Recently a customer that has been with the agency for years came in to cancel his automobile insurance because he had found cheaper coverage elsewhere. This didn’t come as a surprise to me because I had worked with him on several occasions to find a cheaper policy; however, I was surprised that he found a cheaper policy because I simply couldn’t beat his current premium.

hookKnowing that I could be honest and blunt with him, I explained my surprise and asked him where he had found cheaper coverage. He pulled a folded envelope out of his back pocket that contained a flashy letter from a major insurance company. This letter was mailed by the insurance company on behalf of his former employer, who has set up a program for employees and retirees to obtain cheaper rates with said company. The letter bragged of average savings customers in Maine had found when switching their insurance. As an agent, I know that I can’t compare customer A’s policy with customer B’s policy because they may live in different areas, be different ages, or A may be a great driver and B may have 2 accidents and an OUI.

The letter also boasts that they offer discounts for anti-lock brakes, air bags or if you insure more than one vehicle. They also offer a “12-Month Rate Guarantee” which locks your price in for a year. These are all standard practices in the insurance industry and they are selling them to their customers as added values that set them apart.

I found that this letter appeared to be a very good baiting tactic and his savings seemed too good to be true.

Being a long time customer, he trusted our opinion and asked that I compare his current coverages with the new policy he had purchased. He didn’t have any paperwork on the policy so I sat down with him and we called the major insurance company. We spent 5 minutes on hold and were then transferred from agent to agent until finally, on the 3rd transfer, we spoke with someone who could actually give us the info we were looking for.

After speaking with the agent, who was very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly, we began to compare the finer details of his policies.

Bodily Injury $500,000 Combined Single Limit $50,000 per person$100,000 per accident
Property Damage Included in above $50,000
Uninsured Motorist $500,000 Combined Single Limit $50,000 per person$100.000 per accident
Medical Payments $5,000 $2,000
Comprehensive $50 deductible $50 deductible
Collision $100 deductible $100 deductible
Towing and Labor $25 $50
Rental Reimbursement $30 a day, 30 day max $30 a day, 30 day max
PREMIUM $681 $550

The major company lived up to its letter: they were able to offer a savings but at a cost to the insured. He went from being insured with high liability limits to low limits that we won’t even write for our customers. This is a dishonest practice that I fear many major insurance companies use to save their new customers money. When a new customer calls J. T. Rosborough we always ask to go over their current coverages so we can truly compare price.

The customer was shocked. We called the major company, he cancelled the policy he had just taken out and he stayed with us.

At J. T. Rosborough, our goal is to properly insure our customers so that if they ever have a loss, they will be prepared. As agents, we would prefer that a customer calls us and tells us that they’re thinking of moving their policy. We will gladly help you review, compare and even shop your current policy around.

Please don’t let the baiting techniques and witty commercials fool you. Talk to your agent before you make a change.