Auto Insurance: If You Call, They Might Lower Your Rates

New Orleans    Friends and countrymen, please make a note to yourself immediately!  The note involves your personal financial health and our general citizen wealth.  The next time your auto insurance policy comes up for renewal, if not before, call your agent and ask them to please reveal any discounts or policy changes that might lower your insurance premium!

Catching up on back issues of the newspapers from the period when I was traveling recently, I came to an amazing story in the “Your Money” column in the Times.  If you also missed it, focus on these couple of paragraphs that might save you thousands of dollars in the future:

But he said he “dillydallied,” and didn’t call his insurer, Liberty Mutual, until a couple of weeks ago, shortly after AARP contacted him by mail and urged him to call The Hartford for a free quote on his auto insurance.

And it was a good thing he decided to call. The Hartford told him it could offer him a policy with the same coverage for just half — yes, half — the amount he was paying Liberty Mutual, or about $1,267. Mr. Mitchell said he contacted Liberty Mutual with the news. And wouldn’t you know, the representative told him that it had revised its underwriting standards and he would now qualify for a premium of $1,207.

“I was happy to get the reduction, but I was dismayed to learn that the burden was on me, which means there are probably thousands of policy holders who are eligible for this but don’t know what they don’t know,” said Mr. Mitchell, who was insuring a 2002 GMC Envoy and a 2010 Toyota Prius. “It is a rip-off.”

Even more maddening, he said, was the conversation that ensued with a Liberty Mutual branch manager.  Mr. Mitchell said he was really irked that the company was perfectly content to let him continue paying twice as much as he needed to, so he asked the manager if the company would have bothered to notify him of the “underwriting changes” when his policy came up for renewal this summer. “To my astonishment, he admitted that the premium reduction would not have been brought to my attention unless I asked for it,” he said.

Are you getting this?  These are big companies with sizable reputations.  For years our health plan used old policy standards from Liberty Mutual as the “gold standard” for our own healthcare coverage.  But, the bottom line is a commitment to NOT be transparent.  If you call, you can find out about the changes that might save you money.  If you do not call, then you can continue to make the sucker payments.  The companies are putting the burden for you getting the information on you, not on them, even for good customers.

Like I said, make a note, invest 10 minutes a year that could save you some money, call your car insurance company and remind them to play fair with you and tell you how low your rate should be.

Why isn’t this fraud?

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