Due to an increase in claims the property and casualty industry has seen an increase in premiums in the last year. This is one of the main reasons many drivers were shocked when their renewal offer went up instead of decreasing like the years before. First I would like to point out some of the reasons we are paying so much:
1. Distracted drivers(specifically while texting or browsing the internet)
2. PIP Insurance Fraud¹
3. Misrepresentations on insurance applications(wrong address, undisclosed drivers, etc)
While we cannot control what other people do here is a list of some of the things we can do to save money personally and how to help the industry as a whole.
1. Work on fixing your credit.
Sometimes clients tell me not to quote them with Progressive because they are too expensive. The truth is some of the lowest premiums that clients are paying come from companies like Progressive. The reason why it might seem expensive is because the price they charge is tied to the person's credit history. Most of the insurance companies we work with do the same; Infinity, Mercury, etc. If you would like more competitive offers, especially from some of the biggest names in the industry, I highly suggest paying off any delinquent accounts and managing credit accounts(credit card, auto payments, mortgage) in a responsible and timely manner. Even if it takes a few years I believe it will be great in the long run.
2. Choose automatic payments.
Clients sometimes are not comfortable with a company going into their bank account due to bad experiences. Many times this happens because of bad communication. When a client chooses this option they should also get a written statement letting them know when the payments will be deducted and the amount. Make sure you separate that document from the rest of the paperwork and keep it somewhere you can see it often.
3. Choose the paperless option.
Most companies offer a discount if they email you most of your paperwork. Plus if you ever you lose a document all you have to do is check you mailbox. There will not be a need to have to call anyone to ask them to send it to you again.
4. If you are involved in a car accident call your agent before you call a lawyer.
There have been so many cases where a client gets hit by another driver and they make all the wrong decisions. Many times we may think that because we are not at fault we can sue the other driver and we going to get some extra cash in our pockets. Unfortunately that is rarely the case. Florida is one of the few states that you must file a medical claim with your own insurance before you get anything from the other driver regardless of fault. A properly insured driver is also protected against lawsuits for pain and suffering unless someone lost a limb or there was permanent scarring. What happens is that the clinics and the lawyers get a paid. The client might make a few dollars but many times they get dropped from the companies permanently usually paying much more for the next three years. The sad part is that many times clients did not have any medical emergency and simply wanted their car fixed but they followed their lawyers advice. This is very common. I highly suggest you let your agent assist you in the claim process. It's part of their job.
5. Seek new quotes at the time of renewing.
As an agent I do not have any problem checking with our other companies to see if I get can get a better deal with another company. Most of the time the client is going to be fine with the same company but that is not always the case. It takes me about 5 minutes and if I do find a better offer I feel like I gave my client the service they deserve. I especially like to do this when their renewal offer increases.