How to shop for auto insurance (from the pros)
This blog post is one in a series that we worked on in partnership with our friends at Young Alfred (YA). We’re always interested in finding the best rates out there, so we asked the YA team for their thoughts on shopping around for new auto policies — based on our own experiences.
Why is it that, on occasion, I won’t be able to find a better auto insurance rate even after shopping around for a new policy?
There are several elements that determine your rate (which we covered in detail in our post on what goes into your auto insurance rates). Your credit score and insurance history are two of the biggest factors, and if they’ve been historically problematic, that may be why you’re having problems finding a more competitive rate.
That said, it might also have nothing to do with you. Some carriers are more dominant in certain markets — in New York, for example, GEICO has a strong hold — so it might just be difficult to find a cheaper alternative in the area.
Plus, some companies offer discounts to repeat or loyal customers, so you might already be getting discounts on your current policy that a new provider just can’t match. Insurers can reward anything from a safe driving record and low mileage to a car with anti-theft devices or other safety features. So it’s important to be aware that switching coverage annually decreases any loyalty discounts that might be available to you.
If I’ve shopped around and I can’t find a better price, is there anything I can do for the next policy renewal cycle?
It’s important to remember that car insurance rates vary from one company to another. As a result, we don’t regularly see two carriers offering the same price for the same policy — and the difference can sometimes run in the hundreds of dollars.
Some of the ways you can save money include:
- Shopping around as your credit score or driving record improves
- Staying claims-free for three to five years
- Asking your insurer about discounts
- Taking an accident prevention course/defensive driving class
- Bundling home + auto
You could also consider raising your deductible. This may sound counterintuitive, but if you increase the amount you’re willing to pay out of pocket, it can significantly reduce your overall insurance costs.
Auto insurance carriers are highly competitive, so one of the most effective ways to decrease your premium is to check the market every few years. Understanding the market and shopping around ensures that you aren’t overpaying.
This can be confusing, though, so a good way to check that you’re comparing apples to apples is to provide your auto insurance advisor with your current declarations page. This way, they can match coverage and discounts exactly.
When you do find a better rate, we recommend that you consider choosing a 12-month policy if it’s available, so you can lock that rate for the year and avoid small increases after six months elapse.
Now that you know a bit more about how to find the best auto insurance rates, we recommend that you set up your Marble account and link your auto policy to it. That way, you’ll be able to shop around for new rates in partnership with our friends at Young Alfred, all from within your secure digital wallet.