If you are like me and love to find ways to save money, this blog will give you some tips on how to save on your home/auto insurance. Just like everything else, the insurance industry is always changing. It is very important, to make sure you make updates to your policies at least once a year to make sure you are not paying more than you need to. One phone call to your agent, prior to your renewal, could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Here are just a few ideas on what you can do to start seeing your savings:
1.) Advance Quote Discount - Did you know that most carriers will give an additional discount if you request a quote ahead of your renewal date? Each company has their own time frame for adding this discount. The earlier you call, the more likely you are to see this additional savings when making a carrier change at your renewal. Our advice is that you call when you get your renewal notice which normally arrives 30-45 days in advance. You may have to pay as early as a week ahead of your normal due date to get the discount, but it is worth it in most cases. Ask your agent, when you receive your renewal packet, if you can change carriers and take advantage of this savings.
2.) Education Discount - Several carriers are now offering discounts if you have a college degree or have completed a vocational, technical, or trade school degree/certificate. Tell your agent if you are eligible for this type of savings.
3.) Replacement Cost Estimator - One of the areas that have an affect on your home insurance premium is the inflation guard that is built in to these policies. We often find that running cost estimators each year can lower the premiums significantly. Carriers use a percentage, and increase coverage based on the percentage chosen. It is often too high, but can easily be adjusted by determining the correct replacement cost. Ask your agent to run a new cost estimator. This can save you a lot of money.
4.) Keep Records!! - Keeping copies of accident reports, tow bills, rental bills, estimates, and claim reports, can really save you if you are changing carriers at renewal. The reports that the carriers run do not always give enough information for the carrier to determine if the incident was your fault. Having proof it wasn't not only saves you money, but it also saves you precious time, and helps you remember what your claim history acutally is. Surcharges for accidents can increase a policy by hundreds of dollars. Having quick access to these reports, can really make your change of carriers hassle free.
5.) Gap Coverage - Auto insurance carriers can offer Gap coverage as an endorsement to your auto insurance policy. I encourage you to check with your carrier prior to purchasing Gap coverage with the dealership. The cost of Gap coverage with an insurance carrier is normally less than $50.00 per year. We have found that Gap coverage with a dealership can run as much as $19.00 per month which is included in your loan payment.
We hope these few tips will help you put more money into your pocket this year. One final thing to keep in mind is that having continuous insurance is one of the most important factors in finding a reasonable rate. If you have sold a home, please take out a renters policy to cover your contents, and protect you for a liability loss. If you are between vehicles, please purchase a named driver policy to cover you until you make your next purchase. Lack of continuous insurance can keep you from getting coverage with a preferred carrier, and you will lose that discount as well.
Written by: Christina K. Knox
HRC Insurance Services, Inc.