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Here's why you can't negotiate your insurance rates - CNET

Sep 16, 2021

Here's why you can't negotiate your insurance rates Debunking one of the industry's biggest myths. Sept. 16, 2021 10:00 a.m. PT While we adhere to strict editorial integrity , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for how we make money . This content is powered by (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our Insurance Disclosure . Insurance Disclosure This content is powered by , a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of LLC services are only available in states where it is licensed and insurance coverage through may not be available in all states. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way. OK How we make money We are an independent publisher. Our advertisers do not direct our editorial content. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in editorial content are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the advertiser. To support our work, we are paid in different ways for providing advertising services. For example, some advertisers pay us to display ads, others pay us when you click on certain links, and others pay us when you submit your information to request a quote or other offer details. CNET’s compensation is never tied to whether you purchase an insurance product. We don’t charge you for our services. The compensation we receive and other factors, such as your location, may impact what ads and links appear on our site, and how, where, and in what order ads and links appear. Our insurance content may include references to or advertisements by our corporate affiliate LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838). And LLC may receive compensation from third parties if you choose to visit and transact on their website. However, all CNET editorial content is independently researched and developed without regard to our corporate relationship to LLC or its advertiser relationships. Our content may include summaries of insurance providers, or their products or services. CNET is not an insurance agency or broker. We do not transact in the business of insurance in any manner, and we are not attempting to sell insurance or asking or urging you to apply for a particular kind of insurance from a particular company. OK Our Editorial Mission In a digital world, information only matters if it's timely, relevant, and credible. We promise to do whatever is necessary to get you the information you need when you need it, to make our opinions fair and useful, and to make sure our facts are accurate. If a popular product is on store shelves, you can count on CNET for immediate commentary and benchmark analysis as soon as possible. We promise to publish credible information we have as soon as we have it, throughout a product's life cycle, from its first public announcement to any potential recall or emergence of a competing device. How will we know if we're fulfilling our mission? We constantly monitor our competition, user activity, and journalistic awards. We scour and scrutinize blogs, sites, aggregators, RSS feeds, and any other available resources, and editors at all levels of our organization continuously review our coverage. But you're the final judge. We ask that you inform us whenever you find an error, spot a gap in our coverage, or have any other suggestions for improvement. Readers are part of the CNET family, and the strength of that relationship is the ultimate test of our success. Find out more here . OK Seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Getty Images It's the pervasive myth that plagues licensed insurance agents nationwide: You can negotiate with your insurance company to get a lower rate. But like other myths, whether they're about credit scores or cracking your knuckles , it's just not true. Trying to negotiate rates with your insurance carrier, for property, casualty, life or health insurance, is like trying to negotiate with the tax man or a utility company: You just can't do it. The persistence of this myth is likely related to the misunderstanding of some basic insurance terms that, though often used interchangeably, actually mean different things. We break it all down below. The difference between premiums and rates When you purchase insurance, your premium is the money you pay, usually monthly, for your policy. Your insurance rate is a more esoteric, industry insider term that refers to how much it costs the insurer to cover a specific set of losses. How much you pay in premiums is based on your rate, as well as a number of other factors. For example, if you have $2,000 worth of jewelry you want to insure and your carrier's rate is $20 per thousand dollars of insured jewelry, you'd pay a $40 premium. Rates aren't negotiable. In fact, each US state has a regulatory body, most commonly the state's department of insurance , that sets rates, according to Janet Ruiz, a chartered property-casualty underwriter and director of strategic communications at the Insurance Information Institute . Admitted carriers must file with the state when they want to make changes to coverage rates, regardless of whether it's an increase or decrease. "And then the state actually has the opportunity to go through the filings to determine whether it's a reasonable and fair rate," Ruiz said. "So that's one reason why you can't negotiate rates." States regulate insurance to protect customers, "with regulators and the insurance industry working collaboratively to create a healthy insurance marketplace in each state," said Chris Donahue, chief underwriting officer from Hippo Home Insurance . "This collaboration includes establishing and maintaining fair and adequate rates -- but also involves developing quality products and services that reduce losses for consumers." Comparison shopping isn't the same thing as negotiating Part of the negotiation myth can simply be attributed to the misuse of the term "negotiating." Though you can't negotiate, you can do some comparison shopping for premiums or identify a discount that could lower your premium. And though you can't haggle over the rate, there's some wiggle room around premiums. "In general, you cannot use a competitor's rates to negotiate lower premiums with another carrier," said Donahue. "However, many insurance companies will aim to cut premium costs for nearly anything that could lower your risk profile." For example, you can adjust your coverage limits, increase your deductible , add or remove vehicles or drivers from your car insurance , or ask for a discount if you've bundled multiple policies  or been a loyal customer. It's worth noting that once you've purchased a policy, your insurance rate is locked in until your next renewal period. But that doesn't mean your premium is set in stone. You can always call your insurance agent to explore a discount or modify your current policy. The bottom line on negotiating insurance rates Lower your auto insurance by taking advantage of low mileage discounts, or lower your homeowners insurance by improving your roof; there are a multitude of actions you can take to reduce your premiums with your current carrier. Or you can find a new carrier that offers lower premiums for the coverage you seek. You just can't negotiate the rates with carriers. Be wary of information indicating otherwise.

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