Our car insurance comes due for renewal on July 1, so I decided to shop around and see what other deals are out there on the insurance market.
I think that our current insurance rates are excellent considering that we are young, we bought the car brand new in 2007, and it is also the first car to be registered under my name, it is my boyfriend Nick’s second car. I also receive a preferred rate on my car insurance since I am staff with the financial institution.
To say that I was disappointed in the insurance industry is to say the least. My experience while shopping for new car insurance was a nightmare…a fifty three minute nightmare that I couldn’t get out of. Currently for both Nick and I, we pay $112 a month in car insurance for our 2007 Black, 4 Door, Honda Civic LX. This includes car replacement costs and costs for a rental car in case of damage or theft.
For my experiment, I shopped for new car insurance with TDCanadaTrust, which is the Canadian equivalent of its US Partner TDBank. The online process took a total of 8 minutes. Although it does provide an insurance quote at the end of the process, I was still instructed to call for further information and to activate my policy.
I called the 1-800 telephone number for TD Insurance and was advised that my wait time would be “less than 5 minutes”. So far, my experience was going well…the online process was user friendly, and my wait time on the phone was less than I expected. The online insurance quote was a little bit higher than my current rate, however, it was comparable at $128 per month.
Once a live insurance agent came onto the phone the whole process started to go downhill. He started by asking me the same questions that I had just answered during the online process. He wanted to know absolutely everything about us. This went on for 53 minutes and 25 seconds.
When I say that he wanted to know everything about us I mean absolutely everything. The licensed insurance agent also made comments about our relationship status. After I said the car was registered in both the names of me and my boyfriend he asked how long we have been dating, if we live at the same address, and if we are considered common law spouses. I replied my usual “We have been dating for 10 years and living together for 6.” The agents reply, as it is with many people, was “And you are NOT married?” I wasn’t aware that my marital status (or therefore lack of) was relevant to the cost of our insurance premiums.
There are various discounts available on insurance premiums for any number of different reasons. Here are a few that came up in my conversation:
- Recent College Graduate (not applicable to us since I graduated in 2005 and Nick in 2003)
- Member of a Professional Association (This is applicable since I am a Certified Financial Planner)
- Your Credit Score (If you have a good credit score you can make monthly payments, otherwise you will have to pay a yearly lump sum premium. Also, you can receive a discounted premium if you have a good credit history)
- Group Rates (It is important to inquire with your employer whether or not they have preferred group rates with insurance companies and/or financial institutions)
Needless to say I did not switch Insurance companies and I renewed my existing policy.
As insurance premiums are a regular expense it is a good idea to include your insurance payments in your monthly budget. It is also a good idea to keep your deductible as part of your emergency funds, just in case :)
(Photo By SteveJohnson)