It’s renewal time, what do you do first?

So the paperwork for my renewal came in the mail this past week.   Just like millions of other people I went and looked at the rate.    So now what?  Well here are some things I look for in my own renewal, as well as yours when I have the chance to renew it;

  • Is it correct?  Yes, is it correct.  Is my name spelled right, are the right vehicles there are all my discounts correct.  Before you think about the rate lets make sure the basics are correct.
  • Now that we know it is correct, how is your rate?  Did it go up much from last year?  Like it or not rates go up.  What increase can you deal with?
  • So now you want to improve your rate, first lets start with discounts.  Do you have all you can have?
  • Next place to look is at your comprehensive and collision coverage.  If you have it, do you need it?  If you have it, what is your deductible?  $1000 is not a lot of damage on a vehicle.  Ask yourself “If my car is safe to drive and looks presentable would I be ok with a little dent?”
  • Now shop, that’s right shop.  For whatever reason getting 3 estimates works for most things in life.  This does not mean you are going to leave it just means you are being diligent.  LOYALTY IS OVERRATED

Some things to keep in mind.  Your driving record may preclude any change being a possibility.  There may be a good chance for savings by changing how you pay your bills.  You might have as good a rate as you can get.

So what do I do?  Well my wife and I have a ticket or two and a small accident so we fall into the category of not being able to shop.  BUT when reviewing the policy I realized we both can take a defensive driving course.  This will save close to $200 per year for the next three years.  We will spend $49.90 to take it so this is a heck of an investment.  In my case, it is finally time to drop the collision on my 2003 Jetta.  I hung on as long as I could but the Kelly Blue Book value now longer justifies keeping collision coverage.  Dropping this saves a couple hundred more.  Now things are definitely better.  Factor in the nice discount for paying in two payments and I am spending less this year that I did three years ago.  Not bad.

Just some thoughts, would be happy to help customize these suggestions for you.

What’s my car worth?

It is your means to get around town, to work, to play to kids activities.  it is worth a lot to you but what is it worth to an insurance company?  The cost to repair a car is going up so if your car is older you need to keep in mind that if the cost to repair your car is more than the value of the car it may not get fixed.  Now what is the car actually worth in dollars?  It may not be as much as you want.

Try and find a consensus.  Visit Kelly Blue Book ( and/or Edmunds ( to help determine the value of your car.  Be reasonable with the condition and figure the middle number is about where you are.  How do you double check this try a car buying site like .  Give yourself a reasonable driving radius and try and find your car.

When should you do this?  NOW and/or right after an accident

Maybe it is not worth keeping collision coverage on your car?  It is also a great idea to know what your car is worth when the car is being assessed for damage.


5/11/2015 UPDATE

I’e been paying closer attention to this for 4+ years.  Despite the tools suggested above there are a few other things to consider.

  • There seems to always be a market for pick up trucks.  The color does not seem to matter, dents don’t seem to manner either.  Somebody is always looking for one
  • Older Hondas.  They are just popular across a variety of segments of people.
  • Subarus. Especially the all wheel drive ones.

Im sure there are lots of others you can enlighten me on, these are just a few that seem to stand out.  Why does it matter?  Because the market for your car or a car that you may buy can vary for a bunch of reasons.  The computer models mentioned above are solid but don’t overlook “market” factors.