Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2021

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You’ve probably heard or seen the “Progressive Name Your Price” advertisement that claims you can choose your own insurance rate. Especially for drivers on a tight budget or those bringing a teen driver onto their policy, this seems like a dream. The way it’s presented, you have the upper hand in bargaining.

So is it fact or fiction?

Oddly enough, the answer is a little of both, though it depends on how accountable you hold a billion dollar insurance corporation for its advertising claims. In a simplistic sense, Progressive insurance allows you to name your price up to a point. If you tell them you only want to pay $1, you can expect nothing. If, on the other hand, you only want to pay a maximum of $400 for 6 months, it could be a toss up.

I suppose you’re “technically” choosing your own price because you physically enter a monthly dollar amount for coverage, which in-turn, will raise or lower your insurance premium.

But in reality, this is just another example of a somewhat misleading insurance advertisement, similar to the “switch and save” and “15 minutes can save you 15%” ads we’re accustomed to seeing every day.

What does the name your own price tool really mean?

First off, naming your own price doesn’t mean your getting the coverage that best suits you, it just means you’re entering a desired dollar amount and ending up with whatever Progressive will offer for that price. Their rates have not changed. If you’re okay with taking whatever coverage you can get for a certain price limit, this is fine. But if you have a specific coverage limit in mind to go with the price you’ve requested, you may end up disappointed.

That probably isn’t the best way to ensure you’re properly covered…check out our auto insurance checklist to see what you might need. Unfortunately, it could leave many vulnerable people with less coverage than they need on the road. Some may also not have the types of coverage they need. The worst part is you may not be getting the lowest prices for what you get. There’s no way to tell unless you’re comparing quotes.

Second, almost every car insurance company in the nation allows you to pick your coverage types and liability limits based on what they offer. It appears Progressive Insurance is touting the ability to click a button versus speaking to an agent. With many calculator letting you choose certain coverage options, it’s easier than ever to choose what you need and then get quotes from multiple companies at the same time. It’s not a name your price for an auto policy. But you can get name your coverage and then find the best price with an insurance provider that makes sense for you.

I can’t find another company selling insurance online that doesn’t allow you to choose your own coverage types and limits. In fact, if an insurer or an agent doesn’t explicitly make you aware of your options, they can get into trouble in the event of an insurance claim.

Finally, most auto insurance companies in the U.S. file their rates with the state department of insurance for every state in which they sell their products.

This is how consumers are guaranteed not to be charged an unfair or discriminatory rate for coverage.

On the flip side, it also means Progressive isn’t necessarily “making it up” to suit your individual needs.

When it comes down to it, your final premium from Progressive can only be manipulated by changing liability limits, picking up or dropping coverage, or applying discounts (which are given to you as you answer questions online).

There is no magic insurance wand here. No favors. No special deals. No different than anybody else.

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Is the convenience of the online tool enough?

They’ve just got a cool little widget that allows you to enter a monthly payment and match you with a program that fits your budget.

At the same time, there’s also no option for price matching with other insurer’s premiums. I guess that is what I would consider the ability to really name my price.

It’s worth pointing out that Progressive does have one of the sleekest websites out there, along with a ton of available discounts.

They are known industry-wide for their uncanny ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to make insurance easy to buy online or through an independent agent.

Of course, a large advertising budget has to be paid for somehow…and in this case it’s through selling insurance…and not necessarily at the lowest price.

The best way to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the lowest price is to shop with an independent insurance agent.

Most agents will give you a Progressive quote along with quotes from a number of other companies, so this is the best way to really name your price.