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Insurance is one of those things that you have to have, but don't want to use.  Paying for it is no fun, that's for sure.  We are well covered (we think) but were recently able to save on insurance.

One Company

We use one company for our home and auto insurance needs.  We've also had an umbrella policy that provides additional coverage across both policies.  Bundling all of our insurance seems to be a good way to save money.

For years, we've been with Allstate.  I started off with them when I graduated college and needed auto insurance.  I've been pretty satisfied.  When I did have some claims, I never had a problem with the process.  All seemed pretty well.

Now and then, along the way, I've had to question their pricing.  This usually came after premium increases that I thought were excessive.  In the past, they were usually able to work with me to keep the increases to a reasonable level.

Unfortunately, with our latest premium increase, they were not able to meet this standard.  Our auto coverage renews every six months.  When I got our last renewal notice, I was flabbergasted to see that our rates were going up 10%.  That's unreal, especially since we've not filed a claim in at least ten years!

I contacted our agent and this time they were unable to do anything.

Time To Shop Around

I haven't been all that diligent about shopping around in the past.  This time, I was bound and determined to get new quotes to see if I could save on insurance.

As it turns out, I wouldn't have to look too far!

I looked for quotes from four different sources:

  1. Geico – I did an online request.  Unfortunately, for some reason, they wouldn't give me a quote online.  I thought the process was supposed to be easy.  So, I decided to move on.
  2. Citizens – My aunt recommended an agent that represents multiple carriers.  I contacted the agent and she ran numbers across different companies.  Citizens came across with savings of about 15%.
  3. Auto Owners – I did some online research and saw that Auto Owners typically had good prices in Michigan.  The agency that my aunt recommended also works with them, so I asked for a quote. Surprisingly, the price was practically the same as we were paying with Allstate.
  4. AAA – We are members of the roadside assistance offered by AAA.  They're the largest around and since we travel all over the state, we like knowing we're likely to be covered wherever we go.  We requested quotes from AAA, and they came in the cheapest.  We're saving nearly 20%!

So, we are now AAA members.

Things To Look For To Save On Insurance

I learned a few things during the process.

  1. Get multiple quotes. As I found out with the Auto Owners quote, the carriers rated the cheapest may not be the cheapest for you.  Imagine if I had gotten their quote and not went further.  I figure it's good to get at least three.
  2. Validate coverage limits.Every policy and quote lists things slightly differently.  As such, I had to do some

    image from Morguefile courtesy of finance

    digging and spend some time making sure that the quotes contained equal coverage.

  3. Consider payment terms. With Allstate, we were paying our auto premiums every six months, and our homeowners and umbrella annually.  This provided the cheapest costs.  With AAA, we are actually in a more favorable payment scenario.  We still pay our auto premiums every six months and umbrella annually, but our homeowners payments come out monthly.  This allows us to spread the payments out over the course of a year, keeping money in our pocket.  Citizens actually required us to pay everything annually to get the best price.  This would have been a pretty big up front payment!
  4. Look around more often.  I got complacent.  I admit it.  Looking at the fact that we got such a considerable discount by switching, it probably should have happened sooner.  I now plan to review our coverage every year or two. Shop it around.  Even if your rates don't go up, you might still find better terms.

Switching insurance was a pretty easy process.  The best news is that it will keep a few hundred extra dollars in our pocket per year.  That's definitely great news for us.

Readers, how often do you check up on your insurance costs?  Have you made the switch lately?