That Time I Finally Switched My Car Insurance

In the grand tradition of taking forever and a day to actually do the money things I know I should be doing (I’m looking at you, investing) I have a story for you today, of the grand saga that has been switching my car insurance.

Ok, that might be overstating it, but oh man. It feels like forever.

And you know what they say about money – it’s really just about feelings, right?

I’ve done the reviewing-my-recurring-purchases thing, and the comparing-my-car-insurance thing, but the one thing I haven’t done is the actually-switching-my-insurance-provider thing.

When I sat down to review my car insurance and get quotes to compare a few months ago, I found out that my rate was… how shall I put this gently… not even close to competitive. So I knew that this year was the year.

The year I switch car insurance providers.

In an effort to avoid cancellation fees, I waited until the fateful day when my insurance renewal documents showed up in the mail. I had hope: maybe my renewal rate would actually drop since I had been a loyal, accident-free customer for a few years!

Maybe this was my year!

It was not my year, friends.

My rate went down all of $2.00 a month, so it was back to rate comparisons for me.

I went back to and put in my relevant info to get yet another quote. (I’m not kidding that I’ve done the quote process, and the follow up email process, with them about ten times. When I finally called them to move ahead with buying insurance, it must have been like Ahab and the whale.)

True to every time I’ve ever compared rates, my current car insurance was way higher than even the top five quotes. So I procrastinated for about two weeks, and then – finally – called up LowestRates and committed to making this my year.

The year I get a better car insurance rate.

No one ever accused me of having boring goals, you guys.

The insurance broker who picked up my call – hi Nolan! – was awesome on the phone, and in about 15 minutes he had confirmed the quote, made sure I was getting the best rate for my particular set of skills (aka installing snow tires, which is 100% not a skill I possess, but The Boyfriend sure does) and ran me through a list of the entirely ridiculous but also necessary insurance questions that they need to ask.

My hands-down favourite:

“Will you be using the vehicle to transport explosives on a regular basis?”

“Oh sure Nolan, all the time.”

Please. I wish I was that cool.

We had a good laugh though, because by the time we got to that part of the process we had already joked about the kinds of answers he must get on a daily basis.

I remember my customer service days, and I didn’t even get to ask people probing questions about how they use their cars.

Once the phone call was over, I only had two tasks: take a picture of my snow tires on my car, and take a picture of my car’s VIN.

Snow tires? No problem.

VIN? Well… let me just say that this is probably the hardest and most confusing task I’ve been assigned all year, to my complete horror and dismay.

“Take a photo of text on your car.”

That should not be that hard. However, it was apparently beyond my car-insurance-buying skill set, because for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out.

First, I sent poor Nolan a photo of some other, random numbers and letters that I found on my car. Was that the VIN?

Of course it wasn’t.

This isn’t that kind of story.

He replied (very kindly) that good try, but no. Kind of like one of those Roll Up The Rim cups that tells you to play again, but the prize is insurance.

So I shelved my pride and Google “where to find VIN on Toyota Yaris.” Poor Little Car, this is probably the most attention I’ve paid to her in years.

Google was a totally misleading liar, and told me to look inside the engine to find the VIN. Let me just tell you, this is not where you find a car’s VIN, and you should just trust the insurance broker who keeps telling you (very patiently) that it should be clearly marked on the windshield.

Well, a few more weeks has passed now, triggered by my total embarrassment and avoidance of how bad I am at finding a simple number on my car.

At this point, we’ve arrived at  6AM on Sunday morning, the day that I’m set to fly out to Vegas, and The Boyfriend reminds me that I really need to get that photo of the VIN and send it to Nolan, because my old insurance is renewing in about a week.

I wish I could say that I buckled down, found the VIN and lived happily ever after with newfound knowledge of my car and confidence in my abilities.

Again, this is not that kind of story.

In real life, I turned to The Boyfriend with a look of pure panic and said


He took pity on me, and went to the garage armed with my advice to look in the engine, and came back upstairs a few minutes later, having found the VIN.

Three guesses where he found it.

Oh, that’s right.

It was on the windshield.

Where Nolan told me it would be.

Because of course it was.


To wrap up this tale of “Desirae, learn how to adult already,” at the end of the day I did get new insurance, and I have officially chopped a solid $25 off of my monthly bill. That was partially accounted for by changing providers, and partially accounted for by my comfort in raising my deductible – thanks, emergency fund!

I will say, too, that after getting a new quote with my higher deductible, I sent an email to my previous broker, asking them what the impact of raising my deductible would be on my existing policy.

It worked out to about a $4/month difference. They made the choice pretty easy for me, I have to say.

If you haven’t reviewed your insurance rates lately – for cars, homes, disability, your hair, whatever, I don’t judge – I would strongly suggest it, in line with my “do your own research, always, for everything” personal finance mantra.

You might have a great rate, but then again – like me – you might not. And if you never check, you’ll never know.

And you’ll never have the sheer pleasure of your car making you feel like an idiot because you can’t find a simple freaking number on the windshield I mean it is made of glass this should not be that hard.


Compare your insurance rates.

Because I’m all about transparency, I feel like I need to point out that this is not a sponsored post, or affiliated with LowestRates in any way. I just genuinely used them to get me through this totally easy but seemingly hard thing, and Nolan was genuinely hilarious and more patient than I reasonably could have expected.