21 LITTLE KNOWN DISCOUNTS
10 Ways to Save on your Homeowners Insurance
1. One Insurer, Multiple Policies - Do you have an automobile insurance policy? If so, is it with the same insurance company that provides your homeowner's insurance? If the answer's no, you're paying too much - for both policies. Almost every insurance company that sells homeowner's wants its policyholders to also buy auto insurance from that same company. These insurers offer multi-policy discounts. Usually, these discounts are at least 10% - and some insurers apply the discount to both the auto and the home/renter's policy.
2. Raise Your Deductible - The deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in if you have a claim. For example, if you have a $250 deductible and you file a claim for $1000 in damage to your home, You pay the first $250 and your insurance company pays the balance, $750. The higher the deductible you choose, the more you pay if you have a claim. On the other hand, you will pay less for your policy. Depending on the insurance company, you can save between 12% and 37% if you have a deductible of $500 to $5,000.
3. New is Better - Insurance companies really like newer homes. that's because it's less likely something will go wrong with the electrical, heating and plumbing systems. In addition, the structure itself is in better shape. Insurance companies offer discounts as much as 8% to 15% if your home is newer.
4. Location, Location, Location - Where do you live and what is your home made of? If you're in the Eastern United States, it's better from an insurance perspective to have a brick or masonry home because such a structure has a greater resistance to wind damage. By contrast, frame homes are better in the earthquake-prone West. The right structure in the right area of town can save you 5% to 15%. Further, if your home is near a fire station, you will pay less form homeowner's insurance. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you may be required to buy a flood insurance policy, which costs about $400 a year. If you are not required to buy the coverage and still live in a flood-prone area, your homeowner's policy will not provide coverage for losses due to flooding.
5. Insure the House, Not the Land - Nobody is going to steal your land. Fire and high winds won't "destroy" it. So, when deciding how much homeowner's coverage to have, don't include the value of the land, only the value of the house and any other building on the property. If you include the value of the land you're paying too much.
6. Don't Insure What You Don't Have - Each year, you should review your policy to see what coverage you have for your possessions. If you have made a major purchase, you will want to increase you limits of coverage, but what if you sell something? You don't need as much coverage. Pay particular attention to items that are covered by endorsements or "floater" to your policy, items such as jewelry and computer equipment.
7. Better Safe(r) Than Sorry - Smoke detectors, burglar alarms and deadbolt locks are usually worth discounts of a least 5%. You can get even bigger discounts, 15% to 20% if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system or an alarm system that rings at the police station or a security company. However, not all of these systems qualify for discounts. Before you install one, check with your insurance company to find out what type of system qualifies for a discount and how much you would save on your premium if you installed the system.
8. Where There's Smoke... - There's fire. Smoking (unattended cigarette, etc.) causes more than 23,000 residential fires in this country each year. That's why some insurance companies have discounts if all the residents in a home are nonsmokers.
9. Group Discounts - Some insurance companies offer discounts to certain business or alumni association. If you are a member of such an association, ask the director of the association if there are any insurance companies providing discounts to association members.
10. Don't Jump Around - If you've been with an insurance company for a while and you like that company and your agent, stay put. Some insurance companies automatically have discounts for policyholders who have been with a company for a certain number of years. For example, 5% for at least three years, 10% for at least five years.
11 Ways to Save on your Auto Insurance
1. Have an Independent Agent Shop You're Insurance - One of your fist steps should be to shop around. A particularly good time to investigate your alternatives is when your current policy is about to be up for renewal, especially if you find that your premium has gone up. You may be surprised to learn that auto insurance premiums for the exact same coverage on the same car can vary widely (by hundreds of dollars) between different insurance companies. So have our agency do a complementary insurance review to ensure that you do not have any gaps or overlaps in your coverage and you are paying a competitive rate.
2. Increase Your Deductible - For many people, raising the deductible on their auto insurance is a good way to cut the cost of the policy. Sometimes you can reduce your annual premium by 10% or more if you increase your deductible from, say, $250 to $500. If you do this, however, make sure you have the financial resources to handle the larger deductible when the time comes.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report - Your credit history is an important factor for most auto insurance companies. Many studies have shown a correlation between your credit history and the risk to an insurance company. Paying your bills on time and maintaining a good credit history will allow you to enjoy lower auto insurance rates.
4. Drive Less - If you drive less than a certain number of miles in a year (e.g., 7,500), you may qualify for a low-mileage discount. If your insurance company offers this discount, try to limit your driving as much as possible. If you commute to work, use public transportation instead of driving.
5. Don't Use Your Car for Business Purposes - Since work-related driving generally subjects you to higher premiums than pleasure driving, it may be in your best interest to stop using your car for business purposes.
6. Drive More Safely - You may be eligible for a discount if you maintain a clean driving record for a specified period (usually three years.) A clean driving record generally means no accidents, moving violations, drunk driving convictions, etc., during that period. The best way to qualify for the applicable discount is to drive carefully and defensively at all times.
7. Buy a Low-Profile Car - Cars are rated on a risk scale for auto insurance purposes. In general, sports cars and other high-performance, flashy vehicles are classified as higher risks because they are common targets for thieves and vandals, and because statistically, the people who own them tend to drive more recklessly. If you own such a vehicle, you will likely pay a higher premium than if you owned a station wagon, sedan, or other low-risk vehicle.
8. Move - If you live in a rural community with little crime and traffic congestion, your premium will generally be lower than if you live in a urban area where your car is more likely to be stolen, vandalized, or involved in a accident. Granted, you shouldn't move just to cut your auto insurance cost. However, this may be one of many factors in your decision if you are thinking about relocating from the country to the city.
9. Keep Your Car in a Garage - Cars parked in garages are less likely to be stolen, vandalized, or struck by other vehicles. Using a garage to store your car may entitle you to a slight premium reduction.
10. Have Safety/Anti-Theft Devices Installed - You may receive discounts on your insurance if you car is equipped with one or more of the following options; anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts, and airbags. Similarly, anti-theft devices such as car alarms and tracking systems may also get you a discount because they reduce the chances of your car being stolen or vandalized.
11. Inquire About Multi-Family/Multi-Policy Discounts - You may receive a discount from your insurance company if you buy more than one type of insurance through that same company (e.g., auto and homeowner's.) A discount may also apply to your auto insurance if you insure multiple cars under the same policy or with the same company.