Car Insurance Challenge Rocked: I Now Pay $20/mo :)

15 Minutes can save you 15% on your car insurance? Pshhhh… Try 47%!

Yup, in continuation of our Challenge Everything mantra, I am now officially saving money on our car insurance now too :) Now dropping my already low premium of $39.54/mo down to $20.99/mo with USAA. For literally making a 15 minute phone call. (Actually a 14 mins and 59 seconds call to be exact – I tried taking a screenshot to show y’all but was on my home phone looking like a complete IDIOT trying to snap it with buttons that didn’t exist! Hah!)

I just called them up, told them I was looking to reduce both our monthly premiums, and asked them to go down each line item with me to update old info and re-assess current coverage. It turned out we could cut a total of $183.56 worth of stuff from our 6 month premiums! Huzzah!

*That’s $30.59 of monthly recurring savings forever*

Which, if you recall, is what’s started this new challenge of ours in the first place. The idea that the more you can cut from your monthly expenses – while still living your normal lifestyle! – the less you need to earn later to pay for it. And the closer to early retirement you get (at least in theory :)). This $30-something savings means we no longer need to earn $50’ish every month going forward once you calculate in taxes/etc. Pretty neat, huh? And we still have adequate insurance!

So needless to say we’re on a roll here. If you haven’t started challenging your own expenses lately, I highly advise it. It literally only takes a few hours (one time!) to knock a lot of this stuff out, and then you reap the rewards every month going forward – it’s incredible. And even more so how much we’re wasting every month by just not paying attention!

Here’s an update on everything we’ve been challenging (and saving on) so far:

Remember, these are only one-time changes that result in hundreds and thousands of savings over time. There’s no better return on your hours invested!

How we lowered our car insurance bills:

lowered car insurance

We’ll start with me and my FrankenCaddy

First, I did something that most of you probably will NOT want to do – which is to get rid of collision completely. I’m still legally insured to help cover other peoples’ costs in the event of an at-fault accident, but as someone mentioned in my earlier car crashing post, it didn’t make sense to keep coverage around any more now that my car is officially registered as a piece of $hit. Though, a pimpin’ piece of $hit if you ask me ;)

franken-caddy before after

So that was the biggest factor in the drop of premium… Then we did the following:

  • Updated my yearly mileage from 4,000 to 1,000 (I work from home and rarely drive it)
  • Dropped property damage from $100,000 to $50,000 (which is the average, from what I’m told) *UPDATE: I had to move this back to $100k because apparently it messed up my Umbrella Insurance Policy! Which you need $100k coverage for! So good thing some of y’all mentioned this in the comments below – I would be out $50k if something had happened later needing my $1 Million umbrella to kick in – ouch!! Y’all rock. Oh, and the difference of premium now?? A wopping $0.46 haha… So I’m still on track w/ the 47% savings ;) Or would it be 46.5%? (Hah!)
  • Took off towing/roadside assistance (we have AAA)
  • Took off vehicle rental while car is in the shop (again, not an issue – it’s going straight to the dump!)
  • Nixed “lost work” insurance… This is where they’d pay you $100 a week if you’re out of work due to a car accident. But considering I had no idea we even had this, I doubt I’d remember to activate it later in the event this happened…

You might not be able to do all of these depending on your own situation (like the mileage decrease part), but it’s definitely smart to go down the line items with your current carrier and see what you no longer need anymore. You might be surprised what you find like I just was!

And of course, it’s always a good idea to comparison shop with other insurance companies out there too. I’ll recommend USAA ’till the day that I die, but unfortunately not everyone has access to them (you need a military tie). Still, there are plenty of other great companies around too – maybe you’ll get some good ideas down below in the comments today? (HINT: Tell us who you use and if you like them! :))

My old premium: $237.28 every 6 months ($39.54/mo)
My new premium: $125.96 every 6 months ($20.99/mo)
TOTAL SAVINGS: $18.55/mo

lower car insurance
Now onto the Mrs’ car… A Toyota Corolla Sport

We only made a few changes with this one, but it still netted us a cool $10’ish a mo in savings. The only part I was iffy on was raising her $200 deductible to $500, but after running the numbers it would have only saved us $5/mo meaning that we’d have to avoid an accident across 5 whole years (60 months) for it to be worth it in the end. And with the luck I have, there’s hardly a shot possible ;)

Here’s a picture of the last accident we had with it:

toyota crash

And here are all the changes we made to her policy:

  • Updated her yearly mileage from 12,000 to 5,000 (she’s a stay at home student at the moment)
  • Took off towing/roadside assistance
  • Took off vehicle rental in case of accident
  • Nixed “lost work” insurance…

So the main change here is the drop in mileage. Again, not everyone will be able to do this one (although you may! Make sure to do a calculation real quick!) but the point is to go over everything and see what’s changed and what needs to be revised. Every dollar counts!

Her old premium: $340.44 every 6 months ($56.74/mo)
Her new premium: $268.20 every 6 months ($44.70/mo)
TOTAL SAVINGS: $12.04/mo

Today’s Takeaway…

I know I’m gonna sound like a broken record here, but the main takeaway today is to just pick up the phone and ask your insurance company how you can lower your premiums. That’s it. You may save a lot less or a lot more than me (I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the latter), but you’ll never know until you spend the 15 mins or so asking.

If it makes you feel more comfortable, break it into two calls so you have time to think. The first one so you can gather the info, and the next one to make any necessary changes once you determine what makes the most sense in your situation. Just DON’T FORGET TO CALL BACK that 2nd time! I knew I’d probably push it off yet again (been trying to call for 3 weeks now!) so I just did it all in one shot so my laziness wouldn’t win out again ;)

Then once you knock this out, add up a calendar item to review it all again in 12 months. That way you can possibly save even more later! Here’s how our rates have looked over the years for our (same) two cars:

  • 5 Years ago: $706.51 every 6 months ($117.75/mo)
  • Yesterday: $577.72 every 6 months ($96.28/mo)
  • TODAY! $394.16 every 6 months ($65.69/mo)

There’s money to be saved out there, friends… Just gotta try and grab it!

Now tell us – how much do you pay every month for insurance? When was the last time you reviewed it?? I know some who pay even lower than $20/mo, and then others who pay over $600 (!!!). Hopefully y’all are closer to the former :)

PS: Did I mention I use USAA for all my insurance stuff ? ;) Homes, cars, health, you name it… Killer customer service, and even killer rates.

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  1. Bryant Denny July 30, 2014 at 6:23 AM

    Or in my case, they might realize they aren’t charging me enough and double my premium.

    Good post.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:13 AM

      What? From calling in? Not sure how they can do that if you’re already locked into a premium, but then again I haven’t used anyone except for USAA in the past 15+ years. And they def. don’t joke around!

      1. Bryant Denny July 30, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        I keed. I keed. #teenagedriver

        1. tootsieburpee May 28, 2017 at 6:57 AM


          The article recommends USAA, but the problem is that most people don’t quality for them. (You need to be a military family).

          My advice is to look into every company you can. Even ones hard to qualify for. USAA you might not be able to get, but you might be part of some other club or organization that will get you some good rates. Expect to spend a few hours researching. It will pay off – literally – in the end. I found $25/month rates (thru Insurance Panda) and $30+ rates from a few other places. The research really was worth it.

      2. Perry November 24, 2016 at 9:42 AM

        Fun fact: take any sort of defensive driving course (online too), lower your cost!

        1. J. Money November 29, 2016 at 10:03 AM

          Great tip!

  2. Chris @ Flipping a Dollar July 30, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    I’m jealous of those numbers! We got to lower ours to $95 a month when we moved from Philly to MD. That was a big improvement for us.

    We also got rid of AAA. We never used any of the perks, and figured that we could get towing with a quick google search.

    Now if we could get similar savings with daycare that’d be another story… It’s definitely more expensive down here.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:16 AM

      Oh man, don’t even get me started on daycare… it’s a LOT cheaper down here in VA than MD where we used to live (like, 30-40% cheaper!) but when you start popping out even more kids there’s no way around it, haha… Our 2nd one just went in this week and my wallet’s shaking in its booties!

  3. debt debs July 30, 2014 at 7:16 AM

    We pay $205 for two vehicles but need collision on both. Looking at others’ premiums, I thought ours was not bad, but compared to yours, we pay way too much. It never hurts to try, I guess. Now to overcome the laziness factor. I might delegate this job. ;-)

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:18 AM

      Well, I’m also pretty sure your car is a bit more refined than mine too ;) Though that’s a perk of driving around a beater – everything’s cheaper!

  4. Ben Luthi July 30, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    We pay about $55/mo. for ours. I dropped the collision and comprehensive on my 98 Honda Civic. i’m pretty sure it’s worth less than $1,000 so it won’t take much to total it–not worth the deductible. I should take a look at updating the mileage on that bad boy though. I probably only drive around 1,000 to 1,500 miles a year on it.

  5. Retired by 40 July 30, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    This is crazy awesome! We have USAA as well, but because we’re under 25 our premiums are roughly $130 per month! I thought I had dropped our coverage as low as it could go, but maybe I’ll give them a call and see what they can do. After all, they’re customer service is amazing, and so far they’ve had the lowest prices! Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Lance Cothern July 30, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    We reviewed our car insurance a year ago when we got married. We got quotes from all of the big guys and ended up with GEICO. I was shocked I was leaving USAA, but their rates were nowhere close to GEICO here in Florida. I saved hundreds a year by switching. If it was just $20, I would have stayed with USAA, but I couldn’t turn down hundreds :(. I still use USAA for many other things though, because they are a a truly awesome company!

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      I still can’t believe that every time you mention it… Maybe something odd with Florida specifically?

      1. Lance Cothern July 30, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        Florida is all sorts of weird. We have no regular home insurers here, they’re all weird companies I’ve never heard of. Not sure that car insurance is the same thing, but maybe the combination of seniors and hurricanes scares USAA?

        1. Lisa July 30, 2014 at 9:49 PM

          The risk pool and Florida state laws make USAA less competitive there. If you don’t already have homeowner’s insurance with them (prior to 2007), they don’t offer it now but they have a third party company you can use. I’ve also read that renters and auto rates are high in some areas and have increased dramatically.
          I’ve had USAA insurance products for over 20 years, have lived in 4 different states and will say my premiums are lowest in Virginia.

          1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:17 AM

            Thanks for chiming in Lisa :) So far it seems our rates have been lowest in Virginia as well where we now live.

  7. Brian @ Debt Discipline July 30, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    We have USAA too, looks like I need to make the call. We pay roughly $120 per month.

  8. Kipp July 30, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    Michigan is just bad on premiums because of the unlimited medical. Nothing I can do about that part! The snapshot from progressive helps (I can’t get USAA because Grandparents who did serve are gone, so my parents would of had to signup before that I believe).

    1. Kipp July 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      On a side note I clicked on your link regarding the umbrella insurance, that got me wondering what types of assets are protected from creditors in my state? It looks like my retirement accounts would be safe, and like a 1/3 of my home (based on the fixed value)… being I want to live in more than 1/3 of my house, maybe once my equity gets up there I will look into a policy, otherwise I am just out my checking account balance & brokerage balance. That alone isn’t worth the umbrella costs to me! I am thinking it will be a transition, cut Life Insurance, add umbrella.

      1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        Might be worth a call to your insurance company and just get some quick info :) They’ll be able to tell you for real what it covers and doesn’t. I was actually surprised how cheap it was at the end of the day! But you’re right, if you don’t need it then of course don’t get it.

  9. Catina July 30, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    I am definitely going to give this a whirl. I have had the same insurance co. for about 18 years and they have always been the cheapest, but….it has been a LONG time since I shopped around.
    I see cable is next on your list! I cut that cord about two years ago with a Roku and subscription to Netflix and Hulu. My son is the only TV watcher, I have way cooler things to do like read this blog. #BOOM

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      That’s the route we’ll be investigating too actually :) Though from what I hear Google’s Chromecast thingie may help w/ this too? And it’s only $30!

      1. Catina July 30, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Nice! I paid like $99- for the Roku so def more expensive.
        If you do pick up Chromecast I hope you’ll post a review!

        1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:20 AM

          I sure will! It’s literally in the mail being shipped to me right now :)

  10. Anne @ Unique Gifter July 30, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Wow, I can’t believe you were able to cut you insurance by so much. My list car also had no collision on it, it was worth about 3k, so I wouldhave been upset, but the cost of the insurance was a few hundred a year, so worth me being mad at myself if something happened.

  11. a terrible husband... July 30, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    BOOM! Wow. That’s an amazingly low premium. Challenge everything. I’m in!

  12. Holly@ClubThrifty July 30, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Nice! I took collision off my minivan too. It’s paid off and I don’t even drive that often. Great job saving so much cash! What are you going to do with the sweet $15 you’ll be banking every month?

  13. John @ Wise Dollar July 30, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Nice work J! We’re with USAA as well and are around $55/month for our two cars. We’ve cut a few of the things you did but totally have overlooked things like the towing/roadside as we also have AAA and likely can cut the miles even further. I swear I never drive, so I know we can cut that even more.

  14. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich July 30, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    I had no idea that your mileage effected your insurance premiums. I only drive on the weekends since my car sits at my parents house all week. I’ll have to call and see if they’ll lower my rates since they’re really only insuring me for like 2/7 of the year.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      YES! I found this out when I went self-employed a few years back and it does wonders!! Though of course, the opposite hurts when you start driving it even more, haha…

  15. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life July 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    I find people are afraid to challenge their regular expenses. They don’t realize they’re just as negotiable as the kitschy souvenirs they pick up on vacation.

  16. Natalie @ Financegirl July 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Ahhh!! I love this story, J! Thanks for sharing it – you rock!

  17. Will July 30, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Hehe. Yep I pay <$20! I clicked that link with my fingers crossed *hopefully it goes to my site, hopefully it goes to my site*. Huzzah! Thanks, man!

    I wish GEICO cared that I only drive about 1,000 miles/yr. Then I could get a nice discount like you have with USAA. Maybe they will in the future. Then I can get my number even lower than $18.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      You may have the world record rate right now. But I’m slowly creepin’ behind you ;)

  18. Jen @ Jen Spends July 30, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    I’ll have to add USAA to my list of providers to look at. I’m in the midst of planning a switch right now. We are on a monthly payment plan with a big-name provider (through a local rep), and it has slowly crept up to $120/month for our two cars. No accidents, no claims, no violations. It’s disgusting. Can’t wait to dump them.

  19. Matthew July 30, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    I also looked into Republic Wireless but quickly decided against it since they offer no means of encryption for calls/text when you are on a wireless network. That’s a huge no-no. Instead, I strongly suggest people look at a service like Cricket Wireless. They have plans that come close to RW prices, plus they use the AT&T network, which is going to be better than Sprint’s (which is what RW uses) in 99/100 cases.

  20. Jessica July 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    As a former agent and now a claims adjuster, I’m not sure that lowering your property damage coverage is a good idea especially if you are trying to protect your net worth. You can be held personally liable for any damage above the $50k limit. If you still have an umbrella policy, you may voided that by lowering property damage as well.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      YES!! OMG you were right! Because of your comment and Done By Forty’s below, I called them up to make sure and in fact I needed to keep my coverage at $100k for my umbrella policy too! THANK You SO MUCH!!

      They said if something would have happened, I’d have to pony up the $50k difference before the $1 Million kicked in – WOW.

      So now my numbers above are skewed, but get this – the difference? 46 Cents!!! hahahhahaa hahhaa hahahhahaha..

      So I bet it’s still 47% savings, if not 46.5% savings ;) You guys rock… Gonna have to go up and update the post now, thanks so much!

  21. Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 30, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I LOVE USAA too!!! Who is/was in the military in your family? My dad is retired Air Force. Thanks for the reminder to constantly check your bills. I just called them and we are now saving $40 a month between home and car insurance. You are my MVP of the week!! :-)

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      HAH! That is too funny! Let’s see what Friday’s post is about then, eh? :)

      My father was the one who served, and then his father before him too. Apparently us kids all broke it as none of us continued on with the tradition :(

  22. MomCents July 30, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    That’s awesome! I’m definately going to have to try this! We have 3 cars insured because my hubby just HAD to have this beater of a pickup truck! I’m going to start with that one…its the lowest of the low and he only drives it for odd jobs.

    My car is paid off, so I can probably go down the list and find some savings
    Hubby’s car was purchased used last year and we are still making payments on that one…

  23. Kali @ Common Sense Millennial July 30, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    This is definitely something on my list that I want to check on, but USAA is so good that I keep putting it off because our rates keep going down by themselves! I think the biggest thing keeping them where they’re at now is the fact that I’m 24 — I’m planning on watching to see what happens after I turn 25 this year, then calling and asking what we can do to lower prices (especially as our mileage has dropped too, since I’m working from home now as well). Thanks for the awesome reminder of what can happen when you just take action and ask!

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      Oh man, yeah 25 is the key date for sure! I hope you’re pleasantly surprised!

      I’d still just call and take the 10-15 mins even if just to reduce the mileage right now as that’s a huge factor in it! Or better yet – just log onto USAA and do it straight from there :) When I went back to double check my coverage I saw it literally shows you everything you have and you can click different coverages/amounts/etc and see how much it affects your rates. Not sure if there was a spot for the mileage part, but again – only takes 10 mins! Less if that’s all you’re changing!

  24. Done by Forty July 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I’ll have to play around with the variables again. We actually had to up our coverage limits pretty dramatically once we got an umbrella policy, which wasn’t fun. But maybe changing the mileage numbers will help!

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      YES! Because of you and Jessica above, I literally called USAA back just now and asked about that – I shouldn’t have cut my property coverage from $100k to $50k! So we moved it right back, and it was literally the difference of 46 *cents* hahahahha… whew! My post is still 99% accurate ;) So huge thanks to you guys – I could have been in trouble later!

      1. Jessica July 30, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        46 cents or $50k, I think you made the right choice ;) This makes me happy I think like an insurance nerd.

        1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:20 AM

          Makes me happy too! Haha… I owe both of you a nice cold beer :)

  25. Miriam July 30, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Funny enough, USAA just sent me a letter saying that another company was going to be in touch with me in the next couple of days to go over my insurance coverage and make sure everything was up to date. This post will certainly help me ask the right questions! I’ve had USAA since I got out of the military for EVERYTHING (banking, car loan, car insurance, home insurance, etc) and I love them lots and lots :D

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Perfect! I’ve gotten calls like that in the past, and it’s always funny because it almost *always* results in me getting lower rates afterwards, haha… So why not just make the call now rather than wait on someone else? :)

  26. Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank July 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    I used to pay $90 a month.. Now I’m up to around $130 a month or something insane! That’s what happens when you spin out in the rain and hit the curb!! :(

  27. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer July 30, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    So, I’ve been reading with eager anticipation your story and Will over at First Quarter Finance’s story about these lower rates, but my one fear is that we’d probably switch homeowners too (we got a discounted rate on homeowners b/c of the car policies) and that we’d end up with a company that’s a__holish about paying out homeowner claims and screw ourselves. Is there a rating system somewhere on how well companies do at paying claims?

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Oh man, I have nooooo idea but that’s a great idea… It’s also why I’d never go with a company I’ve never heard of before – even if it means saving money.

    2. JayP July 31, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Laurie, we just switched and yes, you probably will have to switch your homeowners too(at the renewal time) or face a 20% increase there. Its worth it to us. I think Allstate’s homeowners is too high too, so we’ll probably go through Essurance there also.

  28. Debt Hater July 30, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Oh man I am totally jealous reading these insurance quotes. I was actually just searching for quotes as I go to renew my car insurance, but since I’m a male not yet over the age of 25 I’m probably in the worst demographic for car insurance. My current insurance company provided a quote of $1400 for the entire year which comes out to around $116 a month and this is for someone with no accidents, no claims filed, and a 10 year old car.

    I know you dropped your property damage from 100,000 to 50,000, but was curious what your other coverage limits are? I currently have 100,000/300,000/25,000 and I don’t think I would want to go any lower. I may remove collision this year or next year though.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Yeah, 25 is the golden age my friend! It gets much better after that :) And honestly $116/mo isn’t that bad – I’ve seen sooooo much worse. As you get older and continue having a solid record it should continue to go down over time… some things you can’t avoid (although don’t let it stop you from searching and comparing around!).

  29. Laura July 30, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Good job! We also have USAA but aren’t near that rate (I think about $100/mo). BUT, part of our higher coverage amt is because of required minimum coverage for our umbrella insurance. And for us, with an older (1960s) house, homeowners with USAA was far too difficult/expensive to get (they seem to prefer houses <10 yrs old) so we went with Amica which is also rated quite well.

    Our car mileage is also quite low, which seems to trigger a phone call from them every 3-6 months to check that "nothing has changed". They can't seem to believe that we only put about 3k on each vehicle each year thanks to urban living and working from home.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      I just learned about that umbrella insurance stipulation! But when I just called to change it back for me so I’m under the guidelines, it was only a matter of 46 cents? So I can’t imagine it being that drastically different for you and others commenting in? I know some things @ USAA suck though, like their mortgages – at least for us when we tried to go through them back in the day… They were incredibly more expensive, but then again that’s probably why they weathered the meltdown back then too! I would have never been able to put $0 down for a house like then, haha… SO good for them for denying me :)

  30. Kevin July 30, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    For our two cars, my fiancee and I pay $96.73 each month. We also have to pay $123 each year in registration fees. So, we put money into a separate savings account for these two costs (insurance/registration). Altogether, this is about $107 each month for our two cars. We actually put away $129 a month. The extra money gives us room if the rates go up, or we decide to switch companies a month or two early and need to pay the new full 6 month rate before we get refunded by the previous company.

    I would love to get down to ~$66/month, like you have, but I don’t think it’s possible. I’m not comfortable lowering some of the coverage.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      That’s a good idea siphoning money aside like that every month :) And keep in mind my car is old as dirt and falling apart, so I guarantee I’ve spent more in maintenance than you all.

  31. Mysti July 30, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    We pay $131 a month for an ’01 Camry, and an ’05 Jeep Liberty! We called last month to lower it, and the guy was less than helpful. Stuff he was suggesting didn’t make sense (we both drive over 50 miles a day round trip to work). We changed carriers a few years ago, and it may be time for another switch.

    And on the “call to get a better deal” tangent….we called about our cable/internet….and they said “nope, sorry.” Need to keep working on that one.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      Haha…. I’ve never gotten a “nope” there before, but then again I always wait forever (once a year?) to do it so I’m sure it falls within their customer service allotment to hook me up ;) We’ll see what happens though here shortly when I call them up next!

  32. Broke Millennial July 30, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    WOW! Referring to this in the future when I have a car again. I fricken love USAA!

  33. Samantha July 30, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Thanks for the kick to do this: I saved $62/year. Now I pay $34/month for TWO cars and drivers. Woo hoo!

    1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      Way to take action! It all adds up! :)

  34. Prudence Debtfree July 30, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    That’s a whole lot you have saved – especially in comparison with 5 years ago! I have a SEVERE aversion to things like paperwork and the nit-picky details of an insurance policy. I’m sure this aversion helped get us into the financial mess we’re now trying to get out of. I’ll just plug my nose and make the call.

    1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      Well luckily these days you can usually do everything on the phone :) I haven’t filled out paperwork to do anything financial in quite a while – even when I moved $350k from one investment company to another! Love technology…

  35. Jason July 30, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    I haven’t paid insurance on a monthly basis for more than 10 years. Most companies give a good discount to pay for 6 months or 1 year at a time. You should ask USAA what their discount is.

    I pay $664 every 6 months for a 2005 Prius and a 2009 Prius in Portland, OR. That is double what I paid for the same coverage in Birmingham, AL and OR has some useless mandatory coverage that costs $100 every 6 months.

    Bodily Injury ($250K/$500K) = $295
    Property Damage ($100K) = $94
    Personal Injury ($15K) = $81 (Useless coverage that pays for medical expenses / lost wages)
    Uninsured Motorist Property ($20K) = $22
    Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury ($25K/$50K) = $15 (Useless as I have medical insurance)

    2005 Prius
    Comprehensive ($100 Deductible) = $16
    Collision ($500 Deductible) = $52

    2009 Prius
    Comprehensive ($100 Deductible) = $16
    Collision ($500 Deductible) = $77

    1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Crazy how this stuff varies from state to state, man… Thanks for sharing though.

  36. Money Pincher July 30, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    I pay $200 a month for my car insurance and I already have 35% off my car insurance. Our car insurance is so high because it is monopolized by one company (ICBC – BC, Canada). I remember when I first got my driver’s licence, my insurance was $3300 a year! Ouch :(

    1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Ouch indeed! I wonder if gas is more expensive up there too? I heard milk was – at least in some areas :(

      1. Money Pincher August 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Yes, gas is expensive here! It ranges from $1.39 – $1.50 per litre (about $5.26 – 5.68/ gallon, if the exchange rate is at par).

        I live about 30 minutes away from the border, so I get gas from the States at $3.80 – $4.00 per gallon. I save quite a bit + a grocery run buying eggs, milk and cheese – it’s definitely worth the time and savings! (I love Trader Joes – their organic prices are equivalent to non-organic price here – i.e. eggs)

  37. Carol in Mpls July 30, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Looking over my numbers, and I’m at $105/month for all my insurance(s), all bundled through USAA. The car portion is about $61/month for a ’99 Camry. The towing piece is only $7 in total for the 6 months, which is way cheaper than AAA! One winter I was having some starting troubles, and it had to be started, then towed home, then restarted to get to the garage for service. Three trips/services right there, no extra fees. Sweet! I think AAA only gives you 4 trips before you have to pay, and with a 15-year old car, it could happen.

    I did raise my property damage liability to 100k on my car insurance, after talking to a rep. He told the story of someone who had been in an accident with a motor home, 75k damage, but had the higher limit, so it was covered. I didn’t really have a spare 50k for that kind of situation, so it was worth it to me, and not very expensive (~$9/month) for the peace of mind.

    6 month car = $388 (savings of $482)
    1 year homeowners = $435 (savings of $390); only going up to $445 next renewal time!

    Best part is the discounts — longtime USAA customer, having multiple products, seat belts, no claims. If I take a defensive driving course I can knock off another $42 from the total car insurance. Also, anyone over 50-55 should take a look at discounts for safe driving courses and see what savings they can yield.

    Love this series, as it’s hitting my new sweet spot for change. Already had done the investment overview, but with the cell phone info, which will help me down the road a bit, and now the insurance, for a top-down overview, I’m feeling good. A new job, and I’ll hit the trifecta.

    1. Jason July 30, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      I agree that $50,000 isn’t enough property damage coverage. You don’t have to hit a RV to cause more than $50K in damage. Cars are expensive and even something like a Ford F150 starts at $26K and got up to $52K That is just one vehicle and many accidents involve more than one vehicle and it you are found at fault you are responsible for fixing every vehicle and all other property.

      1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        Yup! Even bushes or homes, as someone recently told me the house I’m renting from got hit by a car once! Ack! So i’m glad I raised mine up from $50k-$100k too – it’s easy to get caught up in the savings and forget about reality ;) Plus with the whole Umbrella Insurance thing…

        @Carol – thanks for sharing your numbers and story with us. This is my favorite part of blogging – reading and learning from others who comment :) So I appreciate it. And glad you’re enjoying the new series! It’s been eye-opening for me to say the least.

  38. Beth July 30, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    So….I went to the website to check out USAA — but there are limitations on who is eligible. I don’t think I qualify. :(

    1. Jason July 31, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      USAA is for members of the military and their families. It stands for United Services Automobile Association.

  39. Alex July 30, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    USAA is… THE BEST! With USAA you can do most of that comparison online by just starting an updated quote. I’ve found that decreasing the mileage below about 5k miles doesn’t seem to decrease the premium. Due to self-insuring on the optional coverages (collision, comprehensive, towing, rental etc) we’re down to about $30 per car per month. I have asked USAA (and I think there is also a note I found in the FAQ somewhere) and there is no benefit to paying 6 months at a time.

    Other crazy thing – due to whatever algorithm they use, we actually saved about $25 a year across our insurances by adding the minimum valuable property insurance, about $2500 or coverage for $24 a year, so we’re being paid a dollar to insure a part of my wife’s engagement ring! We’re still debating umbrella insurance, I do wish the multiple insurance products were more tied together online so you could easily tell which auto options you need to support your umbrella policy (it’s probably not that hard to find…).

    1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      HAH! That’s pretty cool…

  40. Free To Pursue July 31, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    We made some calls about home and business insurance this year. SO worth it. We saved about $750 a year ($62.50/mth) by asking questions and reviewing each policy line by line. I’m never “just paying the bill” from now on. Ten minutes of work makes it a well-paid endeavour!

    1. J. Money July 31, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Holy crap that’s a lot!!! Well done!

  41. JayP July 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Thanks for posting this. This is a line item I just didnt pay much attention to – thinking a savings would only be a few dollars….Holy cow! My rate just dropped from $77/month to $41! Went with esurance for the same coverage versus Allstate. Tried to get the agent to match or reduce but they couldnt -sooooo……

    1. J. Money August 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      That’s almost 1/2 off!! Way to go!!! $36 savings EVERY SINGLE MONTH now – better bank it and let it grow for 30 years now :)

  42. Grayson @ Debt Roundup July 31, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I pay about $140 for my three vehicles. I was able to get that by switching companies. All of the others wanted close to $200/month.

  43. Mom @ Three is Plenty July 31, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    We’re with USAA as well, and we just had to increase our premium because we’re moving :( PA has *much* higher rates than VA. For pretty much the same coverage, we’re going from $75/mth in VA to $110/mth in PA. We need to set up an umbrella policy as well, haven’t done that yet.

  44. Laura July 31, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    I went through various scenarios again w/ USAAs online calculator and for us, each vehicle won’t get near as low as you get. We’ve clean driving records, 40s and married. BUT live in an urban area (more expensive for insurance) and the vehicles we drive seem to be popular w/ thieves (or at least the 96 Honda is). That’s the price of living in town, I guess.

  45. Lee July 31, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    You have made such a good decision! USAA is known for having excellent insurance with excellent rates… and their customer service is one of the best in the country, on par with Amazon. Congrats on getting such sweet deal :)

  46. Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog August 1, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    You are seriously inspiring me to do this. I’m calling USAA today. My policy is already low, but I can always try to go lower!

    1. J. Money August 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Tell me if it worked!

  47. Hannah August 1, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    I just saved $450 per year thanks to this challenge. I had called myprevious insurance company and reviewed line by line just three weeks ago, but when I saw that your wife was at about half my annual premium for a really similar car situation, I called a new insurance company. I got $380 in annual savings for the auto and $70 for homeowners. Amazing!

    Thanks for the challenges.

    As part of our challenge, we’ve cut down to four day per week daycare (saves about $60 per week). My husband is bike/bus commuting one day a week (the day my son doesn’t go to daycare), and I am doing one day a week of bike commute to pick up my son (Total savings about $7 per week, but if we can increase to 3X per week we get another big discount on car insurance).

    1. J. Money August 3, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      YES! Love to hear this – thank you so much for sharing today! It’s amazing how easy it really is to save if you stop and *do it*, and you guys are on fire :) Keep it going!!

  48. Michelle August 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    I love the idea of challenge everything. I will have to be making my own phone call today.

  49. Ryan @ Impersonal Finance August 1, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Okay, I’ve got Geico and I’m not totally displeased with them, but basically last time I called they said I had exhuasted just every possible discount. I shopped around, but didn’t find anything better- however, I didn’t speak with USAA. I’m calling them this afternoon. Good looking out man!

  50. Rinoa Heartilly August 1, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Hi! Long time reader, first time commenter :)

    I was paying $140/month for my car insurance and recently contacted the insurer and got it lowered to $75/month based on how often I drive. I had the frequency as 3 times per week when I actually only drive my car every couple of weeks. Wish I had contacted them sooner, didn’t realise how much of a difference that one part of the policy would make.

    Car insurance for anyone under 30 in Australia is expensive!

    1. J. Money August 3, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Well done! You didn’t even need to read this challenge – you’re already a step a head of us :)

    1. J. Money August 3, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      Love the sound of it by the url alone :) Bookmarking now to read in a bit, thx man… y’all are beating me to the punch here!

  51. Ann August 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    I took the challenge! I called today to talk about the bill I’d just received. It had actually gone up a significant amount — an unpleasant surprise. My agent is so kind and patient with me (he’s helped me find good discounts before) and he explained what each line item meant. The state apparently just had a rate increase state-wide, so we couldn’t bring my bill down at all — BUT! There was a line item for “emergency road service,” and I asked what that meant. Turns out, my company will pay for a tow truck, emergency jumps, etc. I didn’t know that before, and I just had someone come jump my car a couple months ago. He told me I can still get reimbursed for that! Thankfully I kept my receipt, and just sent it in. $65 (hopefully) back in my pocket! Thanks for the inspiration to make the call!

    1. J. Money August 5, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      There you go!!! That’s something – way to take the initiative :) Now put a note in your calendar to check back in 6 months and see if you have better luck that time.

  52. J @ the expat investor August 5, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Good thing I don’t own a car anymore. Once I’m done working oversea I will probably have to get an old beater car. Then it’s going to suck paying that car insurance, gas, and maintenance again.

  53. Ken August 9, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    Unless you use the other benefits (travel discounts), you might want to revisit the AAA expense. Road side service added to my USAA policy is $8 for four cars for six months versus a great deal more for AAA. And AARP travel discounts are usually better than AAA if you’re old enough. :)

    1. J. Money August 19, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      Haha, will keep that in mind :)

      But you’re right – we’ve been with AAA just because it’s been “the norm” but we probably should revisit and see if it’s still worth it.

  54. Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions October 21, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I’m adding car insurance to my list of costs to reduce … We pay $460 every 6 months but haven’t examined our policies in 2 years, so it’s time. Since then, our commuting patterns have changed and we definitely don’t need rental coverage bc my husband works from home and we barely use his car. I’ll keep you posted on what happens!

  55. andy February 6, 2015 at 3:52 PM

    my car insurance has slowly been going up every year since i got it, with no increased benefits to me. this year i challenged my home and car insurance and got both to come down. i dropped my car insurance from 320 for 6 months to 257, and my home insurance from 550 a year to 301. a savings of 31 a month, or 376 a year!

  56. JMack April 25, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    Surprised you didn’t mention the defensive drivers class you can take to lower it by 20%. You can in new jersey, the tax me state.

    Fan as of yesterday

    1. J. Money April 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      That’s a good idea!! Hadn’t actually heard of that one before, not sure if it’s a thing here in Virginia but worth looking into. Thx for stopping by and checking out the site, glad you’re enjoying it so far :)

  57. ZachyMIllion April 29, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    Hey J– late to the party here, but did you know that USAA offers towing assistance for a fraction of the price of AAA (literally dollars a month)?

    I haven’t compared the benefits head to head but I’ve used USAA for both a jump on my girlfriend’s vehicle and a tow for mine and they were speedy and fine.

    1. J. Money May 5, 2015 at 11:03 PM

      Ooh, good reminder! I did know they had something like that but never took the time to look into really. AAA seemed to have dominated the market where we don’t even consider the alternatives! Haha… Adding to my list to check out again though – thx for the note ZM.