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Car insurance quotes and bundling

In the days when life was simple and there were few risks, the insurance industry was profitable and able to offer a reasonably good service to its customers. But now the world is more complicated, there are real challenges for the insurers. If you look at the market for insuring vehicles, you can see the extent of the change. Back in the 1950's, there were not that many people on the roads but, thanks to the arrival of the Boomers, the number of drivers increased dramatically and car ownership expanded. Millions of new vehicles came on to the roads. With all the extra vehicles, the chances of being involved in an accident increased. As more people had access to credit, they were buying new vehicles which were more expensive to repair or replace. The cost of labor to do all the repairs was also rising fast. Put all this together and you have a recipe for rapidly rising premium rates.

 
   

Apart from accepting a higher deductible, the main way of earning a discount with an insurer has always been to give the insurer more business. So, if your family owns three vehicles, you insure all three with the same company. If you also insure your home, want to cover your health costs or insure your life, a bundle has always been rewarded with sometimes quite substantial savings. But, here comes the problem. While insuring vehicles has consistently remained profitable, homeowners insurance has become increasingly challenging. Even though the US is one of the countries refusing any action on climate change in the current round of talks in Durban, the US insurance industry has recognized a major change in weather patterns over the last twenty years. That's why you will now find it very difficult to get flooding coverage if you live anywhere near where the water level is known to rise, why hurricane damage is being defined to make it more difficult for you to claim, and why sinkhole, mudslide and earthquake coverage is getting more difficult in the areas at risk, i.e. the land drying out or being affected by more than the usual amount of rain.

In the past, companies would cross-subsidize, treating their profit on vehicle insurance as support for the other divisions. That's no longer an option. The premium rates have been forced to rise faster than inflation because of the increasing levels of fraud and the rising costs of repairs. There comes a point when the other insurance divisions of home, health and life have to become more profitable. Allstate's answer is to make it a condition of buying homeowners insurance that owners also buy vehicle insurance. The regulator in North Carolina has just allowed Allstate to drop 45,000 existing policyholders who refused to transfer their vehicle insurance. The same is happening in Arkansas. In most states, it's lawful for insurers to give just 30 days notice of its intention not to renew. So here's the big question for you. How will you react if you get a letter from an insurer threatening not to renew your homeowners policy unless you bundle cover together? Will this trigger a rush to other insurers who offer unconditional car insurance quotes? Ironically, it may force you to discover other companies actually have lower auto insurance rates.

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