Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We Saved $552 a Year on Car Insurance and I Hope to Save EVEN MORE!

We shook up our car insurance and saved $552 a year. I know this sounds like a lame commercial. Queue the gecko. But seriously, shortly after Mrs. DisIndebted and I got married we made some simple changes to our car insurance that saved us $552 a year / $46 a month. I'm hoping to save us even more!

In the spring before we got hitched, we were spending a combined $2,064 per year on car insurance - $172 a month. We both had insurance through Progressive, me for four years, her for five. So we decided it would be best to bundle up on her policy since she had the longer customer history. Then one Sunday in July we gave Progressive a call and combined our policies. We were shocked at the savings for going to a joint plan. Suddenly, we were paying $1,680 a year; $384 less than before (19%). The customer service rep let us know that I had a speeding ticket that could come off in August. I called back in August and our rate dropped again, this time to $1,512 a year; $552 less than we were paying separately.

That's it. It was that easy to save 27% on our insurance. But I think we are going to save even more.

I am a light driver. My office is around 4 miles from my apartment, so I have a total round trip of around 8 miles a day. Because of this, I feel I am a good candidate for Progressive's "Snapshot" program*. Progressive advertises it can save me up to 30% based on my good driving. The plan varies from state to state, but according to Progressive, here is what they track in my state (Ohio):
  • Mileage— Total distance of trips. To earn a discount, try to minimize your time behind the wheel by combining trips, carpooling or using public transportation. [DisIndebted Note: Elsewhere, this is quantified as 30 miles per day on average]
  • Time and day—The number of minutes you spend driving during higher risk hours—the highest risk are between midnight and 4 a.m.

  • Hard braking—Hard brakes are decreases in speed of seven mph per second or greater. Your Snapshot device will “beep” when you brake hard. Minimize hard braking to work toward a discount.

MILEAGE:
As you can see, I don't drive that much on a daily basis. In fact, what you are looking at most weekdays is a trip to the office, home for lunch, back to work, and home in the evening. 

Debt Free Dog
I could cut the mileage further if I stayed at the office through lunch. That said, I my lunch at home is a short bit of sanity in what is typically an incredibly insane work day. Plus - I get to see the dog!
That said - now that I'm thinking about it, we are talking about 8 miles a day, five days a week. I get roughly 20 mpg, so that's two gallons of gas weekly. Today fuel was $2.39. That's $4.88 a week for me to eat lunch at home. That's $254 a year.

In the end, $254 a year is a small price to pay for sanity. Plus - look at that fluff-ball dog!

So anywho, back to this whole Snapshot gig. As I noted above, they are tracking three key performance indicators:

Obviously, I am driving on average far below 30 miles a day. Score one point for Mr. DisIndebted. 

TIME AND DAY:
On top of a short commute, I am in bed by 10 most nights and rarely leave before 7:30 AM. I do not drive between midnight and 4 a.m. Nothing more to say. Two points! 

HARD BRAKING:
The big unknown here is the hard braking. First of all, I don't know what they mean by minimized. Is one hard brake every five miles acceptable - or is one ever fifty what I should be aiming for? Does it matter that I spend more time on surface streets than highways? There are just too many variables involved and there is no clearly defined metric for this factor.

I've been at it for 12 days so far and I have to say this braking thing is the most annoying piece of crap I have ever encountered. I drive very safe. I am cautious - but not overly cautious. I keep a solid following distance. I signal every turn and lane change. But somehow I keep getting dinged on the hard braking. Progressive calculates a hard brake as a decrease in speed of seven mph per second or greater. I swear a) the system is way more sensitive than that, and b) this calculation is crap. I can come to the smoothest cleanest stop and think, "yeah, I got this!" That's the moment the stupid Snapshot box gives me a disapproving chirp, which moment is quickly followed by me uttering some particularly choice words. 

Here is my recent performance:


The hard brakes are a wildcard but let's see if we can make some sense of it. I drove rounded a total of 122 miles and made 11 hard brakes in those miles. That means I made one hard brake every 11 miles on average. Is that enough to get me a 30% discount? Only time will tell. 

What would a 30% discount mean? Assuming my vehicle is 50% of the insurance cost, then a 30% reduction based on my driving would yield a 15% reduction on our overall premium. This would be an annual cost of $1,285; $779 less than our separate premium costs - or a total savings of 38% over where we were in the spring. 

This would take monthly auto insurance cost from an original $172 to $107 and save us $65 a month. That's a lot of dough. HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS! Mr. DisIndebted is driving like Grandpa.

I'll keep you posted on the Snapshot progress and let you know what it ultimately does to our rates.

Have you used Snapshot? What did it save you? What else have you done to lower your car insurance premiums? Share your secrets with us below or at disindebted@gmail.com.



*Disclaimer: Mrs. DisIndebted is not participating in the Snapshot program. Without doing any thing to impeach her driving abilities, let's just say that we aren't confident her participation will not actually increase our rates.





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