This question is going to be more important for those with a clean driving history. With a clean driving history, it is difficult to ascertain whether the quote you’re getting is a low-ball bait and switch scenario, or if it is the real, genuine, long-term premium. You must ask this question and demand a clear yes or no answer to ferret out any type of inapplicable or vanishing discounts situation. If you have a clean driving record and a credit score above 700, you won’t know until you get blind sided by a discount that suddenly vanished because it only applies to people “who ain’t you.”
The pressure the industry places on people that make relatively little money, and take a great deal of public abuse is immense. These three words, direct insurance quote is always floating in the air above the representative’s head and the agents, agency managers and call center leaders don’t really care about anything else. If a representative feed you a line, that you swallow, hook, line and sinker, and later, when you need a claim covered, you are on your own to pay the damages; or worse, you weren’t told about a few different options for not much more cost, the claim would have been covered.
Oh well, tough luck. Other than competition, there is very little negative consequences for representatives and agents who feed you a line of bull. They will probably go out of business, someday, but after they have hurt you and countless others. Compared to other lines of insurance or securities, direct auto insurance is as relatively unregulated as the wild, wild west. You need to know that going in, and be armed with the double barrel shotgun of materially relevant questions and a system to take notes for comparison shopping.
Many companies who advertise on national TV and have few, if any, local agents’ offices work very hard to convince you that buying direct auto insurance, and should take no more than 15 minutes. There is a reason why the words “quick” and “dirty” are associated with that phrase. If you have succumbed to this tantalizing tale of lavish laziness, I AM GOING TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE!
Calling multiple companies will definitely take more than 15 minutes. It is also likely to lead to headaches and frustrations. The end results are going to be a savvier you (which is most valuable), a potentially life long relationship with a direct insurance company or agent and car insurance claims that are covered and paid. The name of this game is BETTER VALUE for your insurance dollar, not merely lower rates.
If you don’t take the notes, systematically, with dates, times of day, names of persons with whom you spoke, essence of what they said, you will have no grounds to file complaints with the DOI in the state where you live or the BBB in your area. Notes matter, comparison shopping matters, rewarding honest, capable, patient educators with your business matters! Don’t fall for quick (and dirty).
Is this rate likely to change, and when it does change, what are the criteria that impact the rate?
This is the last in a series of questions to test the honest competency of the person you’re talking to and the way the direct insurance underwriters for the company he or she represents are likely to treat you in the event of future claims. This answer should come to you a summary of what has already been discussed. The best salespeople will tend to jump a closing strategy at this point. Closing strategies are designed to push you off of the fence and to get you to say “Yes”.
Closing strategies, like salespeople, are not inherently good or evil. Remember, that the best salesperson is not always the most honest representative. And you are seeking honest competency and the wise counsel that goes along with it, not the best salesperson. The person you’re looking for is probably undervalued by his or her boss but generally well respected by peers. Peers may even be intimidated a bit because of the confidence that this person exudes, the confidence that comes when ethics are wed to knowledge. This person’s boss may even want to get rid of him or her, because he or she refuses to be unethical in the process of winning business, and therefore ‘wins’ slightly less business. Whom better to reward with your business than this rare gem?
On your first through fourth research calls, you must not give in to the closing tactic, because you haven’t completed your research. You should talk to at least 5 different companies before you allow anyone to “close” you. You should take methodical and systematic notes and if the 5th call is the unquestionable best as you review your notes, only then do you buy. More research is better, and if you can work with a broker, somebody not bound to work exclusively with one and only one direct car insurance company, that person will do some of the research for you. The best brokers will tell you about two or three options, then give you their opinions and the ground on which those opinions are based as to why these two or three options works better for you than all of the other companies they can access.
But remember, there is no broker out there that represents every company. That is because many companies require their reps and agents to work exclusively for them. When they do that, it is solely in the company’s best interest, not yours. Also, helpful to remember, that while brokers, who represent multiple companies, can comparison shop them for you, they are not equally compensated by all those companies, and may urge you to sign with one company based on what is better for them. So, ask about the compensation, the won’t give you the gory details, but they can’t lie outright to you either. The answer will give evidence about the broker’s motives. The best brokers love helping people far more than the extra money from brand X insurance company.