Do you feel that twinge of irritation every six months when your car insurance payments become due? A slight pang of annoyance that you're a good driver and your premium keeps increasing? I recently embarked on the journey to switch my car insurance after nearly a decade of being a customer. My premium had been increasing steadily for about two years and I finally had enough. What I'm going to share will likely not shock you.

I called my insurance agent and told him my situation. "I've been a customer since I started driving nearly 10 years ago. My family has been exclusive customers for more than 50 years. I just feel like I'm paying too much and I wanted to know if we can negotiate my premium, please." I was met with a chuckle and short reply that it doesn't matter and this is just how much the average premium is for this car in my zip code and drivers my age. 

A short while later, I decided to shop the market. You see, if there's anything switching to a credit union taught me, it's that you deserve to be seen as more than a customer, more than just a number. 

When shopping for insurance, the most important thing you need to do is know what you actually need in a policy. And a good agent will be able to walk you through each piece.

Next, think about discounts. The most obvious discount is a bundle discount. Do you bundle your homeowners or renters insurance, or have another member of your household under a certain company? You could rack up some discounts by keeping everything on one policy.

Luckily, I also knew my credit union has a great relationship with one national company and just by being a member, I would save on my monthly premium. More on that later. Simply put, keeping everything under one roof will make your life a lot cheaper and more organized. 

When you're shopping insurance, agents will pull out all the bells and whistles to get you in the door. But how confident do you feel you'll be treated well after you sign on the bottom line? I felt confident switching because of the stellar recommendation my personal service counselor gave me. She had a personal relationship with the agent, and she offered to meet me at my local CU branch to make the trip easier on me. It's clear to see she held the values I so appreciate, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Lesson learned: Take personal recommendations from those you value. The credit union principles extend far past the branch. 

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