What kind of radio are you?

Are you terrestrial radio?  So for 9 years it was me and my xm radio.  Now about a year and a half ago I started having an affair with Pandora and it was and continues to be wonderful.  So what is a guy to do?  Well as fate would have it my receiver stopped working in the car.    So now it is me and a binder full of Success magazine cd’s and pandora through my phone.

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.

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?

I really need to lower my rate…

This is something I hear on a very regular basis.  Yes, I try to lower said rate whenever I am introduced and asked to help this situation.  But what can I do?  I can;

  • Get proposals from 12 different companies
  • review the coverage and make some suggestions
  • advise you to take a defensive driving coverage
  • give some ideas about how/when to pay to save money
  • review your discounts
  • help you make a plan

So that is five things I can do.  Now what can you do;

  • get proposals from the other twenty or so companies you can

Want lower rates take higher coverage

That’s right you can get more coverage for less money.  Now the problem with this is most of the companies push low rates mostly give you low coverage.  Then when you shop you are actually not able to get better rates because you got duped into a low rate by taking low coverage.

A solidly caffeinated(made up word) drink from your local coffee shop is sometimes the same price as one month’s worth of much better coverage.  That’s right for $3-$6 you can purchase $100,000 or more in coverage.  So is the company that brings you in on lower rates even interested in protecting you and your family or just providing you a low rate for insurance.

The Endangered Species in insurance…

Is your rate staying the same year to year.  It does not happen often but it should be the goal of every agent and policy holder.  Some pieces of reality;

  • What is happening in the economy is not your problem, what is happening in YOUR economy is
  • Just because your company had a bad year does not mean you should pay more
  • It is a privilege for you to allow your company to insure YOU not the other way around
  • Inflation might be the worst excuse of all, 1% inflation does not equal 10% in insurance

Does the color of my car affect my insurance rate? NO*

I have no idea why this question comes up so often.  Not sure where it started, not sure why it would matter.  Either way I was finally asked and it hit me to run a small, non-scientific experiment.

Step one; I asked a transportation professional, this guy Tommy Scott is way more than just a car salesperson, for two Vehicle Identification Numbers(VINS).  In this case it will be the new and exciting Chevy Cruze.  He provided me with two VINs for IDENTICAL vehicles where the only difference is the color.  For our experiment we have a red and a silver Cruze to compare.

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 the 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.