Saturday, April 2, 2011

You Better Shop Around

My auto insurance comes due next week, so about three weeks ago I got my renewal notice from Mercury Insurance, my current carrier. The premium had gone from $480 in September 2009 to $667.50 in March 2011 for just one car, the 2007 Mustang. (In September 2009 I moved the 1988 Pontiac to an antique car insurance company since it was 20 years old and I didn’t drive it every day. The premium is $62 a year.) I thought that $667 was a lot of money for one car, so I took the advice of Progressive Insurance — the ones with Flo, the perky Progressive saleslady — and got a quote on the internet for auto insurance. After going through their application procedure (complete with pictures of Flo), they came up with a quote that was about $20 less than my current carrier. It didn’t seem to worth the trouble to change carriers for a savings of $20, so I figured, “Okay, I’m stuck with $667” and made up my mind to cobble together the money to pay the premium to Mercury.

Then Progressive sent me a friendly little e-mail reminder about my quote, so I called them up and told them why I wasn’t going for their insurance. The person on the phone was very nice, and then we talked about why the premium was so high. It occurred to me that in filling out the application, they had asked if I had been in an accident within the last three years, and I had said yes: on March 24, 2008. Being the truthful soul that I am, I had included it in the quote — they would have found out about it, anyway — and that was probably what hiked the premium. So I asked what the premium would be if we took the accident out since, after all, the new policy would take effect more than three years after the accident. A couple of moments later and the quote went down to $555. Wow; that’s not bad; that would make it worth changing companies.

But I also thought that it would be worth it to call Mercury and tell them that Progressive had quoted me a much lower rate. My agent, who has always been very helpful, said she would see what she could do, and a few moments later came back with a new quote: $425. It seems that the company had instituted a new rate structure that substantially lowered some premiums, including mine. I told her that was great and sign me up, and she said she would e-mail me the paperwork. I waited a couple of days and when it didn’t show up, I called back and left a message for my agent. She called me back and told me that the premium had gone down even more to $383. That was a savings of $284 over their renewal rate, and over $565 a year. Yip yah! She e-mailed me the application and I signed it and sent it back.

I think I should send the folks at Progressive a thank-you note. After all, if it wasn’t for them telling me to “call or click today,” I wouldn’t have called Mercury and gotten almost 50% knocked off my policy and stayed with them. I don’t think that’s what Progressive had in mind, but hey; you don’t always have to go with the Flo.