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Daniel T. Murray Blog: rates

View the latest blog posts from Daniel T. Murray.

Big savings are not all they seem, at least when it comes to buying auto insurance.

The just-released J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study finds that poor service is a leading reason why customers shop for and switch to a new auto insurer, rather than price.

Declining satisfaction with new price is also the primary reason customers are less satisfied when they do switch insurer, according to the study findings.

J.D. Power notes that some 30 percent of auto customers shopped for a new insurance provider in 2013, of which 36 percent ultimately switched insurers.

Perhaps surprisingly, increases in premiums do not drive shopping as much as poor experience.

Customers who have a poor experience with their insurer shop at a rate of 28 percent – more than double the rate of shopping among those who experience a premium increase (13 percent).

Another key takeaway is that customers are tolerant of rate increases at a certain level. However, rate hikes of more than $200 can triple the rate of customers who switch insurers.

A press release quotes Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power:

Price, however, is still important in the selection process with eight in 10 customers selecting the lowest-price insurer.

Price is also an increasingly important driver of new-buyer purchase experience satisfaction once customers have selected a new insurer. Overall new buyer satisfaction with the auto insurance buying experience averages 821 (on a 1,000-point scale), down significantly from 828 in 2013.

J.D. Power notes that the decline in satisfaction is driven by a 17-point drop in the price factor, which has the greatest impact on customer satisfaction.

Read More: Source


Did you know that taking 15 minutes to get married could save you at least 15% on your car insurance?

According to a report, a 20-year old married woman pays an average of 22% less for car insurance than her single counterpart. And a married 20-year-old man pays 20% less than his single friend of the same age.

Your gender and age also significantly affect how much you pay, the report found.

As people mature, gain experience and take on more responsibilities, they become safer drivers, Mike Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, says.

Age is the biggest factor. At age 20, a single male driver will pay 49% more than a single man who is 25. An unmarried woman will pay 39% more at age 20 than at age 25.

The lowest premiums are charged to drivers at age 60. After that, premiums start to creep up again. By the time a single man is 75, for example, he's paying 20% more than a single man at age 60.

Gender discounts are not as large, but insurers do charge women much less than men during the first years they're on the road.

A 20-year-old woman pays 19% less than a man the same age. By the time they're both 25, the gender difference drops to 4% and narrows through age 30. After that, men pay slightly lower premiums.

"Insurers price their policies to reflect the claims risk," said Barry. "They look at claims filings and arrive at conclusions as to who is likely to file more -- and more expensive -- claims."

Shopping around can help cut costs, according to Adams.

"In addition to regularly comparing at least three quotes from different insurers, consumers should review potential discounts with their current insurer," she said. "This is even more important for younger drivers because they tend to pay the highest rates."

Students who carry a "B" average or better may qualify for discounts of up to 20%, depending on their carrier, she said. They can also reduce their premiums by raising the deductible they pay.

Read More: Source

Posted 9:05 AM  View Comments


Did you know that taking 15 minutes to get married could save you at least 15% on your car insurance?

According to a report, a 20-year old married woman pays an average of 22% less for car insurance than her single counterpart. And a married 20-year-old man pays 20% less than his single friend of the same age.

Your gender and age also significantly affect how much you pay, the report found.

As people mature, gain experience and take on more responsibilities, they become safer drivers, Mike Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, says.

Age is the biggest factor. At age 20, a single male driver will pay 49% more than a single man who is 25. An unmarried woman will pay 39% more at age 20 than at age 25.

The lowest premiums are charged to drivers at age 60. After that, premiums start to creep up again. By the time a single man is 75, for example, he's paying 20% more than a single man at age 60.

Gender discounts are not as large, but insurers do charge women much less than men during the first years they're on the road.

A 20-year-old woman pays 19% less than a man the same age. By the time they're both 25, the gender difference drops to 4% and narrows through age 30. After that, men pay slightly lower premiums.

"Insurers price their policies to reflect the claims risk," said Barry. "They look at claims filings and arrive at conclusions as to who is likely to file more -- and more expensive -- claims."

Shopping around can help cut costs, according to Adams.

"In addition to regularly comparing at least three quotes from different insurers, consumers should review potential discounts with their current insurer," she said. "This is even more important for younger drivers because they tend to pay the highest rates."

Students who carry a "B" average or better may qualify for discounts of up to 20%, depending on their carrier, she said. They can also reduce their premiums by raising the deductible they pay.

Read More: Source

Posted 8:15 AM  View Comments


You buy insurance to protect your home and car from damage, but when an accident happens, is it in your best interest to file a claim? It seems like the answer should be a resounding "yes," but a middling "maybe" is a far better response. Why the ambiguity? The decision to file a claim can have a major impact on your insurance rates, even if the accident was minor or was not your fault.

The Claim Game
Regardless of the scope of the accident or who was at fault, the number of insurance claims you file has a direct impact on your rates. The greater the number of claims filed, the greater the likelihood of a rate hike. File too many claims and the insurance company may not renew your policy. Similarly, if the claim is being filed based on damage that you caused, your rates will almost surely rise.

On the other hand, if you aren't at fault, your rates may or may not remain unchanged. Getting hit from behind when your car is parked or having siding blow off of your house during a storm are clearly not your fault and may not result in rate hikes, but this isn't always the case. Mitigating circumstances, such as the number of previous claims you have filed, the number of speeding tickets you have received, the frequency of natural disasters in your area (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods) and even a low credit rating can all cause your rates to go up even if the latest claim was made for damage that you did not cause.

Most/Least Damaging Claims
When it comes to rate hikes, not all claims are created equal. Dog bites, slip-and-fall personal injury claims, water damage and mold are red flag items to insurers. These items tend to have a negative impact on your rates and on your insurer's willingness to continue providing coverage.

On the other hand, the much dreaded speeding ticket may not cause a rate hike at all. Many companies forgive the first ticket. The same goes for a minor automobile accident or a small claim against your homeowner's insurance policy.

Rate Hikes
Filing a claim often results in a rate hike that could be in the 20-40% range. The increased rates stay in effect for years, although the size and longevity of the hike can vary widely from insurer to insurer. At some firms the increase lasts just two years, while at others it may last for five. If your insurer drops your coverage, you may be forced to purchase high-risk insurance, which can come with extraordinarily expensive premiums.

To File or Not to File?
There are no hard-and-fast rules around rate hikes. What one company forgives, another won't forget. Because any claim at all may pose a risk to your rates, understanding your policy is the first step toward protecting your wallet. If you know that your first accident is forgiven or that a previously filed claim won't count against you after a certain number of years, the decision of whether or not to file a claim can be made with advance knowledge of the impact it will or won't have on your rates. Talking to your agent about the insurance company's policies long before you need to file a claim is also important. Some agents are obligated to report you to the company if you even discuss a potential claim and choose not to file. For this reason, you also don't want to wait until you need to file a claim to inquire about your insurer's policy regarding consultation with your agent.

Regardless of your situation, minimizing the number of claims you file is the key to protecting your insurance rates from a substantial increase. A good rule to follow is to only file a claim in the event of catastrophic loss. If your car gets a dent on the bumper or a few shingles blow off of the roof on your house, you may be better off if you take care of the expense on your own.

If you car is totaled in an accident or the entire roof of your house caves in, filing a claim becomes a much more economically feasible exercise. Just keep in mind that even though you have coverage and have paid your premiums on time for years, your insurance company may decline to renew your coverage when your policy expires.

A Strategy to Save on the Cost of Your Policy
Understanding the logic behind filing a claim only in the event of a large loss also provides insight into how to save a few dollars on your insurance premiums. Because you aren't going to file a claim in the event of a minor loss, having a low deductible on your policy makes no financial sense. If you already plan to pay for the first $500 or $1,000 dollars worth of damage out of your own pocket, set aside that amount in an interest-bearing savings account and raise your insurance deductible to match the number. Increasing your deductible will result in lower insurance rates, and the cash in the bank will cover your out-of-pocket costs in the event of an accident.

The Bottom Line
When you pay your insurance premiums regularly and on time, it may seem like you should be able to file as many legitimate claims as you want. Unfortunately, the industry doesn't work this way. Filing too many claims or certain kinds of claims can have an adverse effect on your insurance rates or even get your policy canceled altogether after the claim has been paid. To avoid unfair rate hikes and unpleasant financial surprises, do your homework and learn about your particular insurer's policies and industry practices long before you ever need to file a claim.

Read More: Source

Posted 11:21 AM  View Comments


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Daniel T. Murray, Inc.
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