If you haven’t shopped for auto insurance recently, you might want to spend an hour or so checking out other deals. It pays to review your policy and check what’s out there.
A new survey from insuranceQuotes.com shows that 66 percent of policyholders never or only rarely check to see if they could get the same or better coverage at a better price. The average American driver has been with the same auto insurance company for 12 years, and some have stayed with the same insurer for two to three decades, or longer.
Millennials age 18 to 29 and senior citizens number among those least likely to shop around for auto insurance. At least six in 10 millennials with auto insurance assume you have to wait until your renewal date to switch insurance companies. And they’re not alone: 46 percent of Americans do not know that you can switch your auto insurance company at any time.
One of the reasons auto insurance may not be a priority for consumers? Auto pay options, while convenient, could be keeping car insurance payments and rates out of sight—and out of mind. Human nature and procrastination is another. “People think that it’s a task that might be difficult and time-consuming,” says senior analyst Laura Adams, “but it could be as simple as going to a website like insurancequotes.com, putting your information in for a free quote, and getting multiple quotes back. There’s no financial risk in looking for a new rate.”
Just spending an hour once a year to compare quotes from three different companies could potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Experts suggest checking your car insurance rates the same way you would remember to change the oil in your car or swap the air filters in your home. Here are some tips to get started:
- Ask your current insurer if there are any company discounts you might be eligible for but don’t know about, such as the good-student discount. For college and grad students who have a B-average or better (or their parents) that could result in a significant discount.
- If you find a better deal, tell your current insurance company that you’re thinking of switching unless they can match the new offer or exceed it.
- If your current insurer refuses to negotiate, sign up for the new policy first—and then cancel the old one. “You always want to make sure you’re covered,” says Evans. “Insurance companies do not like to see a gap in coverage, and your rates could rise.”
- To get a wider variety of quotes, get online quotes from insurance company websites, consult with an independent agent, and look into companies that don’t use independent agents as well.
“Being married can cause your rate to decrease,” says Evan. “Marriage, getting good grades--these are all things that you have to self-report, which is why I recommend revisiting auto insurance at least once a year, as your life situation could change.”
Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.
“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.
The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.