Insurance can be expensive. If you pay for your car, home, medical, life, disability or dental insurance, costs seem to always increase. And as your family increases, the rate hikes can be very shocking. But there are alternatives! Listed below are 12 solutions that will help.
Notify your broker if you belong to organizations like AARP, AAA or your local Chamber Of Commerce. You may be shocked at what additional benefits you may be eligible for. Additional options are senior driving and/or training courses that are offered by qualified companies.
Shop for rates every few years. Quotes don’t cost anything and you don’t have to change if the savings is not enough. You won’t cut your costs every year. But at some point, your policies may become overpriced and changing companies may be worth pursuing.
Combine contracts with a single company. Most insurers reduce your car insurance rate, if they also insure your home. Other carriers will provide additional discounts for other types of coverage.
Inquire about discounted and free deals! Many insurers offer discounts that you may not be aware of. For example, vision expenses, fitness memberships and other products may be reduced because of built-in relationships your insurer may have with selected companies. In many cases, your cost is reduced.
Are you receiving the top rating? Many insurance policies have tiered ratings. Although you may not receive the top rating, you still may be able to qualify for a lower premium. Your personal broker can review your policy. And there is no cost.
Not all claims are good claims. For example, if you have a $250 deductible on your property insurance, turning in a $400 claim may not make sense. Since many underwriters look closely at the “frequency” of claims, in addition to the payoff amounts, submitting a few claims within a short period of time may put you in a non-competitive position, and subject to cancellation.
Your house insurance probably has a replacement cost provision on the home. An “inflation protection” increases your coverage each year. After a number of years, it’s possible the coverage may have risen too quickly. It is wise to call your agent and discuss the limits to make sure you are not paying for protection you cannot use. But also, you don’t want to be underinsured either.
Watch out for extra policy fees. Sometimes, they are required, but occasionally, you should verify they are legitimate so you are not paying more than what is required.
Don’t buy the exact same coverage. If you have great substitute car coverage on your vehicle policy, consider eliminating duplicate benefit. Also…if you have accidental death coverage that is similar from two policies, closely compare the two policies to determine if you are going to keep both. Of course, if the coverage is needed, simply keep both.
Examine the statements you receive. They are indeed correct most of the time. But errors can happen. If you have a question or concern, contact your representative. Quite quickly, they’ll verify the bill that you received is accurate.
If you move to a different state, it may be a good time to review your policies. For example, your policy may contain completely different coverage and mandates from a Pennsylvania health insurance policy. Auto insurance plans may also be different. A Va truck may have a different set of requirements than a Connecticut car insurance policy.
Policy costs have been coming down. If you bought coverage within the last 8-15 years (or longer) it may be advisable to compare your options. Since you have aged and may have a medical condition or two, don’t you dare cancel your current plan without obtaining an approval (in writing) for a new policy you apply for. It’s always best to be cautious when changing insurance plans.
Edward Harris is one of thenation's leading insurance brokers.