By Catherine Powell
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
Nobody likes to pay more for something this year than they did last year. Whether that something is rent, utility bills, cable rates, gym membership dues, condo fees, or insurance rates, most folks gnash their teeth when they get a bill that’s significantly higher than it was the previous year. That’s the bad news. The good news is while I can’t help you reduce the amount you pay to the landlord, health club, condo association, electric or cable company, I might be able to help you keep your insurance rates down a bit. That’s because unlike many other expenses, insurance rates aren’t flat fees that are levied by a conglomerate. What you pay to insure your car, your home, and even your RV or boat is determined in part by your lifestyle and your actions. Below are ten ways to help you reduce what you pay for insurance.
- Can you save money by reducing your risk? You bet you can. Insurance is predicated on risk. The more you reduce your risk, the less you’ll pay. This means homeowners can reduce their insurance costs by doing such things as adding a burglar or smoke alarm, as well as replacing that old roof. If you want to save on auto insurance, consider taking a defensive driving class.
- How loyal are you to your insurance company? While you might be able to save a bit of folding green by shopping your insurance coverage to various insurers, if you jump ship too often, you’ll miss out on loyalty discounts offered by many insurance companies. In fact, some insurers rate those who move from one company to the next too frequently with less competitive rates than those who stick with one insurance company for several years.
- Call your insurance agent to ask about discounts. Believe it or not, many insurance customers miss out on available discounts simply because they don’t ask their agent. Depending on you and your family’s ever-changing circumstances, you could qualify for discounts that consider everything from age to how well your kids do in school. ‘
- Sometimes putting all your eggs in one basket pays off. If you’re using one insurance carrier for your homeowner’s insurance and another for your auto policy, you can save money by bundling both policies under a single carrier. The more policies you bundle the bigger the discount.
- Paying less frequently can save you a bundle. If you currently pay your auto premiums monthly, consider paying every 6-months and you could save $100 or more per year. The reason people who pay twice a year save more than those who pay monthly is because it makes the insurance company’s job easier to process payment. It also ensures they’ll get paid in a timely manner, which reduces the risk that a policyholder will become a late pay or a no pay.
- Increase your credit score to reduce your insurance premiums. Whether you realize it or not, insurance companies regard policyholders with high credit scores as less risky than those with low scores. That’s because one of the most serious risks to an insurance company is the risk of not getting paid. Since credit scores are based in part on a consumer’s track record of paying on time, one of the ways you can lower your insurance rates is by raising your credit score.
- Are you a risk taker? While you may not indulge in sword swallowing or tightrope walking, there are other pursuits that could be judged by an insurer as being risky. Everything from adding a swimming pool or a trampoline to your property, to owning a big dog like a pit bull, a Rottweiler, a German Shephard, or a Doberman Pinscher can cause your homeowner’s insurance rates to rise. If you don’t want that to happen, talk to your agent before you do any major home improvement or acquire a new four-legged friend. The same thing goes for auto insurance. Before you buy a new car, find out what the insurance rates are going to be for one make and model as opposed to another. While that shiny sports car might put a gleam in your eye, the cost to insure it could cause your eyes to bug out of your head.
- Are you a master of disaster? Florida is the hurricane capital of the US. Since the risk of hurricane damage is one of the biggest loss leaders to insurance companies in the Sunshine State, every way you can reduce their risk is another way you can save on homeowner’s insurance. Things like adding storm shutters to your home, replacing an old roof with new, and upgrading your home’s electrical system to prevent electrical surges will pay dividends by lowering your homeowner’s insurance cost.
- Healthy is as healthy does. If you want to save money on health insurance, consider taking up some healthy pursuits. Today there are health trackers that can count everything from the steps you take to every calorie you consume. Many health insurance companies give discounts to policyholders who provide them with proof that they’re leading healthy lives. Some will even go one step farther by paying policyholders cash bonuses for adopting healthier lifestyles. If you’ve ever wanted to stop smoking, lose weight, or start working out, talk to your health insurance agent to find out about discounts and rebates that are available with your plan.
- A 10-minute call to your agent can save you money. One of the best ways to save on insurance without watering down your coverage is to have a 15-minute conversation with your agent once a year. Just like other industries, insurance coverage and costs change from year to year. So do such things as discounts and options that can affect what you pay to insure your property, yourself, and your possessions.
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/