How can all of Those Insurance Companies be Cheaper Than Each Other – and a few More Tidbits?

 How can every company have the lowest auto insurance rates?

Progressive Insurance spokesperson, “Flo,” (Where the heck does she work anyway? It looks like a Jean Paul Sartre version of hell.) says

Oh no! It's Flo!

Progressive will save you hundreds compared to other insurers. So do the GEICO Gecko, Allstate’s Dennis Haysbert and 21st Century.

Well, according to J.D. Howard of the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network – quoted in the newsletter Bottom Line Personal – it’s all about tweaking what it is they’re talking about. If Allstate gives divorced women in their 30s with full time jobs the lowest rates in Kansas, they may claim they “can” save you 300 bucks compared to other insurers.

Others may save you money by cutting out certain coverage or raising the deductibles or lowering the maximum benefits.

I find that a great way to find excellent coverage and lower rates is to take these steps:

  1. Check Consumer Reports for the highest rated companies in terms of consumer satisfaction;
  2. Go to a web site that offers rate comparisons, like Insweb.com or Netquote.com;
  3. Go to your state’s insurance department web site and check to see which insurers have the fewest complaints.
  4. Call your three top choices to see what deals they offer. But be sure to compare identical coverages and in terms of deductibles and limits.

 

You can also check satisfaction results at the web site of the consumer satisfaction research group, J. D. Power (jdpower.com).

            Oddly, in my own case I have found that AAA gives its members no particular breaks. They have always offered me the highest premium quotes of any company to which I have compared them.

  Lost your credit card?

            If you have lost or misplaced your credit card, or wallet here’s what to do. If you think you have not lost it somewhere “out there,” but merely misplaced it, let me tell you what I recently did when I couldn’t find my card during a recent visit to New York. I called the credit card company to report my concern. They offered to merely put a stop on the card, disabling it until I could determine if it was truly lost.

            In order to determine if anyone else used the card I asked for the last transaction for which it had been used. June 8th at Big Daddy’s Diner, was the reply. “Doh!” was my response. I must have left it there when I had dinner with my buddy Paul.

            I called Big Daddy’s and sure enough they had my card. Case closed.

            If you cannot track down your card in a similar fashion, here’s what to do. If your card is missing, put a stop on it. If your wallet is missing, file a police report in the place where you lost it and get a copy of the report.

            Let each company from which you had a credit card in the wallet know that your cards are missing and file fraud alerts with the three credit reporting companies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

            Notify your local department of motor vehicles so it can flag your file so that it becomes more difficult for a ne’er-do-well to impersonate you, and so that you can get a new license. Get a new debit or ATM card from your bank.

 Best Buy’s worst buy?

Best Buy has a great promotional offer going . . . not! Afraid your new state-of-the art electronic doo dad will soon be outdated? Fear not. Best Buy will buy it back within two years, four years for a TV. According to ConsumerReports.com all you have to do is pay upfront for the “protection;” $70 for a laptop, netbook or tablet; 40 to 60 smackers for a cellular phone; and 60 to 350 bucks for a television set. An item returned within six months gets 50 percent back; between 18 and 24 months you can get 20 percent back, depending on condition; and for TVs more than two years old, they give you 10 percent. The refunds are in the form of Best Buy gift cards, the idea being that you apply the refunds to a new purchase.

            Before you go for this “deal,” think twice, or thrice. In effect, you are paying for insurance with a very limited benefit.

            And remember, whoever holds the money has the power.

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