Review and repeat, It’s a cycle disguised as a tag line

Today’s idea comes from a silly, boring post in 2011  Although it was a short, almost lay, post, the message is correct and overlooked.  I’m guilty as charged.

But how do you find ” an average savings of $432….”  when reviewing auto insurance.  Well, the game is more or less rigged.  Some of it can mimic “self-sabotage” but it is really corporate laziness/indifference?  Here are some facts/scenarios to consider;

  • Insurance rates change. Period.  Sometimes a company can do it once a year…if the regulators cooperate.  Certainly every 18 months.
  • “New Programs” remember this new program is for NEW customers…but don’t worry you are a Loyal customer….You’ll continue to have the one-sided loyalty illustrated by not having access to the new coverage and rates
  • YOU change, but your company is not obligated, sometimes not allowed, to use this in a positive way.  But don’t worry, they’ll use it in a negative way.
  • Oh, and that “accident forgiveness credit” you actually PAY FOR, ask about your rating tier.  That may not be covered by the credit you are wasting money on

So, if you are merely “shopping” for insurance because ” I feel like my rates are too high, blah, blah, blah”  consider;

  • Are you really saving that much money if you do not know what the BEST current rate is from your current company? Actually, no.
  • The best way to save money is actually NOT to shop.  Make it a planned review no LESS than every two years
  • You DO NOT want to save more than $200ish on your auto, home, umbrella package!!!  Why?  Because if you save more than this you likely missed a cycle.

Advertising that leads with price and phony savings is bad for humanity and to a lesser extent the entire insurance industry. But, the fault lies in companies who are not willing to review their books of business and strive to keep people who fit their current underwriting criteria.  BUT, if the current marketing criteria are too different year to year or every three years, a company will likely never be as profitable as it can be.

So maybe it is the companies who need to do the reviewing?

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.

Saving money is bad…sometimes

You hear it constantly on the radio and T.V. It shows up in your mail on a weekly if not daily basis, heck a banner ad probably popped up before you even got here.  Each insurance company quoting exactly how much money they can save you or how many discounts are available and rarely getting specific on coverage.

Yes, I think saving money can be bad.

If you have not taken the time to review your insurance plans on a regular basis you may actually be saving too much money.  Yes I just said too much money.

Having watched insurance cycles for 8 years it is reasonable to save in the neighborhood of $200-$300 simply by a change in the market.  This, in my opinion, is ok.  If you are saving more than this you may have missed a change in the market.

So, step 1 is establish you and/or your family’s base line of coverage.  Step 2 schedule the time every 12 to 18 months to review your coverage and review your rate to make sure it is still competitive.  Saving a few hundred dollars is good but saving much more than that just means you have not kept up with your regular insurance reviews.

Update 5/13/15

The more things change the more things stay the same.  The industry is getting close to taking advantage of this massive opportunity.   That’s correct, the inherent laziness of humans combined with an old and tired purchasing structure is a massive opportunity.  Good things should be coming soon.  The savings, on the surface, will look smaller.  The reality is your average price over a ten year period will be better.