How do I know it’s time to shop my Home and Auto Insurance?

If you’ve been watching your news feed lately you will know that personal insurance rates in Washington are undergoing the biggest change in over 20 years. Effective June 20th 2021, our state Insurance Commissioner issued a ban on the use of your credit history as a rating factor for Home and Auto Insurance premiums. While that order is currently in a legal battle, right now, credit has been removed as a rating factor. Please click here for more information on that order.

With the credit factor removed we’ve seen some pretty wild rate fluctuations for many clients at their policy renewal. Here is a rough idea of how the changes are breaking down;

  • About half of our clients are seeing minimal rate increases or decreases between 0 and 10%.
  • About one quarter of clients are seeing cost decreases between 10 and 40%.
  • About one quarter of clients are seeing increases between 10 and 40%.

So what does this mean for me? Should I shop my insurance? 

Because we are an independent insurance agency, we do a lot of shopping for our clients amongst many insurance companies. If you ask us to shop your insurance for you, here are some of the major factors we will take into consideration- If you are shopping on your own we would suggest you consider the same factors

  1. Try to assess if there are any reasons that you should not switch insurance companies. These things include;
    • Recent or open claims or tickets. Some policies include an Accident or Ticket Forgiveness clause after a certain number of years so you could actually end up in worse shape by switching.
    • Are there any other unique benefits to the company you are with? Aside from accident forgiveness, some auto insurance companies offer a no-drop promise, meaning they will never cancel your insurance. Others offer very unique coverages on their home insurance policies that may be particularly beneficial to your situation.
    • Recent or upcoming life events that may change your rate or insurability? If you are over the age of 75 or are about to have a teen driver in the household, you need to evaluate your decision more carefully.
  2. Many carriers offer discounts for a “stable” insurance history, and they can consider that factor in overall rating even when rating a new policy. How long you have been with your last carrier can be a factor. Insurance company “hopping” may seem like it saves you money but it actually can adversely impact your insurance history. Run sample rates to see if there really is a significant savings to switch. Everyone has a different tolerance level but if your savings is minimal, it may not be worth the possible negative impact of a switch.   Of course, sometimes it does make sense to switch but this is just a consideration point.
  1. Fully review options with your current company to make sure you aren’t missing any discounts. You’d be surprised what discounts you may qualify for that you never knew existed. Note that this does not include removing or reducing coverage. If your agent or company starts suggesting that, it’s time to move on.
  2. Ask an Independent Agent (allows you the most options, least time investment) to perform a comprehensive review of your current policies along with any new proposals and look for any opportunities for improvement in coverage. I often find that we can simultaneously save a client money while also improving their coverage.Ready to have us take a look?  Click Here

Here are two very recent examples of how this plays out in real life;

Example #1- A husband and wife reached out to me recently because their home insurance renewal increased over $400 due to the removal of the credit factor. I discussed their current needs, noted we didn’t have their auto policy (a discount opportunity on home policy) and offered to review their auto policy for  them as well.  Some coverage enhancement opportunities were discovered, discounts and in their case, it did make sense to move the home policy to another one of our carriers and partner it with the auto policy. We ended up bundling the home and auto insurance with a new carrier and saved them that $400 and improved their auto insurance coverage significantly.

While I wish all our insurance review ended up like that, sometimes that’s not the case;

Example 2- A husband and wife in their early 80’s reached out to me recently because their auto insurance had gone up over $200 at their renewal. They had been with their current carrier for over 30 years and we discovered that they had earned accident forgiveness on their policy. I ran the numbers with all of our carriers and found that there would be about $100/yr savings with another company. Due to their age, the fact that they had earned accident forgiveness, and the savings for switching was minimal, I recommended that they stay with their current carrier at this time.

If you’ve noticed your insurance rates go up significantly this year, or perhaps its just time for a deeper look at your protection package, please feel free to reach out. Even if we can’t find you anything better than you currently have our insurance review process will leave you feeling more confident about your insurance coverage. Start Here