Why is it that every insurance company can offer a lower price?

Before I met Greta, I saw this newspaper ad that said, "you are paying too much for car insurance." I said, "damn right. It's cuttin' into my espresso mocha macchiato money." So I called. I get this computerized voice tree and wound up getting a free quote on coverage for my potting shed. I don't even have a potting shed.

You've seen the TV ads. Heard 'em on radio. The yellow pages are full of 'em.

"Are you paying too much for car insurance?" Is the answer ever no?

If every insurance company and every insurance agency says they can offer you a better deal, somebody's lyin.' Or it's like the car dealer who says, "shop the other guys first, bring us their deal and we'll beat it (naturally)."

Truth Number One
Insurance is still regulated by the state. There are limits on what you can do rate-wise and coverage-wise. The state has loosened its grip in recent years. As a result, rates are more market driven and have come down on average. Of course, they fluctuate like your bathroom scales.

Truth Number Two
Insurance rates have come down on average. If you've been renewing the same policy for years, you probably are paying too much. It's wise to get multiple quotes or find a good independent agent (like Greta Stogner) to shop multiple companies for you.

Truth Number Three
Insurance coverages are pretty much the same. So insurance marketing is price driven. Insurance companies want to "buy" your business with lower rates. Beware. This stuff really happens: A month after signing, you get a letter saying your policy will cost $200 more due to a "company rate error". This is known in the insurance industry as "low balling." Stick with a known company that has an A.M. Best rating of A or B.

Truth Number Four
How can every insurer offer a better rate?While insurance coverages are pretty much the same, be sure you understand what you're getting. If you're looking for competitive bids, be sure you're comparing genuine Coach bags and not Coach vs. a knockoff. Liability coverages, comprehensive terms and deductibles should line up. (Remember, you don't have to do all this yourself. You know Greta. She'll be sure you understand what you're getting.)

Truth Number Five
All insurance companies offer discounts. Do you have air bags and anti-lock brakes? You get a break. Have you taken safe driving classes? You could get a graduated rate. Do you have a good driving record? You're a better risk. Multiple car and homeowners? Have we got a deal for you! Be sure you're getting the discounts you're entitled to. Greta will ask you the right questions to be sure you pay no more than you should.

How can every insurance company offer a better rate? They can't. Get yourself a guide to multiple companies. One that works for you and not Bigmegaconglomerate Co. Talk to Greta.