Category Archives: Insurance

Credit Report pulled for Auto Insurance?

GEICO Pulled My Credit Report ?

As I mentioned recently, I have been looking for car insurance. I ended up going with GEICO. They offer employee discounts to people at my corporate day job. I went from Progressive with 25/50/25, to GEICO with 50/100/30, plus 50/100 uninsured motorist BI, and $30,000 uninsured motorist PD, with a $250 deductible. I ended up with significantly more coverage, and better coverage, for about $1.25 more premium cost per month.

Today, I got the following “legally required notice from GEICO” in my email box:


Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act Disclosure Notice

Thank you for contacting GEICO for a rate quote. As a result of your request for a rate quote, we asked the consumer reporting agency listed below to provide us with your credit information. This information is used in combination with other factors to determine the rate we offer. The price we quoted you may have been lower if the consumer reporting agency had been able to access your credit record.

The reason that the consumer reporting agency could not access your credit record was that there was no matching information at the credit bureau given the name, address, social security number and or date of birth that we have on file. Your credit record may be accessible by the use of more detailed information than was available to GEICO.

Please note that the consumer reporting agency did not participate in our decision. They are unable to provide you with specific reasons for our decision.

The consumer reporting agency provided the following description of the credit factors that had the most influence on the price we quoted you:

-Your credit report contained insufficient credit history for insurance underwriting purposes. (-)

If you have questions concerning the unavailability of your credit record, or would like to obtain a free copy of your credit report, you may contact the consumer reporting agency whose address is listed below within 60 days of receiving this notice. You also may dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by the consumer reporting agency by contacting them directly at the address below.


I don’t really care about my credit report or credit score. I don’t borrow money. I choose to operate by the cash method. If I don’t have cash, (or money in the checking account), I don’t buy. I don’t get credit cards for mileage, cash back, or reward points.

There is “no free lunch”. Those “freebies” will be paid for some other way. It’s Vegas, baby… eventually, the house always wins. How else do you think banks and insurance companies can afford those extravagant palaces known as “the home office”?

Anyway, the email from GEICO surprised me. I didn’t realize they were allowed to pull my credit report. I learned Section 604 of the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) allows the Credit Reporting Agencies to give your credit report to any company which plans to underwrite insurance on you.

According to FICO, approximately 95% of auto insurers, and 85% of homeowner insurers use credit-based insurance scores in states where the practice is legal. NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) says the practice started in the early 1990’s.

According to this article, FICO considers five items:

  • Payment History – 40% – how well you have made payments in the past
  • Outstanding Debt – 30% – how much debt you have now
  • Credit History Length – 15% – how long you have had credit accounts
  • Pursuit of New Credit – 10% – if you have applied for new credit recently
  • Credit Mix – 5% – what types of credit you have

So, 70% of your credit score is based on you being in debt, staying in debt, and remaining current with debt. I think the practice is predatory.

If a person has a lower income, they will have a lower score on their credit report. Not necessarily because they pay their bills late, but simply because part of your credit score is based on how much you borrow, and how long you stay in debt. If you don’t borrow much, and don’t stay in debt, your credit report suffers. This can negatively impact their insurance premiums.

If you lose your job and fall behind on your credit card payments, as I did, will your insurance premiums rise? My credit report was pretty bad for a long time. It also seems to penalize someone who could not work due to a medical problem, for example. Kick a guy when they are down, eh?

Thank you, sir… May I have another?

Soldiers put man in stocks

Credit Report beating you?

Most people have a blemishes on their credit report. I did after I lost my job. Most bankruptcies are related to job loss, medical bills, or divorce. In many cases, the person seeking insurance had no control over these factors. Yet, they are being (potentially) penalized with higher insurance premiums, because the insurer relies heavily on the credit report.

According this article on United Policyholders,

With some insurance companies, a consumer with the worst credit score – everything else equal – can pay two, three or four times as much as a consumer with best credit score. But even though your credit history is likely to have more impact on your premium than any other factor – your driving record or the condition of your home – insurers don’t advertise their use of credit information. Instead, you will see commercials claiming responsible drivers save money – even though a driver with a clean record can pay more than a driver with an accident or violation because of credit history.

As this Mint.com article points out, follow the money. Insurance companies want to know how profitable you would be as a customer. Apparently, the way you manage your credit report predicts what kind of insurance customer you will be.

Statistically speaking, that assumption must have some validity. Otherwise, the insurance companies would not pay for the credit report.

However, I’m not sure how accurate that is on an individual basis. I’ve had auto insurance for over two decades, have never had a claim, and according to GEICO, the CRA says I have “insufficient credit history” for underwriting.

So, it looks like GEICO lost money buying my credit report. 🙂 lol

Car Insurance – I’m on the hunt

Car Insurance – Looking for a new provider

Car insurance is a necessary evil if you drive. I have had car insurance most of the thirty-ish years I have been driving, but I have never filed a claim. As much as I’ve paid for car insurance, I probably could have bought a very nice car. I think I have been made the insurance companies a profit.

All of my cars have been used. Most of my cars have been older. Only one of my cars had full coverage; the 1997 Ford Escort had full coverage until my one and only car loan was paid off. As soon as I had the title in my hands, I dropped the coverage to the state required minimums.

I’m not complaining. I’m glad I never had a claim, because that would mean I had been in an accident, with a damaged car, or injured body. However, I still feel like the insurance companies have gotten the better end of the deal.

The reason for this post is because I have been researching car insurance. Our six month policy is up for renewal. I have been with Progressive the past two years. We ended up with them because of a crazy incident, which I may talk about some day. I wanted to see if we had the best coverage for the money.

To give you some background, I’m 44, R is 43, and we both have good driving records. Currently, we have three vehicles – a 1997 Ford Escort, a 2001 Ford Windstar, and a 2006 Honda Odyssey. R is a home-maker, home-schooling our youngest, so she doesn’t drive much. My day job is 5.5 miles one way, so I drive less than 3,000 miles per year commuting to work in my Escort.

I do have my “side hustle” DJ business, but I only drive the Windstar if I need all my gear; I believe I drive it less than 5,000 miles per year. The Windstar currently serves as a “portable storage unit” as much as it does a “vehicle”. I can fit a basic DJ rig in my Escort, which gets 30+ MPG, compared to the 18+ MPG of the Windstar. Most of my events are close to home.

I add less than 12,000 miles per year to the Escort, including my commute and DJ business. We have the state required minimum car insurance coverage – 25/50/25. In case you are not familiar with what that means (I wasn’t before I started researching), following is an explanation:

  • Bodily Injury (BI) – $25,000 per person – If we were at fault & injured someone
  • BI – $50,000 per accident – if we were at fault & injured more than one person
  • Property Damage (PD) – $25,000 per accident – if we were at fault & damaged stuff
  • No Uninsured Motorist (UM) BI – if an uninsured person hit & injured us
  • No UM PD – if an uninsured person damaged our car (or drove through our house, etc)
  • The UM coverage is supposed to protect you from hit-and-run drivers also. This add-on to your car insurance policy protects you, for example, if you came out of a store to find that someone had backed into your car in the parking lot and left without leaving their information on your door. Your car is damaged, and you have no way of knowing whose insurance to file a claim on.

We currently pay $663 per six months or $1326 per year with Progressive. Flo is either annoyingly cute, or quaintly quirky; neither is enough that I feel any loyalty to her company. Additionally, the Katie Fisher incident is enough to cost them my business. That is not how I want my car insurance provider to treat my family should something happen.

Image of GEICO Gecko

Car Insurance legend… The GEICO Gecko

I’m looking at GEICO, who I used to have many years ago. Like Flo, the Gecko is either cute or quirky. However, I currently work for a company which is owned by Berkshire, which also owns GEICO. So, I get employee pricing discounts on car insurance. I set up three plans on the GEICO website: Plan 1 –

  • 30/60/30 – more than the state mandated minimums for car insurance
  • UM BI – none
  • UM PD – none
  • $498.90 per six months – savings of $164.10 per six months or $328.20 annually

Plan 2 –

  • 50/100/30 – double the state mandated BI, and a little more than the state mandated PD
  • UM BI – 50/100
  • UM PD – 30,000 / 250 deductible
  • $670.50 per six months – adds $15 per six months or $1.25/month to our current Progressive car insurance bill, but the coverage is better

Plan 3 –

  • 300/300/100 – several times the current coverage amount
  • UM BI – 50/100
  • UM PD – 30,000 / 1,000 deductible
  • $766.50 per six months – adds $103 per six months or $17.17 per month to our current car insurance cost, but coverage is much greater

I think I will apply for coverage at GEICO, with Plan 2. It improves our coverage, for approximately the same amount we are currently paying for car insurance. This means our budget should not be negatively affected (by much… it is $1.25 per month more, so I guess that is a “negative affect”. 🙂 I forwarded this information to R, to see if she had any comment. She simply said, “OK”, so I guess I will contact GEICO and see about setting up the car insurance policy this week. My Progressive policy renews on 9/5, so I don’t want to wait. What car insurance company do you use? How long have you been with them? What was the main selling point for you?

Life Insurance… I HATE it, but I HAVE it

Why spend money on something I hate?

Life insurance is for those you love

Life Insurance… Personally, I hate it. I hate paying for something I will never use. Bottom line… The company takes my money, builds investor portfolios and fancy buildings with it, and gambles on when I will die.

Admittedly, I don’t have much personal experience with life insurance companies … after all, this article was not “ghost written“.

🙂

In my experience, insurance companies LOVE to take premiums, but HATE to pay claims. Many spend money to prevent paying a legitimate claim. Clients often get the run-around. “Oh, sorry… that’s not covered… Page 782, Paragraph 374, Subparagraph 42b… ‘Policy void if incident happens during any phase of the lunar cycle’.

Maybe I’m exaggerating… a little.

I have no problem if they don’t want to pay a fraudulent claim. However, the few times I have tried to collect on a legitimate claim, I have gotten the run-around, customer no-service, and excuses. I hope that does not happen if my survivors need to claim my life insurance policy.

Maybe I just have a bad taste in my mouth for life insurance because of the other types of insurance. Regardless, I hate life insurance.

However, I love my wife and children more than I hate life insurance.

If you are like most people, life insurance is probably not a priority in your mind. I rarely think about life insurance, except when the life insurance bill arrives. If you are young, healthy, and single, you may think you don’t need any coverage. Perhaps, you think, “I’ll worry about life insurance when I’m really old and decrepit … like when I’m 40 or whatever.” 🙂

However, if others depend on your income, TODAY is the day to think about life insurance.

Are you married? Do you have children? Would your family have a hard time continuing to live at the same quality of life without your income? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you are a prime life insurance candidate.

Please, do not put this off.

Are you are single, but engaged? Are you married with no children, but you plan to have children? If so, meet with a life insurance professional first, before others need your income.

Chances are, you will live a long life. However, accidents happen, and people get sick. There are many stories of people dying without life insurance. There are many horror stories of families left behind, without life insurance. In addition to dealing with the grief of your loss, they often struggle to eat, pay the mortgage, attend college, or simply survive.

I am the primary breadwinner for our family. My wife makes a little extra money. She keeps a baby three days each week. However, if I died, she could not afford our modest lifestyle on that small income. On the other hand, if she died, I would need to hire assistance, since I work full-time, plus have a small business. I would also need to pay for occasional childcare.

If something happened to both of us at the same time (car accident, for example), we want to provide for the children’s needs until they are 18. We would also each have final expenses.

Therefore, both of us have an individual life insurance policy.

There are many factors to consider, such as,

  • If you need life insurance
  • What type of life insurance
  • How much life insurance
  • How long do you need life insurance coverage

Even if you are single, with no children, you may need at least a small policy. If you die, your family has to pay your final expenses. These may include your funeral, burial, or cremation expenses, or any final medical bills. Here are three reasons why TODAY is the best time to get term life insurance.

The policy from your employer may not be enough
My employer provides a year’s salary at no cost to the employees. For a single person, this may be enough. Likely, all you would have is your final expenses. However, I’m married, and have two children. I suspect my children would like to continue eating after that year is up. In addition, we have rent, utilities, dog food, sports, extracurricular activities… everything my family has come to expect and enjoy about my income.

You probably need more than one year’s income replacement… Unless you only plan to be dead for one year. 🙂

You will never be as young as you are today
This may sound morbid, but each day, you are one day closer to death. You are closer to the day the life insurance company will have to pay out your policy. The younger you are, the better chance they have to recoup the risk they take by insuring you, so the cheaper your life insurance policy will be. When you are younger, you are a relatively lower risk for the insurance company. Premiums might not rise exponentially year over year, but when you are in your 40′s, you will pay much more than if you were in your 20′s.

Your health condition could change tomorrow
When people are young, generally speaking, they are healthiest. Body parts generally still work like they should, young people rebound from illness and injury much more quickly, and they are usually sick less often.

Comparatively speaking, from today until the day you die, today, you are in your prime. Each day, everything goes downhill from here. Cheerful thought, eh? 🙂

If your healthcare professional finds a single indicator of a serious illness, such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, it may raise a red flag. This will likely increase your cost for life insurance. Once you have been diagnosed, from then on, you are marked.

By law, you must report your diagnosis on any future life insurance application. If you hide it, you commit insurance fraud. If your fraud is discovered, the insurance company probably will not pay your policy when you die. After all, you obtained the policy fraudulently.

So, stop putting it off. Research your needs, then call a life insurance company!

There are many resources to help determine your life insurance needs. Following are a few I found helpful:

In a future post, we will talk more about life insurance. We will also talk about other insurance needs.

If you have life insurance, how did you decide the coverage amount? What was the reason you purchased the policy? What type of insurance did you purchase? Why did you choose that type of policy?