It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I actually have a clean driving record (for the last 3 years as far as insurance is considered anyway). Even with what I drive and the way I drive, I'm clean. So is Jen.

This makes it very difficult for me to understand why my insurance continues to climb EVERY six months. "Oh we had to adjust our policies for NY state." Shenanigans! There's no reason for my policy to go up $60-$70 every six months for "adjustments" or whatever. Can't be possible.

Well today I received the renewal notice for my policy which would be effective 3/28. It would now go up to $1028 for six months (note: that is for two cars and two drivers). That is ridiculous when just this past six months it was $900-something. And $800-something before that. Come on people, we need to put a stop to this.

So in a bit of frustration I (politely) called Progressive and pleaded my case asking for some sort of understanding. The girl I first spoke with told me there's nothing obvious on my policy that would be causing such a hike but instead blamed it on the "updates" for NY. I explained I live no where near NYC and was hoping that wasn't having an effect on my insurance. Well what they change/adjust for one part of the state is carried out for the rest of it basically.

BUT, she said she could direct me to a NY licensed agent that would be able to review my policy and see if there's anything they can do.

Well this guy must be a miracle worker or something then because he knocked over $200 off of my six month premium after a few minutes. How? Ya, I'd like to know the truth on this one, but here's how I understand it at the moment...

Les (the guy I talked to) explained that he was entering my stuff (same coverage) into their "new program" to generate a completely new quote. OK, that seems fine. But if this "new program" can save me that much just by creating a new quote - how is this "new program" not the "standard program?" Why is this not used by every quoting system Progressive has?

If I go online for a new quote, it's not anywhere near that. So while I'm super happy my payment went from $214 for the first month to around $140 for the first month, I'm still left a bit curious how I could save this much money from a requote after being a customer for 6 years - and why I have to go through this much trouble to get a new quote. Just feels to me like if this new system were the standard for them, my renewal would have gone through at least close to this rate without my having to call and whine about it.

Oh well though. I have to call back on Thursday to finalize it and provide the first payment (that's the catch) but it's WAY worth it for the premium I'm getting. So I'm happy overall - just have to question why it was this hard and how it is SO much cheaper this way. I would strongly encourage any of you to call and ask about your policy if it feels like it goes up for no reason.

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2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Car Insurance Shenanigans”

  • Tomas

    February 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I suspect what you got, Allan, was a “new customer” quote…

    Many, many companies offer lower rates to “new customers” than they do to existing, long-term customers.

    Some of the reason for that is the tremendous desire, actually need, to attract new customers, and the firm empirical knowledge that once a customer has been with the same company for a considerable time, it takes a lot of poor service/poor prices/poor treatment to get over the threshold and past the inertia.

    Long term customers may gripe about things, but most of them won’t get to the point where they are actually willing to work toward any sort of solution.

    First off, they made the choice to be a customer of a specific company, often times based on a “new customer” special deal that beat other companies. Their natural assumption remains that their chosen company is STILL the best deal, and that all the others have been increasing rates right along, too.

    Secondly, people don’t like change. They may gripe, but it takes a lot to get them annoyed enough to be willing to make changes.

    Third, most really annoyed customers will call the company to gripe, and that gives the companies one more chance to ‘mollify’ the customer and keep them. Those customers are often turned over to “retention specialists” that have more options open to them than the regular representatives.

    The job of “retentions” (or whatever euphemism the company uses) is to calm the customer down and give them a “special deal” that makes the customer re-think leaving.

    Often the “special deal” is nothing more than offering the long-term customer the same deal the company would offer a new customer walking in off the street.

    There are variations on this, of course, and for an insurance company working with a long-term customer who has an excellent record with the company, they can actually dip below that “new customer” rate threshold for an initial period to ensure the customer stays.

    (BTW, one can substitute most any sort of company, cellular, cable, insurance, car dealer, service shop, etc., and see the same sort of price manipulation to retain customers.)

    If course I also may have no idea what I’m saying. 🙂


  • ack154

    February 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I believe most of what you’re saying would hold true in this situation. He did mention something about the “retentions” department – which to me initially sounded like “find a way to keep this customer” department. Your explanation certainly makes sense and I was definitely frustrated enough to call and try to do SOMETHING about it – even if that did mean change. It logically makes sense from a company perspective… “why lower these people’s rates if they’re happy where they are and we can keep making money.” But the other said of me would just be happy staying flat policy over policy. Even that is hard to come by apparently.