Thursday, July 04, 2013

Auto Insurance and you

The auto insurance industry is fucked.

I have no idea who sets the regulations or the standards that companies have to follow, but there don't seem to be any standards. It's been a long road since I got my license to get my insurance anywhere near what should be affordable for one person. Today I am a very happy man.

Here's my story.

I waited until relatively late to get my license. I was 29 going on 30 when I was finally comfortable enough behind the wheel to get it. I saved my money and went to driving school, Young Driver's, and I highly recommend them, they are thorough and the instructors are amazing. The day I passed my road test I went car shopping and quickly found a car that I liked and could get approved for financing with and most importantly, that I could afford. A 2004 Hyundai Sonata, it was an awesome car.

I knew starting out that I'd pay more for insurance, it's a fact of life. First time driver + first time insured + no driving history + male = High Insurance. Yes, I know people say that male or female doesn't matter anymore, but it still factors in there somewhere. In any case, I started calling around for insurance.

One company I called said that they didn't normally take on new drivers, so they would charge me $8000.00/year. Other companies quoted me in the $5000.00 range until I got in touch with Cal-Legrow. They offered in the $3000.00 range, while still high, it was affordable and I needed insurance.  It worked out to about $250.00/month, could have been worse, but I was new and it was a good price.

After a year, with no tickets and no accidents, my insurance went up by $10.00/month. I called and asked why, they said there was; "an industry wide increase." It sounded plausible, costs go up every day for goods and services and ten bucks wasn't so bad and so I went into year two. My dad did check with his insurance company to see if they could potentially offer anything better, but sadly they couldn't.

When my renewal came up again, again my costs went up by $10.00/month. Again I asked why and was told there was another increase, still sounds plausible to me. So I'm paying $270.00/month for car insurance and I'm after taking a second job to help keep me mobile. Year 3 thankfully there was no change. Again dad tried checking with his insurance company, and again they couldn't do anything better for a rate.

Going into year four, I went to get a new car. So I called my insurance to get quotes on different cars. I asked about a 2013 Kia and I was told it would drive my insurance up by $500.00/year. I was expecting a bit of an increase on a newer car, but that was way too much. Then I asked about my renewal on my existing car and the agent said; "I can't tell you what it's going to go up to until it renews." With a clean driver's abstract, still no tickets and no accidents, not even a parking ticket, I was facing another increase.

 I started calling around to different companies.

I found that with a few companies, nothing had changed in four years, though the one that wanted $8000.00/year now came down to $7000.00/year. Then I got in touch with Johnson Insurance. I asked for a quote on either the Kia or my Hyundai and the agent told me; "You would pay $285.00/month for both cars." I explained the miscommunication that I only needed one car insured and then it hit me that she'd said both. I told the agent that I was paying $270.00/month for just the Hyundai and she told me; "You're paying too much, we can do better."

The Kia fell through, but I did find my current car, a 2010 Chevy Malibu and I asked Johnson for a quote and got back $215.00/month. A $55.00/month savings on my existing insurance. So being the loyal customer to Cal-Legrow that I was, I called them to see what they could do for me. All I got was; "Well, we need you to come in and sign a form that you're cancelling your insurance with us."

That was it, no counter offer, no attempt to see what we could work out, no attempt to save a customer, just come in and sign the form. So I did and I've never been happier.

Actually, I got happier tonight. I got my renewal information from Johnson and my premiums dropped by another $70.00/month. I'm down to $145.00/month and I'm ecstatic, I'm jumping for joy, I'm over the moon.

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