I have a change jar in the kitchen and I pinch all the pennies I put into it, but it’s really more about the psychology of feeling thrifty than any significant savings. Anything thrifty makes me feel smug that I’m getting away with something, so I don’t mind these money tricks. But if the thought of cutting your “latte factor” just seems like not worth the bother, there’s still something that can give you a pretty good payday. Real life example coming up.
Get more than one quote, and update those quotes every year or two.
Let’s take a look at my car insurance. I’ve been with well-known mega insurance mutual almost since I started driving, when wheels were made of stone. My family thought of them as a good solid insurance company, cheaper than the other well-known insurance company that has good hands. It’s all been true, and I’ve had both good service and good claims experience with them over the years. Despite my advice to every client, inertia would have probably kept me there.
However, this year I’ve finally convinced dear daughter that she needs to learn to drive. Now, I don’t get this reluctance, because I had my license the hour I turned 16, but she’s avoided the issue and is now 18. But all the college applications are in, and now’s the moment. Called the insurance company to discuss this with them. Insurance would double (no surprise there), but here comes the kicker. I also have a personal umbrella liability policy and not only would the auto insurance double, but the umbrella policy would go up about $1,200 (from $188/year to nearly $1,400). All of a sudden it sounds like real money, no? The kid starts driving and I’m out another $2,500 a year? Either she doesn’t drive until 26 or I really needed another quote.
Got one. That’s when I found out mega insurer has already been charging me nearly twice what the lizard insurance would have. Adding my daughter as a driver brings it up to just about what I’m already paying, and the umbrella policy is cheaper than my current one. Looking back, saving $150 or so a year probably wasn’t compelling (although it would have paid for a great dinner at a better restaurant than I usually frequent), but going forward, I made $1,800 for an hour’s work, a little better than I do with financial planning, KWIM?
Full disclosure, apparently eliminating this will cause my homeowner’s insurance with mega-insurance to go up by $200, but it’s still worth it. Lizard insurance wasn’t able to beat that, but there’s probably more quotes in my future. I feel like I’m on a roll.
By the way, I did do a little “due diligence” on this and there are plenty of complaints on message boards about my new insurance company. Trick is, there are plenty about my old insurer, also. Sigh. Since I haven’t had an accident in more than 15 years (and that guy ran into me), and I’m hoping dear daughter won’t run into a pole, I hope I never have to test it. One thing that became apparent, though, in the discussion with the agent was, the lizard doesn’t like people that don’t have a perfectly clean record.
Insurance can be a pretty dull topic, but disaster protection and money savings aren’t. Products change so quickly, it’s worth a good look at all your coverages every year to two years—adequate? Up to date? Correct beneficiaries when applicable? And of course, best value.