“With the regular costs of insurance increasing in today’s environment, what are some things I can do to help lower or save money on my insurance?”
This is another question that I receive frequently. It’s a great question because it opens a discussion about what kinds of things affect pricing and the possibility of adding applicable discounts to both auto and homeowners policies. Today, let’s take a look at what factors can lower your Auto Insurance rates. Later on, we’ll tackle the same question regarding your Property Insurance rates.
One of the main factors that affects whether someone qualifies for a “preferred” rate or “standard/nonstandard” rate is prior insurance. If you’ve maintained at least 6 months of continuous coverage, with no lapses, up until the date that you start a new policy, then you most likely will qualify for a “preferred” rate, assuming that you meet other criteria such as driving record. However, if not, you may need to obtain a “standard/non-standard” policy, at least for 6-months before you qualify for a “preferred rate.” Be sure to discuss this with your agent and have a game plan for when that policy renews after 6-months. Just because the rate begins in the higher pricing tier doesn’t mean it has to remain that way.
Many companies like to bundle. That is, if you purchase your Auto and Homeowner, Renters or Condo policies with the same company, you may qualify for a Multi-Line or Multi-Policy Discount. Those discounts apply to both the Auto and Homeowners/Renters/Condo policies and can be in the range of 20%. Similarly, if you have more than 1 car to insure, you may qualify for a Multi-Car Discount. In essence, it’s good to do business with the same insurance provider. Rating experience proves that clients who do this are more profitable and therefore experience savings in the rates.
If you happen to have teenage drivers in your household, then you know that insuring them can be very costly! This is because of their age and experience or lack thereof, they are more likely to be involved in some sort of accident. And therefore, the insurance providers want to capture the appropriate premium for their exposure. If your teenager is a Good Student, as defined by having a “B” grade point average or better, then he/she may qualify for a Good Student Discount. If your agent doesn’t ask you about this, then be sure to inquire. Again, the savings can be impactful.
Of course, the selection of coverages and deductibles is very important, not only in terms of having the right protection, but also the rates. While I would be very leery to lower coverage liability limits as one can hardly ever have too much coverage, it may be worthwhile to determine if increasing your deductibles on Comprehensive and Collision makes sense. Keep in mind that increasing your deductible may lower the rate but it also increases your financial portion of a claims settlement. Again, this is a conversation to have with your agent.
Charles Sueing is the owner of Sueing Insurance Agency and has over 20 years of experience in this industry.