December 24, 2010

Insurance Companies Lower Rates For New Customers

FACT:Auto and Life Insurance premiums have come down in the past 3-5 years.

FACT:If you have not checked your auto and life insurance rates in the last 3-5 years you are probably overpaying.

I meet new customers everyday that finally get up enough energy to shop their insurance policies, after 25 years of loyalty to the same insurance company. Only to learn they have been "OVER PAYING" for auto, home and life insurance in some cases by a great deal for many years.

Back in the day my parents and probably your parents and /or your grand parents use to take a job and stay on that job for 20,30 or even 40 years. Well those days are gone and staying with the same insurance company for a life time may be also.

According to Clark Howard, consumer guru auto, home and life insurance rates have come down due to a number of different factors over the past 5 years.

One reason this is happening in the auto insurance industry is that insurance carriers have gone to a tiered rating system based largely on credit scoring, plus the same factors that have always been considered IE drivers age, city, car type, driving record, etc. But credit scoring has become the dominant factor.

In the life insurance industry companies are competing for your business which is good for the consumer and people are living longer

Here is secret the insurance company's don't want you to know. Many insurance carriers offer their better rate to new customers "ONLY". Yes, I know it sounds unfair but true. A few carriers will sometimes adjust current customer's rates to the new lower rate, if the customer request a re-rating of their current policy.

I am speaking from personal experience not from what I think is going on. I was an agent for over 20 years with Allstate and now I am an independent insurance agent in Georgia. So I know both sides of the business.

There is a lot of advice on the web from the government and private sector on how to lower your insurance cost. Most of it is good advice but incomplete. Improving your auto insurance premium is not a destination it is a journey.

Your driving habits, credit, vehicles, employment, education, home ownership, driving experience and life changes all the time. All of these life changes affect your rate.

So that being said here is my 2 cents worth on things you can do to improve your insurance rates today. You have heard some of these ideas before, while some ideas are new insider's secrets.

1. Put together your current insurance declaration pages. If you can't find them call your current agent they will send you copies.

2. A great lazy way to shop your insurance rate is to use an internet lead company I.E. or

With these company's you complete one "request for quote form online" and receives quote indications from many different companies. A quote indication is a price estimate based solely on the information you complete on the online questionnaire.

WARNING: Please note depending on the city you are in you may get calls from as many as 20+ agents. Lead companies sell your information to as many insurance agents as they can, that's how they make their money. So don't use this strategy unless you are serious and have time to go through the information provided by each company.

3. Go online or use the phone book to locate an independent agent in your community. You can call their office or complete a quote request form from their website. In most cases they will call you within 24 hours during the work week to verify your information and then provide you with an accurate rate. Most independent agent's sale and service insurance policies for many of the top companies. They will shop their companies for you and tell you who has the best rate, claims service and who is easy to do business with. They will also be able to shop you around in the future as your qualify for better rates.

4. Pay close attention to your credit score and inquires. As your credit score improves your rate can also improve if you change companies and maintain a good driving record.

5. If you are married use the spouse with the better credit score as the primary insured.

6. Take a defensive driving course online. This strategy can help reduce your rate by 10%. Be sure your carrier recognizes the course being offered as valid for the discount.

7. If you have to pay monthly use EFT (electronic funds transfer). If you can, pay the premium in full. Many companies give you a pretty good discount.

8. Carry higher limits of liability. In many cases the rates for higher limits will give you a better rate than the state minimum limits.

9. Don't purchase accident forgiveness coverage. It really does not make sense

10. Call your current insurance company and ask them if they can do any better on your current rate and they should be willing to re-rate it for you within 24 hours.

And that is it. By following the suggestions above you will know if you are getting the best price, coverage etc for your hard earned dollars. It is a good practice to shop around every 3-5 years. If you are with an independent agent they will shop for you so you won't have to keep changing agents.

There is a lot of advertising for low cost insurance on TV, radio, the internet, on emergency response units on the highway, football fields almost everywhere you look. Advertising is very expensive and guess what, you end up paying for that advertising cost in higher premiums.

I share this with you because many people think they already have the best rate based on what the television says. Check with an independent insurance agent. They represent top companies that use their advertising dollars differently and so you don't absorb the cost in your insurance rates. Good luck and take some action.

Home, Auto, Life and Business Insurance The Cornerstone Agency is a full service insurance agency. Andrew Brunson is a Multi Line Insurance Broker in Snellville, GA with over 20 years of experience in the insurance business.We offer competitive insurance programs for auto, home, life, flood and business insurance.


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