We’ve all done it. We’ve wanted to price shop for something and we want to compare the new price to what we are currently paying, so we ask for an “apples to apples” quote.
What we are asking for is for the sales person to give a price for exactly what we have now. We hope the price will be lower. Most of the time, we don’t really consider or care about the product we are actually paying for.
It never occurs to us that the apple we currently have is a bad apple.
What if the apple we are eating- the apple we are happily munching on- is actually just an okay apple. But we’ve never tried any other apples out there. I mean- honestly- I really like Granny Smith Apples. I will go for the green apples at the grocery store every single time out of habit. And then I had a woman at a farmers market convince me to try a Honey Smith apple. And it seriously rocked my world. It was great. And I was like- “wow… maybe I should try some other apples some time.” In fact, while there are usually around 11 or so varieties of apples in your local supermarket- there were once about 15,000 breeds of apples that grew in the US. (how’s that for some apple trivia??)
The “apples to apples” saying happens in the insurance world all the time.
People give us copies of their current policies and then ask us if we can put together a quote that looks the same and they hope that we can beat the price. What they don’t understand is that the information in their policies is only a tiny piece of the large insurance puzzle.
It provides us with information on what coverages you have. For instance- if you were to give me the policy documents on your auto- it would tell me that you have a 2014 Honda Odyssey and you have 100/300/100 liability coverage, $5,000 medical payment coverage, and $500 deductibles on your comprehensive and collision.
But what it doesn’t tell us is whether you are a good driver, whether you have always had insurance, whether you have loans on your vehicles (which tells us how much insurance you are required to carry), whether you have a long claims history, what zip code you live in, how many people will be driving the car (and who they are), and how many miles you drive the car and for what purpose. A 32 year old soccer mom who drives that Honda Odyssey full of 7-16 year olds non-stop through the carpool lane and takes it on road trip after road trip is going to need different coverage than the business person who only drives it 10 miles to and from work and only has one other passenger in it.
And if we notice that you come to us with an “apple” that says you have 100/300/100 liability coverage and only $5,000 medical payments coverage, but you are the soccer mom that puts 50,000 miles on the car each year- we might through discussions with you, decide that perhaps- you were eating an apple that wasn’t the best apple for your situation. Perhaps, we should seriously consider trying a different apple. Maybe an apple that has 250/500/200 liability coverage- because with the number of miles you are putting on the car- you have a much higher risk (just plain numbers game here) of getting into an accident, plus with so many kids in the car, it’s bound to be more distracting. Maybe a better apple for you would be $10,000 or higher of medical payments coverage, which is the part of the insurance that covers the people inside your own car- since you routinely have more than one person that isn’t your own family inside your own car and if you get into an accident that you cause- you are going to want some insurance coverage (this is one of the most overlooked auto insurance coverages).
When homeowners bring us their homeowners policies to look at- often times they don’t realize that they are only giving us the information that shows us how their current insurance carrier is covering their home- such as the limits (structure, unattached structures, personal property, family liability, etc); however, they don’t realize that in order to come up with a proper assessment (to decide the proper apple)- we need to know information about the home we would be quoting out. Your former insurance carrier may have given your home an assessed reconstruction value- but do you really want a new quote based solely on their number?
First of all- values of homes go up and down every day. Second of all, if we just recommended coverage based on another carriers number without doing any of our own research- and that number turned out to be too low to replace your home- you would be very upset. All because you wanted “apples to apples” and because you wanted to save 10 minutes worth of time and paperwork (or avoid talking to someone on the phone).
Trust me… “apples to apples” isn’t worth it. And if you find an insurance agent that gives you an “apples to apples” quote- run. Fast. They are not doing their job.
An insurance agent is supposed to be a trusted advisor. They are the people you trust when you have a problem (car accident, home incident). You don’t want to have to call some faceless 1-800 number and get some call center who won’t be able to tell you that everything will be okay. You want to have a face to put with the name and know that they assessed your situation properly and feel confident that you are paying for the right coverage.
Saving money on your insurance products is always a wonderful feeling and there are many companies that can save you money. Shopping around every few years is a smart move (usually every 3-5 years is a good frequency to shop around for a new quote). When you do, put in a few extra minutes to talk to a few licensed agents who won’t quote you “apples to apples”- that will separate the good agents from the great agents.