Last week, we got a pitch from MetLife. A couple of times per year, they send a mailer out to all the employees of Kroger to try to get people to switch to their auto insurance. Kroger employees do get a 10% discount on their premiums, so there is an incentive. The only problem is that every time I’ve checked them out, their car insurance rates are considerably higher than what I am getting from Progressive. I guess that blimp must be expensive!
But the mailer is a good reminder that I should shop around to see if Progressive is still the cheapest. The question is: how often should you shop for new car insurance rates?
Currently, I’ve been ignoring a schedule and instead have been simply checking whenever I get the incentive to do so. For instance, I recently became an affiliate for a company that offers comparison shopping of car insurance rates. Suddenly, I have an incentive to double-check that I’m getting the lowest rate available to me, because I’m getting paid a small amount to do so!
Other models for choosing how often to shop for car insurance rates
If people have a schedule at all for how often to shop for better car insurance rates, it is usually annually. Once a year, take the plunge and comparison shop. Simple, no fuss, and you insure that you aren’t over paying for more than a few months.
Of course, most insurance policies are 6 month plans, so you could simply shop around at each policy renewal. Frankly, I don’t think this would be a very good idea simply because of how time-consuming it is. First of all, the form takes several minutes to fill out and you may have to get up to look up information. Second, few insurance companies actually list their prices online but instead direct a sales agent to call you. Note to car insurance companies: I hate talking on the phone, especially to strangers. If a salesman calls me, I don’t care how cheap your insurance is, I’m scratching you off my list.
Probably the most common time when people shop for new insurance is when their premiums go up. It makes sense. What you have is getting more expensive, so it is time to see if someone else is cheaper. The only problem is that somebody else could be cheaper for some time without you realizing it.
The case for not chasing car insurance rates
As checking rates between competitors gets easier and easier, insurance companies have begun to roll out incentives for loyalty. Both Nationwide and MetLife offer a lower deductible for each year you go without a claim. The hidden incentive is that the longer you stay with that company, the lower your deductible can go, until it disappears altogether.
Progressive went another route. They have several tiers of their loyalty program with increasing incentives. After another year with them, I will receive a large accident forgiveness. I could have used that last year! Also, with each tier, the loyalty discount to your premium increases, lowering your premium.
For a quick look to see if you are paying too much for car insurance, check out NationalQuotes.com to get quotes from top rated insurance companies around the nation.
How often do you shop for car insurance rates to see if you can find a better price?