Nora suggested we inform GEICO that Grey took his car to Kent State to see if they’d lower his ridiculous premium. There is no ‘see,’ I said – once the cat was out of the bag, he’d have to live with the new policy wherever it went, up or down. But I couldn’t imagine it going any higher.
I called. Because he is now living out of state, they created a new separate account, but with Nora and me still listed as policy owners. I couldn’t believe the premium change. I still can’t.
His 6-month premium went from $1,170 to $314 for a savings of $1,712 for the year!
To find out why, I did the research I should have done before I called GEICO.
For one, Ohio is way cheaper than Maryland overall. According to U.S. News & World Report, Ohio has the third-lowest average car insurance rates in the country. On average, Ohio residents pay $886 per year, which is $435 below the national average. Marylanders pay $1,460 on average.
Why? Ohio has a more robust insurance market and less legal recourse for catastrophic injuries. On the other hand, Maryland has relatively high minimum liability requirements and both personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage are required.
Just as impactful is Grey’s zip code change. According to this Rate by Zip Code calculator, a 19-year-old male in our Baltimore zip pays $352 per month on average for Maryland’s minimum liability coverage. Just 11 miles up the road at my parents’ house in Baltimore County, the same 19-year-old male pays $221 per month. In Grey’s new home in Kent, OH, it’s $99 per month. (These numbers are way higher than we’ve experienced, but the comparison is useful).
Nora told me the other day: “Migration will happen where inequality exists.” I think she was talking about the hordes of destitute Central Americans who are teeming at the U.S.’s southern border, but the same is true domestically (if less desperately). Maryland and Baltimore especially will continue to lose residents to more family-budget-friendly states and counties as long as these significant cost differences exist.
Check out Grey’s reaction:
Is E-ZPass Convenience Worth It?
I pay extra for convenience all the time. I know I can get a discount at some stations by paying cash for gas, but it’s not worth my time.
I thought the same was true for E-ZPass electronic tolling. There is something very satisfying whizzing through the express E-ZPass at 70 MPH, while suckers wait in line to pay by hand.
But who’s the sucker? A new report out earlier this month documents that half of the drivers without an E-ZPass didn’t pay their tolls after the Pennsylvania Turnpike went all-electronic in June 2020, creating a revenue loss of $104M.
This is the road we use to visit Grey and Pippa in Ohio! Paying is convenient, but so is collecting, it seems.
I think part of the driver resistance to paying is the ballooning cost. In 2009, the cost to travel the full turnpike from NJ to OH was $28. Today, the same trip costs $95, or $47 for E-ZPass users.
We’ll continue to use E-ZPass. Render unto Caesar, after all.
But I’m not necessarily recommending E-ZPass to Grey for his holiday trips home. I told him he has a choice:
- Get E-ZPass and get PA turnpike discounts
- Don’t get E-ZPass and take your chances with their less-than-perfect Toll-by-Plate system
- Skip the turnpike entirely, adding 30 minutes to the trip
As long as he shows up at our dinner table for Thanksgiving, I’ll be happy.
An hour down the road from Grey, Pippa was fired from her college job. The office she worked in was downsizing from two student workers to one, and Pippa drew the short straw.
Actually, it was less random than that. Pippa had told them previously that she planned to study abroad in Spring 2022, and they wanted someone who would work the full academic year.
“That’s good for them,” I told her, “but don’t feel like you have to tell your employer everything. Sometimes they’ll use that information against you. Like later in your career, if you get pregnant, your employer should be one of the last to know.”
Pippa rolled her eyes, and said she could use the extra time. “Actually, you know what I’ll miss most about it? Telling people that I have three jobs.”