February 1, 2010

Tips For Talking Your Auto Insurance Agent Into A Lower Rate

Most of us are familiar with the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin that states In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.’ The absolute truth of that statement is debatable, but few would argue against the notion that both those topics are unpleasant to think about. You may call them ‘necessary evils’ of the human experience. Likewise, all law-abiding drivers find auto insurance to be a necessary evil. You must have a valid policy, but that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy paying for it. Let’s consider some ways to negotiate a lower rate on your plan.

The first notion may be the hardest to swallow: you must be an assertive shopper because the insurance agent’s main goal is not to save you money. If you want to get the best deal, you should be prepared to revisit your plan every six months. Blind loyalty to one company can greatly cost you; it is financially beneficial to always keep your options open.

There are many varieties of auto insurance coverage. Remember to use competitors’ quotes as a starting point; but ultimately, it is better to talk to your agent on the phone or in person. Your agent may offer you special deals that aren’t advertised elsewhere if they know they may risk losing your account. Ask about multiple vehicle discounts, such as ‘umbrella coverage,’ which combines your auto insurance policy with a homeowners’ plan and higher deductibles. Be careful not to raise your deductible too much because if your deductible is maxed out and you’re involved in an accident and need to file a claim, you typically won’t get any compensation unless the car is totaled.

Note the various factors when discussing discounts with your agent. Have you had your existing policy for a long time? Ask about renewal discounts on a long-term membership. Has your credit score improved recently? This could lower your rate simply by asking about it. Similarly, if you have a prior accident on your record yet have been a safe, incident-free driver for the last three to five years, you could be eligible for some savings. Finally, reevaluate all the ‘extras’ on your policy. If you have a good health insurance plan, your hospital costs may be covered in case of an accident, making the ‘personal injury’ option redundant. Also, if your car or truck is an older model, you probably can forgo the comprehensive collision option, if repairing the vehicle would cost more than its worth. Shopping for car insurance may seem like a hassle, but as a wise man once said, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’