Archive for October 6th, 2009

Buying Car Insurance

My precious car.

My precious car.

Moving to Washington I need to get a new auto-insurance policy. Not because my old insurance could not move, rather I was covered under my Dad’s plan since the car was registered at his address. Now I have a new registration and so a new insurance policy in my name.

I am faced with the question on how to pick an insurance company. Previously I was under someone else’s policy with no interaction with the insurance company directly however I have heard good things about the agent (Allstate) whom my Dad has worked with. Thus I turn to TV commercials. I checked out several of the prevalent ones: eSurance, Gecio, Progressive and Allstate. For some reason eSurance did not impress me since I never did a follow up visit to their site. Geico called me a few times, though I did not pick up since it was an unknown area code, the message the agent left just did nothing for me.

Out of the initial four it has come down to Allstate and Progressive for comparisons. Before rechecking the price I tried to find review online and quickly encountered nothing but negative reviews. Unlike books on Amazon or restaurants on Yelp people with good experiences probably do not review insurance companies as often as those with bad experiences. Even assuming some efficiency ratios I just ignored all of the online reviews and returned to the websites.

For the same basic coverage Progressive is one third the price of Allstate. So I e-mailed two Allstate agents, my Dad’s (a third party) and a local agent asking them a simple question: Why should I go with Allstate and pay triple what Progressive offers? I hope to hear back in the next day or so.

So I am left with three choices: pay the cheaper monthly cost and get basic Progressive insurance, pay the basic Allstate price for basic Allstate insurance or pay the basic Allstate price but get the maxed out Progressive insurance plan.

The fundamental problem I have with almost all of this stuff is that I have no grounding for what the numbers mean for liabilities. The only ones I have a firm grasp on are the deductibles for the optional collision/comprehensive insurance because I know how much I value my car. It is hard to be rational about decisions of numbers for underinsured motorist liability and bodily injury liability. It all seems like the thing where a higher priced item is offered to encourage people to buy the middle priced one, there is a more technical name for that I am sure.

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