Adventures in Insurance

There are only a few items in the world you don’t know the price of until after you’ve requested the purchase. Taxi rides, “market price” fish, a few others I’m probably forgetting, and of course INSURANCE.

When you think about it, insurance is one of the very few things you purchase where you really don’t know the costs in advance. Nor do you have a lot of adequate methods by which to compare costs. Looking up every insurance agent in your state, especially for competitive markets like car insurance or home insurance, takes a lot of time. Comparing offers, including creating a true cost-benefit analysis of low premiums vs. high deductibles, takes even longer.

Is it any wonder that most people just choose insurance based on whichever brand name they think of first? This method, while beneficial to insurance marketing teams, often means that you’re leaving money on the table. If you don’t take the time to compare multiple offers, you won’t get the best possible insurance, at the best price, for your family.

Here’s how I handled the Insurance Adventure, when my husband and I realized we needed auto insurance for our newest car purchase.

1. Find a Comparison Site

We live in California, which has numerous options for auto insurance. Yes, the name brands whose commercials you remember are on the list, but there are a lot of other providers we knew were worth considering. So we looked online for a comparison site to see all of our options. 

A comparison site is absolutely essential to understanding your insurance options. To quote Mills Insurance: “Southern California insurance rates for Orange County, Riverside County, and particularly Los Angeles County can vary greatly between different companies.” I imagine it’s the same in your area. 

So start with a good method of comparison, and make sure you put in all of your variables: number of cars in your household, whether you want a broad form coverage policy on your vehicle, whether you plan on giving the vehicle to a student driver, etc. 

2. Do the Math

With a good comparison site, you’ll soon see a lot of companies and dollar amounts set out in front of you. Now it’s time to do the math. How much money do you save, per year, with the lower premium policy? How much more would you spend in the case of an accident? 

Your goal is to find the sweet spot: a plan that includes all of your desired coverage (windshield breakage coverage, for example, sometimes comes separately), at a premium that fits your budget, with a low enough deductible that you won’t drain your savings in the case of an accident.

3. Be Ready to Negotiate

Remember how I said you won’t really know the cost of your insurance until after you’ve decided to purchase? That’s because things often change when you start talking to an insurance broker. A plan may look great on paper, and then the broker will start asking you if you want to include specific add-ons, or raise your deductible slightly in exchange for a lower premium, or consider a multi-line package that includes life insurance or property insurance.

It’s your job to negotiate for the package that you want. Start by reading this guide to negotiating auto insurance, and keep in mind these basic rules:

  • Ask for discounts on specific items
  • Ask them to match a competitor’s quote
  • Remember that you can walk away from any insurance deal you don’t like

My family was able to knock a significant amount off our premium by negotiating with our broker. If you don’t negotiate, you let your broker control the cost of your insurance, not you.

I hope this guide helps you navigate your next Insurance Adventure. Have other tips for insurance-seekers? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

  1. Florence C says

    Thank you for the post and sharing the information. Insurance is a big part of most budgets. If you can save a few dollars, it is worth the little extra work.

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