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lower insurance (car/home) rates
Old 02-07-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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lower insurance (car/home) rates

Preparing to retire has me looking at all our expenses. I have found that by changing from State Farm to Progressive for car/home/rv insurance I could save almost $1000 annually. My question is this:

In todays market, is loyalty to an insurance agent/company worth spending $1000 more a year? DH has been with our current agent/company since the 1970's.

Also, does anyone have personal experience with Progressive that they care to share, good or bad?

saving that kind of money sounds good but not if I get dropped at the 1st
claim.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #2
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I live in the Midwest and have a good credit rating. I jump around every few years to get the best price. Last time I switched to save $300 a year.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #3
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I also shop around for the lowest rates once a year. We've been with Geico, 21st Century and Progressive over the past 5 years. Right now we're with Progressive for both auto and home. It seems that the lowest price varies each year. Sometimes I wonder if insurance companies don't just temporarily lower rates and then raise them after they get enough new customers.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:51 PM   #4
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I personally feel there is a penalty for loyalty, so I would jump around every few years except that it goes against my grain. My former auto policy has a line item that says "loyalty discount" and it is less than .5%. I would gladly pay an extra $300/yr for the services of a good agent.

It is very hard to really get an apples to apples comparison

This morning I jumped from from the auto and home insurers I've had for over 8 yrs and combined policies with a single insurer for a savings of approx $200 on the combined coverage. My main reason for jumping for such a small savings is that I really feel more comfortable with the new outfit as in better reputation. The new insurer has afinity relationship with my employer and they provide some group rate discounts and a discount for payroll deduction. I would rather pay the premium in one or two lumps, but they are not set up for that.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Funny that you should post this query. I just switched from State Farm to Progressive this morning and was wondering the same thing.

I've been with State Farm for almost 10 years and thought I had a good "loyalty, claim-free discount" so I never shopped around. On a whim now I find other companies with cheaper policies. How can they be cheaper after all my years of claim-free loyalty?

I'll save about 25% by switching companies and this is before I change the homeowner's policy and get a multi-line discount!
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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I have been thinking the same thing. I am changing my life insurance now that one child is on their own. I will reduce the amount that I am insured and stretch out the time of the term for another 10 years. Monthly premium will go down to about 1/4 th of what it was.

I will tackle auto and homeowners later this year.

I do have a deep feeling of comfort with Geico, however, i think it is costing me and I have to change my ways.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:51 PM   #7
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Mr B just did an overall insurance review for me. My previous broker did not have me enrolled in something called Quantum Plus, a discount program for safe drivers with no accidents. I distinctly recall mentioning my spot free driving record to my previous broker on the 6 month renewal occasions. I called them to have them review my policy and look for lower rates. Hmmmmm......perhaps it had something to do with the higher the premium, the higher the commissions?
Simply by switching agents, and NO changes in insurance company and coverage and deductibles, my cost savings on the auto insurance now covers approx 6 months of my LTC premiums (unrelated policy).
Shop around with different brokers, same company and same coverages if you have had good service from the insurance company you currently deal with. Brokers will find ways to save you money for the new customer business, especially if you are going to use 1 company for auto/home/toys.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo View Post
In todays market, is loyalty to an insurance agent/company worth spending $1000 more a year? DH has been with our current agent/company since the 1970's.
I think you will find that most USAA customers are very loyal. If either you or your DH are military vets, you might want to check them out.

In my own case, I have had one insurance company (for auto, homeowners, life, etc.) for 40+ years, that being USAA.

USAA used to be only for military officers (and their kids through a related company.) Now active duty enlisted folks and veterans are eligible.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:29 AM   #9
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..snip.....In todays market, is loyalty to an insurance agent/company worth spending $1000 more a year? DH has been with our current agent/company since the 1970's. .....
Let me re-phrase your question to "Is it worth spending $1000 a year less to move from a premium insurance company to a cut-rate one?"

Spend some time in an auto body shop. See the people's cars insured by SF get repaired with true OEM parts. Meaning, if you have a Buick for example, the fenders, doors, hoods, hatches, trunks, whole car side panels from rocker to roof rail, suspension parts, etc. will be made by General Motors or the exact company that supplied a part to GM if they did not make it themselves for production. And if they find more damage, they call up SF and get a supplement to authorize more work and $ for the job.

Now see the person's car who has a cut-rate insurer. See the white box truck pull up and dump off cheap poor quality crap made in China, Taiwan or other overseas cheap places. But don't worry, the Asian aftermarket collision parts association says that they meet all requirements and are just as good as the real thing. Uh-huh. Watch the body techs try to make the clock time getting that junk to fit. They often have to cut, weld, twist, hammer, bondo them into approximate fit. But the poor sucker who gets his car back probably can't tell a fuel pump from a map sensor, so he doesn't care. And he certainly has no knowledge that cars for years have body panels made of high-strength steel with certain properties, both metallurgical and physical. Physical as in bends, folds, attachment points etc. that were designed into the part as a component in a system. A very complex safety system, to withstand certain forces then start to yield a certain way at a certain rate. The whole car is designed that way, and depends on all of the appropriate components to do the job they were designed for in a crash.

Geeze, it sounds like I'm lecturing here

Anyway, an insurance company that has significantly lower rates... what could the reason be for the lower rates? Because they are just so much more efficient than their competitors? Or...?

Spent some time in a body shop, helping out. Learned a bit about the insurance process. Not pretty for some.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:34 AM   #10
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I have been with sf for 35 years and have no complaints other than the fact that you no longer deal with your local agent on claims, but some adjuster the company sends out. I have checked around and have had other companies give me quotes on their insurance, and some have been equal to but not cheaper than sf. I have had no tickets or accidents for 25 years. I watch tv and the adds for allstate says they have accident forgiveness or declining deductibles, whatever that means, but I have also heard that the companies raise your premiums to repay for the accident, claim, whatever. I have had hail damage, and damage to siding in the past 10 years and they took care of the problem and did not raise my premiums. I was on another forum on this site, and people on that forum thought if their ss was means tested and it cost them another 1278. a year it was no big deal, so why switch insurance companies and agents for as little as 200. a year?
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:41 AM   #11
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I think you will find that most USAA customers are very loyal. If either you or your DH are military vets, you might want to check them out.

In my own case, I have had one insurance company (for auto, homeowners, life, etc.) for 40+ years, that being USAA.

USAA used to be only for military officers (and their kids through a related company.) Now active duty enlisted folks and veterans are eligible.
30+ years for me.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:29 AM   #12
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can you belong to usaa if your son is military but you are not?
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:57 AM   #13
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can you belong to usaa if your son is military but you are not?
No, unless you or your spouse were also in the military. Your son's children are eligible if your son establishes membership with USAA.

https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/why_...ase=membership
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Telly View Post
Let me re-phrase your question to "Is it worth spending $1000 a year less to move from a premium insurance company to a cut-rate one?"

Spend some time in an auto body shop. See the people's cars insured by SF get repaired with true OEM parts. Meaning, if you have a Buick for example, the fenders, doors, hoods, hatches, trunks, whole car side panels from rocker to roof rail, suspension parts, etc. will be made by General Motors or the exact company that supplied a part to GM if they did not make it themselves for production. And if they find more damage, they call up SF and get a supplement to authorize more work and $ for the job.

Now see the person's car who has a cut-rate insurer. See the white box truck pull up and dump off cheap poor quality crap made in China, Taiwan or other overseas cheap places. But don't worry, the Asian aftermarket collision parts association says that they meet all requirements and are just as good as the real thing. Uh-huh. Watch the body techs try to make the clock time getting that junk to fit. They often have to cut, weld, twist, hammer, bondo them into approximate fit. But the poor sucker who gets his car back probably can't tell a fuel pump from a map sensor, so he doesn't care. And he certainly has no knowledge that cars for years have body panels made of high-strength steel with certain properties, both metallurgical and physical. Physical as in bends, folds, attachment points etc. that were designed into the part as a component in a system. A very complex safety system, to withstand certain forces then start to yield a certain way at a certain rate. The whole car is designed that way, and depends on all of the appropriate components to do the job they were designed for in a crash.

Geeze, it sounds like I'm lecturing here

Anyway, an insurance company that has significantly lower rates... what could the reason be for the lower rates? Because they are just so much more efficient than their competitors? Or...?

Spent some time in a body shop, helping out. Learned a bit about the insurance process. Not pretty for some.
+1. Talk to your local body shop to understand the repair policies of various insurance companies. Makes a big difference in case case you need the service.

Also, ask about what happens to your rates if you have an accident that is your fault, not your fault, theft etc.

I don't think you can compare just based on premiums.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:23 AM   #15
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I used to have State Farm since my father used them since the 1970's. I had been with the same agency until 1990's (and another sibling too) when all these articles came out about them losing money in their investments and had a lot of home claims in other parts of the US. All 3 homes had been claim free for the life of the home policies we were looking at a 20-30% increase on the premiums. I started shopping around, told my agent the same and they said they would get back to me, they never did. Over 3 months after I switched companies, I get a voice mail asking me why I didn't renew with them. Nothing like being loyal to the same agent for over 20 years in the family. The other family members transferred their home/car policies too.
I think it helps to shop around just to see who has a better rate every year or two. One agent mentioned you shouldn't move around too frequently, said it raises a flag on you.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:55 PM   #16
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Several comments:

1. When comparing carriers ask to see the actual policy with all endorsements that you will receive. Compare them closely. Sometimes coverage is cheaper because coverage is less or different.

2. Sometimes lower premiums could mean using lesser quality parts, etc. but in my experience that is often not the case. I've seen dramatic differences between carriers of similar quality. Sometimes I'm not sure why but other times due to different underwriting criteria. A few years ago I lowered my homeowners insurance by over $5000 a year simply because of a small difference in underwriting criteria. With one carrier your factors might put you in a preferred group with lower rates while with another carrier they weight factors different and you aren't in that group and pay more.

3. There can be a discount to having both auto and home with the same carrier but it may not be enough to make it worthwhile.

4. I don't care how long you have been a customer, expect to get non-renewed if you have a significant claim.

5. In addition to going to companies like State Farm, Progressive go to an independent insurance agent who deals with multiple companies and get quotes. I've personally found that I get better coverage and better service by doing this and have more choices.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:03 PM   #17
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I shop around for best rates every couple of years, but then let my current agent know the results before making a switch. The only times there was a significant difference when also taking multiple policy discounts into consideration, my current agent (Allstate) magically found a way to lower my auto rates to keep me from going elsewhere.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:16 PM   #18
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Several comments:

............A few years ago I lowered my homeowners insurance by over $5000 a year simply because of a small difference in underwriting criteria... .
Nice house!
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:54 PM   #19
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Or a Home on stilts, over The Mississippi, in tornado alley, on a fault line.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:23 PM   #20
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Or a Home on stilts, over The Mississippi, in tornado alley, on a fault line.
Try a house less than 5 miles away from a firestation as the crow flies but just over 5 miles driving distance. For one insurer it was a dealbreaker and they didn't want us at all. Another would take us with a premium of over $7k a year. Another thought we sounded great and the premium was $5k less.....
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