These days, everyone’s trying to find some extra wiggle room in their budget. One of the places I overlooked was my auto insurance bill. I didn’t have much experience with negotiation, but once I took a shot at it, I was glad I did. Here’s how I saved nearly 30 percent on car insurance, and how you can too.
Don’t Throw Away Those Auto Insurance Letters
My journey began at the mailbox. You know all of those letters from insurance agents with the phony handwritten print that you usually throw away? Well, for whatever reason, I decided to have a peek one day, and I saw that I could receive a better rate on auto insurance if I switched auto insurance companies. After reading further, I realized that I was eligible for the discounts the company was offering. I was ready to sign up, but first I wanted to press my luck and see if I could land any further discounts.
A Closed Mouth Doesn’t Get Fed
While making small talk with a new co-worker, John, I happened to mention that I was interested in getting a better car insurance rate. To my surprise it turned out that John prided himself on getting a great deal on auto insurance. When I asked him how I could get a better rate he told me that I simply had to ask. The principle, as John explained, is something like a salary negotiation at a new job – if someone is offering you something better elsewhere, the company is more likely to be flexible with its offer. Auto insurance rates work similarly, a company may manage to find an extra discount or two if you simple ask, and even more if you let them know what the competition is offering.
Make a List, and Check It Twice
So I put together a list of the companies that were offering what I wanted at similar rates, and I ordered them in terms of price. I called each of them and made clear what I wanted, and at roughly the rate I was looking for. This may sound like a hassle, because sale reps are loathe to let any prospective customer hang up the phone. In order to maintain a good relationship with the representative while still saving some time, I would actually interrupt the rep after he’s given me the information I’m looking for. “Hey, Alice,” I might barge in, “do me a favor and give me your direct line. I’m going to give you a call back in a few, I really liked what I heard.” From there I’ll usually have to interrupt one more time with an “Alright, Alice, I’m going to have to go now.” Trust me, any damage done or offense perceived will be repaired immediately once you call back.
Makes a Choice, and Reap the Rewards
I finally chose to stay with my original car insurance company. They informed me that a few things had changed since I first joined them that would impact my rate. My credit had improved greatly, and as a matter of fact, when I first signed up for auto insurance, I hadn’t even built up a credit profile yet. Since then I had my own apartment, along with utilities, and a single credit card which was well-maintained over the years. I made sure the insurance company knew that I take the subway to and from work as well, reducing the miles I put on my car. Finally, I made the decision to pay for my auto insurance in one lump sum, which saved me a considerable amount of money over the long term. Some companies, I’ve found, will give you a discount if you choose to pay monthly and have the charge withdrawn from your bank account automatically.
The end result was a nearly 30 percent reduction in my car insurance bill, and one I’m glad to see. It really isn’t that big of a hassle to get a better rate on auto insurance, you just have to be on the lookout for the opportunity when it comes.