When it comes to keeping expenses under control and spending within our means, regularly evaluating your ongoing expenses is a big part of the equation. Making sure that you have the cheapest car insurance at all times is one area where it pays to keep a watchful eye on your life and your options.
The College Years
I grew up in New York and later relocated to Florida, and as a result I didn’t have a license until I was 19, and didn’t own my first car until 22. I had limited use of my parent’s car and limited need to be on their insurance, but when I hit 22 and received ownership of my first ride, it was time to look at insurance for the first time.
Even with a perfect driving record, this 22-year-old male had a fun time finding any insurer that was willing to give coverage for anything less than an arm and a leg. After quoting 3-4 providers, I finally settled on GEICO for more than $200 a month, and stayed with them for the next few years.
After I got engaged with my girlfriend, I realized it had been a while since I looked at my insurance options. I spent a few hours pricing out the common players and ultimately discovered a little-know insurance company in my area – Seattle-based Safeco.
For whatever reason, while all of the major companies were pricing my coverage at about the same level at my existing GEICO policy, Safeco undercut the competition by about 30-40%, as best as I can remember.
It just goes to show you that different companies will target different risk groups, and that you should price out as many as you can think of to ensure you’re really getting the best deal.
Love & Marriage
After we got married, Safeco obliged and cut our policy further as a result of our new risk category (another lesson – always call your insurance company when your life “status” changes.) We were happy with the price and the coverage for the next few years, and thankfully never had to use the company to file any claims.
About two years ago, I went through the process of pricing out my coverage for the third time. To my surprise, nearly all of the major providers quoted me policies that were 30-40% lower (again, as best as I can remember) than my “low-cost” Safeco policy from just a few years prior.
It seems that while Safeco was the best option for us for that 2-3 year period, we shifted into different risk profiles during the same time period, and could get almost any policy we wanted for a lower price.
We went with Progressive, both for the price and the services they provide, and having to use them for claims twice in the last 2 years, I would say that I’m very happy with our choice.
After using Progressive’s Snapshot program to cut my policy payments even further for almost a year, I shopped around again during renewal and found a great policy through Esurance. Their discounts for things like using Paypal and getting my policy online were right up my alley and I’ve been satisfied with the level of customer service and claims service I’m getting through them as well.
In my option, the days of insurance “loyalty” should be put behind us. There are still many people using their insurance provider because it’s “something their Dad did,” but for the most part, I think it should be a part of your budget that you look at regularly for price and value.
(Photo credit) Note: This post contains affiliate links for some of the insurance companies I’ve mentioned.