Are vehicle insurance rates negotiable?
June 2, 2009 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Are vehicle insurance rates negotiable?

I received my yearly scooter insurance bill from Progressive yesterday...up $39 from last year (and that's with the 10% discount for paying in full, which I always do.) I did not have a claim in the past year.
My questions:
1. Is this much of a jump standard? Are they going to tell me "it's just the cost of doing business" or some similar line of jive?
2. Before I write the check, do I have a chance of negotiating a lower rate on the phone? Even if it's as little as $5 less, it would at least sting a little less. Progressive Insurance has a bigger pile of money than I do, after all.
posted by BostonTerrier to Work & Money (7 answers total)
My sister just negotiated with her agent - she got a bigger bill this year, shopped around for the same coverage at other companies, and called her agent saying "[Some other insurance company] quoted me $X. If you can't match it, I'm gonna switch to them." They matched it. Granted, this agent has been my parent's agent for over 25 years, and my sister's since she was 16 (she's 28 now).

So, yes, you can negotiate. Call around and see if you can get a better rate somewhere else so you can go in with numbers.
posted by AlisonM at 7:14 AM on June 2, 2009

I work for a competitor of Progressive and I think the only negotiating room you have would involve dropping coverages, which you may or may not want to do. It's worth a phone call, but you might just end up having to get quotes from other insurers.
posted by Maisie at 7:15 AM on June 2, 2009

Aside from negotiating, there are a bunch of potential discounts out there, depending on where you went to school, where you work, what clubs you belong to...
posted by inigo2 at 7:17 AM on June 2, 2009

Have you checked with an agent who represents many different insurers? They do the legwork for you. I have had excellent success with agents as they know which insurers will write policies on people in your specific demographics or circumstances, and who will give you the best deal.

But, in answer to your original question... yes, everything's negotiable. But instead of dealing with someone at a call center, an agent (even if it is a Progressive agent) may have a better incentive of keeping your business as he/she earns a commission on each sale.

Just make sure your "discount" doesn't equate to poorer coverage in order to realize savings.
posted by FergieBelle at 7:23 AM on June 2, 2009

It might be tough to negotiate with Progressive. They're pretty consistently the cheapest for motorcycle insurance, and they probably know that.
posted by electroboy at 8:04 AM on June 2, 2009

If they won't negotiate and you can't get a quote for less, raising your deductable a little bit can lessen the bill. See if you can do a small increase such as $750 deductable instead of $500.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2009

From Ms. Vegetable (she has worked in the insurance industry):

I don't believe it's legal in the U.S. to "negotiate" for a regular account, if by negotiating you mean haggling like you would at a car dealership.

(By a "regular account": if you could walk into an agent's office and walk out 15 minutes later with coverage without any waiting or underwriting or referrals, or if you could purchase insurance online or over the phone, you are a regular account. If you are not a regular account, you likely have more than one property, multiple vehicles, a huge art collection, are a movie star, etc, and want a ton of coverage and don't care about the price.)

However, there are multiple ways to lower your overall premium - higher deductible, lower limits, ask for more discounts, ask them to rerun your credit, see if they have a loyalty bonus or a discount for being a member of a motorcycle club, etc.

Progressive is the cheapest and best for motorcycle insurance.

Re: this jump being standard - yes, this is not unusual whatsoever. LOTS of insurance companies are taking rate changes - I've seen some numbers of +50% for policies lately across the board. It is an ugly insurance market right now. Yes, if you ask, they are likely to give you the runaround (if they answer at all) about why rates are going up - claim sizes are increasing, more people are riding motorcycles to save on gas and so they don't always have good experience (and yes, with insurance, if part of the group does poorly, it indicates that the group will do poorly in the future, from the company's perspective), with the economy tanking more people are suing, etc.

I would also recommend calling some competitors to get quotes - this can sometimes spur discount hunting by an agent for you.

Good luck!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:29 PM on June 2, 2009

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