How to Save on Car Insurance

Yesterday we got our renewal notice that our car insurance is due again for the next 6 months, and to my amazement it had gone up $100 since last renewal six months ago. I checked back to the renewal a year ago and it had only increased $6 from the previous period. So why did it increase now? We haven't moved, haven't changed anything - same cars, same driving status, same address, no claims and yet it increased $100.
So DH who used to be an insurance agent, called and talked to the company to find out why our rates increased. They said it was due to Florida rates increasing, so supposedly everyone will get higher rates. Florida has more uninsured drivers than most states and the problem is expected to get worse, according to a study released by an independent research group.
The study by the Insurance Research Council says the recession will likely trigger a sharp increase in the number of uninsured motorists. The study estimates that one in six U.S. drivers will be uninsured in 2010. "An increase in the number of uninsured motorists is an unfortunate consequence of the economic downturn and illustrates how virtually everyone is affected by recent economic developments," Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC, said in a news release.
Florida had the fifth highest uninsured driver estimate at 23 percent, according to the study. The four states with higher estimates were: New Mexico, 29 percent; Mississippi, 28 percent; Alabama, 26 percent; and Oklahoma, 24 percent. The study found that the number of uninsured motorists was indelibly linked to each state's unemployment rate. Based on unemployment rate projections, researchers estimated that the number of uninsured motorists in the United States will increase from 13.8 percent in 2007 to 16.1 percent in 2010. It is estimated that only 50% of drivers in Florida have inadequate insurance or none.
So back to our story, we have good coverage with all the high amounts of liability, uninsured and bodily injury. But do we need it? Our truck is 12 years old, and our Camry is 6 years old. Why does the truck cost more to insure than the newer Camry? All of these answers elude me and the insurance representative was no help either. Anyway, here's how we try to be frugal with car insurance:
  1. Don't get involved in any collisions or incidents. It always is cheaper to just not get involved. This includes incidents with police officers who may ticket you for something stupid that you need to go to court for to get adjudication withheld. I learned this many years ago when I was given an "improper use of horn" ticket by a traffic cop at Busch Gardens, I went to court to fight it on my perfect driving record and it was adjudicated but ended up costing $67 in court costs.
  2. If you don't damage it, you don't have to fix it (or pay for it). We try to park in the back of parking lots with shopping carts, or on the edge of small lots to avoid having our vehicle bumped into by other things. Bummer this didn't work a couple weeks ago though, some big truck with a 4" tail pipe exhaust backed into the front of the Camry and left a large donut indent in our bumper.
  3. Pay your car insurance in full. Usually companies will give you up to a 15% discount for paying in full rather than installments. If you can get yourself to save a portion of your premium each month and pay in full this will save a good amount.
  4. Increase your deductibles. If you can save money to pay your deductible out of savings, this will decrease your premium because its cheaper insurance if you have a higher deductible.
  5. Eliminate collision and comprehensive coverage if you have an old car. Experts say that you should look up your vehicles blue book value (BBV) at and then subtract the deductible value. Divide this number by the annual premium cost and if your result is less than 3.5 it makes sense to eliminate the coverage.
  6. Get comparable quotes from many sources. Use online quote calculators and compare insurance from many sources. We checked Progressive, Esurance, Geico all online instantly. This way even if you don't switch you can feel comfortable knowing you are getting the best rate you can.
So in the end we decided we just need to pay the new higher amount, its the price of living in the land of sunshine.

Florida Appliance Rebates

The State of Florida will implement a mail-in rebate program to help residents replace older, inefficient appliances with ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances. The program is scheduled to begin April 16, 2010 and is scheduled to last ten days. The program is timed to coincide with Florida's Earth Day Activities.

Eligible products include
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Room air conditioners
  • Gas tankless water heaters
Florida will offer residents a 20% rebate off the price of a new ENERGY STAR qualified appliance. Consumers may also receive an additional rebate with proof of having recycled the old appliance.
Contact: Florida Energy & Climate Commission
Total Funding: $17,585,000
Program information subject to change. Rebates may be offered for a limited time only. Before purchasing a product, check with your program sponsor to ensure rebates are available, and to confirm product eligibility and program requirements. Products purchased must meet efficiency criteria as established by the state.

Publix Great Deal on BP Gas Card & All Detergent

Publix has the coupon in their flyer coming out Wednesday for $10 off $50 BP gas card. This is a great deal at 20% off gas. The coupon specifies you need to purchase $25 worth of groceries to use the coupon, but here's a great way to make that work. And who doesn't need gasoline??
All Small & Mighty Laundry Detergent – Assorted Varieties – 3x Concentrated, 32 oz bot. Or 2x Ultra, 50 oz bot. – BOGO $5.99-$1/1 PRINT & PRINT 
-$2/1 ; $1/1 All Liquid Laundry Detergent, Any 50 Oz. Or Larger 02-07-10 RP
Get 4 All 50 oz = $24.00
Get one filler item for $1.00 (produce, bread, etc)
Get $50 BP gas card
Use 4 $2/1 All coupons (or use $1/1 printables for a less great deal, but still a deal)
Use this competitor coupon SaveALot $5 off $20 PRINT
Use $10 off $50 Publix coupon for BP gas card wyb $25 groceries (from the ad)
-12.00 BOGO All
-10 off Publix BP coupon
-8 off All coupons
-5 off $20 SaveALot coupon
= $40 OOP for your $50 gas card and 4 laundry detergents and your filler

Celebrate Savings Rebate

A new rebate is available on Georgia Pacific products. Spend $20 in the following products: Brawny, Quilted Northern, Dixie, Sparkle or Vanity Fair product and get $5 back via mail. This rebate offer is valid from 3/11 – 4/18. Go here for Rebate Form

Free NPR Music SXSW Sampler

Here's some great free music from the SXSW makers and iTunes.

Download a free 11-song sampler of the artists featured by NPR Music and public radio stations at this March's South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Click on the graphic to get the code, which is redeemable on iTunes through April 30 while supplies last. 

The collection includes performances by Spoon, Broken Bells, Local Natives, Freelance Whales, and many more.

Spring Ahead

Don't forget that Saturday night you need to Spring Forward and change the time on your clock ahead one hour at 2:00 am (or earlier). It will be nice to have longer, sunny days again.
If you have kids, you might want to ease the time adjustment by putting them to bed at least 15 minutes earlier starting tonight and tomorrow so you avoid the drama Sunday or Monday morning when they feel like you're waking them up at 3am.

Tampa St Patricks Parade in Ybor City

On Saturday, March 13, 2010 the Rough Riders krewe will be presenting the 15th Annual St Patricks Parade in Ybor City. It is the largest holiday parade in Tampa with over 90 floats, and drawing over 50,000 spectators. Saturday should be no exception with the weather forecast to be beautiful. The parade starts at 8 pm on 7th Avenue & Nuccio Parkway, and ends on 7th Ave & 20th St.
Since its spring break here, there will be lots of young college kids goofing off, always good for drama. I'm not sure if we'll go after a day at the Renaissance Festival, but if our guests are up to it we'll be there.

FREE Recipe and Craft ebook

Another holiday is around the corner, St Patricks Day! Its a fun one for kids and adults and there's usually a parade or two to attend and pretend we're Irish. Actually, I am a little bit Irish from my grandmother I think, so that gives me reason to celebrate the day. Watch for more news of local events in Tampa, and here's a nice activity book for the kids, its the FaveCrafts Recipe and Craft ebook. Its packed with recipes and ideas, all for FREE.

Friday Follow 3/2010

Friday Follow

Welcome to the 9th Friday Follow celebration hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades! It's all about sharing and having fun.

MckLinky Blog Hop

McCormick Moneymaker

Go HERE to print a $1/1 McCormick Spice, Color or Extract Coupon and then combine it with the $0.55/1 Publix coupon from the Healthy Kids booklet to make a five cents on McCormick Grinders this month at Publix. The Grinders are on Yellow Advantage buy all month at $1.50 each. Use Zip code 62946
McCormick Grinders $1.50
- $1/1 McCormick spice, herb, color, or extract print
- $0.55/1 McCormick off any spice, Publix coupon Healthy Kids Healthy Meals booklet (exp 3/20)
=-0.05 profit