Are You Too Loyal To Your Auto Insurance?
I’m a pretty loyal guy. When it comes to people I consider as friends, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to help them out of a jam. The caveat is if they do something that tests my loyalty. In that case it’s considered a violation of trust, and if you can’t trust people you can’t be loyal to them. That’s just how I see things.
My trust extends to other things. Most of the brands of food I eat now are things I’ve probably eaten my whole life. It’s not that sometimes I might now have tasted something else and it’s been pretty good. It’s just that if what I like hasn’t changed and it’s still good… then I’m good with that.
However, in the last 10 years or so I have changed a few things. I switched banks in 2004 after being with the same system since 1975. It had morphed 4 different times during the period, and it’s last incarnation decided to charge me $10 a month on my savings account and $9.99 on my checking. At that time I switched to a bank that had no fees whatsoever. Now there’s a fee unless I use the debit cards for those accounts at least 5 times in a month; I can swing that.
Back in April I left Time Warner, once again a company I’d been with since 1975, and switched to Verizon FiOS. That one hasn’t been as smooth a marriage, but I’m loving the 50 MBPS upload and download, and since I’m on the computer more than TV or phone, I can live with that.
The latest upcoming change… car insurance. Once again, I’ve been with the same insurance company since 1975. Once I was off my parent’s plan I signed up with the same group and have been with them 30 years. When my wife and I got married she moved over to my plan, and things have been fine for all these years.
Then my wife decided she wanted to see what was out there in the market as it applied to price; it made some sense. Even though I’m pretty happy with the company, we pay nearly $2,000 a year on car insurance, and only one of us has had to put in a claim in 10 years… and it was a no fault claim, which meant it didn’t touch our policy.
She contacted our carrier (which shall remain nameless) about a different rate, and got the results back on Monday, which she then shared with me. The savings on our yearly premium… over $720 a year; are you kidding me? :-O
It turns out that carrying an automobile policy for a long time with the same carrier is the same as carrying your cable company (or whomever you use) for longer than a few years without calling them up. The fees keep going up, better plans come, but no one tells you because you’re grandfathered into what you already have. So, unless you call and ask about it, you’re probably paying more and getting less than you should.
I didn’t have faith that we weren’t losing anything, so Tuesday I went to see the guy in person. He said the only thing we’re losing is our history. What that means is that, because we’ve been with this policy for so long, it automatically renews itself every six months, or a year if we pay it in advance. With our present policy it’s just assumed so we don’t have to come up with the first payment earlier than normal.
That’s it; everything else has improved, and we can even earn good driver discounts. Unbelievable stuff right?
This is a cautionary tale about being too comfortable with something over a long period of time that you probably take for granted. Of course it doesn’t work for everything. Last week I tried a different spaghetti sauce than what I’d been eating for 45 years… I’ll never do that again. 🙂