If you’ve never done it before, you might not even be aware of what insurance re-shopping is. Bargaining for breaks in fees and prices is a thing of the past for many consumers. They’re used to paying the exact dollar amount on the tag, no more and no less. While this can save time and energy (especially for burnt out Millennials) it’s also a good way to waste money month after month and year after year. Think of all the times you’ve written a check — or entered your credit card information, as it were — to pay for your car insurance. It’s not like you’re thinking about the benefits of something you may not have ever even cashed in on. It’s a ‘necessary evil.’ And while it’s not going away any time soon for some very good reasons, you can make it a little less painful.
Types of Insurance To Re-Shop
Health insurance. Car insurance. Home or renter’s insurance. Life insurance. These are all monthly or annual expenses that most adults encounter. And yet 39 percent of people who have auto insurance have never shopped for a better rate. A third of those with a homeowners insurance policy haven’t either. What gives?
Why Should You?
There seems to be plenty of confusion around whether or not you’re allowed to search around for a new policy. Thirty-three percent of those people who don’t re-shop think it’ll just plain take too much time. The Economist used the interesting term Time Poverty to describe the issues Americans have with feeling like they’re constantly busy — and yet nowhere near done with their to-do lists. That lack of free time has knock-on effects in many aspects of life, from the personal to the professional. We’re more interested than ever in convenience foods and products, all in the drive to save time. When you’re feeling overworked, taking the time to research, make phone calls and fill out paperwork can feel like a mountain instead of a molehill. Speaking of paperwork, another 16 percent of those folks not re-shopping for insurance list that as their number one barrier. If you were handed a form where you received $400 for filling it out, would you hesitate?
Another 16 percent believe that they’re not going to qualify for better insurance rates, so they don’t need to bother trying. Since so few people are prone to regularly searching out better deals, insurance companies know they don’t need to work all that hard to keep their current customers. They’re less likely to offer loyalty bonuses — after all, what’s the cost/benefit ratio to them? On the other hand, they do make their business’s growth dependent on luring away people who are willing to switch up their policies. That means new customer bonuses can be especially attractive. As long as you’re not changing your insurance company every few months, most will still look at you as a good customer and offer their most competitive rates.
One in five people just never had it occur to them that they could re-shop for better insurance rates. Interestingly, Gen Xers are more likely to stick with their current plans than Millennials, too. Millennials, however, are often unaware that they could shop for a new policy at any time and that they don’t need to wait for certain renewal periods for all types of insurance.
Finally, we have the group of people (sitting at 15 percent) who just don’t know how to go about re-shopping for insurance plans. Often, these are people who might be motivated to start with the right nudge.
How To Re-Shop For Insurance
First things first, you’re going to want to pull together any information you have on your current policies. This can often be found online if you’re not one to keep a filing cabinet around. Go ahead, send those forgotten password reset links, we’ll wait. The reason you’re going to want them all in front of you at once is because you’ll likely get better deals when you bundle. Home and auto are two commonly packaged insurances, and many companies have a specific special price for those who opt to get both through them.
You’ll also need to be ready to answer questions about what it is you’re insuring. For health insurance, that’s gotten much easier since they can’t charge you more for pre-existing conditions. For auto insurance, you’ll need the details on your car, like the make and model as well as how much you owe on any loans. Life insurance policy qualifications can vary drastically depending on how much coverage you’re looking to get. Home or renter’s insurance is often fairly straightforward, but make sure you know of any valuables you’d need to insure and any minimum coverage set by an apartment complex.
When searching for new companies, it’s not a bad idea to look at some of the biggest names in the industry. You know you can trust them to at least be legitimate businesses. These are ones like Geico for car insurance and Aetna for health insurance. If you’d like to look into smaller or more local companies for extra savings or more personalized service, consider using an insurance broker.
Now that you have a better idea of what you’re missing out on, go forth and conquer these big budget killers!