I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, but it can be extremely beneficial to shop around for your insurance. It can also be extremely easy to put off.
Last year I went into a fee-only financial planner that had just opened up in my neighbourhood. After a couple days she had contacted some companies, printed off a few potential policies, and also had a few recommendation for me.
I went with her recommendations: apply online, pay the full year in advance, and go with Zurich. The policy she had worked out for me gave me greater coverage, and saved me 20% over my previous insurer.
(edit: It seems that Zurich doesn’t offer auto insurance in Canada. Sorry. I’ve changed the link to the Japanese site.)
So the question then, is: what to do with the savings. I decided to set up a sink fund, in a sense, by putting that 20% saved into a separate account which is for any auto costs that pop up (oil changes, burnt-out headlights etc). This account will get an added infusion this year when my wife turns 30 and our premiums go down. Unused cash is just rolled over to the next year, when the new savings difference would be added.
We’ll still be allocating the same amount to transportation, it’s just that now, we’re getting a lot more for our money.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering how much a fee-only planner costs in Japan… it cost me one box of Canadian smoked salmon. I doubt I’ll ever be able to duplicate that value.