Since the day I bought my first car, way back in 2000, I’ve been a State Farm customer. Well, technically since I first got my license, since I was on my parents’ insurance prior to that. I never even second guessed that decision, I simply called my parents’ insurance agent, and off I went. I bought my first renter’s insurance policy through them. And, later, my homeowner’s policy, and life insurance.
I always assumed I was getting a good deal. After all, most people I talked to were paying much higher rates for their auto insurance. And there was a sense of security being with such a large company. Sure, the very few claims I’d filed with them over the years had more than a few hiccups (and maybe the occasional breakdowns). But I knew what to expect with them. Why rock the boat?
One thing I’m learning though is, if you’re going to succeed financially, you have to be willing to make changes. I’m constantly reading how shopping around for insurance is one of the biggest ways to cut your expenses. And yet, year after year, I bury my head in the sand, refusing to even consider something different. What if something goes wrong? What if I choose the wrong company?
But, with my homeowner’s insurance a thing of the past, and my auto renewal coming up in June, I knew the time had come to actually start looking into new insurance. I’d need to get renter’s insurance anyways; Might as well look for both policies at the same time. My auto insurance with State Farm runs me $440 every six months. I pulled up my policy, to ensure I was comparing apples to apples in my search. The first few companies I checked ran about the same, or offered large discounts that weren’t spelled out in the quote. How much is that “new policy” discount? Am I just going to be in the exact same boat 6 months from now, when the policy is no longer considered new?
At the recommendation of Bryan and our neighbor, I looked into Geico. Honestly, I was shocked; A 6 month policy will only run me $211, for exactly the same coverage I had through State Farm. The policy had several discounts, the amount of each not spelled out, but ran about $95, so even if all of the discounts fell off at renewal, the insurance would still be considerably cheaper than what I had. Renters insurance will run me $277 for 12 months, and should result in an additional discount on the auto policy (although I don’t know what that amount will be yet).
I could have whittled my premiums down even lower by choosing lessor coverage. But, honestly, the older I get, and the more financially secure I become, the more concerned I am with liability. Yes, yes, I want my auto insurance to cover my precious new car. But, even more, if I accidentally hurt someone, or damage their property, I want to make sure my policy has me covered.
I could have potentially decreased my premium with State Farm, either by calling my agent and asking for a “Discount Double Check”, or looking for coverage with another State Farm agent. But that’s one of the things I truly despise about the insurance industry: Shouldn’t I be getting the best rate possible, just for being a loyal customer for all of these years? It’s like they’re taking advantage of their customers who don’t know enough to ask, or are trusting enough to assume they’re getting the best. There’s something wrong with the idea of charging one person more, for exactly the same thing, simply because you can.
So, a few quick applications, and now I’m saving myself over half on car insurance! Slowly but surely, I’m decreasing my spending, and increasing my savings/debt repayment. I still have a long way to go to financial independence. But every little bit helps!
– Cindy W.