For most of my driving life, I stuck with one insurance company for my auto insurance. I never really picked them in the first place, they were the company my parents used, so I just followed them. But then around 5 years ago, something happened. I noticed that my car insurance premiums started to increase.
I wasn’t in any accidents. I didn’t get any speeding tickets. I didn’t even buy a new sports car. To me, there was no reason for my rates to increase. The first time it happened, I just let it slide. I thought it was because of inflation or the costs of doing business. But when it kept happening, I questioned my agent. I never got a response that I found helpful or comforting. So I began to shop around.
When I shopped around, I found a much lower rate for the same standard of coverage. So I jumped ship. A few years later, I price shopped again and found a lower rate and moved on again. I’ve since moved on one more time.
With my current coverage, I have been happy. But I just got our renewal in the mail and see that our rates are going up. I am in the process of talking to our agent, but will most likely be shopping around. To me, shopping around made sense. I could save money on a bill I have to pay. But then I read a report from the Consumer Federation of America that amazed me.
It turns out more and more auto insurance companies are raising rates ñ on those that stay with them. Gone are the times when you would get better treatment for being a lifelong policyholder. Now, if you don’t shop around, you are most likely paying more than you should each year in premiums. Therefore, you need to start shopping around.
The Basics of Shopping Around
Before you think that shopping around for auto coverage will take a lot of your time, I am here to put that fear to rest. You can simply go to an independent broker and get quotes from 5 different companies at once. All you need to do is bring your current policy so that you can be sure you are getting the same coverage you currently have.
This is the key. You might find a much better price, but that coverage may be less than what you have now. So even though you are saving money, you are potentially opening yourself up for financial disaster. This is why you have to bring your current policy. This way the independent broker can make sure you have the same coverage limits.
Once you have prices, then you need to do a little research. You need to see how strong a company is financially. After all, there is no point in getting coverage from a company that might not be around next month. A quick online search will give you all the answers you need for this question.
Next, you need to see how the company is when it comes to claims. Again, you can do a quick internet search here too. Before you do this, be cautious. Most of the reviews you read will trash the company. This is because most people will only tell you about something when it is really bad or really good. And online, most people will only take the time to vent because they are overly frustrated. No company you read about online will have 100% positive things said about it. If they do, the reviews are either fake or they haven’t been in business very long.
So, read the complaints but try to stay rational. You don’t know the other side of the story, so what the reviewer is saying might be not true. The idea of looking things over is to just get a feel for the company as a whole. Look for satisfaction awards from independent businesses.
At the end of the day, it makes sense to take the time to shop around for auto coverage. With so many providers out there, you should be able to find better coverage from another provider. In the event you don’t I wouldn’t quit on shopping around. I would make a note to review my coverage again in another year, just to make sure I wasn’t being overcharged. It only takes a few minutes to compare prices, but the amount you could save is substantial.
In each time I switched, I saved between $150 – $225 a year. That is some serious money!