Savvy shoppers are constantly brainstorming new ways to save on everything from groceries to major life expenses—and rightly so! Often a little coupon clipping or bargain hunting can save you big bucks. And plenty of folks have no problem negotiating a sale down to the penny.
But haggling is an art form, and it’s not one every shopper is particularly comfortable with. In fact, a recent Edmunds.com survey found that a whopping 91 percent of millennials prefer not to haggle over price when shopping for cars. In the same survey, 78 percent of baby boomers also said they hated the haggling process. Of course car shopping is particularly stressful, but the truth is, negotiating over price is always a bit of a challenge: We all have emotional relationships with money, and haggling requires asserting yourself in a way we’re just not usually faced with.
Everyone knows you can haggle over the price of a car, but we wanted to know: Can you haggle car insurance prices? Is there anything you can do to get your insurance company to roll those digits down—or is the most effective way to keep your car insurance costs down through comparison shopping instead?
The Bottom Line: You Can’t Haggle Insurance
The Zebra licensed insurance agent Jonathan Wagner explains haggling over car insurance this way: “You don’t haggle with your electric company over your bill—you figure out how to use your power more efficiently,” Wagner says. Though he often speaks with customers who try to haggle over price, he adds: “If you want the best price, you need to believe your agent is doing all they can, and understand for yourself what (heavily regulated) discounts are available in your state. Half the discounts you hear about in ads may not even be available in your state.”
Because car insurance rates come from such specific factors about a person’s credit history, age, location, and other factors, there often isn’t room to truly haggle over price. Independent insurance agent Paul Moyer says, “I have never personally had luck of haggling directly with one company with my personal or a client’s policy.” However, he adds, “You should get new car insurance quotes about every two years. Car insurance companies are great at turning up the heat slowly on your premiums over time so you don’t feel it.”
Your heard that right: Though it seems like it should, especially when it comes to car insurance, customer loyalty doesn’t always pay. Though it’s true that you can often earn discounts from bundling policies and adding drivers to your policy, it’s also true that staying with the same company year after year often doesn’t save you as much as shopping around and comparing rates from multiple companies would. In fact, a recent J.D. Power survey found that drivers who compare rates and switch companies save on average $300. That’s an iPhone 6 you just earned yourself from one change!
But You Can (and Should) Shop Around
Though you might be powerless to haggle with your agent or specific company over your car insurance rate, you are not powerless to take close look at your coverage and compare other options with other companies apples to apples. (Ahem, we know of a pretty easy way to do that, too.) Wagner actually recommends shopping around every six months, if you really want to be conscientious. “But you should at least shop around once a year, or when you buy a new vehicle, move, or add a driver.”