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Are car insurance loyalty discounts worth it?
You could score car insurance savings for being a loyal customer, but watch out for rates that creep up every year.
Updated . What changed?
Typically shopping around and comparing options will ensure you find the best deal. But if you’re happy with the car insurance you have, staying with your current insurer could pay off before you know it.
Is a loyalty discount worth it?
It depends. If your insurer offers a break for sticking around, you could see discounts from 15% to 30%. However, despite your loyalty savings, sometimes staying with an insurance company for an extended amount of time can cost you more than switching insurers. You can usually get better insurance rates by switching insurers because it gives you more negotiating power. Or, you can ask for new rates from your current company every year or two.
Which companies have the best loyalty discounts?
Compare a few popular insurers who offer discounts to loyal customers, depending on where you’re located.
- Geico. The list of discounts from Geico includes up to 30% for loyal customers.
- Nationwide. The discounts offered with Nationwide list savings up to 15% for loyal customers.
- USAA. You’ll get up to a 10% family loyalty discount through USAA.
- Allstate. With a loyalty discount through Allstate, you could save up to 7%.
- AAA. Get 5% off your car insurance through an AAA discount for being a loyal customer.
How do I get a loyalty discount?
Call your current insurance company to ask them if you qualify or how long you’ll need to stay loyal to get the discount. Unfortunately, most car insurance companies don’t advertise how long you need to be with an insurer to see loyalty savings. Expect a time range of three to five years or more before the loyalty discount kicks in.
Many companies also offer a renewal discount. Similar to the concept of a loyalty discount, this is something you receive when you renew your coverage with your insurer rather than moving your business elsewhere.
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What’s price optimization?
The highest cost of not switching is because of something referred to as price optimization in the insurance industry. It’s a nice way of saying insurers will increase your rate by small amounts over the years.
It’s not optimizing anything for the customers. Price-optimized increases are gradual, creating a little extra cash flow for the insurer without scaring customers away with a sudden jump in costs. Think of it as insurance inflation for your premiums. If you got a notice in the mail about a small rate increase, a tiny bump in cost probably isn’t going to make you go through the effort of switching to a new provider.
Say you were paying $1,100 annually before, and the next year you’ll be charged $1,175. With an increase like that, you would probably pay an extra $5 or $10 a month. You might not realize you’ve seen the same increase every year, so what you thought was a good deal on insurance is now higher than market prices.
Which states ban price optimization?
You might not experience the effects of price optimization if you live in Maryland, Ohio, California, New York, Florida, Vermont, Washington, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maine, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, Alaska, Missouri or Virginia.
Since most Americans are required by law to have auto insurance, these states feel it’s unfair for insurance companies to increase premiums based on how unlikely it is for a consumer to change companies over a small increase.
Should I stay or should I go?
Once you know what kinds of loyalty discounts your provider offers, hold your provider to that number and watch for other increases to weigh out your actual savings from loyalty discounts. Because some providers use rate optimization, you might get a loyalty discount and still wind up paying more than you would if you switched providers.
To make sure you fully understand the details of what you’re paying for, speak with your agent or call your insurance company directly.
Loyalty discounts can offer significant savings on your car insurance but are unlikely to beat out the benefits of shopping around and comparing car insurance companies, this way you can find the best policy with the most savings.
Monitor your annual insurance costs and watch for any increases that don’t seem warranted, as that could be a sign of price optimization. And if you’re feeling the effects of price optimization, it could be time to see what else is out there.
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