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Auto Ins. Premium Going Up?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Auto Ins. Premium Going Up?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
February 26, 2008

Let’s assume you have been a good driver – no tickets, no accidents, and you have enjoyed discounts on your automobile insurance premiums for your good driving record.

Now let’s assume that your policy anniversary is approaching. The envelope with your premium notice arrives and you open it, expecting to see the familiar premium you have been paying, or perhaps just a small increase to cover inflation.

Then your heart almost stops, when you see that your premium has increased a whopping 30%!

It’s probably after-hours for your insurance agent, so you get to steam all night, and by the next morning you are more than ready to tear a leg off your agent.

You call your agent and what do you hear? “Everybody’s premium is going up.” “You can’t do anything about it.” “It won’t do any good to fight it.”

Wanna bet?

Try this the next time. Write a polite, but very stern, letter to the President of the insurance company. Don’t waste your time calling the customer service department; you’ll get someone with no authority whatsoever. Go right to the top.

Send copies of your letter to several Insurance Commissioners. Send one to the Insurance Commissioner of your own state (for example, Illinois), of the state in which the headquarters of the insurance company is located, and to the insurance commissioners of 2-3 nearby states.

Perhaps you’ll have the same good luck that I did. Within a week I received a telephone call from the administrative assistant to the President of the insurance company. She was very pleasant and quickly identified herself, spelled her name and gave me her direct-dial telephone number. She told me that a policy analyst would review my letter and file and would contact me within a week.

In less than a week the analyst did call me. The decision? He lowered my premium back to its previous level, and it has been there ever since.

Does it pay to complain? You bet! Do so politely and respectfully. State your case. I had written up-front that I would not object to a small increase in rates, but not 30%. The insurance company was very fair and didn’t even raise the premium at all.

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