Last time I wrote about auto insurance trees were green and weather was hot. Shortly after, a long crazy winter descended on the Northeast and the better part of this country. Six months later we’re starting to get a taste of warmer days ahead and trees are finally starting to bloom, making life miserable for all those with seasonal allergies. And since six months have passed yet another sign that spring is here made an appearance – Esurance renewal email waiting in my mailbox. Did the rate go up? Did it go down? The anticipation was killing me.
Well, not really, mostly because I’ve had auto insurance long enough to know that rates almost never go down. Unless of course you had an accident before, which jacked up your rates for 3 years and now, finally, the accident fell off your driving record before the renewal… None of this happened to us so I was expecting to see an increase and Esurance delivered. It’s always when they increase my rate that I start to notice other companies and their commercials, like yesterday, I noticed Insurance 4 MotorTrade on the radio, but I must of heard it many times without paying attention at all.
Lets recap where we left off with our last policy which is now due for renewal. We have 2 cars – 2009 MINI Cooper with over 30,000 miles and a 2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 with over 115,000 miles. I drive the Cooper and my wife drives the C and we both commute to work. We carry the highest single limit Liability and Uninsured Motorist coverage commonly available (500K Bodily Injury and 250K Property Damage) on both cars. We also have a Comprehensive coverage on both vehicles with a $500 deductible. We do not carry Collision or any other optional coverages. This cost us $178 for a 6 month policy with Esurance.
Our renewal came in at $202 for the same exact policy without any claims or accidents in the previous 6 months. Now, on the surface it does not look that bad – just $24 more. However, that’s a 13.5% jump in just 6 months. If this trend continues with Esurance it will make for significant rate increases on an annualized basis.
Before getting quotes from other companies I figured why not email Esurance customer service to see what they have to say. No high hopes here but since this only takes a minute, why not? Here is my email:
I would like to find out why my premium jumped from $178 to $202. This is a 13% jump in 6 months and nothing changed on the policy. I will be getting quotes from other insurance companies and would like to know what happened before I make my decision. Is there a way to reduce the premium for the next 6 months?
Esurance replied the same day saying:
In part, your premium is increasing due to an overall adjustment to our rates that has gone into effect in your state. While we try to avoid raising rates as much as possible, there are times when we need to make adjustments in order to account for the cost of doing business in your state. Unfortunately, this has contributed to an increase to your premium.
Additionally, you qualified for our Fast 5 discount when you purchased your policy because you started the quote online. This discount is equal to approximately 5% of the original premium and applies for the first term of coverage only. Since your policy is now renewing into its second term, we are no longer able to continue applying this discount going forward. This is also contributing to the increase.
Unfortunately, with these updates, $202.00 is the lowest renewal premium that we are able to offer with your current policy information. If you would like to discuss reducing your premium by changing coverages, please feel free to call us to speak with a licensed agent.
So the “Fast 5” discount is only available one time, which was one of the reasons I mentioned in my previous post on why you should always cross-shop different companies at renewal. I’ve seen substantial one-time discounts being offered to entice you to switch.
The “Fast 5” discount is listed on our expiring policy as $8 so the other $16 is due to the “overall adjustment to our rates”. A dead-end but it was nice to at least get a personalized reply written by a human.
Since pleading my case to our current insurance provider didn’t work, it was time to move on to the Renewal Ritual Step 2 – shop the competition. All comparisons were done online using Esurance policy as a template. Some sites were better than others. For example, Geico’s interface is super-slick saving time by pre-populating all car-related information from our DMV records while Amica’s website interface still seems to be stuck in 2004.
After all said and done, I compiled a list of 6 month premium quotes that looked like this:
I don’t know what Amica and Allstate are smoking with their quotes well over double the competition!
It’s also a strong reminder why it’s important to spend some time shopping for car insurance. After all, if you are with Allstate you might save a LOT more than the proverbial 15% by switching to Geico.
As for us – looks like we are staying with Esurance for now. See you in 6 months!