“Theoretically, you can’t haggle with an insurer because the insurer is supposed to have only one rate” for customers who fit a particular criteria, says Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America. Instead, he says, shop around. “Prices vary widely between carriers.”
Call around and make a list or even a spreadsheet of the various discounts you’re eligible for from different carriers, along with the rates you’re quoted by each. You might be able to score a lower rate based on criteria like your profession, the age of the car you drive or theft-deterrent systems on your home or vehicle. If your current insurance company isn’t giving you or doesn’t offer those discounts, find out why. It doesn’t hurt to let them know you’re shopping around, especially if you’re dealing with a local agent with whom you have a relationship. Of course, bundling policies, such as auto and homeowners’ insurance, with a single carrier can also yield lower rates.
And although there are some efforts by state lawmakers to ban the practice, most insurers do take your credit history into account when they decide how much to charge you. If you’ve worked hard to raise your credit score, you have a great reason to ask for — and expect — a better rate, especially if the jump in your credit score is substantial.