Well, this just beats all...some of you have heard our tale of finding auto insurance in Montana at a price we want to pay. Well, that is not going to happen here. When we first came to Montana our insurance company informed us that at the end of our policy year they would no longer be able to carry us as they are not licensed in Montana. I think to myself...ok, it's a hassle to change after 30 years of good rates and good service, but if you have to you have to. We began our search for a new policy back in March and quickly learned that even though we live in the least populous county in one of the least populous states, rates are much higher....as in double on the first quote. After some more research we realized it must be due to two things:
- If you haven't hit a deer (or a moose or a bear) yet, you will. If you don't hit a deer, one will hit you (as in it will jump into the side of your car as you drive by thinking you have missed another one).
- There are actual winter driving conditions here. Yes, they quickly plow and sand the roads and it is pretty easy to get around, but it can still get icy and people do slide off the road.
So, accepting these facts we moved on to more quotes and decided we may as well drag our old one out at the cheaper rates as long as possible.
Fast forward to two weeks ago...I called AAA in Kalispell and asked for auto insurance quotes. The next day Kent e-mailed quotes from two companies to me. Not too bad,rates only about 50% higher than we pay now. Then he mentions the bad news is that the less expensive company is not currently writing policies in Lincoln County. And why is that? Because of the forest fires...that are in Flathead County. I guess they think the fire might suddenly sweep 60 miles north and torch our cars or maybe we are stupid enough to go for a Sunday drive out Brush Creek way. Well, no worries...we still have a couple of weeks before our policy expires and there is a back-up plan with another company.
Yesterday, good news! The aforementioned company (OK, it's Travelers) have lifted the restrictions. Come on in and we'll get it taken care of.
Today, I am seated before Kent at the AAA office as he plugs information into the computer. But what's this??? The premium is $90 higher and it is flagged..."call the company before issuing policy". It is showing 5 comprehensive losses within 3 years. Yes, that's right. Our windshields have been rock magnets...one windshield in the truck in 2005, one windshield in the Beetle in 2006 when I took a rock in California, one chip repair in the Beetle 2 weeks later, one chip repair in the Beetle 6 months later, and one windshield in the Beetle last February when poor Legend cracked the windshield with his head while waiting in the car (see February 2007 posts). No accidents, no tickets for almost 20 years...but no insurance. That's right...they refused to even write the policy. Both I and the agent were dumbfounded. We did have another alternative waiting, but I left to do some other errands while he did a little more digging. In the end, we were able to get a policy with Safeco for about the same price as it would have been with Travelers. I really have to wonder what Travelers would do if you did have a claim and what their service would be like. For cryin' out loud, who ever heard of penalizing people for having trucks throw rocks at them...isn't that just the luck of the draw? We could go another 10 years before we get hit with another one.
A small ray of sunshine in the insurance saga...we did save some money on the motorcycle insurance because of the discount they give for not being able to ride here in the winter. We changed that policy last March.