Edmunds is $3243  that is about a $1000 difference.

How often should I review my insurance?

Well most people see their family doctor once a year for a checkup.  Most people do their taxes each year and have a review with their accountant.  If you have health insurance you probably review that at open enrollment each year.  As part of a sound financial plan all of your insurances should be reviewed each year.  Why?  Are your discounts and coverage adequate?  Could you do better?  Is your personal information up to date?

Want another reason?