Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Over the decades the marketers have managed to pull off a very clever trick. If you go back to earlier times when people did their shopping in markets and corner shops where everyone knew everyone, the prices were always negotiable. Bargaining was part of the art of shopping. Asking for a discount or, if times were hard, a little time to pay was not shameful. All stall holders and shopkeepers knew you (and most everyone who lived in the neighborhood). There was a sense of community as people worked hard to get by.

But it all changed. Slowly, you were made to understand the retail price was fixed and, if you wanted credit, well, that was what banks were for. It came hard to many who had relied on the informal help offered by the retail trade. Household budgets grew into straightjackets and, if there were not enough dollars to see you through to the next paycheck, that was your problem. Loan sharks lurked outside pawnshops waiting for their prey. And then, like turning a valve to release pent-up steam in a boiler, the credit boom solved the problem for many. For those who had managed to stay solvent, credit cards and housing equity loans were there for the asking. Paying the asking price at the store was no longer a problem. The habit was set in stone. The retailers had won.

Well, hard times are here again and there should be no shame in getting the maximum reduction in the prices you pay for any goods or services. In the case of insurance, this means looking very carefully at the small print of the application process and the quotes you get. There are discounts available. All you have to do is identify what they are and how you get access to them. Not surprisingly, insurance companies are not wholly comfortable with allowing you to pay less. But, sometimes, it pays them to offer you incentives. Let's start with the obvious. Insurers benefit if they retain careful drivers.

So you should always look for a discount if you stay loyal and make no claim during a year. The longer you stay with a company, the larger the discount you should earn. If the company does not play fair and reward you, the other side of the coin is the introductory discount offered to persuade you to jump ship to another insurer. All the information about you and any claims you have made is shared between the insurance companies in the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). If you have a good driving record, the quotes should always encourage you to change. Indeed, many people in your situation game the system and move every year to earn another welcome discount. This so-called "churning" helps keep the loyalty discounts real.

This site has a search engine for auto insurance quotes. To trigger the search, you fill in a questionnaire. In this first article, the first discount should be offered automatically. But, if your current insurance company is only interested in a premium hike, you could try an email asking why no loyalty bonus or discount has been offered. Should this be met by silence, you can then look through the auto insurance quotes from the other companies with a clear conscience. You have given your current insurer the chance. If it prefers not to reward your loyalty, there is no reason to stay loyal.

Posted by Posted by roomen insurance at 22:30
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