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By Dian Vujovich

Every six months, when my car insurance policy is due to be renewed, I always shop around. A penny saved, you know.

This year I compared my automobile policy with those from AARP and Progressive. Big difference in results. Big difference in prizes offered too.

At Progressive, I could have saved eight bucks a month for six months, but renewal after that would have meant an increase of about $15 a month. No go there. No prize for my inquiry either.

AARP, the folks I’d always thought were supposed to be sensitive to the impact of rising costs for the graying crowd, was the worst.

They’ve hooked up with The Hartford and for anyone calling in to get a car insurance quote have been offering a free calculator.

Comparing tit-for-tat, The Hartford’s quote for insurance on my vehicle was more than double that of my current provider. Guess there’s some truth to what that creepy button-eyed stack of dollars that shows up in the weirdest places in their TV ads represents.

Between the time of that call and now, I’ve received two calculators from The Hartford and/or AARP. The first was a real way-too-cheap and even sort of noisy black plastic one. It works, but isn’t pleasant to use. Press down on any of the numbers or items on its face and it feels as though each little square is going to fall right off.

Then a week or so ago a very snazzy calculator arrived in the mail from them. It’s silver-looking plastic and is a calculator, a clock and then some. I sorta like the idea of combining time with the ability to do some figuring. But this little gem goes beyond that. It can tell you what time it is in all of the US’s different time zones plus those around the world from London to Moscow to Sidney; will translate dollars to euros; includes a timer; music; and a couple of instruction pages. I’ll bet if I read through them I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it can even vacuum my floors.

A picture of this magnificent calculator was featured in a full-page ad in The Palm Beach Post last week under the headline “Drivers Who Switch…

It’s a good freebie. And if you’re shopping around for car insurance why not call them for a quote. Comparison shopping is always prudent and, like me, you may be surprised with what you learn—and your prize.

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