Auto insurance questionnaire, why?

We’ve had auto & home insurance from the same company for over 10 years. I won’t name names but triple the first letter of the English alphabet and you’ll have it. Anyway, today I received a questionnaire from them asking about household residents, verification of vehicles at the residence, number of miles driven, % each driver drives which vehicles, current odo reading, total annual mileage, garaging zip code, etc. And the marital status of each resident, occupation, blah blah. (They also had my wife’s son listed as a resident (non-driver), even though he’s never lived here. I told them as much when they asked about it a few months ago. I don’t know why they even think he did live here.)

Why did I get this? They claim they need the info to make sure our auto policy renewal is rated and priced correctly (I read: as high as possible). Never filed a claim or had a late payment.

We’ve never received one of these questionnaires before, and from the questions, I get the feeling they think we’re scamming them. I’m a bit irritated, should I be? And marital status? It’s me and my wife, WTF? I would think they’d know this by now.

I’m about ready to kick them to the curb, but perhaps I’m overly sensitive and it’s standard industry practice to grill loyal customers.

Yes, it’s almost undoubtedly to determine if you’re paying what they think you should be paying (and any changes probably won’t come out in your favor). If you’ve been with them for a decade, in theory, household circumstances could have changed dramatically during that time. Again, in theory, you would have been informing your agent of these changes all along, but maybe not.

Those are, of course, exactly the sorts of questions that they’d be asking you if you were applying for a brand-new policy from them.

That company has used the questionnaire since at least the 60’s by my experience. People’s circumstances do change. It’s important for the company to rate people properly so the rate matches the risk. A good agent will help you find discounts for some of these changes such as “no drivers under 25” and so forth. Some folks have health issues and should not be driving, but don’t tell the insurance company. They may be almost blind or epileptic. In the 60’s this same company suddenly discovered that my father’s Oldsmobile was 10 years old. They required a separate safety inspection for it, which is passed.

I suggest you use this opportunity to talk with an agent and look for possible ways to cut you insurance bill. That will show them.

[rant omitted]

  • sigh *

Mac N Cheese, if you don’t trust your insurance company, why do you pay them?

I had something similar from State Farm a couple of years ago. I think they just couldn’t believe we drive as little as we do (~5k miles/year). They even wanted me to tell them where I park the car so they could come read the odometer. I never bothered (I parked it on the street at the time, in a different spot all the time), and eventually they left me alone. As far as I was concerned, I’d just updated them on everything else (renter’s, auto, etc.) a few months before when Tom Scud and I got married and we’d gone over the whole damn thing then, so I certainly wasn’t keeping anything from them.

When I talked to our agent about the condo policy a few months after that when we bought the condo, she went over everything yet again because she couldn’t believe that we didn’t have another car that was insured elsewhere or something. Yes, we are urban people who commute by public transportation; why would we also need to drive 15k miles/year each?

Actually, I got a questionaire like that about five years ago, and as a result they reduced my insurance. Apparently I wasn’t driving as much as they thought I was. So sometimes the changes are in your favor.

I switched to State Farm and started getting those questionnaires every 4-5 weeks; I ignored them until one time I wrote something along the lines of, “If I get one more of these things implying I lied when obtaining insurance I’ll dump you.” Never got another one.
Just b/c a company sends you a form doesn’t mean you’re required to fill it out. Letters of consequence require attention but these things don’t.

I had no reason to not trust them until I got the questionnaire. I have to pay someone for insurance, I just need to decide if it will continue to be them or not.

In its most basic form, insurance is just a pot of money. People pay into the pot for the right to take money out when they need it. How much they are required to put in depends on how likely they are to take some out, and how much that’s likely to be. The goal is to achieve some kind of equilibrium between money in and money out, so riskier risks have to pay more then less-risky risks.

As time goes on, situations change. Driving habits, drivers, individual cars, number of cars in a household, etc. Lots of stuff. Some companies don’t pay much attention to that stuff and continue to collect premiums as though these things don’t change. Some companies, on the other hand, recognize the reality and periodically ‘reunderwrite’ their business. Sometimes that means folks pay more, sometimes it means less. I put it to you, however, that the potential for a company to lose solvency (and its ability to pay claims) is inversely proportional to the amount of attention it pays to its book of business. That, at least, is the perspective of the insurer.

So your choice is, cooperate with your organization as it continues its efforts to remain capable of coming to your aid when you need it, or find another company that is happy to take your money, and maybe pay a claim when you are in need. Until they start letting insurance companies use crystal balls and tarrot cards, I’m afraid you’re going to be asked some questions sometimes.

Yeah, but sometimes insurers get ridiculous about it. For example, I injured my leg rather seriously in 1996. There have been lasting consequences of that injury, for which I occasionally need treatment. However, for years, every time I went to see my ortho, my health insurer would then send me a 20-page questionnaire in which I was supposed to reassure them yet again that no, I wasn’t suing anyone; no, I hadn’t been in a car accident or a work accident; etc. I finally got tired of it and called to say hey, this is the same damn 1996 injury we are talking about every time I see the ortho, so could you please find some way to note that in your records? and in any case, even if I had been considering suing anyone, we’d be well past the statute of limitations at this point.

OP doesn’t mention what state he is in, but the company in question operates via more-or-less independent affiliates in every state (and Canada too). All insurance companies of all sorts are [insert your favorite BBQ-Pit-Only language here], but by all the scuttlebutt I’ve ever heard, you’re outfit is among the least bad of them all. Here in CA, I’ve had no problems with them, even despite having a few occasional fender-benders.

They routinely try to up-sell me into homeowner’s insurance, but they’ve never tried to up-sell me into more expensive auto insurance than I need, and they’ve even cut my rates on occasion when I reduced my annual mileage or didn’t need something else.

For example, an agent once pointed out to me that with the age of my car, it was probably a waste to buy collision coverage, since it would only take a bug smeared on the windshield for them to declare it totaled, and they would never pay enough to justify the premiums. So I’ve been doing without collision coverage for some years now.

Oh, I refuse to apologize for health insurers. I’m sure with a better understanding I would cut them some slack. Unfortunately, I’m inclined to be one of the torch & pitchfork rabble where they’re concerned.

I use AAA for renter’s and auto. A recent mileage questionnaire actually cut my premium by a few hundred dollars because I’m driving a lot less now than before. They moved me into the “occasional use” category, which I never knew existed.

They also paid off a stolen bicycle claim (through renter’s insurance) even though I turned in the paperwork a year late. I can’t be happier with their service. They’re a non-profit to boot, which makes me trust them more – justifiably or not.

One of the reasons companies send out those questions is that some people will lie to an agents face about youthful drivers milage ect to get a lower rate but they are less inclined to put those lies in writing…

Another one is that insurance has changed over the last few years. It used to be that everyone in a group paid the same price. Now insurance rates are very “black box”. Every person gets a rate the company thinks is proper. Driving recond is sometimes the least of the factors taken into account. Credit, age and other unknown factors come to play.

This. When you told the friendly agent that you only drive 11 miles per year (for church purposes) you will be less likely to do so on a form that quotes the applicable federal law about prison terms for lying to an insurance agent.

All in all, it’s a net profit for them. But some people do get their rates lowered if they fall into a different category. Being married is one of those actuarial items that work in your favor. Apparently, if you are a single male, you are more likely to get into drunken traffic accidents. Who figured? :slight_smile: