My insurance agent doesn't know it yet, but he's fired. It's not necessarily his fault, but I'm going to have to go with another company for my car insurance (I may stick with the company for renter's insurance).

When I moved recently, I was told my insurance premium had gone up by $100 for a six month policy term because of the change to my zip code. Not only this, but the company charged me an additional $39 to "move" my policy from one zip code to the other. I moved a total of 15 miles, so I don't understand the rate increase or the $39 charge to increase my rates.

My auto and renter's insurance came to a total of $123 when I first purchased the policies about three years ago. After a year or so, there was a rate increase to about $138 a month. Last year, I backed into a parked car. Most of the damage was to my car, and nobody was injured. My rates climbed to $148 a month, which I expected since the accident was my fault.

What I did not expect when I opened my latest bill was to discover that my insurance rate has now climbed to $178 a month -- all because I moved 20 minutes away from my old residence. Enough is enough.

I went online and filled out a form at one of the services that helps compare car insurance rates. Within a half hour, an insurance agent was on the phone with me, giving me three quotes which were all cheaper than the insurance I currently have. The cheapest quote I got was for about $80 a month... about $100 a month cheaper than what I currently pay.

I will be comparing the policy I have now with the quoted policy, but if the coverage matches up, I'm making the switch. I'll still need to pay for renter's insurance, but the two rates combined will still be cheaper than what I was paying by having both policies with the same company. I currently pay about $22 a month for renter's insurance. Even if that rate doubles if I drop my car insurance, I'm still saving money.

Savvy Frugality Tip: if a monthly household bill is getting out of hand, shop around. There is a lot of competition for your business, especially in the auto insurance industry. About 20 minutes of effort helped me find potential savings of about $1,000 a year. If you don't want to completely switch to a different company, call your current provider first and see if they can do anything to lower your rate. They'll likely do something to keep your business. That's what I'll be doing with my renter's insurance policy. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask, and you could save yourself hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

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