How to negotiate lower car insurance

November 20th, 2008 - 78 Comments

Follow the detailed script below to negotiate your car insurance fees down.

This is Tip #13 of of the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge. (See past tips.)

Today’s tips is to negotiate lower car insurance. Most of us pick a rate once, then never go back again. But if you do, you can save hundreds of dollars each year.

car-insurance.jpg
First, check to see if you have the right amount of coverage. Nobody teaches us about this stuff, so when you bought car insurance, you may not have known which coverage options to choose.

Second, figure out what kind of coverage you currently have and how much you’re paying
. Don’t be lazy — do this. If you don’t have your current info in front of you, how can you hope to save? Either call your car insurance company or use their website.

Third, it’s time to start shopping around. I prefer the phone because I can usually sweet-talk the rep into telling me about other deals that the websites don’t offer. Computers, however, seem to be immune to my charm.

I made it easy for you. Here are the phone numbers of the big insurers:

Geico: 1-800-861-8380

AAA: (866) 539-8033

Allstate: 866 704 9900

Progressive: 1-800-776-4737

State Farm: Sorry, despite getting good ratings in the comments below, THEY OFFER NO PHONE NUMBER. Anyway, you can get to their auto insurance site here.

21st Century Insurance: Don’t use this worthless insurance company. I used to use them, but they sent me multiple envelopes in the mail EVERY SINGLE WEEK until I finally canceled them. The rates were great, but the hassle wasn’t worth it.

Fourth, be an expert caller by asking these questions.

With each call, you should say, “AAA (or whoever) is offering to insure me for $XXX less” (silence). See what they do. (Note: Negotiating lower insurance using this technique is much harder to do with car insurance companies than banks, so don’t expect very much from this.)

How much would I save if I insure my car and house with you?

What about renewal discounts? How long have I been a member with you? What can you offer me as a discount for long-term membership?

Can I save money by pre-paying my entire year up front?

Let’s check my car. I know other firms offer discounts for features like anti-lock brakes. What about you?

What kind of low-mileage discounts do you offer?

If I enrolled in a defensive-driving course, what kind of discount would you offer? Oh, really? Which courses qualify?

What about discounts for my employer? (Tell them the specific name of your employer?)

Some insurance companies offer discounts for low-risk occupations (engineers). What kind of competitive rates do you offer?

Am I paying for roadside assistance? What other additional “benefits” am I paying for? (If you already pay for AAA, you don’t need roadside assistance through your car insurance. Also, check your credit card: They may offer roadside assistance (but call them and ask how much it really costs if you have to use it – some of their offers for “roadside assistance” really mean “we will assist you by calling someone for you and then charging you out the ass”).

Can you walk me through the deductible changes I could make to save money? (Deductibles are what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you more than 40%. Before choosing a higher deductible, be sure you have enough money set aside to pay it if you have a claim. More details here.

AAA, Costco, credit cards, large employers, associations (AARP, teachers’ union): Many of these offer discounts on car insurance. Log onto their website and browse to “perks.”

Read more ways to save on car insurance.

It seems like a lot of work, but the savings are substantial. I took screenshots of the different rates that different insurance companies were offering me:

 

 

Well, as you can tell, that slideshow is completely worthless since you can’t see anything — but the difference between the lowest quote (Geico, which I use) and the highest (Progressive) is $734 per year. That’s a lot for a few phone calls.

Don’t forget: Insurance is not a commodity. If you pick the cheapest provider to save $50/year and they end up not fulfilling your claim — which you could have reasonably known by searching out reviews for the company — it’s your fault. Pick a good company because it can be worth thousands of dollars.

As you’ve seen, “negotiating” lower car insurance is mostly about keeping up with the changing rates and making sure you’re wringing every last benefit from your policy, so set a calendar reminder to do this once per year.

Try it out and let me know what you find in the comments.

Total savings: $25 to $100 per month

Last thing to do

  1. Check out the other tips in the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge
  2. I put together a package of ready-to-use email scripts to help you save more and build your career. To get them — free — click here.
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78 Comments

 

Comments

  1. Of course, in Massachusetts, you’re screwed, especially if you are subsidizing bad Boston drivers (despite me being much closer to Albany or Hartford than Boston)

    Plus a lot of insurance companies won’t set foot in the state but I will have to check out some of the others tonight.

  2. I’m a Florida resident and was with AIG, paying $1888 per year. Then I called around and was quoted these rates: $1688 for AllState and $1086 for State Farm. Obviously I immediately signed up with State Farm, and they even have an office right across the street from where I work.

    Savings: $802 a year

    I have to admit, I had no idea how dramatic the difference would be!

    Becoming The Marshmallow

  3. Yep, I am also stuck in the Massachusetts conundrum. No big insurers here…supposedly to keep costs low, although I haven’t seen any evidence of that being true. I had and loved Geico in Virginia, but when I moved to MA, they wouldn’t insure me anymore. It’s probably the best bet for me to check my current policy and see if there’s anything I can modify.

  4. You should do this every couple of years. Insurance companies tend to get comfortable with their customers and don’t give them all the discounts they might be entitled to and/or rates often fall for one reason or another. So Company “A” is cheaper one year, but Company “B” will be cheaper the next.

  5. For my husband and I we decided to stick with someone local that we trust and that offers good advice. We figure what money could possibly be saved by going with another provider is not worth it since we can call up our agent at any time with questions or if we need to put in a claim. I would say this was a top priority – and it has proved useful.

    That said I did check to see if there was a way I could lower our car insurance. One thing I changed was that I reduced our yearly mileage estimate for our SUV. I had changed jobs and now we commute together for work in 1 car. So by reducing the mileage I reduced our premium for that vehicle by $60-$70 a year.

    Also I would recommend doing multiple-line insurance for car, home, and life insurance. We save a lot of money by doing that as well as remaining accident-free and long time customers.

  6. I don’t know why everyone is complaining about Massachusetts. You do know that they dropped the government regulation of auto insurance back in April or so, right?

    I was paying about $2000/year for my Audi A4 with Commerce/AAA. This was since March. I’m 22, have a clean record, and the car has AWD, anti-theft, everything.

    Several months ago, around July, I realized that I can get a discount on MetLife with my company. I called them and now I pay $1050. That’s $950 less for about 30 minutes worth of phone time. I got an additional discount because I opted to have my bill taken out of my pay each paycheck automatically. It’s about $41 per paycheck. And I have BETTER coverage and don’t have to worry about paying the bill every month.

    Just because you’re in MA doesn’t mean much of anything, except for the fact that you’re not willing to try and save some money. There are some very big insurers here, such as MetLife and Progressive (which my fiance has).

  7. Also, keep in mind, there are a lot of carriers out there that many people don’t think/know about. I use MetLife, and their niche is high credit, low number of infractions. If this is you, I would find it hard to find a company that is lower than them. Also, I have had to make claims in the past (none recently…*knock knock*), and the claims process was simple and I had a check in 2 weeks. They offer the same $50 off your deductible for each claim free year as Allstate, they have great programs for teen drivers, etc. Don’t overlook companies just because you always hear of the same “Big 3″. Just my piece of advice.

  8. Esurance is a viable option as well. After shopping Pemco, Farmers, and Progressive, Esurance was the winner. I must admit that we don’t have perfect driving records due to some weird twist of fate last year — 3 tickets within 2 months…after YEARS of clean driving history. Esurance charges us up the ass, but less so than the other big insurers. Multiple line disocunt didn’t help us in this case…Esurance’s offer was more than getting a homeowner’s policy somewhere else. So, that’s what we did. I probably could have talked them into matching the competitor…didn’t even think of that at the time.

    Total savings: approx $500 per year.

  9. I just switched to Liberty Mutual today–the kind of car I drive (MINI Cooper) and my job give me discounts that actually knocked $120 from GEICO’s offer, which was the lowest I had at this point.

    Plus, when I did that, I also told them what my current renter’s insurance was–I just knocked $2/mo. off that as well by switching to my new Car Insurance carrier.

    So, by combining Tips #10 and #13, I’ve saved $122 TODAY.

    Thanks!

  10. @Brian — thanks for the tip, I didn’t know they had dropped that crap. I moved here late last year and hadn’t looked into anything since. I will be sure to do so now.

  11. If you live in Texas & don’t drive a lot check out milemeter.com where you can purchase your auto insurance by the mile rather than by term/time. We’ve had numerous people save 40 to 60% over their existing auto insurance.

    Good tip, btw. One person who had switched to us had been with his insurance company (one of the ones listed above) for more than 20 years. No accidents, speeding, etc, but his policy with that company continued to go up over time. Regardless of you insurance company, you need to beat them up over price every once and a while.

    Disclaimer – I *do* work at MileMeter

  12. 2 things:

    1. Sorry for that annoying auto-play music. I turned it off.
    2. I added this note above: “Don’t forget: Insurance is not a commodity. If you pick the cheapest provider to save $50/year and they end up not fulfilling your claim — which you could have reasonably known by searching out reviews for the company — it’s your fault. Pick a good company because it can be worth thousands of dollars.”

  13. You should also be aware that different states have different regulations. Most insurers will give you a multi-line discount: if you have fire and auto insurance, then a 10% discount, if you have auto and life, 15% discount, etc. Discounts for car features are, as far as I know, not a separate discount line items that insurance agencies can apply a discount to. That’s probably a factor in the actuaries’ computation of the the Collision or Comprehensive coverages. Also, I’ve ran into this problem a few times myself, but if your employer has worked out something with a vendor of any kind, you should go through your employer’s contacts with that vendor instead of calling up any old vendor, b/c chances are that a specific group is in charge of the discount line provided by your employer.

    I know it sounds like a bunch of roadblocks that I’m thinking, of, but I just want people to sound informed when they’re on the phone talking to the sales folks on the other end of the insurance line, having been one for a brief time myself. It always sucks to get some jerk who thinks he’s a know-it-all asking for discounts that they’re either already receiving or something the salesperson has no control over.

    And just ask them how they can help you lower your insurance costs! They’re usually very happy to number crunch along with you so that they can $ell.

  14. I did this last month and was astounded at how badly I was being ripped off by Nationwide. I switched to Geico and could not be happier.. not to mention that they shaved 50% off my bill.

    I wrote about that here: http://www.3princessesmomma.com/2008/10/i-just-saved-a-ton-of-money-by-switching-to-geico/

  15. I will definitely try this… getting a new car soon because the one I currently drive is dying. Thanks!

  16. I have to put a plug in here for Statefarm.

    I hit a deer last week with my van and they didn’t blink an eye to get the claim going immediately. I even emailed them online when the body shop I was dealing with wasn’t being helpful and they responded back to me within a half hour with answers to all my questions after first calling the body shop to see what was up. The body shop later called and apologized profusely.

    I’ve made a couple other claims in the past as well and it’s been the same service every single time. I’m not sure even a $1000/year savings would even entice me to switch. It’s hard to find someone you trust.

    Well, $1000 is quite a bit… :)

    Anyway, my two cents.

  17. I’m not a big fan of this tip. Yes, there are people out there who do not have the right coverage, but downsizing could end up costing you more in the long-run if you skimp on coverage that you don’t see as necessary. I know this hassle all too well as I just hit a deer with my car. Choose a good insurance company that will actually pay for your claims, but pick a higher deductible so that the rates are still low. Paying for the small dings will save you in the long run and you won’t have to worry when you get into a major accident.

  18. Hmm, in checking Progressive they may just be able to do better for me. Of course my car insurance doesn’t end until next spring and I already paid in full for it last spring so it doesn’t make sense to change it now.

    Though based on the quote I got from Progressive (which may be due to the dereg that I wasn’t aware of) they are telling me 6 months at less than $350. (or $700 a year I assume) Last year I paid well over $1300!! So this time would give me $600 this month. I’d say I’m well on my way to that $1K saved. :-P

    And I think being in MA does mean something, Brian. It means regulation of Insurance MA style (or regulation of anything MA style) means higher prices and paying for Boston.

  19. Just a note in response to Ramit’s second addition above about the financial strength of insurers. I agree with Ramit that an insurer’s ability to pay is essential to how useful a policy is. When an insurer goes insolvent (their version of bankruptcy), the company’s assets are liquidated and used to pay off claims, but it takes a long time and usually results in reduced payments. In short: it’s a huge hastle.

    I work in Risk Management, which is closely tied to commercial insurance. The best source to determine the financial strength of an insurer is A.M. Best. You can look up an insurer’s A.M. Best rating on their website at ambest.com, but most insurance companies will provide this to you if you ask them for their current rating.

    There are two components to an AM best rating. A letter, and a Roman numeral. The letter indicates the financial strength (e.g. A++ is “Superior) and the Roman numeral indicates the financial size category (e.g. XV is $2 billion or greater). When evaluating insurers for my company, I accept nothing below an A- VIII. The A.M. Best website also provides other helpful information such as the outlook for a company.

    One final note: be sure you’re looking up the actual company underwriting your policy. Insurers often create subsidiaries to handle high-risk policies, and that subsidiary could have a different strength rating than it’s parent. It could go insolvent without taking the parent company’s assets with it.

    Best of luck in your negotiating and make sure you go with stable insurers.

    My savings today: $0 (I have no car)

  20. I’m with Mud Puppy, my experience with State Farm has been so good that I don’t think I’d consider switching given my current 13 year old, cheap to ensure car and tiny renters policy. The service was fantastic and prompt even though I had an accident in the middle of our biggest blizzard last year (along with a few thousand other people) and I’m sure they were swamped. Maybe if I was getting fleeced because I had a new car… but the odds of my purchasing a brand new car are slim to none.

    That said. Good tip! It’s so easy to forget about services with bills that don’t come monthly. I’ve stashed enough away in my “car” savings account that I really should up my deductible and possibly lower my estimated mileage.

  21. I like the list of questions you provided to ask the company. Great advice.

    When I got my first car at age 23, I used the “Y company is offering to insure me for $XXX less” line and one company actually accused me of lying to the first company that gave me the good quote!

    I deal with an insurance broker, but I do my own research as well.

  22. I would highly recommend checking into USAA and see if you qualify.
    My father and grandfather were in the service (Navy) so we qualify and have been using them for years.
    I do check in with other companies from time to time, but they usually can’t come close.
    No one else comes close to beating their prices, and the service is phenomenal!
    They offer an unbeatable roadside assistance program as well. We pay $12/yr per car and have been able to tow our vehicle up to 20 miles with NO charge. You can’t beat that!
    I just re-evaluated our insurance and ended up saving $225/6 months. $450/year!
    Our premiums are down to under $400/6 months for 2 vehicles.

  23. @ Battra92: Well then be happy you don’t live in CT, because I paid literally over $2500 when I lived there for the same coverage as I got with Commerce. When I had a Mustang GT it was over $3200, and that was on my parent’s policy who never had an accident or a ticket.

    If you cancel your policy now, even though you have paid in full, they will refund you the remained balance, pro-rated to the day. When I canceled Commerce I got a $200-something check in the mail a few weeks later (actually, MetLife informed them I was no longer a customer for me, so I didn’t have to do anything).

    ^^^ That is, assuming of course, that you have not signed a contract stating you would stay with them and that if you leave no refund would be given.

  24. If my car had anti lock breaks, I would take it to a shop.

  25. “increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you more than 40%.” Wow, I’ve never seen such a huge discounts for California car insurance. Homeowners policies, yes. Auto, more like 5 to 10%discount per jump in deductible.

    Also, most car companies (unlike homeowner’s) do not pro-rate your refund if you switch mid-term. There is usually a 10% administrative charge.

  26. I called my insurance company (progressive), and asked what kind of stuff prompted discounts. Apparently, me being a student saves me about 40$/month! $480/year for a 3 minute phone call. Sweet!

  27. Hey, just wanted to let you know that I examined my auto insurance closely. I was with AAA but after researching for about an hour, I’m officially switched….and just saved about 50%!! No joke, I went to Geico and got triple the coverage for almost exactly half the price. Who knew there was so much to be saved by taking a little time to look into it!! Ha, ha, this kind of sounds like one of their ads, sorry if it comes of as spammy, but it’s the honest truth. This is really a great tip, everyone should look into their auto insurance and shop around!

  28. Danny, I’m glad it worked. How much did you save?

  29. I have had AAA auto insurance since I was 18 and cannot recommend them enough. My rates have consistently gone down, even though after college I bought a newer car and switched to full coverage insurance. I currently pay $44/month ($528/year)for full coverage ($500 deductible) on my 02 Ford Escort, and I’m 24 years old.

    Also, my father received a DWI about 15 years ago and afterward AAA was the only insurance company he could find to insure him – his policy cost him around $500 per month at the time (for an old, paid off truck, and in the rural midwest where cost of living is much cheaper). He has been with AAA since then (no further DWIs, and no speeding tickets that I know of) and his rates have continually dropped – right now he pays $20/month for full coverage insurance on his truck (a Ford Ranger that he bought new about 6 or 8 years ago). I mention this only to show that AAA will be fair to high-risk drivers and continually drop your rates for periods of times with no accidents/tickets, regardless of past mistakes.

  30. My premium went from $479 every 6 months to $232 every 6 months. Looks like I saved more than 50%!

  31. First and foremost, you’ll get the best rate no matter what with a good driving record and a good credit rating. Slow down, drive defensively and build a driving record like a credit rating. Whether you have points on your license or not – take a defensive driving class. For $40 and a few hours time, you can save 10 percent on your existing auto insurance even with a clean driving record. Go for the highest deductibles you can afford (with the deductibles saved in your ING savings account). Go with a highly rated company with good service that can give you a package deal on your renters/homeowners, auto, life which mean multi-line discounts for all of your policies. There are longevity discounts for being accident free. I’ve been with State Farm since I was in college and have kept a clean driving record. My rates are ridiculously cheap as a result like $220 for 6 months on a 04 Volvo wagon. Check out your local State Farm agent while you’re shopping – I’m surprised Ramit didn’t include them. You can do business in person, by phone or email, whichever your preference. They aren’t the #1 auto insurer in the US for no reason.

  32. Added State Farm above.

  33. I pay myself each month, rather than making monthly insurance payments. Then, when the premium is due, I make a one-time payment.

    I avoid “processing fees” and my bank account can earn a small bit of interest. It doesn’t amount to much, but every little bit helps!

    Plus, if I come into some hard times, it’s nice to know that my insurance premiums are paid up and I can resort to making monthly payments next time around if need be.

  34. 10 mins online 5 minutes on the phone $300 a year i get to keep;)

  35. I echo the comments here about State Farm; their customer service is incredible! And I get huge discounts by buying policies for multiple lines.

    Contacting them couldn’t be easier. Call your agent, and if he or she isn’t in the office you’ll be connected to a 24×7 customer service line that take claims, discuss coverage, etc. If you want to avoid your agent for some reason and go directly to customer service, just call the agent’s office in the evening.

  36. We went with Ameriprise through Costco a few years ago and we have the top coverage and save $150 every 6 months over what Geico was charging us at a lesser level of coverage. Also, on our first renewal they dropped the rate another $60 without us calling them!

    The Costco business membership has saved us a lot in the past few years and we get back the amount of the membership ($100) through their rebate program.

  37. You missed an insurer. Amica. They are JD Powers rated #1 in customer satisfaction.
    1-800-242-6422
    http://www.amica.com/
    Friendliest and easiest insurance company I’ve ever dealt with and their rates are really good as well.
    They aren’t well known but everyone I’ve recommended to them have been really happy with their rates & service.

  38. Excellent tip, Ramit. It certainly generated a great deal of intelligent feedback. Thank you for your insight.

  39. [...] (you can read more here). I’m Will Teach You to be Rich shares some very detailed tips on how you can save money on your car insurance. He gives you actual dialogue that you can use when you call around to get quotes. I’m the [...]

  40. I know that not everyone is eligible, but USAA insurance is FABULOUS! We have our homeowners and our car insurance with them. I can find a *slightly* better rate with Geico, but the customer service cannot be beat, and not having to worry about my claim if I need help after an accident is priceless. Also, just try calling your own insurance agency. I called USAA and told them I wanted more coverage but didn’t want to pay more $$. They worked with me and we upped the coverage and the deductible and I pay $2 less a year for 3X the coverage. Try upping your deductible if you’re happy with your company. If you’ve got an emergency fund, it shouldn’t break the bank to pay $1000 instead of $500.

  41. It’s my understanding that companies offer different rates based on varying costs to insure different types of drivers. So one company may offer really low rates to those with clean records and make its money off those with less-than-stellar records, while another may focus on other segments. So you *have* to shop around to see who is offering the best deal for someone with your driving record/location/car — there is no other way to know who has the best price for your unique situation.

    The last time I shopped around, I was sure I wouldn’t find a better deal than what I had with GEICO — they were giving me a discount , on an already low rate, for having joined Golden Key National Honor Society when I was in college (definitely look into this to see if they still offer the discount!). But I got an even better deal with Erie Insurance, which I previously hadn’t even heard of though it’s a big, solid company. I get it through a local agent so there is someone I can call if I have an accident and not just a big megacompany in another state. All this and the price was rock bottom (esp. if you pay for a year upfront). Now, I haven’t had to file a claim yet (knock on wood) so I can’t attest to their service, but when I had GEICO, my car was rear-ended by someone who also had GEICO and it took literally 2 weeks for them to get off their asses and pay for my car to get fixed — and it wasn’t even major damage, just a couple hundred bucks. I can’t imagine how long it would take them to pay for a more substantial repair.

  42. Nope, after all those phone calls, I confirmed I was already getting the best rate.

    Today’s Tip: $0
    Cumulative: $90.75

  43. I’m definitely saving at least $100/yr with this tip, possibly more (haven’t had a chance to call Allstate).

    Funny story: when AAA quoted me a rate and I said “Progressive is offering to insure me for $300 less,” the rep was speechless for a minute…and then finally said, “oh my GOSH.”

    She was sure nice, but her company wasn’t too helpful!

  44. as an insurance agent i have to add my 2 cents. for the most part unless your agent isn’t doing their job your insurance rates are what they are. staying with the same coverages, policy type, and company means your rates are not negotiable! there are things you can do though! many companies offer different policy types to choose from. if you haven’t heard of any other options, and don’t refuse anytime they try to talk to you about reviewing your policies, ask your agent. companies offer discounts for security systems, having multiple policies with them, having clean driving records, and taking safety courses. some have multi car and multi people discounts. call your agent and ask if there is anything you can do to qualify for additional discounts.

    be aware of the “discount” companies. my best friend since high school is insured with me. he called me one day and said sam XXX company said they can save me $176 a month on my insurance what should i do? i said hey go for it but wait until you get that up and running and have your first bill before we terminate this policy. (all you have to do is show proof of when your new policy started to back date a termination of your old policy) he took my advise told them to get the ball rolling, turns out they hadn’t given him the final premium and he was acutally going to spend $150 MORE a month! in a lot of states law requires they run lots of reports before determining a final insurance premium (credit, accident report, driving record, how long have you been with your previous company, how long have you been at your job, your residence, etc). some “discount” companies will give you a number before running the reports and then you’ve already cancelled your policy and are trapped. bottom line: make sure your policy is effective at the agreed upon price before terminating your old one!

  45. Ok, I used your link to Ameriprise Insurance. What a pain! I completely filled out the entire questionaire for 30 minutes. Every time you think you are done, it asks for more information that you know is only going to be used for a phone solicitation. That’s ok, if they save me $’s, but after spending all this time keying in information on all 4 of my cars, they spit out a note saying they can’t insure me because one of the cars is used for business. I’m in sales!! One of the MANY questions asked early on is what the cars are used for. Who wants to bet I’m bombarded with calls from telemarketers in the next few weeks who are intellegent enough to know that they refused me for a STUPID reason. Also interesting they can’t give you a quote unless you tell them how much you are currently paying. Well duh! I’m in sales. You are definately NOT going to get their best rate if they know how much they have to go down.

  46. Which link to Ameriprise?

  47. Added note from yesterday: ALL insurance is cyclical! there is a cycle that ever insurance company goes through. whatever company is the cheapest today WILL NOT be the cheapest in a few years. it takes a company 7 yearst to come full cycle… never become stagnant with your insurance or your guaranteed to not have the best rates.

    last note i promise…DO NOT skimp on your coverage to save a few bucks. saving $3 – 10 dollars a month could cost you everything. just about EVERYONE needs more than their required state minimum liability coverage. texas has split limit minimums of 25/50/25….that means they will pay out $25,000 per person for any injuries you cause and $50,000 per occurrence no matter if there are 2 people in the car or 7. and a maximum of $25,000 for the property or vehicles you damage weather its 1 car you hit or a 4 car pile up or if you hit a stop sign, a traffic light, or someone’s house! $25,000 per person for injuries is NOT much and there are a lot of cars on the road worth much more than $25,000!!

  48. I work for Nationwide Insurance and would like to say first off I am upset not to see my company mentioned. I would suggest when you do shop around make sure you find someone to go over your coverages and select proper coverages. I understand that you can “save” money on your insurance, but usually that means lowering your coverages. Also watch out for some Companies that like to give you a start up rate for the first six months. Ask about anniversary discounts, like Nationwide will give you 15% off. Have your home and auto together and save 25%. Make sure you and your spouse are insured together 10% off for multi driver 10% off for multi vehicle.

    If you need any suggestions please feel free to call me 800-282-8636 ext 8084 Jeremy Shuey

  49. I switched from a local carrier to Geico, once I realized that I got an additional discount through my alumni organization. That, plus reviewing what I was paying for, actually cut my 6month bill in half, from 480 to 238ish every six months, with equal or better coverage.

  50. I used to work for one of the major insurance companies (listed) as a customer service counselor. some ideas to try if you have youthful drivers:
    -ask about a good student discount
    -ask to see which vehicle is assigned by the young driver (16 yr old driving a 2008 porche vs. 16 yr old driving 1990 civic). this makes a difference, regardless to if they use one car, or all cars, its the car used the MOST and how often
    -ask for a quote to have youthful driver rated on his own policy. I’ve seen tremendous differences in a)relief on having a young rated driver on parents policy (especially if parents have good driving records). b) the inexperienced driver (especially high-risk) can be placed in a different classification, saving both policies money by seperating.

    also some tips in general:
    -usage on the car (if you changed locations of work, if using car less to save on gas- may save on usage too!
    -alumni associations, college/universities attended, military affiliations may have a sponsored marketing discount.

    of course all companies operate differently, but these were some of things i looked for when assisting with car insurance policies.

  51. Hi Ramit,
    Great tip. I wrote a few weeks ago about how I looked into this then, and could shave $300 a year by switching from State Farm to Liberty Mutual.

    However, I must also echo the State Farm kudos that are flying around. I have had to make 2 claims for broken windshields, both of which led to me having a new windshield the next day, even while traveling in other states! Liberty Mutual seems to be offering a discount from my college alumni association. I have heard that this rate will go up, and I’m not sure I want to lose my preferred status and 10-year accident free discount with State Farm. Plus, if the guy screws me, I know where he lives!

    Similarly, the same agent insures my neighbors, whose house just caught on fire. According to them, State Farm has been amazing, paying for everything (according to their policy), but also is paying to update the house to the new building codes. That is a great, unwritten benefit.

    I’m still chewing on this, but I may actually stay with State Farm as I consider this worth $300/year.

    This tip: maybe $300/year
    Total to date: $240/year

  52. Just cut my payment for auto insurance by about $30/month by making a change (to drop the mileage for a car I’m about to sell) and for applying an AAA discount. I’m still going to call other companies and check Costco before I commit, though.

    Total Savings: $360/year by this tip alone.

    I would have never have gotten off my butt and made this call if you hadn’t removed the barrier and provided the phone numbers for us. THANK YOU. And FYI, the AAA number you provide (866-539-8033) is for Northern California only, but they were happy to transfer me over to the correct office.

    Again, thank you so much.

  53. Don’t know if you have them over there, but moneysupermarket.com and confused.com in the UK will compare ‘like for like’ car insurance online by filling in one form only and trawling through the whole market for you – saves me a packet every year on the insurer I used the previous year, and then I go back to my existing insurer and say ‘so and so will do the same for £x cheaper’ and they usually come down to match it. No savings this time, coz I already do it, but it’s a good tip if you haven’t been used to it!

  54. [...] full retail price for clothes or eyeglasses again How I’m saving $2,000+ on eating out in 2009 How to negotiate your car insurance Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far Forget going to a bar — ask people [...]

  55. Hey! Just wanted to let you know we’ve been using 21st for several years – by far the least expensive – and have not had any problems at all with them. We get a bill every 6 months by mail and we can pay it via check or online, in one lump sum or in 3 equal payments.

    You may have had a fluke problem, methinks…!

  56. Thanks for the tip. I went the extra mile and got 5 different quotes online. I had been a Nationwide customer for 7 or so years. All 5 quotes were $1000 to $1500 less than Nationwide (3 cars, keeping the same exact coverage). Man, I was getting ripped off! It pays to check the market, especially if you’ve been with the same insurance company for a long time. Lesson learned!

    I’m now spending $1500 a year less for the same level of coverage. Yes, Nationwide spindoctors will tell you the service is good. Service is overrated. I’ve spent thousands with Nationwide and have never had to call them once….except yesterday, when I canceled my policy.

  57. Here are a couple other good articles I found on getting car insurance and picking your insurance company:

    http://www.edmunds.com/advice/insurance/articles/89618/article.html
    http://www.edmunds.com/advice/insurance/articles/92300/article.html

    They seem to have good things to say about Erie and Amica, in terms of customer treatment. This in particular concerns me because although State Farm gets good reviews above, they get a lot of negative reviews online, although all the big insurance companies I’ve looked up have tons of complaints against them. I just bought a new (to me) car and am going to switch insurance companies.

    Does anyone have recommendations for a good insurance for people with good driving records? I’ve never gotten a ticket or caused an accident (knock on wood) in the ten years I’ve had my license. I looked at MetLife like someone recommended above, but I am in NC and they apparently don’t insure there.

  58. Clearly, I am retarded because you already link to the one Edmund’s article above… my bad.

    Anyway, if anyone is interested, I have gotten a good quote from Amica and they seem to get pretty good reviews (comparatively) online to State Farm, All State, etc. It looks like it will cost me about $800 per year to insure a 2006 BMW 325i with excellent coverage (it’s in NC though and rates are lower here than elsewhere in the country), which should save me at least $500 per year. All State quoted me $660 per year (!!!!), but they don’t seem overwhelmingly popular if you have to make a claim.

  59. Interesting to read, and surprising to me in Spain. It seems that your vehicle insurance is so high, that what you save on cheap petrol is spent on insurance. I won’t feel so bad the next time I go to the petrol station in this country, because my insurance is 325 euros per annum.

  60. Thanks! I got one quote online from State Farm. Then I called my Allstate agent to let her know I was shopping around. She cut my rates from $847 to $383 for six months without cutting my benefits. You saved me $928 per year with minimal effort!

    Now I don’t know whether to be happy about saving money or pissed because they were charging me so much for so long.

  61. Some of the questions you listed can be addressed fully with Geico’s website. Geico’s great reputation and low cost (saved me $300/year when I switched a year or two ago) were the reasons I switched. I’ll have to do some quick comparison shopping just to check…

  62. State Farm doesn’t have a central call center because their policy is to deal with Agents directly. It helps alleviate the many-to-few issues call centers have. A State Farm agent will be much more helpful than some call center with minimum wage employees.

  63. [...] Sethi at I Will Teach You to be Rich has a great post on negotiating car insurance rates if you’re interested in a detailed [...]

  64. I don’t know – but I don’t think it is true that you can sweet talk a person on a price that is already fixed, so how exactly would you negotiate? Please clarify this for me.

  65. [...] Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far Today’s tip is to write down how much you’ve saved so far, AND how you would motivate others to save money. [...]

  66. [...] Read Ramit’s advice on how to negotiate insurance coverage. This inspired me to look at the insurance costs and play with the numbers. Fortunately, USAA offers [...]

  67. Love your stuff. Linked back to you on my site. Congrats on the book launch!

  68. [...] was $118/month. It jumped about $20 this last term.  We called to see if we could do something to lower our auto insurance premiums, like adding rental insurance with them or increase our deductibles. They said it was the lowest [...]

  69. Ramit, thank you!We saved $700 by switching from farmers to Costco Ameriprise!
    I still can’t believe it and will be shopping for new insurance once a year from now on! WOW~

  70. [...] 13: Negotiate your car insurance. I don’t negotiate my car insurance. I don’t even talk to them – that’s what I [...]

  71. [...] Car Insurance Tip #13: How to negotiate your car insurance | I Will Teach You To Be Rich The guy who runs this site has a book out with a ton of useful info. He has some nice blogs such [...]

  72. [...] billers to reduce your bills, give it a whirl.  For a reference on this process, Ramit Sethi has a great write-up on how to “negotiate like an Indian”.  Good [...]

  73. [...] Continue reading here: How to negotiate your car insurance [...]

  74. [...] with no dependents. Next, quotes for car insurance coverage. Using Ramit’s scripts and ideas here, the first quote alone can save me $120/year with no change in coverage. I have 3 more quotes to [...]

  75. [...] for clothes or eyeglasses again Tip #12: How I’m saving $2,000+ on eating out in 2009 Tip #13: How to negotiate your car insurance Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far Tip #15: Forget going to a bar [...]

  76. [...] Before making calls, I read up on ways that we could save some extra money and sought out other smart people in the personal finance world. [...]