Saturday, November 3, 2012

About getting auto insurance quotes

And, since this site is going to be about rants and stuff, today's post is about people who blindly renew their auto insurance policies, year after year, with the same company.

The main character that fits this profile is a mid-aged male who makes pretty good money (like mid-class or a tad bit higher) and isn't very tech-savvy. He hangs out in a moderately large social circle and his peers are about the same age and probably even work fro the same company. Let's call our guy Bob.

So Bob drives at least one car, much like any other mid-aged American. There are 2+ vehicles in his household, and he is even considering getting a car for his teenage kid when he goes to college because, hey, that's what all parents do.

How does our Bob buy insurance for his cars? Well, he doesn't give much of a rat's ass about it. He bought his first auto insurance policy with GEICO, Allstate, State Farm or another monster twenty or so years ago, and hasn't switched carriers ever since. He got married in the mean time, had a kid who grew up and makes twice as much as he did when he signed the policy. Yet he renews the policy year after year, and pays for 12 months in advance because that's the only way he knows how to save money on auto insurance.

What's wrong with this model?

Well, where do I start from?
  • His driver profile has changed drastically over the past 20 years. Getting married, having a kid and getting a bigger salary is going to put you in different risk categories from an insurer's point of view, and the rates will be adjusted accordingly. If you don't ask for a re-assessment you are going to pay the same rate, year after year.
  • The insurance market is highly competitive. Even though it often pays up to stay with a big carrier, all major companies fight to snatch each others' customers by offering promotions. These bonuses often outweigh the returning customer discount.
  • Companies often offer discounts to their existing customers, but you have to ask for them. Other than the NCD and the returning customer discount, which (should) get credited to your account by default, you have to take some action. If you have a teenager on your policy and he gets good grades in school, you have to submit some paperwork to get a good student discount. If you renew your policy more than 2 months in advance, you can get an early renewal discount that can be as much as 20% of the value of the policy -- but you have to physically do it.
My friend Fred Rackins runs a blog about how to compare auto insurance quotes to get the best rates, and he inspired me to write this article. He works as an independent insurance broker, had a few beers with me last night and told me some horrendous stories about the ignorance of some people who yank at how expensive auto insurance is in the United States, yet they wouldn't lift a finger about it. I'd warmly encourage you to read his tips -- they might save you a buck or two.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reasons why you need a service to sell your car

Every once in a while I like to have a look around on Pissed Customer -- it's not that I'm interested in a certain service, but I like to read rants and, why not, stay in touch with who's scamming whom.

Now I ran into this comment on a guy's complaint about how Automotive USA didn't put his car up for sale, even though they charged him the $300 listing fee. Here's the comment:

Other than the uncalled for slander, here's why you sometimes need a professional service.
  • It saves time. If you're anything like me, then your time is a valuable asset. You're not selling a cell phone or your used winter jacket -- setting up the proper sales ads takes some time to write the proper copy, take the pics and all that. A professional service would do that for you.
  • It helps you weed out scammers. Most professional services will also offer escrow services, so the chances of not cashing in the whole amount are really slim.
  • It helps you set the right price. Those guys know the market and know what you may get for the car you want to sell. Again, your time is valuable, so you wouldn't want to do the market research on your own, would you?
Granted, such services cost money, but you get something in return. And please, tell me how Ebay and whatever services that douche listed are free of charge. I dare you, I double dare you! Granted, they may be (a tad bit) cheaper, but it's not like Automotive USA charged $300 when the original poster could have sold the car for free.

I'm not arguing that Automotive USA didn't screw that guy -- maybe they did. Maybe some lazy guy forgot to put up the ads, or maybe they couldn't keep their two weeks promise. But claiming that they are useless is silly, to say the least.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Some funny insurance commercials

This Bangkok insurance company has a funny way of showing what the odds of 0.000001% mean. And, once you come to think about it, this is the main reason why people choose not to buy insurance, or are underinsured -- "it cannot happen to me". Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Some people…

I was browsing Pissed Customer the other day and came across a review yanking at how much GEICO sucks. I don't have a lot of experience with GEICO, so I can't vouch for the credibility of that article, but there's this comment that pulled my finger.

So this medea0888 claims they had insurance with GEICO, switched cars, called in to have the policy switched on to the new car, then pow, when they wanted to make the claim, the insurer said they don't have the truck in their records. Am I the only one who smells something fishy here?
  • An insurance policy is considered to be in place when you get the physical insurance card, or print out the one you get from the insurer's website. (GEICO provides you with some provisional card by the time they mail you the real one, if I'm not mistaken). They had no physical proof of insurance two months after the call, and saw nothing wrong about it. Boo-ya!
  • Given that the new car wasn't insured, they have been technically driving without insurance. Since there wasn't an accident involved (there's not much information in the post about how she wrecked the truck), the police probably hasn't looked deeply into it though. But again, driving without insurance is a criminal offense in Arkansas (assuming that's where they're from). Another boo-ya!
  • When it's obvious that you didn't have any physical proof of insurance and were most likely uninsured too because of your ignorance, how do you go online and make a rant at an insurance company that simply did their job?
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Some people take so many things for granted and even more of them shouldn't be allowed on public roads. Next time, such an ignorant fool will crash into someone else's car and demand that the insurance company pays out on an inexistent or expired policy.