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Review Your Insurance Policies Annually

I hate insurance.

Actually, I take that back, I don’t hate insurance. I hate paying for insurance.

Every time I get an email from GEICO or a mailing from Traveler’s, I think about how I pay them every six months and, in the nearly ten years of driving and four years of living in this house, I’ve never filed a claim. At least with medical and dental, I get some regular checkups and routine cleanings (I hate getting a teeth cleaning but I love getting stuff for “free”). Don’t get me wrong, I’d still get insurance even if I wasn’t required to by law, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy paying for it!

So, once a year or so, I have an insurance review day. I get a little antsy and start asking for quotes from other insurance companies to see if I’m getting the best price. (Well, I’ve been more in the “or so” category, I haven’t done this in two years)

Auto Insurance

First, the baseline: We pay GEICO $462.30 every six months to cover my 2003 Toyota Celica and my wife’s 2005 Honda Civic. I have no comprehensive or collision insurance and she has $1,000 deductible coverages on both. Other than that, we have pretty standard coverages otherwise as required by Maryland law (100/300 Bodily Injury Liability, $100k Property Damage Liability, uninsured motorist, etc.). It’s pretty tough to beat that price because we also have a long time policy holder discount and a discount for being a member of an affiliated organization.

Candidate One: Allstate Insurance: I fire up the browser and point it to Allstate Insurance. One thing I don’t like about Allstate is that they have five different “packages” with a variety of add-ons like accident forgiveness and deductible refund. I really just wanted to know the basic stuff, so I selected the standard package. After entering a slew of information, the estimated 6-month premium was $548.48, or $86.18 more than my current coverage. Boo!

Candidate Two: Kanetix Insurance Search: I totally forget about Kanetix, some insurance search website I used back in the day when i was playing around with driver characteristics to see their affect on auto premiums [3].

Sadly, there was only one instant quote, a firm called Amica that was a whopping $123.83 a month, or $742.98 (a far cry from $462.30). A few more email quotes came trickling in like Unitrin Direct at $698 and Erie Insurance at $1,092 (with multi-policy discount) but nothing came within spitting distance.

Candidate Three: State Farm: I kind of fell into this quote after quoting homeowners insurance with them through NetQuote system. The agent, Debrorah, and I talked about a whole bunch of things but the end result was that State Farm would charge me $439.36 every six months, a savings of $22.94. Part of the reason for the lower price was because it would include a multi-plan discount because I would get homeowners insurance through them.

Normally, twenty bucks alone wouldn’t be enough to entice me because there’s a bit of hassle in changing your insurance. However, as you’ll see in a minute, the discount on homeowners with them would provide the real icing on the cake.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Right now we have our insurance through Traveler’s, which is the insurance company affiliate with GEICO, but they don’t offer any multi-policy discounts, which is a real bummer. We have $246k coverage on our dwelling, $24k on other structures, and some other items like $300k of personal liability coverage too, which is all pretty much standard. Our annual premium is $797.

The NetQuote system was a lot like LendingTree, they collect your information and they try to match you with insurance agents. Once I completed the application, I was immediately matched with an agent from State Farm Insurance Company and one from Allstate Insurance Company. My chat with the State Farm agent, Deborah, was great, we went through all sorts of information and arrived at a price of $610 a year for homeowner’s insurance – a discount of $187.

I got a deluge of phone calls from a variety of insurers. I talked to all of them, gave them all the information they needed to get me a quote and many came close but State Farm won out in the end. What was funny was that it took around two months between when I submitted my information to when I actually changed my policies over because of some career decisions we had to make, but the price of our quotes never changed (and only a couple of agents were persistent enough to continue).

See The Savings!

In the end, by changing over my policies, which in effect consolidated them into one account, we were able to save $220 a year. $40 in auto insurance premiums and $180 in homeowner’s insurance premiums, all for a total of a couple hour’s of work! Not bad.

If you haven’t shopped around for insurance in the last two or three years, I highly recommend it because you could be saving big money.

(Photo: bookgrl [4])