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Auto insurance renewal

Auto insurance renewal

Old Sep 4th 2017, 1:06 pm
  #1  
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Default Auto insurance renewal

I am keen to get my premiums down. First time round I needed someone who'd accept UK licences but that's nolonger an issue. A couple of questions

There don't seem to be comparison websites like I used in U.K. Am I using the wrong search term? (Or is the market too fragmented for them to work?)

Am I unrealistic in expecting premiums to come down much (only 6 months US driving history after all)

Coverage: is it a dangerous game to go too mean on the liability stuff?
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 3:37 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Actual prices depend on too many variables -- driver, vehicle, zip code etc.

If a family member has served in the USA military, try USAA. If not, get a quote from Amica who have great service AND great rates.

They actually suggested I lower my auto liability coverage and make it up with an Umbrella policy. The net result was more coverage at a lower price. However, an Umbrella does typically require homeowners coverage with the same carrier.

You could also try Geico, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, AllState.
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 4:25 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by Chesten View Post
Coverage: is it a dangerous game to go too mean on the liability stuff?
If you were involved in an accident and were liable, then if your insurance doesn't cover the cost the other party will look to you for the difference. What is the value of your assets that you need to protect in such an eventuality.

As mentioned by malch an umbrella policy is worth at least considering, mine has saved my butt in a $1million law suit. Didn't cost me a penny not even legal fees and it wasn't a vehicle related matter, but something not fully covered by our house insurance.
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Umbrella policies are good - you're basically lowering the coverage on the car/house but then increasing it with a separate policy. You are less likely to be sued like Lansbury was but more likely to have a bump in the car so it makes sense to separate out the high risk and low risk stuff. IME, it doesn't lower the cost of the total insurance bill but it does give you more coverage. You must have your house policy and car policy with the same company for them to provide the umbrella policy

I would increase the deductible on the car insurance to get a lower premium before reducing the coverage. However, get the different insurance companies to run the numbers for you. In my case, increasing the deductible to $500 was worth it but increasing it to $1k made almost no difference in the premiums. I didn't go above that for a deductible but if you can afford it, then you might ask.

Nationwide is our insurer... they gave my OH a gadget to put in his car for 6 months to see how he drove in his sporty mazda -offering up to 20% discount if he maintained safe driving. I have a prius so I got the discount anyway.
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by Chesten View Post
There don't seem to be comparison websites like I used in U.K. Am I using the wrong search term? (Or is the market too fragmented for them to work?)
no comparison websites in the USA for any financial products (unless they have started up recently). I suspect due to the differing states' regulations making it too difficult. Many people seem to still use insurance brokers instead, whereas they are now a specialist thing in the UK.

Originally Posted by Chesten View Post
Am I unrealistic in expecting premiums to come down much (only 6 months US driving history after all)
probably - sorry. One of the biggest factors in determining your premium is your credit rating, your age/driving history is not as big a factor as it is in the UK. I found Geico very good for me.

Originally Posted by Chesten View Post
Coverage: is it a dangerous game to go too mean on the liability stuff?
Insurance is expensive until the day you need it, when it suddenly becomes very cheap indeed. Depends on your risk tolerance. I used to drive 30 miles a day on good roads, and would see the aftermath of 2 -3 accidents a week on average (rising in bad weather to 2 - 3 per day). I liked the peace of mind of being well covered.
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by yellowroom View Post
Insurance is expensive until the day you need it, when it suddenly becomes very cheap indeed.
Yes but it's certainly possible to go overboard with all of the different types of insurance available today. You really have think this through what's appropriate for you depending on risks, assets in need of protection etc.

Interesting (non-auto) example... my local water utility has been pushing a policy to cover damage to the water line from the meter at the street into the house. It's not expensive but for most folks it's a waste of money.

However, I opted to purchase this insurance. The only reason I did so is because the line runs under some large trees in my front yard. The tree roots have taken out my sprinkler lines multiple times. Sure, the PVC sprinkler lines are weak compared to the steel water line. Even so, the premiums are based on average risk and it's clear that my risk is way above average.
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Thank you all for the responses which are all very helpful. I hadn't heard of umbrella policies to thats worth knowing as well as understanding how the liability works. I've got time to shop around so I'll continue to do so.
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Old Sep 4th 2017, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

You could also take a look at Consumer Reports. Some of their info requires a subscription but an online subscription is quite inexpensive ($35/year although you might be able to find discounts and promos). I wouldn't recommend it ONLY for insurance because the market is local -- different insurers operate in different states etc. But it's a handy resource broadly similar to the British "Which?" publication.

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm
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Old Sep 5th 2017, 6:49 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

We went with Metlife second time round and saved a packet.
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Old Sep 5th 2017, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

You could try compare.com as mentioned in this article Compare.com Reviews - Is it a Scam or Legit?

The biggest issue I find is that many give multi-policy discounts, so you need to compare the whole package.
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Old Sep 5th 2017, 11:29 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
As mentioned by malch an umbrella policy is worth at least considering, mine has saved my butt in a $1million law suit. Didn't cost me a penny not even legal fees and it wasn't a vehicle related matter, but something not fully covered by our house insurance.
Wow, what happened?
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Old Sep 5th 2017, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
If you were involved in an accident and were liable, then if your insurance doesn't cover the cost the other party will look to you for the difference. What is the value of your assets that you need to protect in such an eventuality.

As mentioned by malch an umbrella policy is worth at least considering, mine has saved my butt in a $1million law suit. Didn't cost me a penny not even legal fees and it wasn't a vehicle related matter, but something not fully covered by our house insurance.
You did promise us the details when it was over, though I did expect that to be for much longer than apparently it was. Glad to hear that it didn't cost you anything.
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Old Sep 6th 2017, 1:17 am
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by malch View Post
Yes but it's certainly possible to go overboard with all of the different types of insurance available today. You really have think this through what's appropriate for you depending on risks, assets in need of protection etc.

Interesting (non-auto) example... my local water utility has been pushing a policy to cover damage to the water line from the meter at the street into the house. It's not expensive but for most folks it's a waste of money.

However, I opted to purchase this insurance. The only reason I did so is because the line runs under some large trees in my front yard. The tree roots have taken out my sprinkler lines multiple times. Sure, the PVC sprinkler lines are weak compared to the steel water line. Even so, the premiums are based on average risk and it's clear that my risk is way above average.
This type of water pipe policy is normal in UK and has been for many years , mine used to cost something like £150 a year but also included internal plumbing , drains on the property and emergency electrician call out. Worked beautifully! I had a blocked sewage pipe causing the downstairs toilet to back up - called the insurance helpline , took particulars and 20 minutes later got call from DynoRod to say "sorry, will take us 30 minutes to get to you!" . Arrived, inspected, got out equipment and 45 mins later all done! The guy said it would have been £200 for call out and work on site if not insured. OK so I had had a policy for 10 years with no claim so I suppose you could say I'd paid for it 10 times over but I used to travel a lot and it was nice to know if anything did happen my wife could just call one number and get it sorted.
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Old Sep 6th 2017, 4:52 am
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

Originally Posted by quiltman View Post
This type of water pipe policy is normal in UK and has been for many years , mine used to cost something like £150 a year but also included internal plumbing , drains on the property and emergency electrician call out. Worked beautifully! I had a blocked sewage pipe causing the downstairs toilet to back up - called the insurance helpline , took particulars and 20 minutes later got call from DynoRod to say "sorry, will take us 30 minutes to get to you!" . Arrived, inspected, got out equipment and 45 mins later all done! The guy said it would have been £200 for call out and work on site if not insured. OK so I had had a policy for 10 years with no claim so I suppose you could say I'd paid for it 10 times over but I used to travel a lot and it was nice to know if anything did happen my wife could just call one number and get it sorted.
Ours only covers the water line between the meter and the house for around $70/year. It's only worth it because I believe my water line is at an unusually high risk of damage from tree roots.

Home warranty plans are popular in the USA. They typically cover a lot more than plumbing but cost more too. Often something like $500/year plus $100 per call. They might represent good value if your home and appliances etc. are in very poor shape. But if you live in a well maintained home, it's probably better to self-insure.
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Old Sep 6th 2017, 7:11 am
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Default Re: Auto insurance renewal

With home warranties, I've been prepared to pay more than if I self-insured for the peace of mind knowing that one call will get it sorted, like quiltman said.

The last thing I want to do if the toilet springs a leak on a weekend (like it did last month) is to start googling plumbers and ringing round and finding someone who is prepared to come out and be not sure of who they are or the quality of their work. I'm relatively cash-rich, time-poor so for this household, home warranties are "good value".
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