One of my goals for the year is to simplify my finances. I’ve made progress and I’m on track to consolidate most of the accounts I’ve targeted.
While looking over my various accounts during this process, I realized it’s been a while since I’ve evaluated some recurring expenses to see if our family can save more money without too much effort (less powerful financial maneuvers, if you will).
One of the biggest oversights over the years is my insurance policies. I spend quite a bit every year on various policies such as home, personal catastrophe (umbrella), car, and a landlord policy for the condo rental.
I use the same insurance company for all of these policies. It’s the company my Dad pointed me to when I bought my first car in 1998 (a red 1994 Mazda Protege).
My insurance policies are the only bills I pay via check because the provider is a bit old-fashioned and doesn’t encourage online bill pay.
I’ve never shopped around to see if what I pay for each policy is even reasonable. I just assumed it was a good deal since I get a discount for having multiple policies.
Not long ago, I came across an article on another blog that introduced me to a car insurance search engine that provides competitive quotes from a bunch of different insurance companies.
So I thought I’d try it out to see if I’m overpaying at my Dad’s favorite insurance company (going back to the 80’s).
I was impressed by the website and their new Insurability Score ™ and thought it might be helpful to readers. So I reached out about potentially featuring them on my site. Not only were they open to it, they kindly offered to sponsor this post.
The Zebra – Insurance in Black & White
The Zebra is a leading search engine for finding competitive rates on car insurance. It’s an independent company and not affiliated with any insurance provider. So when you search for insurance quotes, you see the best rates available for your circumstances.
You compare rates on flights, hotel rooms, and rental cars, so why not on car insurance?
The Zebra compares more than 200 car insurance companies to highlight the most competitive rates. It’s primarily a car insurance search engine, but there’s a lot of information about other types of insurance available on the site.
Did you know you don’t have to wait until your car insurance policy term ends to switch insurance companies?
Changing policies is one of these no-brainer ways to save money. Any recurring expenses you can reduce has nearly the same effect as creating a new mini-passive income stream.
Since I haven’t reevaluated my insurance provider in 20 years, I thought I’d give this search engine a test run to see if I can find better rates for the same coverage.
What’s Your Insurability Score?
Have you ever wondered how insurance companies decide on insurance rates? Each company probably has an office floor of spreadsheet wizards that figure it all out. But until now, consumers could only guess what influences their rates.
With The Zebra’s new Insurability Score, the company delivers transparency to an otherwise confusing industry. It’s a free, first-of-its-kind score that explains to consumers what is affecting their insurance risk and how they can fix any issues.
When you submit a search for insurance quotes, the score is automatically calculated and displayed.
The quote process starts off by asking some questions about your current insurance plan and basic vehicle information (I used our base-model 2011 crossover and 2015 mini-van).
Then it gets into details like name, email etc. (you’ll need to submit information to get quotes and the Insurability Score). But it was quick and harmless to get through the questions and the interface is modern and easy to navigate.
Once you’ve provided what they need, you’ll get the Insurability Score on the same page as the quotes. Check out mine below.
My score came in near the top. Nice! Alongside the score, it lays out the factors that make you an insurance risk or not, then provides some ideas on how to improve your score (sample below). A lot of this is obvious like driving record and credit history etc (this didn’t require an SSN or credit check). But much of it was news to me.
Here’s a list of factors and for my search:
I’m not sure why I didn’t have enough driving experience (26 years). And I guess a graduate degree might help too. But it’s cool to see how I stack up against the average (732).
Below is a sample (not mine) of how some of the factors impact your score and the recommendations.
Knowledge and Horsepower
Alright, so it’s time to face the music about whether or not I can save some money by changing car insurance providers.
Below is the quote range for the parameters I entered for the two cars combined.
The best prices for the top two tiers were with a highly recognizable insurer.
Lots of other quotes were available and some came back considerably higher (surprisingly). Others required I go to the provider’s website for a more detailed quote.
Comparing these prices to my current insurance provider, who I’ve been with since 1998 (and longer as a driver on my Dad’s insurance), it didn’t look like I could save any money. At first.
Turns out, the combination of being a long-time customer (20+ years) and having multiple policies under one company is a powerful force. Our automobile policy costs us about $94 per month, and it’s near the “Best” in terms of the level of coverage.
So I was a little bummed I couldn’t beat my current policy. But then a day later as a result of my search, I received an email from another very well known insurance provider making an offer for $85 per month, a savings of almost 10%.
It seems that some quotes are immediate on The Zebra and others require a follow-up. I dug into this other policy and it was similar coverage to my current policy.
I’ll need to check in with my local agent to see if switching car insurance policies would affect my other policies since I have the multi-policy discount. I’ll give switching some thought, but the $9 of savings probably isn’t big enough for me to open a new account with a different provider.
Overall this was a healthy experiment to attempt to save a bit of money. In my younger years when my financial life wasn’t so complex, I would have jumped at this new policy to save $9 cash per month. But since I am trying to consolidate and simplify my financials, switching now isn’t the right move today.
But the Insurability Score from The Zebra is pretty cool. It reminds me of a credit rating. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking to save some money or want to see how your score compares to the average.
This post is sponsored by The Zebra, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. From time to time, RBD partners with companies and brands when their products or services may benefit readers.
Subscribe to Retire Before Dad!
You'll receive my weekly articles in your inbox and the FREE eBook 6 EASY Income Streams You Can Start Building Today!