What you don't know will cost you!
I don’t know how I was such an idiot for so many years. I was resigned to the fact that my auto insurance was ridiculously high. I live in a Florida, which is not known for low rates, and have two teenagers – high risk and HIGH premium- and had a third car for them. I think I was paying the equivalent of some mortgages! I was angry every month when the bill came, but felt all I could do about it was grumble and complain.
About three years ago, back in August 28 2018 I paid $460.64 a month. My bill now – $123.52! If any of you think I can get it down lower, please shoot me an email and let me know how!
What changed? Primarily, my understanding. In 2018 I knew nothing about the bill – how it was configured or whether or not I was eligible for discounts. I did not even know enough to ask! So, when I finally decided to check other companies to see if I could get a better rate elsewhere, I started learning how an insurance policy is created and whereI could make choices. I began by asking about coverage – did I need things like collision on all three cars? I also asked about deductibles and began to learn how the choices I made on my deductible would impact the cost of my insurance. When I finally had a package built, I called Geico to let them know I was changing to a different carrier. The woman on the end of the phone asked why and I told her it boiled down to price. She asked if I would be interested in comparing the package I had worked out with the other company to Geico’s rates. Why not, I mused, so she began chipping away. She went through each line item and started asking me questions – were the kids good students? would I be open to an automatic withdrawal from my bank each month? Bit by bit, the bill started shrinking. You guessed it – the new policy with my old insurer beat the policy being offered to me by the new company.
And then it hit me…
I had an epiphany that day – insurance is not the static monthly bill I thought it was and if I did not start learning more, I would be paying through the teeth for my ignorance. I know knew that I had to ask for these discounts to get them.
About 6 months later, I called Geico again and asked, “Are there any other possible discounts for which we may be eligible but are not yet using?” The woman mentioned the Safe Driver Discount. Evidently, being over 55, my husband and I were now eligible to take a short online course and receive another discount. The minimal cost associated for the class was a small fraction of the savings I earned from enrolling and passing the relatively straight-forward quiz questions. What’s more, my husband, a first responder, did not have to take the course, at all – as a first responder he had a similar training and was able to simply fax his completion certificate.
I was schooled again just last week. I received some junk email that indicated I may be eligible for reduced auto insurance based upon my solid credit rating. I picked up the phone and called Geico to ask. At first, the agent said that credit ratings are not used in Florida but then, she saw that I had initially taken out my Geico policy in another state. This would allow me to be eligible for this option but I had to be willing to risk the credit check going either way – if my credit score had decreased from several years ago, I might find myself paying a higher premium. I was fairly confident this was not the case, so I asked her to submit my request. The credit check would be a “soft” check which would not ding my credit score, so this, too, emboldened me to pursue my inquiry. Sure enough, my credit score had improved from several years ago and my bill was again lowered – by just over $100 a month! I asked why, in all the times I had asked about possible discounts, no one had mentioned this to me. I was told that the reason was that this was not a “discount” per se. What the change was due to was that I was now classified as a premium class of customer. Evidently, being in this class puts the customer at a different rate right off the bat. Another “aha” moment – I had to use the right language and terminology. It was not enough to ask for a “discount.” I needed to rely on myself to be an educated consumer because if I was not, it would literally cost me!
Auto Insurance is an enigma to me on many levels, albeit far less so than it was three years ago. My annual savings now is over $4,000 from what it was when I first added the twins to my insurance policy. I learned quite a bit over those three years and hope these lessons will help you, as well!
LESSONS FOR YOU
Less Number One: Understand what you are paying for when you purchase auto insurance.
Lesson Number Two: Ask if your insurer can lower your rate. Jus.t Ask
Lesson Number Three: Every few months, reach out to your insurance company and ask if there are any other discounts for which you are eligible.
Lesson Number Four: Do your research. If you do not know what you are eligible to receive, you may or may not be made aware of that discount by your insurer. An Internet query about possible insurance discounts and rate cuts can pay off in huge savings!
Lesson Number Five: Ask the right questions. Learn the terminology. Be explicit.
Lesson Number Six: Pay attention to your bill and, if you are able, download the insurance company’s app so you can easily and regularly check your information. The Geico app now offers an option where you can see your discounts.
Had I never started down this path, I would still be paying much more than I need to pay. Simply throwing thousands of dollars out the window. And, I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand to pay more than I necessary for the same service that someone wiser than me is getting for far less! Leave a comment below and let me know how these ideas helped you save money on your insurance!
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What you may not know about your car insurance…
In the past three years, I’ve managed to cut my car insurance down by over $4,000 a year. See how.